Biography of John M. Haffen
Bronx County, NY Biographies





JOHN MATHIAS HAFFEN - When thinking in terms of The Bronx and its people, proper place in the leading rank must be given John Mathias Haffen, well known bank executive, president of The Bronx Board of Trade and man of affairs, in that increasingly important borough of the Metropolis. His record as a financier is securely grounded in a successful career in that branch of activity, dating back more than fifteen years, when he succeeded his father as a director of the old Twenty Third Ward Bank, and he has since risen to the presidency of one of the strongest financial institutions in The Bronx. Through this association and that of the business men's organization head, he comes as close, perhaps, in identification with the promotion program for borough betterment and improvement as any resident of the community. His interest in the permanent development of The Bronx along every desirable avenue is keen, intelligent and sustained. He is an influential and constructive force in the citizen body, and a strong right arm of the progressive element of the borough.

John Mathias Haffen was born in the family home at One Hundred and Fifty second and Melrose streets, Melrose (then a part of Westchester County, New York, and now a part of The Bronx), February 20, 1872, the son of John and Caroline (Hoffman) Haffen. His paternal grandfather, Mathias Haffen, born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1814, came to the United States in 1832. His father, John Haffen, who was born in 1847 and died in 1910, was president of the Dollar Savings Bank for virtually all his business life, and until his death was engaged in the brewing business.

John Mathias Haffen received his education in the parochial and public schools of the Melrose section, and at the age of sixteen years began to learn the brewing business with the Rochester (New York) Brewing Company. In 1890 he went to the Baltimore (Maryland) Brewing Company, remaining there until 1893, when he entered the firm of J. & M. Haffen, respectively father and uncle, who had become the successors of their own father, Mathas Haffen, who established the business in 1856. In 1900, on the incorporation of the business as the Haffen Brewing Company, he was made secretary, and in 1910, on the death of his father, he became president of the company, succeeding his father in that office, and having also previously, with his other duties, held the office of treasurer.

Mr. Haffen succeeded to his father's interest as a director of the Twenty Third Ward Bank, of which the elder Haffen was one of the organizers in 1888, and his interest in banking affairs began to mount. In 1914, he determined to pay undivided attention to his financial connections, as the better business for him to be engaged in, and he disposed of his interest in the brewing enterprises to Jacob Ruppert. In 1919 he acquired a controlling interest in the Twenty Third Ward Bank and became its vice president, attaining a position where he dominated the policy of the institution. He devoted virtually all his attention and energy to the bank's business, and within the comparatively short period of four years he practically doubled the volume of deposits and revenue. As a far sighted business man, he perceived that the times and the field demanded a banking institution of broader purposes and a wider service, if the community interests were to be served to the best advantage, and on January 1, 1925, Mr. Haffen obtained a charter for the establishment of The Bronx County Trust Company, using the old Twenty Third Ward Bank as a nucleus and foundation. Mr. Haffen was elected president, and in that capacity continues to direct the bank's policy, which has met with unqualified favor at the hands of the business and private interests of The Bronx. Mr. Raffen is also treasurer and a trustee of the North Side Savings Bank in The Bronx. In 1923 he was elected president of The Bronx Board of Trade, and continues in that office, in which he is rendering conspicuous service to the borough. In 1915 he was chosen president of the Haffen Realty Company, which has large property holdings in The Bronx area. He is also vice president of the Sound View Land & Improvement Company, and a trustee of the Eureka Building and Loan Association.

While formally allied with the Democratic political organization all his life, Mr. Haffen has never aspired to public office. He does, however, have an abiding interest in the success of his party, among the many organizations with which he is affiliated are: Bronx Lodge, No. 871, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; The Bronx County Grand Jurors' Association; the New York Athletic, Siwanoy Country clubs; with the Catholic Club of the city of New York; Rotary Club of The Bronx, and the Sermon" Cu b of Morrisania; The Friendly Sons of St. Patricil; life member of the Loyal Order of Moose. He is also a member of the advisory committee of the In Ai State Hudson River Bridge Association.

John Mathias Haffen married (first), in 1895, Bertha Helen Eckert. She died and he married (second), in 1911, Charlotte Anna Glechner. Child, by first marriage: 1. Caroline Helen, born December 19, 1895, married Charles J. Krieger. Children, by second marriage: 2. Marjorie G., born December 11, 1912. 3. John Mathias, Jr., born March 13, 1918. Mr. Haffen's office address is No. 2804 Third Avenue (Haffen Building), and his residence is at No. 900 Grand Concourse (Concourse Plaza), The Bronx, New York City.

From:
The Bronx and its people
A History 1609-1927
Board of Editors: James L. Wells,
Louis F. Haffen
Josiah A. Briggs.
Historian: Benedict Fitspatrick
Publisher: The Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc.
New York 1927


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