Henry I. Harriman was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1873, he graduated from Wesleyan University in 1895, received his LL.B in 1897 from New York Law School, and his Ph.D. from Wesleyan University in 1930.
He initially worked in the textile industry in Massachusetts, where he received patents for several automatic looms. In time, he became head of the Stafford Company, which manufactured his looms. He left the textile industry and engaged in the buying and selling of water rights in the Deep South before returning to New England to build hydroelectric dams and form the New England Power Company and the Connecticut River Power Company. Harriman Dam on the Deerfield River, built in 1924, was named for him. He served as president of the New England Power Company and (until 1927) its parent, the New England Power Association, and on the board of directors of several regional New England power companies.
He was chairman of the board of trustees of the Boston Elevated Railway, Boston Chamber of Commerce (from 1917 to 1919), Division of Metropolitan Planning for Greater Boston, and the Massachusetts State Planning Board. In 1918, he was appointed a regional director of the War Industries Board.
He was president and director of the United States Chamber of Commerce from 1933 to 1935. Active in political causes, in 1937 he was appointed a delegate to the International Labour Conference (serving for many years) and the American Youth Congress.
Harriman, Class of 1897, Chamber of Commerce, Inventor, Hydroelectric, Dams