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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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John Nicholas Genin

GENIN, John Nicholas, merchant, born in New York City. 19 October, 1819" died there. 30 April, ]878. His grandfather, John Nicholas, came to this country from France in 1780, as clerk in the commissary department under General Rochambeau. while his uncle, THOMAS [IEDGES GENIN, was one of the early settlers of Ohio, an active abolitionist, a friend of Benjamin Lundy, and the author of "The Napolead," descriptive of Napoleon's campaign in Russia (privately printed, 1833). Young Genin was early apprenticed to the trade of hat-making, and in 1841 began business for himself. On 11 September, 1850, he bought, for $225, the first seat sold for Jenny Lind's first concert in the United States. This was so universally commented upon by the press that it was estimated that, at current rates, he received over $80,000 worth of gratuitous advertising. In the autumn of 1851 it was announced that Louis Kossuth was on his way to this country, and Mr. Genin proposed that 100 wealthy citizens should contribute $1,000 each for the use of the Hungarian patriot, and gave that amount himself. He was also an active promoter of the public reception, which included a military parade. Having on hand a lot of "dead stock," in the shape of black low-crowned soft hats, he fastened the left side of the brim to the crown, ornamented it with a black feather, and, boarding the vessel at Sandy Hook, presented all of the refugees, many of whom were ragged and shoeless, with "Kossuth" hats, which they wore on the march up Broadway. Low-crowned soft felt hats at once became popular, and the manufacturers subsequently recognized Mr. Genin's services in their behalf by presenting him with a silver service valued at $1,200. In 1852, Miss Amelia Bloomer complained to Mr. Genin that she could not find a hat suited to her costume. The latter set himself to invent one, and produced the first round hat, not a bonnet, that was worn by young women. During 1853, the lower part of Broadway being in a filthy condition, he proposed to the City authorities to erect a bridge opposite his store at his own expense. The offer was rejected, but the Leow bridge, which was subsequently built on nearly the same site, was a fac-simile of that designed by Mr. Genin. His most public-spirited enterprise was the cleaning, in the spring of 1854, of Broadway and other Streets, which had been left in an almost impassable condition by the neglect of the City officials. He employed over 100 men and carts, the work being done at night, and continued to perform this self-imposed duty for one month, only discontinuing it on the promise of the Street commissioner to sweep Broadway nightly. The labor cost $1,543.70, and $1,255.33 of this amount having been subscribed by the public, Mr. Genin again received a large amount of free advertising for the small expenditure of $288.37. Mr. Genin was the author of a book entitled "History of the Hat from the Earliest Ages to the Present; Time" (1847). It was profusely illustrated, and subsequently enriched with drawings of over one thousand different styles of ancient head-dresses. From these he had more than 500 fat-similes made, and exhibited them in connection with his business.

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