Howard Hanna Jr. - President & Chairman of M. A. Hanna Company

11505 Lake Shore Boulevard
Howard Melville Hanna Jr.
Howard Melville Hanna Jr.

Howard Hanna Jr. was one of the partners of M. A. Hanna & Company, a director and officer in a dozen or more of the big coal, transportation, and other corporations of Cleveland and elsewhere. He was one of the younger representatives of a family that has been exceedingly prominent in business and politics in Ohio and the nation for more than half a century.

Howard Melville Hanna, Jr., was born on December 14, 1877, to Howard Melville and Kate Smith Hanna. Howard Sr. was the nephew of Mark Hanna, the president maker of the McKinley era. Howard’s two sisters lived in the next two houses east of the Hanna home.

Howard Jr. was educated in public schools and graduated from University School in 1897. He spent three years in the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University.

In 1901, Howard began his business career at the C & P Ore Dock in Cleveland, taking his place in the ranks.

In 1902, he was assistant to the manager of the Pennsylvania Ore Docks, with offices in the Pery-Payne Building. For two years, Howard was secretary of the Boomer Coal & Coke Company of West Virginia. He then entered the coal sales department of the M. A. Hanna Company. In 1906, he organized the Iron Ore Mining Department of the M. A. Hanna & Company, was its active manager.

In 1912, Hanna became a partner in M. A. Hanna Company. The other active partners were Leonard C. Hanna, Leonard C. Hanna Jr., Matthew Andrews, F. B. Richards, William Collins, Richard F. Grant, and James D. Ireland Sr.

The partnership discontinued, and the M. A. Hanna Company was incorporated in 1922 with Howard Hanna Jr. as the first president. He became chairman of the board in 1929.

Hanna organized the Standard Investment Company and the National Steel Company in 1929. Many other business interests that engaged his time and attention included being president of the Paint Creek Coal Mining Company, the Wakefield Iron Company president, and the Susquehanna Collieries Company. In addition, he was a member of the board and executive committee of the Republic Iron & Steel Company, director of the National Biscuit Company, Howe Sound Company, Kelly Island Lime and Transport Company, First National Bank, and a member of the executive committee of the Guardian Savings and Trust Company.

Howard Hanna was a quiet man who shunned publicity. However, he had a deep interest in medicine's progress and was a trustee of the old Lakeside Hospital. When the hospital moved, Hanna continued as a trustee of University Hospitals. He was also a trustee of Western Reserve University.

Jean Claire Hanna
Jean Claire Hanna

Howard married his cousin, Jean Claire Hanna, in 1907. Jean was born on December 31, 1882, to Leonard and Fanny Hanna. Ohio law prohibited the marriage of first cousins, so the wedding took place in Thomasville, Georgia. Howard and Claire were playmates in childhood and remained devoted to each other. The match met with parental objection, but both were of age and wealthy in their own right.  Howard and Claire had five children: Fannie (Bolton), born in 1907; Howard Melville III, born in 1909; Jean, born in 1910; Kate Benedict (Bicknell), born on June 25, 1911; and Constance Clair, on August 12, 1913.

In March 1945, Howard came to Cleveland for the funeral of his sister, Gertrude Hanna Haskell. Then, while preparing to return to his estate in Thomasville, Georgia, he took his chauffeur's place to drive the car to the Cleveland Union Terminal to board the train for Georgia.

As Mr. Hanna put his foot on the starter, he suddenly fell forward over the wheel and died instantly. His chauffeur took him to Charity Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead on March 17, 1945. The doctors attribute his death to coronary thrombosis. However, associates said that he had not previously shown any signs of heart trouble.

Jean died on April 13, 1973, and was buried alongside Howard in Lake View Cemetery.