Hammer, Armand

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Hammer, Armand

biographical name

(born , May 21, 1898, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Dec. 10, 1990, Los Angeles, Calif.) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. Hammer made his first million dollars in pharmaceuticals before earning his medical degree from Columbia University. He went to the Soviet Russia in 1921 to provide medical aid to famine victims and was persuaded by Vladimir Ilich Lenin to remain. His ventures, including a pencil manufacturing firm, were bought out by the Soviets in the late 1920s, and he returned to the U.S. laden with artworks formerly owned by the Romanov family. He increased his fortune in the U.S. through the whiskey and cattle industries and retired in 1956, but an investment in wildcat oil wells led to another career as head of the Occidental Petroleum Corp. (1957–90). He was a longtime advocate of broadening U.S.-Soviet trade ties. The Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles houses his art collection.

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