Erazm Józef Jerzmanowski h. Dołęga (June 2, 1844 – February 7, 1909) was a Polish industrialist, philanthropist and patron of art, soldier, who took part in the January Uprising of 1863-1865.
He was the son of Franciszek Jerzmanowski and Apolinia Kamila Kosowska. In 1862 Erazm graduated from the high school in Warsaw and then began education at Polytechnic Institute in Puławy. With other students he joined the January Uprising in 1863. He fought under commands of general Marian Langiewicz. After the uprising failed, he was interned in the castle of Olomouc in Galicia.
Jerzmanowski was set free and forced to go abroad. He went to Paris for emigration in 1864 and studied at the Polish School in Montparnasse. Later he moved to Metz to study at the School of Engineering and Artillery. In 1870 he participated in the Franco-Prussian War as an officer of the French Army. After the war he began working as an engineer. In 1873 a French company, which had been exploiting lighting-gas in America, sent him to the United States. Shortly after going to America Jerzmanowski married Anna Koester, and in 1879 he received American citizenship. He worked on production of the calcium carbide, in the meantime patenting 17 inventions in the field of mining and investing money.
In 1882 he was a co-founder of Equitable Gas Light Company in New York, as a vice-chairman and later chairman he led this company for 13 years. He was a founder of gas companies in Chicago and Baltimore and owned gas factories in Indianapolis. Jerzmanowski's fortune has been growing fast, he became the richest Polish in the United States and one of the richest Americans. Being one of the most influential directors in gas industry he has been supporting financially other people of American Polonia. In 1889 pope Leo XIII decorated him with Knight Commander of Order of St. Sylvester.
In 1896 Jerzmanowski bought ground with a palace in Galicia and settled in Prokocim, near Kraków, where he died in 1909.
The palace that Jerzmanowski bought in 1896, currently better known as the Jerzmanowscy Palace, is located in Prokocim. The surrounding park – Anna and Erazm Jerzmanowski Park – was named after its owners.Jerzmanowscy Award
In his last will Jerzmanowski presented all his wealth to Academy of Learning in Kraków. He ordered the Academy to establish the foundation and the award named after him and his wife. People distinguished with Jerzmanowscy Award had to be Polish Roman Catholics who had served Poland with their artistic, scientific or social activities. Payments are made from Jerzmanowski's funds.
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