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Meyer Guggenheim, a Swiss citizen of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, arrived in America in 1847. Over the next few decades, the family became known for their global successes in mining and smelting, including the American Smelting and Refining Company. Eventually the family possessed one of the largest fortunes in the world. They later became known for their philanthropy in diverse areas such as modern art and aviation, including several Guggenheim Museums as well as the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory and I. M. Pei's Guggenheim Pavilion at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. They sold their global mining interests following World War I, then later purchased nitrate mines in Chile. Subsequently, the family largely left direct involvement in running businesses.
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Meyer Guggenheim (1828–1905) had eleven children, including eight sons, five of whom were active in the family businesses: Isaac, Daniel, Murry, Solomon Robert and (John) Simon. The other sons were Benjamin, Robert and William. The daughters were Jeanette, Rose and Cora. Meyer's eleven children, their spouses and notable descendants are shown below:
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