He found work in Rhode Island, but soon moved south to New York and quickly on to Atlanta Georgia. The story goes that he was offered two jobs about the same time - accepted the first, and then turned down the second superior post. He told this potential employer that his decision was made purely on grounds of honesty and decency. When he became free later on, the second man remembered this quality and insisted on him joining his business team. The work was with the printers Foote and Davies. He had a short intermission when he joined the American army during the Great War, but he was not posted to the European sector. Spurred on by his new (second) wife Billy, he founded the John H. Harland Company in 1923. It worked in a wide range of lithography, printing and stationary. Because of the Wall Street crash he was only able to declare a profit of $1 in 1929-30. During that financial crisis his company printed paper money, which was planned to give local stability, in the States of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The plan was to replace the crashing dollar; but this currency was never issued, because of Roosevelt’s New Deal. His company became the second largest companies that printed cheques for American banks. He had factory plants all over the USA, and maintained his high personal standards for them all right to the end of his working life. Jack and his family were able to make repeated visits to Hillside both before and after the Second World War. In May 1972 he created the John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Charitable Foundation with a gift valued at 2.75 million dollars. “The evil men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones” Julius Caesar, Act iii, sc. 2, l . 80 Did Will Shakespeare get it wrong on this occasion? By 2001 the fund was worth almost 30 million dollars and in that year the Foundation was able to give away some 1.6 million dollars, shared by over 60 different groups – all in and around the State of Georgia. The John H Harland Chair in Economics at Emory University is another endowment. Despite his unpromising beginnings, Jack was by far the most financially successful member of his family circle, dying a multi-millionaire - but not only rich in dollars, but in the warmth of his personality too. Although modern medicine insisted on the insertion of a mechanical heart pacemaker he ignored this meddlesome surgery and died peacefully in his 92nd year. Jack married three times in all - read about his wives here.
John Herdman (‘Jack’) Harland
b. 12 January 1885 at Hillside Bessbrook m. 1909, Waecross,Ga.; and 18 October 1922, New York; and 22 August 1973, Atlanta. d. 5 March 1976, in Atlanta Ga.
John Harland (1854) was very keen on education for his children, but Jack was a
very reluctant scholar. "If you won't work at school, Jack", said his father, "You
had better come home and work in the shop". This may have been the spur for, while
still in his teens, he decided to go and seek his fortune in America. By this time
he too was over six feet tall.