Henry William Poor (1844-1915) was born in Bangor, Maine and moved to New York at the age of five. He attended Harvard College and upon completing his education, he returned to New York to join his father, Henry Varnum Poor (1812-1905) to establish a business that eventually became Standard and Poor.  Henry Poor enjoyed great financial success as a financier and broker with offices on Wall Street  and as publisher of Poor’s Manual of Railroads.
Poor purchased a home on the northeast corner of Lexington Avenue and 21st Street, (One Lexington Avenue) across the street from the architect and decorator Stanford White and his wife Bessie. White decorated the interior of Poor’s residence with hundreds of items from his personal collection. Poor and White were brought together under many circumstances, both professionally and socially. For example, White engaged Poor in a “triangular camaraderie” with Charles Coleman who was hired to look for and purchase items to decorate for Poor’s residence. White borrowed large sums of money from Poor over time and yet they remained “carousing buddies,” enjoying all male gatherings in the glow of New York’s nightlife.
According to David Lowe, "Poor was not only a close friend of White but he was the sort of patron who delighted the architect. Poor was a highly cultured businessman who could intelligently respond to White’s subtle aesthetic suggestions and fully share in the architect’s far-flung discoveries. The interiors of Poor’s home were among the most exquisite Stanford White ever devised and demonstrated his full potential as a great interior designer. The library of the Poor house—crowned by a princely Venetian ceiling—was the thoughtfully opulent setting for the bibliophile who effortlessly read a dozen languages including Greek, Latin and Hebrew, and whose book collection ranked just below those of Morgan and James Lenox."
The American Art Association produced a richly illustrated catalogue for the sale of the valuable artistic furnishings and interior decorations of the residence of Henry W. Poor, Esq. The sale was held April 21-24,1909 at the Poor residence. The interior was extensively photographed in preparation for the catalogue thus providing visual documentation of the space. There are images of the entrance hall and several views of the reception hall with its grand marble staircase and marble sculptures. The home featured a Renaissance coffered ceiling from an Umbrian palace, Italian marble columns, Italian Renaissance tapestries, French tapestries and Chinese vases. Venetian glassware, dishes made by Minton, Limoges, Havilland, Wedgewood, Royal Crown Derby and Coalport, and Sheffield silver were also listed for sale. The dining room housed an extremely rare twelfth century Italian marble altar tabernacle. It is now located at the Cloisters Museum, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. The Duveen Brothers purchased an important Gothic tapestry, titled“Visit of the Magi”(Lot # 203) for $7,500.