Henry Shaw was known in St. Louis as a generous man and a kind employer. For example, in the 1870s a young African American man named John Feugh arrived in St. Louis looking for work. He was sent by a relative to see Mr. Shaw, and Shaw hired him. Feugh eventually became Shaw’s personal assistant at the Garden. Feugh revered Shaw during his life and served as the unofficial guide to Tower Grove House for years after his employer’s death. In a newspaper article printed late in this Feugh’s life, he remembered Shaw as being a benefactor for himself and the community.
Shaw’s humanitarian nature is shown in the following story:
To someone who inquired why he employed so many Bohemians, he replied: The Bohemians do not seem to be very popular with us, and I think I ought to help them all I can. Walking one day in the Garden with a young lad who was visiting him, he met a lame workman engaged in sweeping up leaves, and greeted him with a 'Good morning, Henry.' A moment later, noticing that the boy had said nothing, "Charles. You did not speak to Henry. Go back and say 'Good morning to him."