Biography

One of the most accessible ways to study the history of American finance is to examine the lives and deeds of the people who gained extraordinary financial success. A brief survey of the figures represented in this exhibit, however, will reveal that there are almost as many ways to achieve monetary affluence as there are people who have reached that goal. From the penny-pinching parsimony of Hetty Green to the wasteful economic insouciance of John "Bet-A-Million" Gates, from the moral scrupulousness of Andrew Carnegie to the boastful brigandage of Daniel Drew, these are the characters who shaped and molded the financial events of their day and, in some cases, many a day afterward as well.

Abels, Jules. The Rockefeller Billions: The Story of the World's Most Stupendous Fortune. New York, MacMillan, 1965.

This comprehensively researched study examines the genesis of the estimated four billion dollar Rockefeller fortune and explains "how one man built the Standard Oil empire and accumulated the wealth which is today poured out in countless charitable and educational directions." First edition, hardbound with illustrations and dust jacket.

Alderson, Bernard. Andrew Carnegie: The Man and His Work. New York: Doubleday, Page, 1905.

A chronicle of the Scottish immigrant who rose from a steam engine stoker and telegraph boy to become the nation's "Steel Master." His subsequent campaign of philanthropy has become as legendary as his industrial exploits. Hardbound edition with illustrations.

Allen, Frederick Lewis. The Great Pierpont Morgan. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949.

Allen is acutely aware of previous accounts of our country's most influential banker. "Between the conscientiously flattering and the hostile accounts of Morgan," he writes, "there was enough room to drive a ten-ton truck." In a work that has tried to steer the true course between the Morgan praisers and the Morgan dispraisers, Allen's biography recounts the fascinating life's story of the man who almost single-handedly controlled the nation's money supply during the early years of the Twentieth century. First edition, hardbound.

Anonymous. Mirrors of Wall Street. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1933.

"In this remarkable book the anonymous author presents unusual portraits of thirteen leading American financiers and tells much that will be of interest to people all over the United States." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket. Illustrated by Hugo Gellert.

Bayer, George. George Wollsten: Expert Stock and Grain Trader. Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA, 1946.

This is one of several books that bridge the gap between biography and trading manual. It concerns the affairs of two brothers, George and Jim Wollsten, who immigrated from Europe and moved from farming to trading commodities futures. Along the biographical way, the reader learns many of the rules by which George Wollsten made his fortune in trading wheat. Hardbound edition with several fold-out graphs.

Bishop, George W. Charles H. Dow and the Dow Theory. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1960.

The story of one of the most influential financial journalists of his time and after. Bishop's book chronicles Dow's emergence as a New England newspaper editor, his journalistic pilgrimage to Colorado during the height of the mining boom in 1879, and his later years in New York, where he co-founded Dow Jones & Company. The author also treats the fundamentals of "the best-known theory of stock market investment." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Borkin, Joseph. Robert R. Young: The Populist of Wall Street. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.

Young was a rebel among our nation's financiers and industrialists. While he believed in capitalism, he felt that monopolistic trusts were immoral and uneconomic. His crusade against monopolistic enterprise often enlisted popular support. This volume tells the story of his battles and reproduces some of his most effective newspaper ads. First edition, hardbound with illustrations and dust jacket.

Brickey, Homer, Jr. Master Manipulator. New York: Amacom, 1985.

The story of a managing partner in a well-established Toledo brokerage firm who embezzled nearly 50 million dollars from his clients between 1973 and 1983. One day, to protect a friend, Edward Wolfram discovered how easy it was to make a small adjustment in his firm's books. After that, he "began to systematically plunder the accounts the firm held for its clients." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Brown, Stanley H. Ling: The Rise, Fall, and Return of a Texas Titan. New York: Atheneum, 1972.

Anaccount of a high school dropout from Oklahoma who parleyed $2000, a small electrician's shop, and a remarkable talent for deal-making into Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., the nation's fourteenth largest industrial enterprise. When that enterprise failed, Ling used the experience to build himself back up again. First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Burr, Anna Robeson. The Portrait of a Banker: James Stillman 1850-1918. New York: Duffield, 1927.

"In that extraordinary era of phenomenal commercial and industrial expansion which marked the close of the 19th century, James Stillman (1850-1918) was one of the strongest, though least spectacular, of the well-known group of men who piloted the nation's finance through the dangers of panic and over-prosperity." First edition, hardbound with illustrations and dust jacket.

Cantor, Bert. The Bernie Cornfield Story. New York: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1970.

Bernie Cornfield attained millionaire status as the head of Investors Overseas Service, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Born in Turkey, raised in Brooklyn, Cornfield was a one-time socialist and social worker who in 14 years built an overseas empire controlling over two billion dollars in other people's assets. Yet, by 1970, Bernie and his IOS empire were crumbling . . . but Bernie "didn't believe he was through." First edition, hardbound with illustrations and dust jacket.

Carnegie, Andrew, Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1920.

Written mostly in his home country of Scotland after his retirement from the steel and rail industries, and interrupted at the start of World War I. Carnegie was never able to complete his own life's story, though. After the war, writes Louise Whitfield Carnegie, "he was never able to interest himself in private affairs. Many times he made an attempt to continue writing, but found it useless . . .."

Fortunately, most of the writing already appeared to have been done, as the editor maintains, "In preparing these chapters for publication the editor has done little more than arrange the material chronologically and sequentially so that the narrative might run unbrokenly to the end. Some footnotes by way of explanation, some illustrations that offer sight-help to the text, have been added; but the narrative is the thing. (From the editor's note). First edition, hardbound with illustrations.

Carnegie, Andrew, Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1920. (Popular Edition)

Coit, Margaret L. Mr Baruch. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957.

A comprehensive biographical account of the Southern entrepreneur who rose to become a Wall Street "money captain" and an adviser to presidents Wilson and Roosevelt. The story "begins in the aftermath of the civil war and stretches into the shadow of the Atomic Age." First edition, hardbound with illustrations.

Corti, Egon Caesar, The Rise of the House of Rothschild. Translated from the German by Brian and Beatrix Lunn. New York: Cosmopolitan, 1928.

Anaccount of the emergence of one of Europe's greatest merchant banking houses. The family of five brothers rose from conditions of near squalor to become the richest men in Europe. Though criticized as illiterate and brash, the Rothschilds materially influenced the whole of European commerce during some of the most turbulent years of the Nineteenth century. Hardbound edition with illustrations.

Dies, Edward Jerome. The Plunger: A Tale of the Wheat Pit. New York: Covici-Friede, 1929.

Anentertaining narrative account of the life of Benjamin T. Hutchinson (1828-1899) who rose from humble beginnings in a Massachusetts farm family to become the "Wheat King" of the Chicago Board of Trade. First edition, hardbound with illustrations.

Eckenrode, H. J. and Pocahontas Wight Edmunds. E. H. Harriman: The Little Giant of Wall Street. New York: Greenberg, 1933.

Anaccount of the life of the daring, but secretive, railroad magnate who earned the distinction of having made money faster than any human being up to his time. First edition, hardbound.

Flynn, John T. Men of Wealth: The Story of Twelve Significant Fortunes from the Renaissance to the Present Day. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1941.

A series of biographical essays about the growth of several fortunes that are representative of the economic milieux in which they flourished. This volume includes sketches of John Law, Nathan Rothschild, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Cecil Rhodes and others. Hardbound edition with illustrations.

Forbes, B. C. Men Who Are Making America. New York: Forbes, 1917.

"This book tells in an intimate way how fifty of America's foremost business and financial leaders of the present day have climbed the ladder of success. Included are portraits of James Stillman, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford. Third edition, hardbound with illustrations.

Fuller, O. Muiriel. John Muir of Wall Street: A Story of Thrift. New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1927.

The colorful story of a Canadian-born entrepreneur whose career moved from railroad manager to innovative stock market trader. Muir, in fact, pioneered the concept of the odd-lot brokerage house, where investors with limited means could trade less than one hundred shares of stock at a time. First edition, hardbound.

Fuller, Robert H. Jubilee Jim: The Life of Colonel James Fisk, Jr. New York: MacMillan, 1928.

Anaccount of the adventuresome life of James Fisk, the notorious railroad manager, stock operator, and womanizer. First edition, hardbound with illustrations and decorative end-papers.

Halstead, Murat. Life of Jay Gould: How He Made His Millions. [Philadelphia]: Edgewood, 1892.

"The object of this volume," writes its author, "is to give the public an intelligible and fair account of a remarkable man, whose greatest distinction was that of exceptional success in gaining wealth--making millions." From his family life to his Wall Street wars, this well-researched account includes some stunning tales of brilliance and brigandage. Hardbound edition with illustrations.

Hewins, Ralph. J. Paul Getty: The Richest American. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1961.

The story of "the mysterious oilman" and how he built his empire. After he made his first million at age 23, he became a playboy and, later, a recluse. This study of Getty's personal contradictions and an account of how this enigmatic genius built his empire. First edition, hardbound with dust jacket, illustrations, and decorative end-papers.

Houghton, Walter R. Kings of Fortune; or, The Triumphs and Achievements of Noble, Self-Made Men. Chicago: Loomis National Library Association, 1888.

A Series of portraits of various self-made authors, lawyers, editors, artists, inventors, and of course, capitalists. "I have sought to tell simply and truthfully the story of the trials and triumphs of our self-made men, to show how they overcame where others failed, and to offer the record of their lives as models worthy of the imitation of the young men of our country." This volume includes essays on Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, Charles Goodyear, John Marshall, Benjamin West, Nathaniel Hawthorne and others. Hardbound, illustrated edition with gilt lettering on gold cloth.

Hoyt, Edwin P. The Guggenheims and the American Dream. [New York]: Funk & Wagnalls, 1967.

In1847, the fourteen members of the Guggenheim family left the frustration and degradation of Europe and came to Philadelphia. The family enterprise that began as a stove polish manufacturing company grew into a metal industry empire that, by World War I, endowed the Guggenheims with a $500 million dollar fortune. This is the history of their family struggle and their business empire. First printing, hardbound with dust jacket.

Hubbard, Silas. John D. Rockefeller: His Career. New York: Published by the Author, 1904.

This a critique of the man who, "in defiance of law and precedent . . . built up a world-wide monopoly" through the oil industry. In the words of the author, "to those who believe that there are greater and better and nobler things in life than-money making, Rockefeller's career is a subject, not for admiration, but for criticism." Hardbound edition with illustrations.

Hungerford, Edward. Men of Erie: A Story of Human Effort. New York: Random House, 1946.

This is the fascinating story of the primary railroad connecting New York to Chicago. The story begins with the railroad's battle with the directors of the Erie canal and covers its looting by unscrupulous managers in the last decades of the Nineteenth century, ending its account on that day "Icicles froze in hell" when the battered Erie finally declared a dividend in 1942. First printing, hardbound with illustrations and decorative end papers.

Hyde, H. Montgomery. John Law: The History of an Honest Adventurer. [London]: Home and Van Thal, 1948.

After leaving Scottland, Law became, during the early years of the 18th century, the most powerful minister in France. "His name will always be associated with the greatest mania of financial speculation the world has ever known": the debacle of the Mississippi Company. This is the "remarkable tale of a man who was at once beau, gambler, lover, traveler, banker, company promoter and adventurer--but who was also fundamentally an honest man who made a real and substantial contribution to the social and economic history of his times." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Josephson, Matthew. The Robber Barons: The Great American Capitalists 1861-1901. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1934.

This book sets forth how the post Civil-War money captains strategically situated themselves along the stream of production and distribution of goods. It follows the rise, one after the other, of post-Civil War robber barons, laying bare how their colorful careers all followed essentially the same pattern. First edition, hardbound.

Kennan, George. E. H. Harriman: A Biography. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1922.

A two-volume account of a railroad master. In addition to reorganizing and managing a host of different lines, Harriman also founded the Boy's Club. First edition, hardbound.

Lane, Wheaton J. Commodore Vanderbilt: An Epic of the Steam Age. New York: Knopf, 1942.

"Anarrative of the business career" of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who built an empire of steam ferries and, later, railroads and so helped fuel the growth of United States industry more than any other figure of his time. First edition, hardbound.

Latta, Estelle. Controversial Mark Hopkins: The Great Swindle of American History. New York: Greenberg, 1953.

This biography, which recounts the story of a man who headed West during the gold rush to emerge years later as a powerful railroad magnate is largely a claim by the author for her share of the inheritance. First edition, hardbound with dust jacket. Inscribed by the author.

Lefevre, Edwin. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator. New York: Doran, 1923.

A fictionalized account of the life of Jesse Livermore, who rose from "board boy" in a Boston brokerage office to become one of the most successful speculators on Wall Street. Lefevre's account grows out of an interview conducted with Livermore which was originally published in the Saturday Evening Post. This, Lefevre's most famous work, has become essential reading for stock traders, even up to the present day. Hardbound edition with dust jacket.

Lynch, Denis. "Boss" Tweed: The Story of a Grim Generation. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1927.

The life's story of a man who, together with a ring of politicians, judges, and lawyers, successfully looted the city of New York of approximately $75,000,000 during the thirty months during which they controlled the executive, judicial and financial affairs of our nation's financial capital. In addition, the protagonist assisted Jay Gould and James Fisk, Jr., in bilking the stockholders of the Erie Railroad out of a sizeable fortune. Second printing, hardbound with illustrations.

Oudard, Georges. The Amazing Life of John Law. Translated by G.E.C. Masse. New York: Payson & Clark, 1928.

The story of the man who invented the modern banking and credit system and later engineered a plan to bid up the value of shares in the India (or Mississippi) Company to dizzying heights. The boom that followed, known as the Mississippi Bubble, was one of the most notorious panics of the modern age. Hardbound edition.

Pound, Arthur and Samuel Taylor Moore. They Told Barron: Conversations and Revelations of an American Pepys in Wall Street. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1930.

"C. W. Barron, the greatest financial reporter this country has ever seen, had almost unlimited opportunities to associate with the great and the near-great in politics and finance. And in preparing his autobiography, which was never finished, he collected a vast number of notes in diary form, containing his observations, his opinions, and a record of his daily activities during the decade from 1918 to 1928.

"For those who wish to look behind the scenes, who want to know the real background of Wall Street and American politics, the editors of this volume present this series of amazing revelations, the notes of a man who knew the truth and was not afraid to write it down." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Pound, Arthur and Samuel Taylor Moore. More They Told Barron: Conversations and Revelations of an American Pepys in Wall Street. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1931.

The reception accorded the first series of extracts from the notes of the late Clarence Walker Barron was so hearty, the editors write, that they were "encouraged to proceed with a further selection from the vast score of notes which Mr. Barron left behind." First edition, hardbound.

Sarnoff, Paul. Jesse Livermore: Speculator King. Palisade's Park, NJ: Investor's Press, 1967.

A biographical account, at once literary and informed by the mathematics of the markets, of the New England farm boy whose legendary ability to manipulate stocks led to his being blamed for every market break from 1917 to 1940. Livermore was "never interested in controlling, managing or operating any of the companies whose shares he traded . . . as long as there existed the chance for the big killing." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Sarnoff, Paul. Russell Sage: The Money King. New York: Ivan Obolensky, 1965.

Market manipulator, miser, patriot and plunger, Russell Sage is in these pages shown to be one of the most significant financial forces supporting the American economy during the crucial second half of the nineteenth century. "Here at long last is the dynamic and incredible biography of the man [whose Wall Street and railroad exploits] shaped the American Industrial Revolution as no other single human force did." First edition, hardbound, with illustrations and dust jacket.

Shumway, Harry Irving. Bernard M. Baruch: Financial Genius, Statesman and Advisor to Presidents. Boston: L.C. Page, 1946.

OnWall Street, he engineered deals for Thomas Fortune Ryan and the Guggenheims, and in the political sphere, Baruch advised Presidents Wilson and Truman. This is a brief account of the life and deeds of "the smartest trader of his time." As testimony to his generosity and his peculiarity, Baruch spent most days of the latter half of his career on a public park bench, making him perhaps the most approachable advisor in this country's history. First printing, hardbound with illustrations.

Smith, Earl L. Yankee Genius: A Biography of Roger W. Babson, Pioneer in Investment Counseling and Business Forecasting Who Capitalized on Investment Patience. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1954.

"Stemming from rugged New England stock, Roger Babson, through years of patience and hard work, built up Babson's Reports, Inc., as the first firm in the country to specialize in investment counseling and stock market forecasting. This definitive account of purposes, methods, and results serves to show how and why the Babson organization has had an outstanding record of nationwide helpfulness to the American investor." First edition, hardbound.

Sparkes, Boyden and Samuel Taylor Moore. The Witch of Wall Street: Hetty Green. New York: Doran, 1935.

A history of the life and fortune of the daughter of a New Bedford Whaling captain. Hetty Green's startling parsimony and utter ruthlessness helped establish her as the richest woman in America. Hardbound edition with illustrations.

Swanberg, W.A. Jim Fisk: The Career of an Improbable Rascal. New York: Scribner's, 1959.

Hailed by some as "generous to a fault" and condemned by others having no morals whatever, the life of the ebullient Jim Fisk was a study in contradictions. This is a history of a colorful character whose stock market operations paired him with such scandalous figures as Daniel Drew, "Boss" Tweed and Jay Gould. First edition, hardbound with illustrations.

Wendt, Lloyd and Herman Kogan. Bet A Million! The Story of John W. Gates. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1948.

This book traces the history of John W. Gates through the law courts, grandiose hotels, smoky rooms and the tight little office were much of the history of this country's industrial age was forged. It's the story of a "farm yokel who became one of the most audacious financial buccaneers of all time." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

White, Bouck. The Book of Daniel Drew: A Glimpse of the Fisk-Gould-Tweed Regime from the Inside. New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1910.

Anautobiography supposedly recreated from the diary of the controversial stock swindler, Daniel Drew. The account is humorous and damning and shifts alarmingly between passages about Drew's fanatical religious devotion and his unscrupulous financial dealings. First edition, hardbound.

White, Trumbull. The Wizard of Wall Street and His Wealth or, The Life and Deeds of Jay Gould. Chicago: Mid-Continent Publishing, 1892.

During his lifetime, Jay Gould acquired the greatest amount of wealth ever accumulated by one man. In the process, the daring financier engaged in some of the most dramatic events in financial history. This is the story of his exploits and of the trail his fortune left behind. First edition, hardbound with illustrations.

Winkler, John K. Morgan the Magnificent: The Life of J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913). New York: Vanguard, 1930.

A laudatory biographical account of America's greatest banker. "Part poet, part pirate," Winkler writes, Morgan became a god, "And, as a god, ruled for a generation the pitiless, predatory world of cash." Fifth printing, hardbound.

 

                                                                                                             

Last Updated: 1/3/12