Gentlemen Bankers

Gentlemen Bankers

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    Gentlemen Bankers
    Book Description:

    Gentlemen Bankers focuses on the social and economic circles of one of America's most renowned and influential financiers, J. P. Morgan, to tell a closely focused story of how economic and political interests intersected with personal rivalries and friendships among the Wall Street aristocracy during the first half of the twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-07557-3
    Subjects: Business, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[x])
    (pp. 1-11)

    IN DECEMBER 1912, J. Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913) was called before the U.S. House of Representatives to testify on his alleged role in the monopolization of financial capital in the United States. The Money Trust Investigation, also known as the Pujo Hearings, studied the origins of the Panic of 1907, which had seriously demoralized faith in the banking industry. Because Morgan, America’s most powerful private banker, was largely credited with bringing an end to the panic, the Pujo Committee was anxious for him to explain the source of his influence and power. Given that Morgan rarely made public statements of...

  4. CHAPTER ONE Gentlemen Banking Before 1914
    (pp. 12-44)

    WHEN PIERPONT MORGAN was born in 1837, the United States was barely sixty years old, a union of states uneasily bound together across ideological, economic, and geographic divisions. Morgan was in his late fifties when he reorganized his father and mentors’ firms into what became the House of Morgan. By that time, the United States had become a nation by fire, an industrializing country with communications, transportation, and technological advances far beyond what had been available before the Mexican-American and Civil Wars. The Morgans’ position within the financial community was dependent upon this growth in American national infrastructure. Their rise...

  5. CHAPTER TWO The Social World of Private Bankers
    (pp. 45-79)

    TO SAY THAT African Americans were absent from the world of investment banking is not to say that race was unimportant to gentlemen bankers or even that they had no relationships of importance with persons of African American descent. In their lifetimes, Pierpont Morgan and his son, Jack, did have one significant relationship with a person of African American descent. It was not, however, within the world of finance and had one important reservation. That person was Belle da Costa Greene, their private librarian.

    Greene (1879–1950) was born in Washington, DC, and raised in New York City. Her father,...

  6. CHAPTER THREE Anti-Semitism in Economic Networks
    (pp. 80-106)

    THE SOCIAL SEPARATION between J. P. Morgan & Co. and Kuhn, Loeb & Co. is particularly interesting given the fact that the banks had many structural and historical similarities.¹ Like J. P. Morgan & Co., Kuhn, Loeb & Co. was an unlimited liability private partnership, a merchant bank that channeled Europe’s capital into American growth through a strong European network.² And like J. P. Morgan & Co., in the nineteenth century, Kuhn, Loeb & Co. was both subordinate in reputation (and capital) to the House of Rothschilds, the European banking family whose prestige and position they deeply coveted.³

    In the...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR Disrupting the Balance: The Great War
    (pp. 107-136)

    THOUGH SUBTLE CHANGES in the makeup and organization of the Morgan bank began before the First World War, they did not emerge as significant until after Pierpont Morgan’s death. Like his father, Jack Morgan was a private man with a strong sense of responsibility and patrician values. He was raised in the same merchant banking traditions and his death in 1943, above all, signified the passing of that generation.¹ But during the interwar period, the Morgan firm began to move toward a more managerial model, which had much to do with Morgan’s character, personality, and style.

    The change in the...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE The Significance of Social Ties: Harvard
    (pp. 137-159)

    THE FIRST DECADE after the First World War was a period of enormous growth for the Morgan bank, both in terms of the size and the scope of its organization. Between 1920 and 1929 the House of Morgan’s American branches admitted more partners (fourteen) than they had during any ten-year period in the twentieth century before the Second World War. Three were admitted in 1920 alone, including Jack Morgan’s son, Junius Spencer Morgan Jr., who represented the first of the third generation of the Morgan family in the firm.¹ In 1929, Junius was joined by his brother, Henry Sturgis Morgan,...

  9. CHAPTER SIX Complex International Alliances: Japan
    (pp. 160-191)

    AS HIS ROLE in the Harvard segregation case demonstrated, Thomas Lamont was adept at dealing with unpleasant contradictions. In the 1920s, during the same time as the Harvard case, his skills were also put to the test on the international stage as the Morgan firm became more deeply involved in American foreign policy interests in the aftermath of the First World War. Lamont was not only exceptionally well suited for the postwar world, he embraced his role as the bank’s most public face. More than a journalist or a banker, Lamont was truly a “diplomat” at heart. When he died...

  10. CHAPTER SEVEN The End of Private Banking at the Morgans
    (pp. 192-218)

    IN 1938, JACK Morgan wrote to his youngest son, Henry, about a nightmare he had that was so vivid he had to write it down. Morgan “saw and heard [President Franklin Roosevelt] giving a fireside chat. [Roosevelt] said he had determined to pay no more attention to Congress but to tell the people in fireside chats what he had decided on as legislation. These statements would thereafter have the force of law.” In the nightmare, “the question of monopolies had had intensive study by [Roosevelt] when off on his fishing holiday. . . . He had solved it by this...

  11. CONCLUSION: Writing the History of Networks
    (pp. 219-226)

    IN FEBRUARY 1940, Jack Morgan announced that J. P. Morgan & Co. was leaving the private unlimited liability partnership structure to become a limited liability corporation. Though Morgan told his friends that the decision was made in order to safeguard the bank’s capital from taxes and the death of senior partners, this was only part of the story.¹ Without denying that economic considerations were important, J. P. Morgan & Co.’s formal break with its nineteenth-century merchant banking roots was of enormous practical and symbolic significance. While the bank had abandoned investment banking in 1935 in direct response to federal legislation,...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 227-342)
  13. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 343-346)
  14. Index
    (pp. 347-356)