248 pages, 26 black-and-white illustrations, $29.95 cloth
It was the height of the Gilded Age and J. Pierpont Morgan controlled the fate of railroads, corporations and governments. The wealthy and influential were said to tremble before him, yet he deferred to one man: Anthony J. Drexel. Drexel whose name is familiar today only through the university he founded and his recently canonized niece, Katharine was the most influential financier of the 19th century.
Drexel and his firm quietly pioneered many of todays financial and business strategies, such as trading national currencies, guaranteeing credit for travelers abroad, rewarding workers based on individual initiative, and offering sweat equity to deserving employees who could not afford to buy stock. By cultivating Morgans self-confidence and allowing him to become the public face for the firm, Drexel was able to avoid attention and nurture his extended family.
Today, Drexels influence and accomplishments are mostly forgotten or credited to others, but after decades of detective work and careful research, Dan Rottenberg has succeeded in writing the first biography of this exceptionally influential and elusive man.
Because Drexel gave no interviews, kept no diaries, held no public offices and destroyed most of his personal papers, Rottenberg had to painstakingly track down every reference and anecdote he could find and, in the process, discovered 150 previously unknown letters and
cables in Drexels hand. Drexel believed that there is no limit to what people can accomplish if they dont mind who gets the credit, but as The Man Who Made Wall Street shows, the balance has finally been paid in full.
University of Pennsylvania Press
Originally published on October 11, 2001