From Revolutionary Era bank notes to the 2008 financial collapse, Capital of Capital explores how New York City gave rise to a banking industry that in turn made the American and world economies. Capital of Capital also examines the frequently contentious evolution of the banking business, its role in making New York City an international economic center, and its influence on America's politics, society, and culture.
Based on a major exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, Capital of Capital features the key leaders of banking, including Alexander Hamilton and J. P. Morgan, as well as its critics, such as Louis Brandeis and the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The book also covers the major events and controversies that have shaped the history of banking and includes a fascinating array of primary materials ranging from antebellum bank notes and ledgers to early credit cards and advertisements. Lavishly illustrated, Capital of Capital provides a multifaceted, original understanding of the profound impact of banking on the life of New York City and the world's economy.
Gotham conquers the world of finance, for better and worse, in this perspicacious history of New York's banking industry, a companion to the Museum of the City of New York exhibit. Historian Jaffe and curator Lautin follow New York banking from its post-Revolutionary beginnings to the 20th-century apotheosis as the headquarters of America's industrial revolution to the industry's latter-day boom-and-bust travails. The authors present a clear, easy-to-read account of banking innovations, from 19th-century bank-notes thousands of banks issued (allegedly) gold-backed IOUs as a privatized currency to the collateralized debt obligations that imploded in 2008, with interesting sidebars on counterfeiting, bank robbers, and other arcana, all illustrated with photos of objects from the Museum's collection. They focus on New York's centrality in financing (and destabilizing) the national economy, but also examine how banks shaped and reflected the city's culture and environment. Jaffe and Lautin evenhandedly referee the eternal battle between bankers and populists who consider it a juggernaut of corruption and debt tyranny crushing farmers and workers Occupy Wall Street is just the latest version while probing its legacy of employment and lending discrimination. This lively, judicious treatment illuminates the mysteries and controversies surrounding Wall Street while ably conveying its impact on modern life. Illus.