Capital of Capital: Money, Banking, and Power in New York City, 1784-2012

Overview

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 ...

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Capital of Capital: Money, Banking, and Power in New York City

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Overview

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.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/17/2014
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. (May)
Robert E. Wright

Anyone interested in exploring how Manhattan came to rule the nation's, then the world's, banking system should tread the trail expertly blazed by Capital of Capital, which is as beautifully written as it is exquisitely illustrated.

Capital Spectator

The book... 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.

New York Times - Sam Roberts

The authors trace the trajectory of high finance in the city, the effect of regulation from Albany and Washington and the influence banks have wielded.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231169103
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 350,515
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven H. Jaffe is a writer and historian who received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University and has worked at the Museum of the City of New York, the New-York Historical Society, and the South Street Seaport Museum. He is the author of New York at War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham.

Jessica Lautin is an assistant curator at the Museum of the City of New York, where she was part of the curatorial team for the exhibition on which the book is based and local curator of Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Director's Foreword, by Susan Henshaw JonesIntroduction: New York, Banking CityBeginnings: 1784--1831The Bank War: 1832-- 1860The Civil War: 1861--1865Banks for an Industrial Nation: 1866--1928Reform and Regulation: 1866--1928Crash and Depression: 1929--1945Banks for the American Century: 1946--1974Crises and Opportunities: 1975--1999Capital of Capital? New York's Banks in the New Century: 2000--2012AcknowledgmentsRecommended ReadingIndex

Columbia University Press

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