“More than any other American of the 19th century, Anthony J. Drexel altered the course of American finance.”
These are the words of D.W. Wright, historian/archivist at J.P. Morgan & Co. in his unpublished manuscript.
However… the American psyche is still in recovery mode. Will we see another gilded future? As a baby boomer, I wonder how did we get so far off course. I remember when political campaigns focused on an optimistic vision of a brighter future, now it’s all about the personality of the other person.
The most brutal political campaign is finally over and now it’s time to rebuild; time to rebuild families, roads, bridges and factories. We need to build like back in the old days of John Piermont (J.P.) Morgan and Anthony J. Drexel. People made money and the whole society rose.
Dan Rottenberg from the University of Pennsylvania went on to publish the book The Man Who Made Wall Street. Anthony Drexel and the Rise of Modern Finance.
As the story goes, young Anthony (13) joined his father Francis’s banking firm, Drexel & Company which later became Drexel Burnham Lambert. By the time young Drexel was 21 he was named partner. It was J.P.’s father that recommended that Anthony take the younger Morgan under his wing. They came together and formed Drexel Morgan & Co. in 1871, which was based in New York. After Drexel’s death in 1893, the firm became J.P. Morgan which then grew into the financial powerhouse JP Morgan Chase.
During the late 1800’s there were no US central banking system. Large scale commercial ventures relied on financial firms to raise capital for railroads, bridges, dams, factories and to fund wars. One of the biggest peace time project was probably the Panama Canal. The big secret financial fix didn’t happen until 1910 on Jekyll Island.
Drexel kept a low profile and didn’t flaunt his wealth. He dressed humbly, he worked long hours and he avoided the press. He allowed J.P. to be the public face of the firm. Maybe his idea of sweat equity were the founding ideas of the cooperative education program of the Drexel Institute of Technology which later became Drexel University.
The co-op program, is that drew me from Detroit MI ( Mid West) to Philadelphia PA (East Coast). I knew about hard work because I worked hard on the auto assembly line during my last year of high school. I would catch the bus (public transportation) to get to a co-op high school on one side of the city, come home, do homework, then catch another bus to the factory, to work a 8 hour shaft on the middle shift. It wasn’t easy but I managed.
This was in the 1960’s and the auto industry was king of the Motor City. The Vietnam War was also going on at this time and my friends and classmates were being drafted and sent off to fight the war. I was struggling just to complete school and not miss any time from work. If you showed up on time every day and you did your work you kept your job. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the mental conditioning that would serve me later in life.
I looked around at the older employees with seniority and decided that factory work was not how I wanted to live the rest of my life. College was my way off the line, but no one, in my family had gone to college. That’s when the idea of joining the military came to me. I would use the GI Bill to attend college. If I joined I would have some say. If I was drafted, I would have no say.
While most do one and they are done, I did two, before I was through. I enlisted in the Air Force and went to Libya North Africa and Germany. I got out to take care of my dad who had a stroke. A friend of his took over after a year, so I could attend college. I decided I would attend Drexel University because they had a co-op program where I could get practical experience while earning my degree. I went through the Drexel’s R.O.T.C. program and was commissioned in the Army. Maybe that’s why if you tell me no, I will find another way.
D.W.Wright had an unpublished manuscript but it came to light when Dan Rottenberg wrote his book. Life is strange and you should never give up. On Veterans Day (2016) I was in a three day boot camp. A year prior (2015) I was scheduled to attend the course but went out of town. I ordered the home study course and saw Gerry Robert do his presentation in South Africa. My base was the material I had in my blog library. Before the summer was over I had finished my manuscript.
The key note speaker was a former US Senator, Majority Whip in Congress and a former Navy veteran. Imagine his surprise when I handed him my manuscript and told him that I wrote my book from the Gerry Robert home study course Publish a Book and Grow Rich. Drexel Univ and Uncle Sam will prepare you to handle almost for anything.
The title of the book is Standing in the Shadows, Listening to the Greats!!! A blog novel of ordinary people who overcame all kinds of odds to become extraordinary, who then turned around to help others. Would love to work with the Drexel University Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnership setting the stage for the other writers from the Writers Room.
I’m at an age when I’ve seen the effects of poor health of too many family members. So what do you do? Find [something that works.] then tell others. And when the economy gets crazy fall back of the something reliable.