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The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm



The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm

Robert F. Bruner, Sean D. Carr

ISBN: 978-0-470-44517-4 October 2008 272 Pages


"Before reading The Panic of 1907, the year 1907 seemed like a long time ago and a different world. The authors, however, bring this story alive in a fast-moving book, and the reader sees how events of that time are very relevant for today's financial world. In spite of all of our advances, including a stronger monetary system and modern tools for managing risk, Bruner and Carr help us understand that we are not immune to a future crisis."
—Dwight B. Crane, Baker Foundation Professor, Harvard Business School

"Bruner and Carr provide a thorough, masterly, and highly readable account of the 1907 crisis and its management by the great private banker J. P. Morgan. Congress heeded the lessons of 1907, launching the Federal Reserve System in 1913 to prevent banking panics and foster financial stability. We still have financial problems. But because of 1907 and Morgan, a century later we have a respected central bank as well as greater confidence in our money and our banks than our great-grandparents had in theirs."
—Richard Sylla, Henry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets, and Professor of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University

"A fascinating portrayal of the events and personalities of the crisis and panic of 1907. Lessons learned and parallels to the present have great relevance. Crises and panics are as much a part of our future as our past."
—John Strangfeld, Vice Chairman, Prudential Financial

"Who would have thought that a hundred years after the Panic of 1907 so much remained to be written about it? Bruner and Carr break significant new ground because they are willing to do the heavy lifting of combing through massive archival material to identify and weave together important facts. Their book will be of interest not only to banking theorists and financial historians, but also to business school and economics students, for its rare ability to teach so clearly why and how a panic unfolds."
—Charles Calomiris, Henry Kaufman Professor of Financial Institutions, Columbia University, Graduate School of Business

Foreword: Within a Fraction of Disaster vii

Acknowledgments xiii

Prologue xv

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Wall Street Oligarchs 7

Chapter 2 A Shock to the System 13

Chapter 3 The “Silent” Crash 19

Chapter 4 Credit Anorexia 29

Chapter 5 Copper King 37

Chapter 6 The Corner and the Squeeze 43

Chapter 7 Falling Dominoes 51

Chapter 8 Clearing House 57

Chapter 9 Knickerbocker 65

Chapter 10 A Vote of No Confidence 71

Chapter 11 A Classic Run 77

Chapter 12 Such Assistance as May Be Necessary 83

Chapter 13 Trust Company of America 89

Chapter 14 Crisis on the Exchange 97

Chapter 15 A City in Trouble 105

Chapter 16 A Delirium of Excitement 115

Chapter 17 Modern Medici 121

Chapter 18 Instant and Far-Reaching Relief 127

Chapter 19 Turning the Corner 135

Chapter 20 Ripple Effects 141

Lessons Financial Crises as a Perfect Storm 151

Reflections on the Centennial: The Subprime Crisis Commencing in 2007 173

Appendix A: Key Figures after the Panic 189

Appendix B: Definitions 199

References 205

Notes 217

About the Authors 253

Index 255