Cooke, Jay,1821–1905, American financier, b. Sandusky, Ohio. He founded Jay Cooke & Company, which marketed the huge Civil War loans of the federal government. He later turned to railroad bonds and in 1870 undertook to raise $100 million for the Northern Pacific and financed construction to Bismarck, N.Dak. The burden proved to be too great and continuing the financing became impossible. In 1873, Cooke's New York branch closed its doors and helped to precipitate the Panic of 1873.
See biographies by E. P. Oberholtzer (1907, repr. 1968) and H. M. Larson (1936, repr. 1968); M. Minnigerode, Certain Rich Men (1927, repr. 1970).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Cooke, Jay(1821–1905) financier; born in Sandusky, Ohio. In 1839 he went to work for the Philadelphia banking house of E. W. Clark and Co., becoming a partner at age 21. As head of Jay Cooke & Co. (1861–73), he gained acclaim for selling $500 million worth of Civil War bonds for the U.S. Treasury Department in 1862, then repeating this in 1865. His attempts to finance the Northern Pacific Railway failed, triggering the panic of 1873. By 1880 he had recovered his wealth by investing in Utah mining interests.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.