Business: Five Generations

In the wake of the Panic of 1857, "that nest of gamblers the Brokers' Board" (socalled by a Manhattan newspaper seeking to fix responsibility for the financial chaos) met one day to elect a new president. The jittery board finally picked the one man they thought could steer them out of trouble—Henry George Stebbins, a skilled yachtsman who later became commodore of the New York Yacht Club. Under President Stebbins the New York Stock Exchange weathered the Panic, headed for the dazzling days of the Civil War boom.

Henry George Stebbins died in 1881,...

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