Banking: A Novel Celebration

"I thought they would be dripping chinchilla and mink," said a Seattle society editor, "but they look just like anybody." Maybe so, but the 184 U.S. industrialists, foreign bankers and wives who gathered in Seattle last week were anything but an ordinary group. By one awed (and decidedly exaggerated) estimate, they commanded 90% of the free world's capital. The occasion: a five-day traveling party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Manhattan-based Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., the largest, and by far the oldest U.S. private bank.

Both the guest list and the...

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