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Jay Gould

Jay Gould (1836–1892) was a leading American railroad developer and speculator. He began acquiring depreciated land in his 20s, and following the Panic of 1857 he became the majority shareholder in the Rutland and Washington Railroad, having acquired stocks for ten cents on the dollar. Over his lifetime, he acquired a fortune conservatively estimated at $72 million ($1.76 billion in 2016). He has been portrayed as a ruthless robber baron of the Gilded Age, hated and reviled. However, some modern historians have used primary sources to combat this portrayal.

Photograph: Bain News Service; restoration: Adam Cuerden

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