Roosevelt & Son

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Roosevelt & Son
Partnership
Industry Investment Banking
Successor Roosevelt & Son
Roosevelt & Weigold
Dick & Merle Smith
Founded 1797
Founder James Jacobus Roosevelt
Defunct 1934
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Key people
Cornelius Roosevelt
James I. Roosevelt
Emlen Roosevelt
George Emlen Roosevelt

Roosevelt & Son was an American investment banking firm connected with the Roosevelt Family for nearly two centuries. The firm was among the oldest banking houses on Wall Street. Many of the male members of the Roosevelt family worked for the firm in some capacity.[1]

History

Roosevelt & Son traces its history back to 1797, just seven years after Alexander Hamilton issued $80,000,000 of United States Government bonds, setting off the modern American banking system.[2] The firm was founded as a hardware business by James Jacobus Roosevelt at 97 Maiden Lane in Manhattan. James' son Cornelius Roosevelt would join the business in 1818 as a partner and the firm would be renamed James I. Roosevelt & Son.[3] Roosevelt & Son entered banking in the early decades of the 19th century by discounting the notes of various customers of the hardware business and later other merchants in New York City.[4] In 1824, the Roosevelts were involved in the formation of Chemical Bank. By 1850, Roosevelt had transitioned from the hardware trade to the importation of plate glass which was an important component of the construction boom going on at that time in New York.[1]

In 1865, Cornelius Roosevelt retired from the company and by that time, in the mid-1860s, Roosevelt & Son had begun the transition toward becoming a full-fledged banking house, primarily focused on private banking and investments. In 1876, the company sold its plate glass business to an English company and from that point forward was focused exclusively on financial services.[5] The firm was known primarily for its "unbiased investment counsel" which the firm provided to a client base that included institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals and various trusts and estates.[6]

In 1928, W. Emlen Roosevelt, first cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt, celebrated 50 years as a partner in the firm.[2] In 1931, Van Santvoord Merle-Smith, Irving Brown, Charles B. Robinson and Charles E. Weigold were proposed as general partners in the firm. John K. Roosevelt was proposed as a special partner, as was the estate of Emlen Roosevelt, a former general partner of the firm who died in 1930.[7]

Break-up of the firm

In 1934, in response to the passage of the Glass–Steagall Act Roosevelt & Son separated into three firms:[6]

  • Roosevelt & Son continued under its original name under the direction of George Emlen Roosevelt and his brother Philip James Roosevelt. Roosevelt & Son operated principally as an investment management firm.[8] In early 1973, Clark, Dodge & Co. took over some personnel and the lease of the firm,[9] and on August 22, 1973, Roosevelt & Son ceased to do business.[10]
  • Roosevelt & Weigold was headed by Archibald Roosevelt and Charles E. Weigold, and operated primarily as an underwriter of municipal bonds.[11] The firm was suspended during World War II, when Roosevelt volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army. In 1946, Roosevelt founded Roosevelt & Cross with Edwin J. Cross. The firm continues to focus on municipal bond underwriting.[12]
  • Dick & Merle Smith was headed by Fairman R. Dick and Van S. Merle-Smith as well as Charles B. Robinson and John K. Roosevelt. Julian Roosevelt served as a vice-president of the firm in the 1970s.[13]

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ a b Theodore Roosevelt in perspective. Nova Publishers, 2005
  2. ^ a b "W.E. Roosevelt 50 Years in Firm." The New York Times. 30 April 1928. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  3. ^ Business: Oldest First. Time Magazine, January 8, 1934
  4. ^ "Roosevelt & Son, 150 Years Old, Often Lender, Never Borrower; Fiduciary Firm, Originally Hardware Shop, Founded in Washington's Time by 'Oyster Bay,' Not 'Hyde Park,' Branch". The New York Times. 7 February 1947. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  5. ^ The Lion's Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War. Oxford University Press, 1999
  6. ^ a b "ROOSEVELT & SON QUIT SECURITY LINE; Old Investment House to Be Reconstituted Under Same Name for Other Business. PARTNERS IN 2 NEW FIRMS Dick & Merle-Smith and Roosevelt & Weigold to Continue in Field Left by Former Concern". The New York Times. 30 December 1933. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  7. ^ "Changes for Roosevelt & Sons". The New York Times. 12 April 1931. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  8. ^ "W.E. Roosevelt in Firm Founded by His Ancestor". The New York Times. 17 June 1940. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  9. ^ Allan, John H. (22 February 1973). "Two Wail St. Firms Undergo Changes". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  10. ^ "ROOSEVELT & SON, Inc. is Quitting Business". The New York Times. 18 August 1973. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  11. ^ "ARCHIE ROOSEVELT IN FIRM.; Roosevelt & Son, Investment Bankers, to Announce Him as Partner". The New York Times. 13 July 1926. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  12. ^ Roosevelt & Cross (company history)
  13. ^ "Dick & Merle Will Get Roosevelt Name Back". The New York Times. 30 April 1971. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
Sources
  • Business: Who Plants, Tends. Time Magazine, Feb. 17, 1947
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