The Man Who Found the Money: John Stewart Kennedy and the Financing of the Western Railroads

Synopsis

The Man Who Found the Money is a critical biography of John Stewart Kennedy, an "Eastern" banker, whose contributions to railroad development are often left unmentioned in the writing of American railroad history. John Stewart Kennedy (1830-1909), a Scots immigrant and entrepreneur, was a pioneer in this building boom. His rise to prosperity occurred because of his ability to mobilize the capital; in the end he helped create railroads that still form part of the backbone of America's transportation network. By the time he was thirty-eight, Kennedy had formed his own banking company and had taken advantage of the booming economy. In the years to follow, Kennedy carved out an impressive niche in the world of railroad finance. His dual role as commission merchant and private banker provided him with information, contacts, prestige, and an uncanny sense of timing which allowed him to raise new capital while attracting investors into new ventures. Through his contributions, several railroads were reorganized and,transformed into the more prominent lines still in use today. Later in his life, after he retired from banking and finance, Kennedy devoted his time and money to charity and civic activity. At his death in 1909, a large portion of his immense fortune was distributed to a wide range of charities and philanthropies.