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Prescott S. Bush. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102504).

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Bush, Prescott Sheldon (15 May 1895–08 October 1972), banker and U.S. senator, was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Samuel Prescott Bush, a manufacturer of railway equipment, and Flora Sheldon. Raised in comfortable circumstances, Bush attended Columbus public schools, St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island, and Yale College, where he earned a B.A. in 1917. At Yale, he was a three-sport athlete (baseball, football, golf), president of the glee club, and a member of the prestigious secret society, Skull and Bones. The quintessential “big man on campus,” he seemed headed for a career in law and politics....

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Georgia Neese Clark. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Clark, Georgia Neese (27 January 1898–26 October 1995), U.S. treasurer, was born Georgia Neese in Richland, Kansas, the daughter of Albert Neese, a farmer and businessman, and Ellen O'Sullivan Neese. Her father, a self-made man, had prospered in the years before her birth and become the town's leading citizen, owning much of its property as well as the bank and general store. Although a Presbyterian, Georgia Neese briefly attended a small Catholic college in nearby Topeka after graduating from high school in 1917, then transferred to Washburn University in that city. She majored in economics at Washburn and was also active on campus, serving as president of several student organizations, including the drama club. Determined to become an actress, she moved to New York City following graduation in 1921 and enrolled at Sargent's Dramatic School....

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Charles G. Dawes. [left to right] Calvin Coolidge and Charles G. Dawes. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-111450).

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Dawes, Charles Gates (27 August 1865–23 April 1951), banker and vice president of the United States, was born in Marietta, Ohio, the son of General Rufus R. Dawes and Mary Beman Gates. His father served gallantly in the Civil War and later went into the lumber business and served one term in Congress. Dawes earned his B.A. (1884) and M.A. (1887) from Marietta College and his LL.B. (1886) from the Cincinnati Law School. In 1887 he moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, to practice law. He was an earnest opponent of the entrenched railroad powers, spending hours in court fighting discriminatory rail rates. His initial investments in real estate paid off, however, and he gradually became more sympathetic to conservative business views. For the rest of his life he would promote and defend the contribution of business and businessmen to the increasing wealth of the United States. He married Caro Blymyer of Cincinnati in 1889, and they had two children. After their son drowned in 1912, the couple adopted two more children. Although conservative, Dawes was always willing to hear opposing viewpoints. In Lincoln, Dawes became lifelong friends with ...

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Joseph M. Dodge Right, receiving the Medal for Merit from Secretary of War Robert Patterson, 1946. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113821).

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Dodge, Joseph Morrell (18 November 1890–02 December 1964), banker and government financial official, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Joseph Cheeseman Dodge, an artist, and Gertrude Hester Crow. After graduating from Central High School in Detroit in 1908, Dodge became a clerk for the Standard Accident Insurance Company. In 1909 he joined the Central Savings Bank, where he advanced from messenger to general bookkeeper. After brief employment as an accountant, Dodge spent five years beginning in 1911 as a bank and securities examiner for the state of Michigan. He then went to work for the Bank of Detroit as an operating officer in 1916. In that same year he married Julia Jane Jeffers, and they had one son....

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Eccles, Marriner Stoddard (09 September 1890–18 December 1977), banker and chair of the Federal Reserve Board, was born in Logan, Utah, the son of David Eccles, a lumber supplier and mill owner, and Ellen Stoddard. Marriner, the oldest of nine children, was raised in a family of converts to Mormonism. He attended Brigham Young College, which doubled as a high school and junior college, from which he graduated in 1909....

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Harding, William Proctor Gould (05 May 1864–07 April 1930), banker and governor of the Federal Reserve Board, was born in Greene County, Alabama, the son of Horace Harding, a civil engineer, and Eliza Proctor Gould. After receiving both his A.B. (1880) and his A.M. (1881) from the University of Alabama, Harding became a bookkeeper in the private bank J. H. Fitts & Co. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1882. He moved to Birmingham in 1886 and worked as bookkeeper, assistant cashier, and cashier at Berney National Bank until 1896, when he became vice president of First National Bank of Birmingham. In June 1902 he was promoted to president, a position he held until 1914. As president of a large southern bank, Harding became familiar with the problems of cotton farmers, steel manufacturers, and merchants. He married Amanda Perrine Moore in Birmingham in 1895, and they had three daughters before her death in 1910....

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Jesse H. Jones Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90437).

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Jones, Jesse Holman (05 April 1874–01 June 1956), businessman, federal agency head, and cabinet member, was born in Robertson County, Tennessee, the son of William Hasque Jones and Anne Holman, farmers and merchants. Jones’s mother died when he was six. In 1883 the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where his father helped manage the expanding lumber business of his brother M. T. Jones. In 1886 the family returned to north central Tennessee, where his father purchased a 600-acre farm and resumed an active interest in the tobacco business. Despite the family’s modest wealth and comfortable home life, at age fourteen Jones left school and began grading, buying, and selling tobacco for his father and uncles. His father offered to send him to college, but Jones was anxious to make money. When his father died in 1894, Jones became the Dallas branch manager for M. T. Jones Lumber Company. When M. T. Jones died in 1898, Jones moved to Houston to become general manager of the company and an executor of the $1 million estate....

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Knox, John Jay (19 March 1828–09 February 1892), banker and regulator of national banks, was born in Augusta, New York, the son of John J. Knox and Sarah Ann Curtiss. His father established the Bank of Vernon in 1839, and Knox became a teller there after graduating from Hamilton College in 1849. He was a teller in the Burnet Bank in Syracuse from 1852 to 1856, when he joined the Susquehanna Valley Bank in Binghamton as cashier. Knox had been involved in organizing both of these upstate New York banks. Together with a younger brother he conducted a private banking business in St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1857 to 1862....

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McFadden, Louis Thomas (25 July 1876–01 October 1936), banker and congressman, was born in Troy, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, the son of Theodore L. McFaddin [ sic] and Julia Babb, farmers. When his mother died in 1887, McFadden went to live with Dr. T. A. Gamble in East Troy, where he attended school and did farm chores to earn his keep. Several months after the death of his father in 1892, McFadden moved to nearby Canton, where he found a job as an office boy and janitor at the First National Bank. By 1899 he had risen to cashier, and in 1916 he became president, serving in the position until 1926, when he resigned to devote himself full time to politics. McFadden was very active in the Pennsylvania Bankers’ Association, serving as president for two years and in a variety of other capacities. He was also an active farmer. In 1898 he married Helen Westgate; they had three children. Beginning in 1914 they made their home at Mourland Park, a local landmark....

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Merriam, William Rush (26 July 1849–18 February 1931), banker, Minnesota governor, and director of the 1900 census, was born at Wadham’s Mills, Essex County, New York, the son of John Lafayette Merriam, a merchant and iron ore dealer, and Mahala Kimpton De Lano. His mother died in 1857, and his father married Helen M. Wilder. In 1861 he moved with his family to St. Paul, Minnesota, joining his stepuncle, Amherst H. Wilder, who had moved from New York two years earlier. Merriam’s father, who was often associated in business with Wilder, soon achieved prominence and wealth through investments in stagecoaches, railroads, and banks....

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Eugene Meyer. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105094).

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Meyer, Eugene Isaac (31 October 1875–17 July 1959), investment banker, government official, and newspaper publisher, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Marc Eugene Meyer, a retail merchant, and Harriet Newmark. After growing up in San Francisco, Meyer attended the University of California for one year in 1892. He was a mediocre student who spent much of his time drinking and gambling. After his freshman year, his family moved to New York City and he transferred to Yale. By working much harder academically at Yale, Meyer earned excellent grades and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After skipping his junior year, he graduated with an A.B. with honors in 1895, ranking nineteenth in a class of 250. Meyer then spent two years in Europe learning French and German and gaining work experience in banking and international finance. On returning to the United States, Meyer was employed by the international banking firm of Lazard Frères, where his father was a partner. However, because his duties there were menial compared with the work he had been doing in Europe, Meyer left the firm in 1901, much against his father’s wishes, to open his own investment firm....

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Morrill, Edmund Needham (12 February 1834–14 March 1909), banker, congressman, and governor of Kansas, was born in Westbrook, Maine, the son of Rufus Morrill, a tanner and currier, and Mary Webb. He was educated in the common schools and at Westbrook Academy, where he graduated in 1855. For one year he was the academy’s superintendent, but he moved with a colony of settlers in 1857 to Brown County, Kansas Territory, and established a sawmill a few miles west of present-day Hiawatha. The mill failed after a fire in 1860, but Morrill repaid all of his creditors....

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Dwight W. Morrow. Center, introducing J. Reuben Clark, Jr. , left, to President Ortiz Rubio of Mexico at a Fourth of July celebration. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113166).

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Morrow, Dwight Whitney (11 January 1873–05 October 1931), investment banker, diplomat, and senator, was born in Huntington, West Virginia, the son of James Elmore Morrow, a mathematics teacher and school principal, and Clara Johnson. Dwight Morrow grew up in a close-knit and intellectually active family, which possessed all the virtues of “right-minded” Presbyterianism, yet was perennially short of money. He was a frail and sickly child who compensated for his diminutive size through precocity of intelligence and tenacity....