In the pioneering days of the stock and bond hobby of the early 1980’s, we had great biographical information related to famous people including financiers. The Dictionary of American Biography was the most useful tool for research, Appleton’s, Who Was Who, and others. Our research job is now made easy with Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia found online. Of course, countless other sources are now found on the internet. This not only simplifies research but history at our fingertips makes collecting so much more fun! Here is an article that touched on this point way back in Spring of 1981. This was in issue Two of The Labarre Newsletter.
Autographed stocks and bonds are highly prized items among collectors. Signatures of famous - or infamous Americans found on certificates and shares, makes them especially desirable, as their market values indicate.
In our first issue, we presented a discussion of these highly sought after materials. That segment, while discussing collectability, price, and appeal of autographed stocks and bonds, did not touch upon the biographical background of these historical figures.
Following is an extensive list containing brief biographical sketches of notable Americans who have penned their signatures to stocks and bonds. No doubt some have been omitted which should have been included. Our readers are encouraged to forward to us additional names which they would like researched in future segments of “Reference: Biography." This list will be continued in Issue Number 3 of the LaBarre Newsletter.
ASTOR, John Jacob (1864-1912). The great-grandson to his namesake of fur trade fame, Astor was a noted capitalist and inventor. He built several landmark hotels in New York City such as the Astoria (later part of the Waldorf-Astoria), the Knickerbocker, and the St. Regis. Always active in financial affairs, he served as director of companies like Western Union, Equitable Life Assurance Company, the Illinois Central Railroad and Mercantile Trust Company. He died on April 15, 1912, when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the mid-Atlantic.
AUSTIN, Moses (1761-1821). Born in Connecticut, Austin moved first to Pennsylvania in 1783 as a merchant, then to Virginia in the late 1790's as a lead miner and developer. In1796, he moved his lead mining operations to Missouri where the Panic of 1819 wiped out his fortune. He then applied to the Spanish government for permission to settle 300 families in Texas. Permission was granted in 1821, but he died only several months later and his son Stephen carried on the project.
AUSTIN, Stephen (1798-1836). The task of establishing the Texas colony fell to Stephen following his father's death. He proved an astute organizer and politician, although relations with Mexico became increasingly difficult. Austin joined the Texas Revolution, which won Texas' independence in 1836, the same year he died.
BUTTERFIELD, John (1783-1869). Butterfield was active in establishing stagecoach lines in New York State. He founded an express company in 1849, which later became part of the American Express Company.
DEPEW, Chauncey (1834-1928). This New York-born lawyer had a long and illustrious career in state government, foreign service, and business. He joined Commodore Vanderbilt's New York and Harlem Railroad in 1866 as an attorney, and became its' president in 1885, a position he held until 1898. He died in 1928 at the age of 93.
EDISON, Thomas (1847-1931). Much has been written about this genius inventor-scientist who held over 1000 patents during his lifetime. Somewhat out of character perhaps, with the exception of his eye for a profit, was his interest in the Edison Portland Cement Company, in which he was the major stock-holder.
FARGO, William (1818-1881). A pioneer in long-distance express service, Fargo became a partner in Wells & Company in 1844, which later, following several consolidations, emerged as the American Express Company.
Originally Published and Printed by G.Labarre, The LaBarre Newsletter, Issue 2, Spring 1981