Mental Floss

How Merrill, Goldman and the Brothers Lehman made their Money

Mangesh Hattikudur
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The Dow took a nosedive yesterday. Colbert called it "Watership Dow." Drudge referred to it as a "Nightmare on Wall Street." And while I'm not sure whether to smile or grimace at the headlines (I have to commit to one, so I don't look A.D.D. about being bipolar), the news did give me reason to look up some corporate histories. Here's some dirt I pulled straight from Wikipedia. And unless this jokester's been messing with the entries, I'm guessing they're accurate.

Merrill Lynch

There's no doubt that Charles Merrill was a genius. Not only did the Amherst and Michigan Law alum foresee the Great Depression (he divested many of his holdings before the crash), he also begged Calvin Coolidge- a fellow Amherst alum- to speak out against the stock market speculation. The Merrill Lynch group, which went through numerous name and line-up changes (Charles E. Merrill & Co., Merrill, Lynch & Co., Merrill Lynch, E. A. Pierce, and Cassatt, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Beane) made some of their first big money by investing in what would become RKO Pictures (in 1921), and in purchasing a controlling share of Safeway grocery stores in 1926.

Goldman Sachs

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AIG

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Lehman Brothers

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Special thanks to Bill Pearson for sparking the interest!

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