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The First Wall StreetChestnut Street, Philadelphia, and the Birth of American Finance$
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Robert E. Wright

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226910260

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226910291.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Philadelphia's Finest

Philadelphia's Finest

(p.131) 9 Philadelphia's Finest
The First Wall Street
University of Chicago Press

This chapter shows that the lifeblood of Chestnut Street's financiers also ebbed away, by exploring in detail the life and death of one of Philadelphia's finest financiers: Michael Hillegas. The death of men such as Hillegas decreased Chestnut Street's initial advantage in human capital. He was not Philadelphia's most important financial innovator by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, Hillegas was just one of many important Philly financiers. The passing of a financier such as Hillegas marked a diminution of Philadelphia's human capital base and a step closer to the ascendance of Wall Street. During the Revolutionary War, Hillegas invested in at least one successful “Adventure to France” and repeatedly asked to be included to the tune of £400 or £500 in other ventures. He also continued to sell his musical wares when he could, a trade he seems to have practiced until his death, but it appears he concentrated his wartime business concerns in manufacturing and land speculation. Undoubtedly influenced by his ironware trade and his association with Stiegel, Hillegas joined the iron manufacturing business in early 1774.

Keywords:   Chestnut Street, human capital, financier

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