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Once in Golconda: A True Drama of Wall Street 1920–1938 by John Brooks

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Chapter One

Overtures: The Outrage

I

On Thursday, September 16, 1920, a few seconds after the Trinity Church bell had finished tolling noon, the pleasant fall air of downtown Manhattan (weather clear, temperature sixty-nine degrees, market up slightly) was rent by an enormous and devastating explosion. Emanating from a point on Wall Street a few yards east of the intersection of Wall and Broad, and directly between the marble edifice of J. P. Morgan & Company and the barred front of the brand-new United States Assay Office–that is to say, from the precise center, geographical as well as metaphorical, of financial America and even of the financial world–the explosion darkened the area for several minutes with a huge cloud of greenish smoke, set ...

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