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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:781 1832-1915 (1861-1905)

Jay Cooke & Co. records


Select records of the investment banking house Jay Cooke & Co.


  • 1832-1915 (inclusive)
  • Majority of material found within 1870-1905

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact for more information.


40 linear feet (98 volumes, 100 boxes)

Material includes miscellaneous letters and agreements of the two banking houses: Jay Cooke & Co. and Charles D. Barney and Company, many of which have to do with Jay Cooke & Co. in bankruptcy. There are manuscripts relating to the Northern Pacific Railroad, numerous smaller railroads, mining enterprises, and land companies, many of which were western investments. Among the best papers in the collection is a lengthy memoir written by Jay Cooke when he was about 75 years old. Agreements constitute one of the most valuable parts of the collection—one particularly, a contract between Jay Cooke and the Northern Pacific Railroad dated 1869, being significant.

Historical Note:

Jay Cooke (1821-1905) founded the investment banking house of Jay Cooke & Co. in Philadelphia in 1861. During the U. S. Civil War Cooke played a leading role in selling government bonds to finance the war effort. The firm failed in 1873 partly because of Cooke’s involvement in financing construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The firm of Charles D. Barney and Company, established by Cooke’s son-in-law, was the successor firm.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  1. Series I. General papers, 1832-1905
  2. Series II. Bills, 1867-1886
  3. Series III. Estate of Jay Cooke, 1887-1915
  4. Series IV. Eilton improvements, 1880-1881
  5. Series V. Personal letters, 1867-1898
  6. Series VI. C. D. Barney & Co., 1874-1910
  7. Series VII. Checks, 1876-1912
  8. Series VIII. Dakota joint account, 1890-1907
  9. Series IX. Deeds, 1753-1904
  10. Series X. Land warrants, 1854-1867
  11. Series XI. So. Mountain Mining and Iron Co, 1877
  12. Series XII. Assets and payments, 1884-1890
  13. Series XIII. Stock certificates, 1877-1905
  14. Series XIV. N. P. R. R., 1872-1874
  15. Series XV. Bankruptcy distribution under E. M. Lewis and W. Rushton, Trustees, 1873-1893
  16. Series XVI. George C. Thomas, 1867-1873
  17. Series XVII. H. C. Fahnestock, 1866-1871
  18. Series XVIII. St. Louis River, undated
  19. Series XIX. J. H. Harding, 1888-1889
  20. Series XX. Oregon dividend, 1881
  21. Series XXI. F. O. French, 1877-1883
  22. Series XXII. C. D. Barney & Co., undated
  23. Series XXIII. Check books, 1877-1902
  24. Series XXIV. Western lands, 1867-1905
  25. Series XXV. Miscellaneous, 1872-1893
  26. Series XXVI. Oversized material stored in mapcase

Physical Location


Related Materials

Baker Library also holds the Harris Charles Fahnestock papers, 1855-1914 (inclusive) , which contain material related to the Jay Cooke & Co. records.

Significant collections of Jay Cooke's papers are also held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, and the Rutherford B. Hayes Library in Fremont, Ohio.

Jay Cooke & Co. Jay Cooke & Co. Records, 1832-1915 (inclusive), 1870-1905 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Baker Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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