||Jay Cooke (1821-1905) grew up on the Ohio frontier and came to Philadelphia in the late 1830s to work as a clerk for E.W.
Clark & Co. In 1860, Cooke formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, William G. Moorhead, and established Jay Cooke &
Co. in Philadelphia. The firm dealt primarily in bank notes, bills of exchange, and stock, in addition to discounting paper
and receiving deposits. The Civil War, however, turned the direction of the company. The firm became involved in federal finances
and securities. The Jay Cooke papers contain 300 items including autograph and printed correspondence and documents pertaining
to Jay Cooke & Co. The bulk of the collection is dated from the years immediately prior to and following the bankruptcy of
the company in 1873. A few letters and financial documents date back to the formation of the company in 1861, and a few letters
and documents date from Jay Cooke’s death in 1905. This collection offers many glimpses of the kind of speculative financing
conducted in the last quarter of the 19th century when “Big Business” was on the rise.