Massachusetts Bank Stock Certificates.
Oblong 12mo, 18.5 cm. Unpaginated. About 100 pre-printed leaves accomplished in manuscript.
In 1807 Massachusetts passed an “Act Establishing a State Bank.” The first American state bank was founded in 1787; by 1820 there were 266 banks and 66 branches, so Massachusetts was one of the earlier entries. Most of these early banks were capitalized in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, though some were capitalized in the millions. By the terms of the Act, “… subscription towards constituting the capital stock of said State Bank… shall be continued open, for the term of one calendar month… and every person… shall have a right to subscribe for any number of said shares, not exceeding one hundred.” This book records subscriptions by Bostonians for a total of 1000 shares in the month of July, 1807. It contains about 100 pre-printed forms filled out by a clerk stating the date and number of shares, and signed by the purchaser. This “IPO” was an important event in the financial history of Massachusetts. Bigwigs piled on and gobbled up shares. Signers in this book include – William Phillips, Lt. Governor of Mass; Samuel Elliot, future president of the bank; Boston Tea Party veteran Joseph Lee; Thomas Winthrop, another Lt. Governor of the state; Harvard grad John Clark Howard of the Mass. Humane Society (life saving); China Trader Joseph Coolidge; US senator James Lloyd; Jonathan Jackson, Mass. delegate to the Continental Congress; Aaron Dexter, a founder of Harvard Medical School; Josiah Bradlee, merchant and whaleman, and partner of Alexander Starbuck; Gloucesterman and insurance magnate Epes Sargent; Joseph May of the Boston Marine Insurance Company; Harvard professor and philosopher Levi Hedge; Peter Chardon Brooks, “The richest man in New England”; Daniel Denison Rogers, early patriot; one-time Loyalist and slave trader, David Greene; and patriot and banker Peter Roe Dalton – as well as dozens of other subscribers. Interestingly, shares were occasionally purchased by men for women. An interesting piece of banking history, providing a cross-section of prominent Bostonians – their diversity on one hand, and their white male sameness on the other. Bound in worn crimson morocco over marbled boards. Contents in excellent condition.