JP Morgan

JP Morgan began his career in 1857 as an accountant, and worked for several New York banking firms until he became a partner in Drexel, Morgan and Company in 1871, which was reorganized as J.P. Morgan and Company in 1895. Described as a coldly rational man, Morgan began reorganizing railroads in 1885, becoming a board member and gaining control of large amounts of stock of many of the rail companies he helped restructure. In 1896, Morgan embarked on consolidations in the electric, steel (creating U.S. Steel, the world's first billion-dollar corporation, in 1901). By the early 1900s, Morgan was the main force behind the Trusts, controlling virtually all the basic American industries. He then looked to the financial and insurance industries, in which his banking firm also achieved a concentration of control. Morgan was also among the foremost collectors of art and books of his day; his book collection and the building that housed it in New York City are now The Pierpont Morgan Library.