The Exchange Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America's First Banking Collapse

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9780670018413: The Exchange Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America's First Banking Collapse

Profiles Andrew Dexter, Jr., as a late-eighteenth-century financial pioneer-turned-confidence man, describing how he took advantage of period suspicions about paper money and banks to promote a skyscraper building scheme that subsequently cost his investors millions of dollars.

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About the Author:

Jane Kamensky is an associate professor of history at Brandeis University and the author of The Colonial Mosaic and Governing the Tongue. She has appeared on National Public Radio and on documentaries on PBSand the History Channel.

From Publishers Weekly:

Brandeis history professor Kamensky (The Colonial Mosaic) recounts the story of Andrew Dexter, a chronically overleveraged real estate developer who engineered profound shifts in the economy and skyline of turbulent early America. Dexter built the seven-story Boston Exchange Coffee House, an extraordinarily ambitious project, and helped create a regional exchange system that made banknotes from distant rural locations acceptable in Boston. Unfortunately for his reputation, he is more often remembered as the man responsible for the first bank failure in the United States in 1809. Although he spent the last 30 years of his life on the run from numerous creditors and died in debt, he never stopped juggling visionary projects. Kamensky devotes almost as much attention to the Exchange Coffee House and its impact on contemporary thought as she does to Dexter's biography. She also weaves in an account of Nathan Appleton, born, like Dexter, in 1779, but destined for a longer and much more prosperous and respectable life fighting against Dexter and his ilk. This is a charming popular account of an often-overlooked aspect of American history. B&w photos and illus. (Jan.)
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