No ‘Mad Men Notes’ this week as I’m out of town, but please enjoy this captivating shot of mad men on Wall Street, circa 1885, courtesy the Cornell University Library. The more you look at it, the more interesting details emerge. Click on picture for much greater detail.
Trinity Church, at far left, would still be New York’s tallest building. What is today’s Federal Hall was, back in 1885, the United States sub-treasury, or a proto-Federal Reserve.
Sitting right next to the future Federal Hall was the U.S. Assay Office, which tested the purity of official precious metals. Does the building look familiar? Many years later, the facade was shaved off and shipped up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who uses it in their sculpture garden as the entrance to the American wing.
Almost all the conveyances are horsedrawn, but note fancier white carriage coming towards the camera from the left.