Friday, September 19, 2008

Lehman Bros.

So I’m in Montgomery, Alabama visiting my sister a few weeks ago, and we’re out at this nice little outdoor live music gig at a downtown hotel. (A lovely night to be outside enjoying beer and music after fleeing Baton Rouge and the impending blowhard Gustav)

I notice this beautiful old (19th c.?) building across the street, the history of which nobody is quite certain. Maybe some cotton brokers from ages ago? There are a couple of peculiar statues on the roof, one of a large anvil, a female figure I think (an angel?), and a strange capsule-like thing rumored to contain a mysterious body...very Edward Gorey.

Turns out certain young Misters Henry, Emanuel and Mayer Lehman moved to Montgomery from Bavaria in the late 1840s and started a dry-goods business called Lehman Brothers. The brothers began to start accepting King Cotton as payment for dry goods and eventually began a second business trading in cotton.

By 1858, Henry had died of yellow fever and cotton trading had moved to New York, whence the two remaining brothers (pictured left) went and the rest as they say is history...

(and now so is Lehman Brothers?)