Talk:Jay Gould

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Garbled sentence[edit]

I removed a garbled sentence and fixed a couple other things. Needs a bit more work. Paul 19:30, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Black Friday[edit]

This sentence was completely incorrect:

These speculations in gold culminated in the panic of Black Friday, on September 24, 1869, when the price of gold fell from 162 to 135.

I changed it to ...

These speculations in gold culminated in the panic of Black Friday, on September 24, 1869, when the premium over face value on a gold Double Eagle fell from 62% to 35%.

but experts may know better. --mervyn 12:31, 10 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This section is correct as far as Jay Gould is concerned but omits Cornelius Vanderbilt's contribution to Black Friday.
Vanderbilt had been buying stock in The Lakeshore Railroad which he wanted to complete a connection to Chicago for his own New York Central. He knew money was scarce in the fall of 1869 because it was necessary to pay farmers for their crops. Just before Black Friday he dumped all of his Lake Shore stock on the market; the price plummeted and people with margin accounts had to put up more cash than they could afford. As large holders went bankrupt the little money that was left was pulled out of the stock market and banks called in all of their loans. Had Vanderbilt not seized his opportunity Black Friday may never have happened. As things turned out Jay Gould was lucky to get out without large losses but Vanderbilt came back, re bought Lake Shore stock for next to nothing and ultimately had the first direct rail line between New York and Chicago greatly increasing his already enormous wealth. Ref: T. J. Stiles, "The First Tycoon."Ishmael Dott (talk) 00:58, 1 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Biology author[edit]

THere is a guy(taxonomist) with a similar name who wrote about biological classification— Preceding unsigned comment added by Wk muriithi (talkcontribs) 12:26, 7 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are you thinking about Stephen Jay Gould? --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:26, 7 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, thats him. Thanks for the pointer. That brings another observation, didn't Gould (Financer) have a third name? That would help avoid the search for the biologist leading to this thug .. sorry financer.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Wk muriithi (talkcontribs) 02:52, 9 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Union Pacific Involvement[edit]

It says in this article that "After being forced out of the Erie Railroad, Gould gained control of the Union Pacific Railroad, withdrawing from it in 1883 after realizing a large profit. " However, in the Union Pacific Railroad article under "Company Officers," he is listed as being president in 1892.

What's up with that? There should be some consistency, so the facts/sources should be checked. --Jimbo 23 January 2006

George Jay Gould[edit]

This child appears in the timeline but not in the list of children. Can someone please figure out which one is right? The Uninvited Co., Inc. 23:02, 17 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"I can hire half the working class to kill the other half"[edit]

This is not going into the article without a citation of someone attributing it to Gould. Gazpacho 03:04, 13 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Have you even googled the quote? try [1] (look for it, it's there). Now will somebody put that quote back on? (Me being to busy and a newb to boot) Evil Deep Blue 21:04, 16 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We should have a better source than that. EDB has done is link us to a list of quotes. A lot of apocryphal stuff gets to be including in such lists, and then circulates. Consider the famous line about how it's turtles all the way down for an example. You can google that one and get lots of lists making mutually inconsistent attributions. We should require something more like a primary source. Did somebody hear him say this and record it? Was it something he wrote in a letter that the recipient saved? --Christofurio 13:53, 10 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have seen this in several biographies of Gould, including the "definitive" Maury Klein biography. Wikiquote cites The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, Clifton Fadiman, Little Brown, October 1985, ISBN 0-316-27301-5. --ubiquity 16:07, 10 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Citations from books of anecdotes are precisely the problem. George Washington said, "I can not tell a lie, I cut down that cherry tree with my little axe" according to anecdote. If you've got the Klein biography handy, check his footnotes for it and let me know what his primary source is. I don't have any prejudices one way or the other, and I'm not the editor who removed the quote from this article in the first place, but I'm sure the original concern that got this quote removed had to do with its anecdotal sound. --Christofurio 20:48, 13 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I, for one, am satisfied that the quote is now attributed to unionists. When I made my comment above there was no attribution.blah blh blah It wouldn't be the only time Gould put business over human lives; Klein quotes a letter in which he notes the benefits of annihilating the Indians. However, I do not remember seeing the strikebreaking quote in Klein. Gazpacho 03:52, 4 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Found the quote in an academic textbook, The American Past: A Survey of American History, by searching with Google Scholar, but I'm not sure if this is sufficient. Meticulo (talk) 10:18, 21 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


No offence to all the hard working people, but this wikipedia page sucks! (and for that matter, so does the rest of the internet, or at least google) I found this link on the robber baron wiki page [2] so we can make this page better. I was helping my 9th grade cousin and this page was quite disappointing Evil Deep Blue 20:39, 16 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"No offence to all the hard working people, but this wikipedia page sucks!" +1
This page jumps from his birth to poor parents to the "Tweed Ring" and then a random account of black friday. There is no context to this article at all. For example, how exactly did he get involved in finance in the first place? Was he working in a lumber yard and then one day decide to corner the gold market? That's what this article makes it sound like. Pretty poor IYAM. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:35, 22 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Here is a phrase from the most recent revision of the page: "Anti-semitism, in connection with Gould's name, motivated some of this hostility, even though he was born a Presbyterian and married an Episcopalian." This sentence could have two meanings: Gould was rumored to be Jewish and that motivated some of the hostility towards him OR Gould was rumored to be anti-semitic yet was a Presbyterian and married an Episcopalian. I first went with the 2nd interpretation and only recognized the first after I asked a friend for their take; because it would be very odd if you could counter any claims of you being an anti-Semite with a claim that you're a Presbyterian. Someone may want to clear this up. I would, but I know absolutely nothing about this person so I feel I would be unjustified in making any revisions.-- 12:49, 2 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good point --- the first meaning is the intended one. Gould was widely rumored to be Jewish (and he made no attempts to dissuade this belief) and was often cast in a villainous light in part due to this. Bigdaddy1981 (talk) 07:42, 17 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe I read that the sole basis of the belief that Gould was Jewish was simply that his last name was similar to an often-Jewish surname, Gold and, of course, his association with money. That he did not attempt to clear this up (and I would enjoy seeing a reference to this) is interesting and I guess is to Gould's credit--Jrm2007 (talk) 07:57, 6 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
His financier son Howard married Jewish actress Grete Mosheim in 1937, but that was after his Jay's death. LIKEU148477 (talk) 22:22, 24 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The family name was originally Gold, the immigrant ancestor was Nathan Gold but he was an English Protestant. The family which arrived in the mid 1600s changed the spelling in the early 1700s. This was before any large German Jewish influx among whom Gold as a surname is more often found.RichardBond (talk) 21:18, 26 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gouldsboro, PA[edit]

There is an article about Gouldsboro, PA claiming the city was named for Mr. Jay Gould the financier. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:13, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Jay Gould Box[edit]

The "Marriage" section says that Jay Gould had six children and lists them. The "Jay Gould" Box that includes date of birth, death, names of children, etc. does not include one child, Howard Gould. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:19, 25 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


These are unreferenced or already in the lede: In an era without government regulation, in which private New York bankers led by J.P. Morgan and Co. extended their control over a growing share of US industry in an ultimately-unsuccessful attempt to reduce rampant destructive competition, the New York City press could be less than flattering to Gould, who bought up control over corporations, looted their assets, and sold them before the damage became known.[1]

For example, some New York newspaper accounts alleged that Gould's dealings in the tanning business drove his partner Charles Leupp to suicide. But Leupp had episodes of mania and depression that psychiatrists would now recognize as indications of bipolar disorder, which his family thought could have caused his death (citation needed). Gould was often suspected of being Jewish due to his name and business acumen, and was often depicted in anti-semitic caricatures, even though he was born a Presbyterian and married an Episcopalian (citation needed).

Contemporary efforts to rescue Gould's reputation and contemporary interest in Gould are spurred by conflicts in analyses of the post-1975 rise of speculative, destructive financial capital in many prominent national economies, and the 2007-present economic crisis and its temporary resolution in public-financed bailouts for failed firms and spectacular compensation for their top managers, deepening moral hazard and public debt, and further reducing the role of productive capital in the economic mix.[2]

  1. ^ Josephson, Matthew. 1962. The Robber Barons: The Great American Capitalists, 1861-1901. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.
  2. ^ Kotz, David M. 2008. Neoliberalism and Financialization. University of Massachusetts Amherst.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talkcontribs) 20:20, 25 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

His Full Name[edit]

We own a couple of books that were once in his library; I believe his full name was: "Jay Elliot Gould"; am I not correct? (talk) 00:56, 21 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Probably not. He'd be "Jason Elliot Gould" if that were the case, but nothing indicates that's so. --jpgordon::==( o ) 02:46, 21 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Orphaned references in Jay Gould[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Jay Gould's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "drury":

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 20:24, 22 October 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

'Modern historians'[edit]

I've added 'some' to the words '...modern historians...' in the introduction. This is to avoid implying that current historians have arrived at a consensus which overturns earlier portrayals. Meticulo (talk) 00:45, 9 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Note 2[edit]

The link referenced in Note 2 points to a page that no longer exists. I tried to Google for the page to see if it had a changed URL and couldn't find anything. --sydbarrett74 (talk) 03:05, 30 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Jay Gould - Bain News Service.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on May 27, 2018. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2018-05-27. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 08:13, 22 April 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Jay Gould
Jay Gould (1836–1892) was a leading American railroad developer and speculator. He began acquiring depreciated land in his 20s, and following the Panic of 1857 he became the majority shareholder in the Rutland and Washington Railroad, having acquired stocks for ten cents on the dollar. Over his lifetime, he acquired a fortune conservatively estimated at $72 million ($1.76 billion in 2016). He has been portrayed as a ruthless robber baron of the Gilded Age, hated and reviled. However, some modern historians have used primary sources to combat this portrayal.Photograph: Bain News Service; restoration: Adam Cuerden

"Gould is widely regarded as one of the great villains of his era"[edit]

Gould is widely regarded as one of the great villains of his era.[1][2][3]

Who inserted this statement and falsely claimed it was supported by these references? In the specified pages, the first reference (Borneman) says:

Certainly... Gould hardly deserved to be singled out as "the supreme villain of his era". One might question Gould's movements, one might be envious of his successes, but on a one-to-one basis, even his adversaries admired his forthrightness. "I know there are many people who do not like him," his rival and occasional partner Collis P. Huntington remaked, but "I will say that I always found that he would do just as he agreed to do."

Similarly, the head of a commission investigating the affairs of the Union Pacific Railroad was obliged to admit, "I have always found, even to the most trivial detail, that Mr. Gould lived up to the whole nature of his obligations. Of course, he was always reticent and careful about what he promised, but that promise was invariably fulfilled."

In the specified pages, the second reference (Klein) says:

The new journalism burst onto the scene at the time when Gould's own position was undergoing major changes... These changes accentuated the already wide gap between the Gould of fact and the Gould of legend, between his current role in the business world and the leper's bell of his reputation, which the press had done so much to create and popularize. By 1887 Gould's public image had undergone nearly two decades of embellishment, and the imperatives of the new journalism offered every motive to perpetuate rather than correct it. Gould as responsible businessman made for dull copy compared with the dark, satanic figure who manipulated an enormousempire in furtive, mysterious ways. Newspapers locked in mortal combat for readers were loath to exchange the possibilities inherent in the popular image of Gould for the bland portrait of a business executive.

Page numbers have not been specified for the third reference. (talk) 07:58, 14 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Walter R. Borneman (2014). Iron Horses: America's Race to Bring the Railroads West. p. 235. ISBN 9780316371797.
  2. ^ Maury Klein (1997). The Life and Legend of Jay Gould. p. 393. ISBN 9780801857713.
  3. ^ Rennehan, Edward J. (2005). Dark Genius of Wall Street.

Jay Goulds earliest enterprise[edit]

I remember reading that the particular tanning related activity Gould engaged in was building and financing the process of turning wood byproduct into potash. In areas where there was lumbering there would be bark and branch wood residue. This could be burned so as to produce wood ash which was used in tanning. This product was collected from a large number of small processing operators and delivered to the tanners. This is how the young Jay Gould became involved with Zadoc Pratt. RichardBond (talk) 21:29, 26 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Didn’t he shoot himself? 2600:100E:B050:AA29:4D21:EC50:BCD2:DE90 (talk) 02:07, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]