Born: 1819

Died: 1880

Married: Babet Steinhardt

Children: David Seligman, George Washington Seligman, Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman, Isaac Seligman, and Alfred Lincoln Seligman, as well as four daughters, Frances Seligman, Sophie Seligman and two others.

Joseph Seligman was a prominent banker and businessman. Born in Baiersdorf, Germany, he emigrated to the United States when he was 17 and settled in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, where he went to work as a cashier/clerk at a salary was $400 a year. With savings from his pay, Seligman began selling goods door to door in rural Pennsylvania (jewelry, knives, smaller goods), saving outlying farmers the trouble of coming into town to buy their goods. After saving $500, Seligman was able to send to Germany for his brothers William and James, who joined him in peddling. With the profits from their enterprises they started a bank, J. & W. Seligman & Co., which grew to have branches in New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, London, Paris and Frankfurt.

During the Civil War, Seligman was responsible for aiding the Union by disposing of $2 hundred million in bonds, a feat that was said to be "scarcely less important than the Battle of Gettysburg."  At this time he was president of Temple Emanu-El in New York City, and would later become the first President of the Society for Ethical Culture.

In the post-Civil War Gilded Age, the company invested heavily in railroad finance, and acted as broker of transactions engineered by Jay Gould. They underwrote the securities of a variety of companies, participating in stock and bond issues in the railroad and steel and wire industries, investments in Russia and Peru, the formation of the Standard Oil Company, and shipbuilding, bridges, bicycles, mining, and a variety of other industries.

In 1877, Judge Henry Hilton, the manager of the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga, New York, denied entry to Joseph Seligman and his family because they were Jews, creating nationwide controversy. It was the first antisemitic incident of its kind in the United States to achieve widespread publicity.



2011-02-25 15:33:22   was Joseph seligman's son George Washington the same person as president George Washington? —

2011-02-26 10:44:23   No, President Washington was born in 1732, over a hundred years before George Washington Seligman was born. —Mwanner