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Guide to the Records of Brown Brothers Harriman
1696 -1973, 1995 (bulk 1820-1968)
 MS 78

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Celia Hartmann. Machine readable finding aid created by Celia Hartmann.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on April 09, 2014
Description is in English.
using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series IV. Business Transaction Records (1910-1968). 2.6 Linear feet (3 document boxes, 14 volumes)

Scope and Content

While Series II. Annual Reports and Statements of Condition and Series III. Financial and Business Records document primarily the internal accounting transactions and financial condition of Brown Brothers Harriman's precursor companies, this series documents a few of the firms' external financial activities and interests. It includes records of stocks sold in the Wall & Hanover Street Realty Company; correspondence with individuals and organizations who purchased Russian ruble war loans in 1916, and with the International Bank of Commerce of Petrograd (some of which is in French), which held the bonds; bonds issued for foreign corporations and governments in the period 1925-1930; records of underwriting syndicates for the purchase of stocks and bonds in which Harriman Ripley & Co., Inc., did and did not participate (including some of the bond issues documented in Volumes 22-34) from the late 1920s through the 1940s; minutes of the Finance Committee of Caledonian Insurance Company; and correspondence related to Frederick Dumaine's challenge to the purchase of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad in 1968.

Volumes 23-34 were bound by the firm and include carbon copies of letters and telegrams, photostats of bond documents, and original printed offerings. Volumes 32 and 33 are identical duplicates.

The syndicate records consist predominantly of filled out (typed or handwritten) preprinted file cards arranged in tabbed alphabetical order by the name of the company or municipality offering being underwritten. They include details of prices paid, dates of offering and expiration, and selling commissions received.

The Delaware & Hudson-related correspondence appears to have come from the files of John B. Madden, a Brown Brothers Harriman partner who had served since 1964 as a manager of the Delaware & Hudson Company (a holding entity) and a director of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad Corporation.

Historical Note

The Wall and Hanover Street Realty Company was constituted after the death of James Brown to capitalize the property on which Brown Brothers & Co.'s headquarters stood, at 59 Wall Street, in order to distribute shares to his many heirs and other parties.

To finance the enormous debt it had incurred during World War I, the Russian imperial government issued bonds in 1916, some of which which were handled by Brown Brothers on behalf of individual and institutional customers.

The investment banking firm Harriman Ripley & Co., Inc. (originally called Brown Harriman and Co. but renamed in 1938 to avoid confusion) was formed in 1934 after the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 mandated the separation of investment and commercial banking activities of individual firms. Its initial officers were four Brown Brothers Harriman partners and associates from National City Bank's securities affiliate.

Brown Brothers Harriman partner Knight Woolley was a director of Caledonian Insurance Company beginning in the 1930s. He served later as chair of its Finance Committee, to which the bank acted as investment advisor.

In 1968, Delaware & Hudson Railroad's president and largest individual stockholder, Frederick Dumaine, Jr., unsuccessfully opposed a plan to sell the railroad to the Norfolk & Western Railroad, which move was supported by Delware & Hudson directors including Brown Brothers Harriman partners John B. Madden and E. Roland Harriman. The plan was intitially suggested by the Interstate Commerce Commission in an effort to balance the East Coast rail monopoly occasioned by the previous merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads.

Arrangement

The volumes are arranged chronologically, as are the foldered materials except as noted otherwise here.

The Russian ruble bond materials are often organized alphabetically within folders by name of correspondent, as noted on the folder labels.

The syndicate records consist predominantly of alphabetized runs of cards, which are arranged chronologically in different sized boxes from other materials in the series.

Some of the Delaware & Hudson materials were originally foldered chronologically and those designations have been retained. More than half of the material was not originally organized and has been arranged by subject and then chronologically.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 89 Folder : 2 Foreign Bond Department cables
1916 January - June
Box: 89 Folder : 3 Russian ruble bonds: correspondence with Banque Internationale de Commerce de Petrograd
1916 January - August
Box: 89 Folder : 4 Russian ruble bonds: securities sheets with account details
1916 March - 1921 July
Box: 89 Folder : 5 Russian ruble bonds: letters confirming sale of all orders - correspondents A-F
1916 April 1 - September 1
Box: 89 Folder : 6 Russian ruble bonds: letters confirming sale of all orders - correspondents G-W
1916 April 1 - September 1
Box: 89 Folder : 7 Russian ruble bonds: correspondence covering orders on file - First National City Bank
1916 April 1 - September 16
Box: 89 Folder : 8 Russian ruble bonds: sale amounts and dates by customer
1916 April - October
Box: 89 Folder : 9 Russian ruble bonds: First National Bank correspondence
1916 June - 1917 March
Box: 89 Folder : 10 Russian ruble bonds: items selected as interesting by Sarah B. Brown, 1964
1916 June - 1917 May
Box: 90 Folder : 1 Russian ruble bonds: unclassified correspondence and securities sheets
1916 June - 1917 August
Box: 90 Folder : 2 Russian ruble bonds: amounts held in Petrograd
1916 July - September
Box: 90 Folder : 3 Russian ruble bonds: releases from liability - correspondents A - V
1916 July - October
Box: 90 Folder : 4 Russian ruble bonds: Foreign Bond department cables
1916 July - December
Box: 90 Folder : 5 Ruble cable engagements
1916 August - October
Box: 90 Folder : 6 Russian ruble bonds: sale amounts and dates by customer
1916 August - November
Box: 90 Folder : 7 Russian ruble bonds: lists of foreign bonds to be delivered upon receipt
1916 August - 1917 January
Box: 90 Folder : 8 Russian ruble bonds: translation of Russian loan wording; correspondence with Banque International de Commerce de Petrograd
1916 August - 1918 May
Box: 90 Folder : 9 Russian ruble bonds: correspondence with Banque Internationale de Commerce de Petrograd
1916 September - December
Box: 90 Folder : 10 Russian ruble bonds: due bills - issued
1916 September - 1919 February
Box: 90 Folder : 11 Russian ruble bonds: correspondence covering orders on file - First National Bank
1916 September 1 - 1917 March 31
Box: 90 Folder : 12 Russian ruble bonds: correspondence confirming sales
1916 September - 1917 March
Box: 90 Folder : 13 Russian ruble bonds: Foreign Bond Department memoranda
1916 September - 1917 May
Box: 90 Folder : 14 Russian ruble bonds: due letters sent
1916 October
Box: 90 Folder : 15 Russian ruble bonds: internal memoranda; lists of disposition; transfer receipts
1916 October - 1917 August
Box: 90 Folder : 16 Russian ruble bonds: receipt copies; disposal lists
1916 October - December
Box: 90 Folder : 17 Russian ruble bonds: correspondence with Banque Internationale de Commerce de Petrograd
1917 January 20 - 1918 May 15
Box: 90 Folder : 18 Russian ruble bonds: correspondence
1917 February - July
Box: 91 Folder : 1 Syndicate commitments
1930-1931
Box: 91 Folder : 2 Syndicate records, by name of underwriter
1934-1939
Box: 91 Folder : 3 Delaware & Hudson: acquisition candidates - research and notes
1967 July - October
Box: 91 Folder : 4 Delaware & Hudson: proposals, correspondence
1967 November - December
Box: 91 Folder : 5 Delaware & Hudson: general proposals
1968 January
Box: 91 Folder : 6 Delaware & Hudson: legal bills and correspondence, notes
1968 January
Box: 91 Folder : 7 Delaware & Hudson: corrrespondence and notes
1968 January - March
Box: 91 Folder : 8 Delaware & Hudson: Bangor Punta draft reorganization plan
1968 February 15
Box: 91 Folder : 9 Delaware & Hudson: merger-related correspondence
1968 February
Box: 91 Folder : 10 Delaware & Hudson: reports, drafts, correspondence
1968 February - March
Box: 91 Folder : 11 Delaware & Hudson: correspondence about shareholder meeting
1968 February - May
Box: 91 Folder : 12 Delaware & Hudson: correspondence and clippings
1968 March - April
Box: 91 Folder : 13 Delaware & Hudson: Amoskeag information, notes
1968 March - May
Box: 91 Folder : 14 Delaware & Hudson: corporate and Frederick Dumaine mailings
1968 April 15, 19
Box: 92 Folder : 1 Delaware & Hudson: shareholder and trustee information, notes
1968 April - May
Box: 92 Folder : 2 Delaware & Hudson: stockholder information, notes
1968 May
Box: 92 Folder : 3 Delaware & Hudson: shareholder appeals, correspondence; meeting results
1968 May - July
Box: 92 Folder : 4 Delaware & Hudson: deal completion
1968 June - July
Box: 93 Syndicate records, A-J
1914-1931
Box: 94 Syndicate records, K-Z
1914-1931
Box: 95 Syndicate records, A-N
1920-1932
Box: 96 Syndicate records, O-Z, 1920-1932; bond issues, 1926-1930; offerings underwritten by Brown Brothers, 1927-1931; card drafts, 1934-1936; equipment trusts, 1936-1943; syndicate records, A-L, 1940-1944
1920-1944
Box: 97 Syndicate records, M-Z, 1940-1944
1940-1944
Box: OS 8 Folder : 15 Russian ruble bonds: account sheets
1916 April - December
Box: OS 9 Folder : 9 Delaware & Hudson: investments
1968 January
Box: OS 12 Folder : 1 Delaware & Hudson: common stock comparison of various conglomerates
1968
Volume: 22 Completed and blank stock certificates, Wall & Hanover Street Realty Company
1910 September 30 - 1920 March 22
Volume: 23 Danish financings
1925-1926
Volume: 24 Free State of Prussia issue of $20 million 6½% sinking fund gold bonds
1926
Volume: 25 Free State of Prussia issue of $30 million 6% sinking gold fund bonds
1927
Volume: 26 Mortgage Bank of the Kingdom of Denmark; Danish consolidated municipal loan
1927-1928
Volume: 27 Hamburg Elevated, Underground, & Street Railway Company
1927-1928
Volume: 28 City of Berlin 30 year 6% external sinking gold bond fund
1928
Volume: 29 Dept. of Akershus (Norway) issue of $8 million 35 year 5% external sinking fund gold bonds
1928
Volume: 30 Chilean consolidated municipal loan
1929
Volume: 31 City of Hanover (Germany) $3.5 million 10 year external 7% convertible gold bonds
1929
Volume: 32 City of Bergen (Norway) $1.9 million 19 year 5% external sinking fund gold bonds
1930
Volume: 33 City of Bergen (Norway) $1.9 million 19 year 5% external sinking fund gold bonds
1930
Volume: 34 City of Helsingfors (Finland) $5 million 6 month 8% external gold note; $8 million 30 year external sinking fund gold bonds
1930
Volume: 35 Caledonian Insurance Company: minutes of Finance Committee meetings
1949 December 19 - 1956 December 18

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