Robber Baron: The Life of Charles Tyson Yerkes


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By John Franch

Along with J. P. Morgan, Carnegie and Rockefeller, Charles Tyson Yerkes (1837-1905) was one of the most influential and controversial public figures in America. Robber Baron is the first biography of the traction magnate who was behind the Chicago Loop Elevated, an investor in the London Underground and namesake of the University of Chicago's observatory.

Yerkes also lost his fortune, was jailed for financial improprieties in Philadelphia, used political blackmail to secure a pardon, relocated to Chicago and made millions from questionable financial transactions, while also using his influence and charm to assemble one of the world's finest mass transit networks. Franch has drawn upon newspapers, memoirs, credit reports, court filings, bankruptcy records and correspondence to tell the complete story of a man desperate to leave a lasting impression on his world. (Hardcover, University of Illinois Press, 2006.)