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Carte de Visite Photograph of Robber Baron James Fisk Jr.
c. 1860s Civil War Period, Carte de Visite Photograph, of Robber Baron James Fisk, Jr. Wearing a Navy Admiral's Uniform, Very Fine.
Fascinating Carte de Visite Photograph of Gilded Age "Robber Baron" James Fisk, Jr. shown dressed in the uniform of a Union Navy Admiral. This period albumen photograph measures about 2.5" x 4" and is mounted on its original square corner card mount. The photograph depicts the financier James Fisk in full length wearing an elaborate uniform resembling that of a Civil War period U.S. Navy Admiral. This exceptionally rare photograph is apparently a portrait of "Diamond Jim" Fisk as he would be "costumed" while greeting passengers on the ships of the Narragansett Steamship Company during the second half of the 1860's. Minor soiling. The CDV carries text below the image on the card mount "James Fisk, Jr." without reverse markings. Very rare!
James Fisk, Jr. (1835 " 1872). Known variously as "Big Jim," "Diamond Jim," and "Jubilee Jim". Aan American stockbroker and corporate executive who has been referred to as one of the "Robber Barons" of the Gilded Age.

After a brief period in school, he ran away in 1850 and joined Van Amberg's Mammoth Circus & Menagerie. Later, he became a hotel waiter, and finally adopted the business of his father, a peddler. He applied what he learned in the circus to his peddling and grew his father's business. He then became a salesman for Jordan Marsh, a Boston dry goods firm. A failure as a salesman, he was sent to Washington, D.C., in 1861 to sell textiles to the government.

By his shrewd dealing in army contracts during the Civil War, and, by some accounts, cotton smuggling across enemy lines " in which he enlisted the help of his father " he accumulated considerable wealth.

In 1864 Fisk became a stockbroker in New York, and was employed by Daniel Drew as a buyer. He aided Drew in the Erie War against Cornelius Vanderbilt for control of the Erie Railroad. This resulted in Fisk and Jay Gould becoming members of the Erie directorate, and subsequently, a well-planned raid netted Fisk and Gould control of the railroad. The association with Gould continued until Fisk's death.

Fisk and Gould carried financial buccaneering to extremes: their program included an open alliance with Boss Tweed, the wholesale bribery of legislatures, and the buying of judges. Their attempt to corner the gold market culminated in the fateful Black Friday of September 24, 1869. Though many investors were ruined. Fisk and Gould escaped significant financial harm.

Fisk had an extra-marital relationship with Josie Mansfield (1842?-1931), a New York showgirl. Fisk housed Josie in an apartment a few doors down from the Erie Railroad headquarters on West 23rd Street and had a covered passage built linking the back doors of the headquarters and her apartment building. Fisk's relationship with Mansfield scandalized New York society. Mansfield eventually fell in love with Fisk's business associate Edward S. Stokes a man noted for his good looks. Stokes left his wife and family, and Mansfield left Fisk.

In a bid for money, Mansfield and Stokes tried to extort money from Fisk by threatening the publication of letters written by Fisk to Mansfield that allegedly proved Fisk's legal wrongdoings. A legal and public relations battle followed, but Fisk refused to pay Mansfield anything. Increasingly frustrated and flirting with bankruptcy, Stokes shot and killed Fisk in New York City on January 6, 1872 in the Grand Central Hotel. Fisk gave a dying declaration identifying Stokes as the killer, and Stokes served four years of a six-year prison sentence for manslaughter.
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Item #110444Price: $395.00Add to Cart
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