ROBERT R. YOUNG: The Populist of Wall Street by Joseph Borkin

ROBERT R. YOUNG: The Populist of Wall Street

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A meticulous and well-written account of the tumultous career of the late Robert R. Young, chairman of the Alleghany Corporation, whose fight for proxy control of the New York Central Railroad received considerable public attention. Young's tilt against William White, president of the Central, was his second attempt to acquire control, and was a culmination of a life of bucking what he considered to be banker-investment interests, unfairly dominating companies through nominal proxies. One of a three-man syndicate which purchased the Alleghany Corporation (formed by the Van Sweringen brothers as a super holding company) in 1937, Young's first major skirmish was with the Guaranty Trust; and it was his campaign for competitive bidding on securities that eventually pushed the ICC to a ruling in 1944. Young, a Texan, in combatting what he fancied were the ""Wall Street"" Eastern banking interests, sought public support for his crusade-for-capitalism and enjoyed the ""David and Goliath"" legend. His ad, ""A Hog Can Cross the Country Without Changing Trains... But You Can't"" was his own invention. Little is said here of Young's tragic private life (the death of his only child; his serious depressions and suicide), but the author wisely devotes most of his concern to the maneuverings and high flying flourishes of a gifted maverick in the long grey line of business.

Pub Date: May 7th, 1969
Publisher: Harper & Row