Marcus Goldman (December 9, 1821 – July 20, 1904) was a German-born American businessman and entrepreneur. He was born in Trappstadt, Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1848. He was the founder of Goldman Sachs, which is now one of the world's largest and most prestigious global investment banks and is now a bank holding company.
Goldman came from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, the son of Ella and Wolf Goldmann, a former schoolteacher and cattle dealer. He immigrated to the United States from Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 1848 during the first great wave of Jewish immigration to America, resulting from the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states.
Upon arriving in America, he worked as a peddler with a horse-drawn cart and later as a shopkeeper in Philadelphia. There, Goldman met and married eighteen year old Bertha Goldman (no relation), who had also emigrated from Germany in 1848.
In 1869, with his wife and five children, Goldman relocated to New York City and hung out a shingle on Pine Street in lower Manhattan, with the legend Marcus Goldman & Co., setting himself up as a broker of IOUs.
From his earliest days of his business, Goldman was able to singlehandedly transact as much as $5 million worth of commercial paper a year. Successful though he was, Goldman's business was insignificant compared to that of the other Jewish-German bankers of the day. Concerns like J. & W. Seligman & Co., with working capital of $6 million in 1869, were already modern-day investment bankers immersed in underwriting and trading railroad bonds.
Goldman's youngest daughter, Louisa, married Samuel Sachs, the son of close friends and fellow Lower Franconia, Bavaria immigrants. Louisa's older sister and Sam's older brother had already married.
In 1882, Marcus Goldman invited his son-in-law Samuel to join him in the business and changed the firm's name to M. Goldman and Sachs. Business boomed—by 1880 the new firm was turning over $30 million worth of paper a year—and the firm's capital was now $100,000, all of it the senior partner's.
For almost fifty years after its inception, all of Goldman Sachs's partners were members of intermarried families. In 1885, Goldman took his own son Henry and his son-in-law Ludwig Dreyfuss into the business as junior partners and the firm adopted its present name, Goldman Sachs & Co. In 1894, Henry Sachs entered the firm, and in 1896, the firm joined the New York Stock Exchange.
When Marcus Goldman retired, he left the firm in the hands of his son Henry Goldman and his son-in-law Samuel Sachs. In 1904, two of Sam Sachs's sons, Arthur and Paul, joined the firm straight out of Harvard University.
In the summer of 1904, Marcus Goldman died. From humble beginnings, the institution he left behind would soon become a full-service investment bank. With the advent of underwriting, coupled with the extensive lending, foreign exchange, and trading operations, the structure of Goldman Sachs was in place. Although much smaller and less sophisticated, it was already recognizable as the firm it would become.
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Goldman was a German-born Jewish American businessman and entrepreneur. He was born in Trappstadt, Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1848. He was a co-founder of Goldman Sachs, which is now one of the world's largest and most prestigious global investment banks and is now a bank holding company.