Category THE PATH FROM CAUSE TO EFFECT

A Mississippi Experiment

On the eve of the largest economic downturn in American history—the Great Depression —economic spirits ran high in the halls of high finance. Caldwell and Company’s slogan “We Bank on the South” reflected the confidence of a regional financial empire. Based in Nashville, Caldwell ran the largest Southern banking chain in the 1920s, and owned many nonbanking businesses as well. Rogers Caldwell, known as the J. R Morgan of the South, lived large on an estate that housed his stable of prize-winning thoroughbreds. Alas, in November of 1930, mismanagement and fallout from the stock market crash of October 1929 brought the Caldwell empire down. Within days, Caldwell’s collapse felled closely tied banking networks in Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, and North Carolina...

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