Little Bits of History

March 21

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 21, 2017

1931: The Great Dayton Flood begins. The Great Miami River flows from Indian Lake in Logan County, Ohio and travels through seven counties in Ohio and one in Indiana before reaching the Ohio River in Hamilton County, Ohio. The 170 mile river has a flood plain covering about 4,000 square miles. The winter had dropped a lot of snow in the area and during the end of March, three winter storms dropped even more moisture as 8-11 inches of rain fell over three days. The ground, already saturated from the winter melt, held little of the new rain and there was more than 90% runoff into the tributaries and river. While much of the region saw some flooding during these storms, none were as high as in the southwest corner of Ohio along the Miami River.

Dayton was the most affected, but Piqua, Troy, and Hamilton also had serious water problems. Dayton’s downtown was submerged in places 20 feet deep. Dayton’s biggest issue was geographic. The town was built around the convergences of three tributaries of the Miami – Stillwater River, Mad River, and Wolf Creek. The town was founded in 1795 and local Indians had warned of major floods every couple decades which continued through the 1800s with five major flood events – 1803, 1828, 1847, 1866, and 1898. On this day, Good Friday, the temperatures were warm and the first of the three storms arrived. Overnight, temperatures dropped to below freezing so when a morning storm hit, even less water could be absorbed. Easter Sunday had the third storm hit.

The flooding was not unusual and the citizens were carrying on in the face of the spring floods – until the Herman Street levee was found to be weakening. Before dawn on Tuesday, the levee had water to the top and it was still flowing at 100,000 cubic feet per second which was unprecedented. Water began to overflow by 6 AM and two hours later other levees began to fail as well. The water crested early Wednesday morning, around 1.30 AM and to add to the confusion, a gas explosion started a fire which destroyed even more property. Fires were starting all over the city and the fire departments were unable to reach them.

More than 360 people died in the flooding and about 65,000 people were displaced as 20,000 homes were destroyed. Buildings were moved off foundations or completely washed away and the debris in the water damaged those building able to stay standing. About 1,400 horses and 2,000 other domestic animals died. Property damage to homes, business, factories, and railroads was more than $100 million dollars (over $2 billion today). Another of the items lost was the history of early flight. The Wright Brothers of Dayton had many historical artifacts stored in their shop and destroyed or damaged by the flood.

Years of drought and famine come and years of flood and famine come, and the climate is not changed with dance, libation or prayer. – John Wesley Powell

The hurricane flooded me out of a lot of memorabilia, but it can’t flood out the memories. – Tom Dempsey

It’s a relief to hear the rain. It’s the sound of billions of drops, all equal, all equally committed to falling, like a sudden outbreak of democracy. Water, when it hits the ground, instantly becomes a puddle or rivulet or flood. – Alice Oswald

New flood maps in many states have raised the estimation of flood risks along rivers, streams and oceans, adding many properties to flood zones for the first time. – Bill Dedman

March 20

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 20, 2017

1852: Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published in two volumes. Harriet Beecher was born in 1811, the seventh of thirteen children. Her father was a Calvinist preacher; her mother died when she was five. Harriet was enrolled in her sister’s school, Hartford Female Seminary, and given a traditional education usually reserved for boys. When she was 21, she moved to Cincinnati where she helped her father, president of Lane Theological Seminary. She also joined a literary club. Cincinnati was a boom town on the Ohio River where many immigrants as well as free blacks competed for jobs on the canals and railroads. Riots broke out on at least three occasions as factions fought for scarce jobs.

Harriet met Calvin Stowe at the literary club but he was also a professor at the seminary. The two married. Both were abolitionists and they supported the Underground Railroad, even temporarily housing runaway slaves in their home. In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law was passed, making it illegal to help runaways find their way to freedom. By that time, the Stowes were living in Maine and it was there Harriet had a dream about a dying slave and it inspired her to write this story. During this time, she also lost her toddler son, which increased her empathy. She wrote to the editor at National Era and her tale began serialization there on June 5, 1851. Weekly installments ran until April 1, 1852 and Harriet was paid $400 for her story.

John P Jewett made an initial print run of 5,000 copies of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly with each of the two volumes containing three drawings and the title page done by Hammatt Billings. In less than a year, 300,000 copies of the book had sold, an astounding number of books back then. The main goal of the book was to educate northerners about the horrible treatment of slaves in the South. A secondary goal was to increase empathy for those still enslaved in the South. Stowe wrote a total of 30 books, including a sequel to her most famous work. She also had travel memoirs and collections of articles and letters published.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin relates the tale of a benevolent slave holder forced by economic reasons into selling two of his slaves, Uncle Tom and the maid, Eliza’s, son. Eliza and her son escape, but Tom is sold. Eliza is hunted; Tom is horribly mistreated by Simon Legree. Tom’s faith in God and his stubborn refusal to be broken by his new owner enrage Legree to the point of ordering him to be killed. Eliza’s family tries to rescue him, but is too late. Eliza’s family survives and escapes to Liberia and George Shelby, the man who sold his slaves at the beginning of the tale, repents his ways and frees all his remaining slaves.

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.

Friendships are discovered rather than made.

It’s a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done.

To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization. – all from Harriet Beecher Stowe

March 19

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 19, 2017

1649: The House of Lords is abolished by the House of Commons in England. England then, and the UK now, had a bicameral parliament. The upper house was the House of Lords while the lower house was the House of Commons. The Lords were hereditary titles passed from noble father to his legal heirs. The medieval practice of entitlement or “titles” began by decree with a Writ of Summons beginning in 1265 and by 1388 by Letters Patent. Titles were passed by primogeniture or to the eldest son of the prior title holder. There was a long standing attempt to reform the House of Lords, begining in 1539.

The House of Lords is made up of two distinct groups. The first is the Lords Spiritual (today these are archbishops and bishops of the Church of England) and Lords Temporal who are, as the name implies, not religious entities but peers of the realm. The English Civil War was a battle for power to run the nation with the Royalist or Cavaliers led by King Charles I, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, and Charles II pitted against the Parliamentarians or Roundheads led by the Earl of Essex Robert Devereux, Thomas Fairfax, and Oliver Cromwell. The third wave of war from 1649-51 had Charles II fighting the Rump Parliament, the residual members who survived Thomas Pride’s purge of 1648.

On this day the House of Commons passed an act which declared the House of Lords to not only be useless, but dangerous. They therefore decided to abolish the upper house and any meeting of the Lords altogether. This was never recognized by either the Lords nor the King and so was never enacted. The Lords Temporal resumed meeting in 1660 which restored the monarchy and the Clergy Act of 1661 readmitted the Lords Spiritual to the House.

Today, there are 1,461 seats in the Parliament of the United Kingdom with 811 of them in the upper house and 650 in the lower. The Lord Speaker is Lord Fowler who took up the post in September 2016. Baron Fowler, currently politically non-affiliated but previously a member of the Conservative party, has been a member of parliament since 1970.  John Bercow is the Speaker of the House of Commons and has been since June 2009. He, as is necessary as part of the job, is non-partisan but was also a Conservative party member prior to his current position. They meet at the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, London and along with Queen Elizabeth II as Queen in Parliament are the legislative body of Great Britain’s government.

The cure for admiring the House of Lords is to go and look at it. – Walter Bagehot

The House of Lords is like a glass of champagne that has stood for five days. – Clement Attlee

A man may speak very well in the House of Commons, and fail very completely in the House of Lords. There are two distinct styles requisite: I intend, in the course of my career, if I have time, to give a specimen of both. – Benjamin Disraeli

The House of Lords is the British Outer Mongolia for retired politicians. – Tony Benn

March 18

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 18, 2017

1850: American Express is founded in Buffalo, New York. It began as an express mail service, aka special delivery service when Henry Wells, William G Fargo, and John Warren Butterfield merged their companies to create a larger business. Two years later, Wells and Fargo wished to expand out to California and were thwarted so they started Wells Fargo & Co. American Express was originally headquartered on the corner of Jay Street and Hudson Street in Manhattan. They held a monopoly on moving goods, securities, and currency along with other items throughout New York State. They eventually partnered with other express companies, including Wells Fargo, along with railroads and steamship companies and went nationwide.

In 1882 American Express went into the money order business to compete with the USPS. In the late 1880s, William Fargo’s brother was traveling in Europe and despite having traditional letters of credit, found it difficult to get money in any but the largest European cities. Upon his return, he had Marcellus Berry create a better way – the Traveler’s Cheque was launched in 1891. This service made American Express an international company. At the outbreak of World War I, American Express in Europe was one of the few companies willing to assist Americans stranded there by the war. The British selected them as their official express service, delivering letters, money, and parcels to British POWs and the end of the war, they were delivering 150 tons per day to POWs in six countries.

President Theodore Roosevelt had them investigated for monopolizing the railroad express service. Nothing immediately happened, but during World War I, President Woodrow Wilson needed to commandeer the railroads for troop movements and other war efforts. The monopoly was broken and a new company formed, much of which had been former American Express business assets.

American Express first proposed to offer a travel charge card in 1946 but they did not enter the field until 1958, eight years after Diners Club became the first independent credit card company. American Express cards were so popular, 250,000 were issued before the launch date. The next year, they began to issue plastic cards, an industry first. They began to issue Gold and Platinum cards to different markets and for a time had Optima cards as well. It wasn’t until the 1980s that American Express began their push to become a financial service super company. For more than a decade, new companies were purchased to expand the investment banking side of the business. The last of these were sold off in 1994.

 Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will. – Nelson Mandela

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. – Henry Ford

A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart. – Jonathan Swift

When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is. – Oscar Wilde

March 17

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 17, 2017

1337: Edward, the Black Prince, is made Duke of Cornwall. Edward was born in June 1330 at Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire to King Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. He was the first of nine children and the first to be made a Duke – in all of England. He was only two when he was made an Earl and nearly seven on this day when the first duchy was created for him. He became Prince of Wales shortly before turning 13. He served as symbolic regent three times while his father was away on campaigns. Edward married his cousin Jane when he was 31, which raised some eyebrows, not because they were cousins, but because Jane had been married secretly, then wed to another while her first husband was away at war. Her first husband returned, her second marriage was annulled, she had five children before becoming a widow, and then she married the future King of England.

Edward had four sons by various other women before he married Jane and the two had two more sons together. Their sons were born in France where Edward and Jane were the Prince and Princess of Aquitaine. While in Spain, fight to restore Don Pedro the Cruel to the Castilian throne, he contracted an illness which plagued him until his death ten years later. Since he predeceased his father, his son was next in line for the throne. His eldest son, Edward, had died at the age of five and Richard was next in line, a duty he assumed at the age of ten.

Today’s Duke of Cornwall is Prince Charles. The position is traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning British monarch. It is one of the two remaining duchies in England, the other being the Ducky of Lancaster. The Duke inherits possession of the duchy and the title of Duke of Cornwall at birth, or when his parent assumes the throne. He is not, however, permitted to sell assets for personal benefit and also has limited rights and income when still a minor. If the King/Queen of England has no male children, the rights and responsibilities return to The Crown and there would be no current Duke.

The Duchy lands cover 135,000 acres, mostly in Devon with other holdings in Cornwall, Herefordshire, Somerset, and the Isles of Scilly. There is an associated investment portfolio which was valued at £763 million in 2013 and showed an annual profit of £19 million. The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate of the British monarch so today, belongs to Queen Elizabeth II. This is a smaller holding of about 45,550 acres and along with a portfolio is worth about £472 million. The annual income is £16 million. The Prince and the Queen voluntarily pay income tax on earning, minus expenses, from their holdings.

Something as curious as the monarchy won’t survive unless you take account of people’s attitudes. After all, if people don’t want it, they won’t have it.

Do you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress?

Perhaps it has been too uncomfortable for those with vested interests to acknowledge, but we have spent the best part of the past century enthusiastically testing the world to utter destruction; not looking closely enough at the long-term impact our actions will have.

I sometimes wonder if two thirds of the globe is covered in red carpet. – all from Prince Charles

March 16

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 16, 2017

597 BC: Nebuchadnezzar captures Jerusalem. The Babylonian Chronicles are stone tablets recording major events in Babylonian history and were written from the reign of Nabonassar up to the Parthian Period (747 BC – 247 BC) or a period of about 500 years. Using these historical records, the date for the capture of Jerusalem was given as 2 Adar, making it March 16. Nebuchadnezzar was the oldest son and successor to Nabopolassar who was the ruler who managed to extricate Babylon from 300 years of servitude to Assyria. His armies along with those of the Medes, Persians, Scythians, and Cimmerians were able to overtake Nineveh. Nabopolassar wanted to control Aram, land belong to Necho II, under Assyrian rule. In 605 BC, he was able to defeat both the Egyptian and Assyrian armies and take control of all Babylon. He died in August and his son, Nebuchadnezzar, became ruler.

Nebuchadnezzar began to conquer lands westward and married the daughter of the Median king to assure peace on that front. He still waged wars/battles in order to bring more lands under his reign. He quashed rebellions and moved into the Levant. On this day he was finally able to take Jerusalem and deposed King Jehoiakim. Zedekiah was installed as the local ruler of Jerusalem shortly after the capture. This worked well for a time, but ten years later there was more rebellion in the region. Nebuchadnezzar returned and destroyed Jerusalem, taking many of the prominent Jews back to Babylon.

Babylon was a major city lying in the Fertile Crescent, the lands between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. It was first settled around 2300 BC and grew in importance with the First Amorite Babylonian Dynasty beginning in 1894 BC. It was one of the holy cities in the region and became even more powerful when Hammurabi created the first Babylonian Empire. For over a thousand years, it was of less importance until the Neo-Babylonian Empire (609-539 BC) when the Hanging Gardens of Babylon grew for Nebuchadnezzar to impress his Median Queen. Or maybe this wonder of the world was always a mythic idealization of eastern gardens.

Whether or not he built great gardens, Nebuchadnezzar did carry out many great building projects to bring back Babylon’s to previous days of glory. He restored old temples and built new one to the many gods of the Babylonian pantheon. He built an underground passage beneath the Euphrates to connect his palace on one side of the mighty river to the buildings on the other. He also bridged the river to create a walking path over it, also connecting the two parts of the city. He built a triple line of walls around Babylon to protect it from attack. All of these building projects took manpower, which was made up of the captured people from his many raids and wars.

While I pride myself on trying to be creative in all areas of my life, I have occasionally gone overboard, like the time I decided to bring to a party a salad that I constructed, on a huge rattan platter, to look like a miniature scale model of the Gardens of Babylon. – Gregory Maguire

Our earliest evidence of government, in the ruins of Babylon and Egypt, shows nothing but ziggurats and pyramids of wasted taxpayer money, the TARP funds and shovel-ready stimulus programs of their day. – P. J. O’Rourke

What has history said of eminence without honor, wealth without wisdom, power and possessions without principle? The answer is reiterated in the overthrow of the mightiest empires of ancient times. Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome! The four successive, universal powers of the past. What and where are they? – Orson F. Whitney

The collapse of the Tower of Babel is perhaps the central urban myth. It is certainly the most disquieting. In Babylon, the great city that fascinated and horrified the Biblical writers, people of different races and languages, drawn together in pursuit of wealth, tried for the first time to live together – and failed. – Neil MacGregor

March 15

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 15, 2017

1956: My Fair Lady premieres on Broadway. The musical was based on George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion. Book and lyrics for the production were by Alan Jay Lerner with music by Frederick Lowe. In the 1930s, Gabriel Pascal had acquired rights to make several of Shaw’s plays into movies. Shaw had a bad experience with one of the earlier attempts and refused to give permission to turn Pygmalion into a musical. After Shaw died in 1950, Pascal began work on turning Shaw’s play into the musical he had envisioned decades before. It had previously been attempted by well-known composer/lyricists and even Rogers and Hammerstein had failed in their attempts. It was deemed to be impossible and so Lerner and Lowe abandoned the projects. Pascal died without his musical.

Lerner read the obituary and began to wonder if they could pull it off and he and Lowe began working on the project again. The musical had its pre-Broadway run at New Haven’s Shubert Theatre and Rex Harrison, playing the lead role of Henry Higgins, was unused to having a live orchestra in the pit. He refused to go on. Everyone was sent home but Harrison finally relented. They were all called back and the first performance was a hit. They moved from there to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for four weeks. Finally, on this day, they opened on Broadway with Harrison still as Higgins and Julie Andrews playing Eliza Dolittle.

Opening night was at the Mark Hellinger Theater before it moved to Broadhurst Theatre and then The Broadway Theatre. It ran for 2,717 performances before closing on September 29, 1962. Eventually Edward Mulhare and Sally Ann Howes replaces Harrison and Andrews for the leads. The original cast recording became a best-selling album. The original costumes were created by Cecil Beaton and are part of a museum collection today. The stars left the Broadway production in order to open in London’s West End which opened on April 30, 1958 where it ran for 2,281 performances before closing in 1963.

There have been many more reprisals of the award-winning musical along with movie production of My Fair Lady which again had Rex Harrison playing Higgins, but Audrey Hepburn took over the Eliza role. Shaw wrote the original work based on the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor. He creates the most perfect statue of his ideal woman and because he loved the work so purely, Aphrodite granted his wish and the statue came to life and the two were married and lived happily ever after. In My Fair Lady, the ending is not so certain. Eliza returns to Henry, but the story is left with an ambiguous ending.

We will write the show without the rights, and when the time comes for them to decide who is to get them, we will be so far ahead of everyone else that they will be forced to give them to us. – Frederick Lowe, when the rights to Shaw’s work were in dispute

[He] announced that under no circumstances would he go on that night…with those thirty-two interlopers in the pit. – Alan Jay Lerner, referring to Harrison’s refusal to work with a live orchestra

The Lerner-Loewe songs are not only delightful, they advance the action as well. They are ever so much more than interpolations, or interruptions. – Robert Coleman

Eliza, where the devil are my slippers? – Henry Higgins (last line of the musical)

March 14

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 14, 2017

2015: Best Pi Day since the Julian calendar came into being. The first known celebration was in 1988 when Larry Shaw, a physicist at the San Francisco Exploratorium, first brought pies in to celebrate the mathematical constant π. A mathematical constant is a “special” number and there are several of them with pi being one of the most common and the only one to have a day set aside to celebrate it. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is an irrational number and although 22/7 is often used mathematically, it is imprecise. 3.14 is also imprecise as the actual number goes on and on and on forever without repeating integers.

The word pi and the word pie are pronounced the same in English and pies have the added feature of usually being round. It was in this spirit that Shaw brought people together in order to march around in circles before eating fruit pies brought in for the event. The Exploratorium continues to have a Pi Day each year and the practice has spread. Some countries who do not use the mm/dd method of posting a date celebrate Pi Day on July 22 since their dd/mm method gives them 22/7 to play with.

Pi can be calculated out quite far using very sophisticated mathematical procedures. However, the number is often shortened to just the first two places after the decimal point or 3.14 making March 14 the day to celebrate. But the number is much, much longer. Another fun day was in 1592 because that was the first time since the introduction of the Julian calendar the number extended and 3.141592 was reached. But on this day, 3/14/15, at 9:26:53 the date was nine decimal places out or the first ten digits of pi. And it managed to do this twice, once in the morning and for those not using a 24 hours clock, again in the evening.

In 2009, HRES 224, a non-binding resolution from the US House of Representatives recognized March 14, 2009 as National Pi Day. In 2010, Google had a Doodle with circles and the pi symbol to celebrate. In 2014, the entire month was considered to be Pi Month since it was 3/14. Massachusetts Institute of Technology has often mailed out their acceptance letters to arrive on Pi Day since they are a math and science based institution. Beginning in 2012, they began to post acceptances (privately) online at exactly 6.28 PM, which they have called Tau Time. Albert Eagle proposed, in 1958 that τ be used as a symbol for 1/2π because π resembles two τ symbols conjoined (ττ). And τ is tau.

Fischer, the great American chess champion, famously said, ‘Chess is life.’ I would say, ‘Pi is life.’ – Daniel Tammet

I recited Pi to 22,514 decimal points in five hours and nine minutes. I was able to do this because of weeks of study, aided by the unusual synaesthesic way my mind perceives numbers as complex multidimensional coloured and textured shapes. – Daniel Tammet

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. – Albert Einstein

Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things. – Henri Poincare

March 13

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 13, 2017

1988: The Seikan Tunnel opens. The Tsugaru Strait lies between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan. Linking the two islands was considered during the Taisho period (1912-1925) but was not undertaken. Surveying began in earnest in 1946 after World War II ended and Japan lost territory overseas and had returning soldiers looking for work. In 1954, a typhoon sunk five ferries traveling in the Strait and killed 1,430 passengers. The next year, the Japanese National Railroad (JNR) increased pressure to build a tunnel connecting the two islands. Between 1955 and 1965, the ferries operated by JNR saw passenger rates double to over 4 million passengers a year and cargo levels rose to over 6 million tons. It was predicted that by 1971, the need for movement across the water would outstrip the docks’ ability to process passengers and cargo and there was no space to increase docks.

In September 1971, it was finally decided to build a tunnel. Construction on the 33.46 mile tunnel had 14.5 miles under the seabed. The track lies 330 feet beneath the sea and 790 feet below sea level. The now-dual gauge railway tunnel connects Aomori Prefecture on Honshu with the more northern island of Hokkaido. Both the standard gauge Hokkaido Shinakansen and the narrow gauge Kaikyo Line are able to traverse the tunnel. Construction efforts needed to overcome severe geological conditions and there were 34 workers killed during construction.

The estimated usage of the tunnel was exaggerated. The slowdown in the Japanese and world economies were at least in part to blame. Instead of traffic peaking in 1985, traffic peaked in 1978, ten years before the tunnel was able to be fully operational. The cost of construction was ¥538.4 billion ($3.6 billion in US currency). After the tunnel was completed, all rail traffic used the tunnel rather than ferries. However, passenger usage was less due to the cost and the availability of quicker air travel. There were overnight and luxury trains introduced, but they were not popular, still costing too much and taking too much time, especially after local air travel was deregulated.

There are two stations within the tunnel. They are to be used as emergency escape points in the event of a fire or other disaster. This is needed due to the length of the tunnel, the longest underwater tunnel in the world, with the caveat that the Chunnel has more tunnel underwater but the tunnel itself is shorter. The two station had, at one time, museums about the history of the tunnel which could be visited by special tours. These are no longer inexistence. The two stations remain the first of their kind, the first rail stations built underwater.

To survive, you’ve got to keep wheedling your way. You can’t just sit there and fight against odds when it’s not going to work. You have to turn a corner, dig a hole, go through a tunnel – and find a way to keep moving. – Twyla Tharp

The light at the end of the tunnel is just the light of an oncoming train. – Robert Lowell

Struggling is hard because you never know what’s at the end of the tunnel. – Don Rickles

If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you are looking the wrong way. – Barry Commoner

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March 12

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 12, 2017

2009: Bernard Madoff pleads guilty. Madoff was born in Queens, New York in 1938. His father was a plumber and stockbroker. Bernie graduated from Hofstra University in 1960 with a degree in political science and briefly attended Brooklyn Law School before opening his own Wall Street firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. He was chairman of the company from its inception until his arrest on December 11, 2008. He began his firm as a penny stock trader with $5,000 (about $40,000 today), money he earned as a lifeguard and sprinkler installer. He got a loan of $50,000 from his father-in-law and the business began. They developed a system of information capturing that, after a trial run, was used to develop the NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations).

The business was a market maker (quoted bids and asking prices) and functioned as a third-market provider, directly executing orders from retail brokers without the input of exchange specialist firms. At one time, Madoff Securities was the largest market maker at the NASDAQ and by 2008 was the sixth-largest one on Wall Street. There was another division, investment management and advisory division, which did not publicize and was the origin of the fraud investigation. Between 1991 and 2008, Madoff and his wife contributed about $240,000 to various political candidates including a $25,000 per year donation to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (some of this money has since been returned to the bankruptcy trustee). Members of his family also served as leaders of SIFMA, a securities industry organization.

Madoff first came under scrutiny in a fraud investigation in 1992 but he returned all monies and closed the case. In 2004, the SEC’s office for compliance investigations found several inconsistencies and asked for further questioning. The lawyer in charge was told to ignore problems by Eric Swanson who eventually married Madoff’s niece. All this time, Madoff’s wealth management business was reporting much higher than usual earnings. No major Wall Street firms invested with him because his numbers were unbelievable. By December 2008, his self-admitted Ponzi scheme came crashing down. He was unable to pay clients and he was arrested for securities fraud.

Madoff was able to post the $10 million bond and was living his is Upper East Side penthouse apartment under 24-hour monitoring. On this day Judge Denny Chin revoked his bail and sent him to jail citing Madoff’s flight risk status. Incarcerated, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies: securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, making false statements, perjury, theft from employee benefit plans, and false filing with the SEC. He had defrauded clients of $65 billion, the largest Ponzi scheme in history. He was sentences to 150 years in prison and forfeiture of all assets.

Fuck my victims. I carried them for twenty years, and now I’m doing 150 years.

It was a nightmare for me. I wish they caught me six years ago, eight years ago.

What do I do with my life now?

I was astonished. They never even looked at my stock records. If investigators had checked with The Depository Trust Company, a central securities depository, it would’ve been easy for them to see. If you’re looking at a Ponzi scheme, it’s the first thing you do. – all from Bernie Madoff