Biography and History

Harvey E. Fisk (1856-1944) was a New York City banker who also wrote numerous pamphlets and books on public finance for Bankers Trust Company of New York. He specialized in railroad securities and public finance.

Harvey Edward Fisk was born on March 26, 1856 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was one of eight children, the eldest son, of Harvey and Louisa (Green) Fisk. Fisk earned his A.B. from Princeton University in 1877, where he studied English literature and economics. He married Mary Lee Scudder on October 1, 1879 and they had two sons, Harvey E. Fisk, Jr. and Kenneth Fisk.

Fisk joined his father's banking house of Fisk & Hatch in New York City immediately after his graduation in 1877. The firm specialized in the sale of United States government bonds and railroad securities, which caused Fisk to develop an interest in government and railroad financing. He studied these fields throughout his career and later focused on public finance. Fisk & Hatch was dissolved in 1885. That same year, Harvey Fisk formed the firm of Harvey Fisk & Sons, also in New York City, with his three eldest sons: Harvey E., Charles, and Pliny. The firm also specialized in transactions in United States bonds and other high class investment securities, with Fisk specializing in railroad bonds.

Fisk resigned from Harvey Fisk & Sons in 1898 and spent the next six months traveling through Europe with his family. He then returned to New York City and formed the investment banking firm of Fisk & Robinson with George H. Robinson in 1899. The business was successful in its early years but began experiencing difficulties in 1910. Following the closure of Fisk & Robinson in 1914, Fisk returned to Harvey Fisk & Sons, where he was in charge of publicity.

In April 1917, Fisk changed firms for the last time in his career, becoming a research writer at Bankers Trust Company of New York. During World War I, he was chiefly involved in the preparation of pamphlets to promote the purchasing of Liberty Bonds. After the war, he continued to work in the publicity department of the bank, writing pamphlets and several books on public finance. His books include Our Public Debt (1919), The Dominion of Canada (1920), English Public Finance from the Revolution of 1688 (1920), French Public Finance in the Great War and To-Day (1922), and The Inter-ally Debts (1924). Fisk retired in 1930.

In addition to his banking career, Fisk was also engaged in philanthropic activities. He sponsored a boy's club in New York City and raised funds for Mercer Hospital in Trenton, New Jersey. He was also a longtime supporter of the Princeton University Library, where he was the Honorary Curator of the Benjamin Strong Collection. Fisk's collection of publications on corporate finance was donated to the library by his brother, Pliny Fisk. Harvey E. Fisk died on October 8, 1944.

Source: From the finding aid for MC050

  • Harvey E. Fisk Papers. 1889-1944 (inclusive), 1910-1930 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC050

    Harvey E. Fisk (1856-1944) was a New York City banker who also wrote numerous pamphlets and books on public finance for Bankers Trust Company of New York. He specialized in railroad securities and public finance. Fisk's papers document his work as an author and include his research files, notes, and drafts of articles and books.

  • Harvey E. Fisk Papers. 1889-1944 (inclusive), 1910-1930 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC050

    Harvey E. Fisk (1856-1944) was a New York City banker who also wrote numerous pamphlets and books on public finance for Bankers Trust Company of New York. He specialized in railroad securities and public finance. Fisk's papers document his work as an author and include his research files, notes, and drafts of articles and books.