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HALLGARTEN , family of U.S. bankers. lazarus hallgarten (d. 1875), a native of Frankfurt, Germany, arrived in New York in 1848 and in 1850 opened an office for exchanging immigrants' currency. By establishing connections with Frankfurt and other European banking centers, he and his partners developed a successful foreign exchange business. During the 1860s the firm became prominent as one of the largest gold bullion dealers in the United States. For its role on "Black Friday" (September 24, 1869) in stabilizing the price of gold that had been skyrocketed by the speculations of Jay Gould, the firm received official recognition by the United States Treasury. During the latter part of the 19th century the firm was engaged in the reorganization of the country's major railroads, and expanded its trading in bonds and stocks. In 1881 it became a member of the New York Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, Lazarus' sons charles (1838–1908) and julius (d. 1884) had joined the firm, and the financing of industrial combines became a major field for Hallgarten & Co. World War i saw an intensification of the firm's domestic business, and between the two world wars the firm acted as fiscal agents for many foreign governments, and established offices and representations in almost all the European financial centers. With the passing of the 1934 Securities and Exchange Act it limited itself to underwriting and general brokerage business. As late as 1950 the majority of the firm's active members were direct descendants of a partner of Lazarus Hallgarten. Most of the Hallgartens were interested in community activities as well as in the arts. Lazarus' son, Charles, who moved to Frankfurt and conducted the firm's banking affairs there, was especially active in philanthropic work. He held a leading position in the *Alliance Israélite Universelle, the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden, and the Jewish Colonization Association, and helped to organize efforts for the relief and emigration of the Jewish victims of the Russian pogroms. He was the founder of the Gesellschaft zur Erforschung Juedischer Kunstdenkmaeler (Society for Research of Monuments of Jewish Art). He also helped to found an association for public education and a legal aid office for women.


R. Hallgarten, Charles L. Hallgarten (Ger., 1915); Reden gehalten bei der Beerdigung des Herrn Charles L. Hallgarten (1908); W. Emrich, Bildnisse Frankfurter Demokraten (1956), 22–25; ndb, 7 (1966).

[Joachim O. Ronall]