Jenkins At Law, LLC  

by Alan Jenkins with Kaitlyn Jenkins

The Great Depression begins to silence the Roaring Twenties while James Campbell, Charles Schwab and Eugene Grace dream of merging Youngstown Sheet & Tube and Bethlehem Steel into a mighty steel company. Cyrus Eaton, a dapper financial dynamo, has his own dream of industrial power and stands in their way. He will spare no expense. As the nation’s attention turns to the fast-growing industrial city of Youngstown, Ohio, the parties hire famed lawyers Newton Baker and Luther Day and top accountants George May and A.C. Ernst. These are the Gehrigs and Ruths of the legal and financial world, and they battle before one immigrant judge who will decide the outcome. Along the way, three high school friends have their own dreams tested in the crucible of life. Dance the Charleston in speakeasies, pay the mob for protection, stand in soup kitchen lines, and experience $TEEL DREAM$

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HISTORIC BACKGROUND:  After the stock market crash the previous fall, 1930 opened with business leaders publicly proclaiming there would be no full-scale economic depression, while privately scrambling to save their businesses. Reeling capital markets no longer could support infrastructure projects. Soaring unemployment sent sales of automobiles and other consumer products plummeting. All of this meant sharply reduced orders for steel. The nation’s second and third largest steel companies sought to ride out the downturn by combining interests so as to rival the mighty U.S. Steel. But this merger would have a significant impact on communities dependent on steel manufacturing, particularly the Youngstown, Ohio area where Sheet & Tube was a dominant employer. Youngstown’s population had tripled in just 30 years as immigrants from around the world streamed to the Steel Valley for manufacturing jobs. It had the nation’s third highest percentage of citizens earning $1000 or more per year and the fifth highest percentage of home ownership. Cy Eaton, a rising financial star trained by John D. Rockefeller, championed the cause of Youngstown and the industrial Midwest against New York financial interests blamed for the stock market crash. But was Eaton only advancing his own financial interests? 

SOCIAL BACKGROUND:  “They had a number of shows and theaters to pick from in the bustling downtown area. Greta Garbo’s new all-talking film, Romance, was playing at the State Theater, Joan Crawford was starring in Our Blushing Brides at the Keith Palace and The Man From Wyoming with Gary Cooper was showing over at the Paramount.”  ©

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Posted in Articles, Articles written by Alan Jenkins

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