“The Story of a Street” ブックレビュー

Author’ Background This book “The Story of a Street” was published in December, 1908. I tried to research this old book’ author, Hill Frederick Trevor, but there is not the author’ name even on special sources such as encyclopedias, who’ who, and scholar’ digest. At last, I found the author’ name on ” Book Review Digest ” and ” New York Times Book Review “. However, these articles are the explanation not about author himself but about the books written by him. According to ” Book Review Digest ” , this author, Hill, had written two books which are ” Decisive battle of the law ” pablished in 1907 and this book, ” Story of a street ” published in 1908 . ” Decisive battle of the law ” must be a book literally about law. Book review digest remarks that the author writes with acute legal knowledge and abundant information. Also, ” Story of a street ” is a work of synthesis about wall street’ histoty within the political, legal, and social stractures. Though there is not plenty of information about Mr. Hill, based on these information he is conjactured as a person who is conversant with the law and history in those days.


Since Henry Hudson, seeking a water route to the orient for the Dutch East India Company, explored the New York harbour, New York had become Dutch colony called New Amsterdam. Whithin the southern end of Manhattan Island, almost a thousand colonists were living in nearly two handred houses. Governor Willern kieft warned these interested colonists to erect a barrier at the north of the settlement to prevent the straying of cattle and to protect them from the Indians on April 4th, 1644. This barricade became a cattle guard which was the northen line, running certainly from the present Willam street to Broadway, and marked the farthest limits of New Amsterdam and practically determined the location of Wall street. In 1653, Kieft’ old cattle guard was removed and Governor Stuyvesant erected palisade on its line. In 1664, British captured New Amsterdam and renamed it New York after Duke of York, brother of king CharlesⅡand new Governor Colonel removed Stuyvesant’ palisade. Afterwords, New York had expanded to northern area of Manhattan Island, and also Wall street started to develop as the center of New York. In 1690痴, Trinity Church was erected at its western end and City Hall was erected at the corner of Wall street and Nassau street. In the early 18th century, Captain kidd became a property holder and the Long Island Ferry, Meal market, and Slave market were developed at its eastern end. Moreover, in 18th century, New York residents performed their insistence against British rule in City Hall on Wall street. Peter Zenger won freedom of press in 1735. Stamp – Act congress was assembled and denounced British Policy of taxation in 1765. Declaration of independence was read in 1776. After independence of the thirteen colonies, New York became the capital of the nation and George Washington took oath as nations first president in Federal Hall which used to be City Hall. Meanwhile, new forms of financial organizations were born on Wall street in this age. Bank of NewYork was organized by Alexander Hamilton and at last first stock exchange opened in 1792. In 19th century, New York had scored another gain in population, and Wall street which had once been the center of goverment had become transformed completely. The old buildings had disappeared and new modern buildings had been constructed such as the Custom house and the Bank of the United States. The banks and insurance companies delivered new field of work which was the lawers like Washington Irving.


Objectives Generally speaking, the colloquial ” Wall street ” , as is well known, means a business neighborhood in lower Manhattan. This familiar fact is illustrated as the main point in usual books about Wall street. However, this book, ” The story of a street ” has a different subject which tell the history of one street in Manhattan.The author begins this story from the point which the cattle guard was erected. The barricade of the cattle guard marked the northern line of New Amsterdam. Then, it was removed and palisade was erected on its line which became the origin of ” Wall “. In addition, Wall street shows various faces such as a center of independent movement, first states capital, and the financial center in the period of its development. The author tells the story of wall street in detail from this origin to the time when it become a financial center. Because this book is a historical text, the author was simply marshaling of historical facts. Yet to recall the origin or the reason why something happened is significant for the present people to acknowledge something’ working. In short, the author tried to tell the readers why Wall street is functioning or why Wall street exists through the history of Wall street. In other words, this is because the history of Wall street might be the proof of existence for the people who had lived in New York City.

Sources First of all, many illustrations and records support its contents st that the readers are allowed to imagine the situation easily. For instance, the illustration of the cattle guard in 1644 indicates that it was rough fence consisted of untrimmed trees and piled together. The illustration of Bird痴-eye view of New Amsterdam shows where Wall street was located on. Also, other records like boardside announcing Washington’ entry into New York are very precious records to prove the real fact. As has been shown, there are many sourses supporting the story of Wall street. However, this book is historical fact itself which is non-fiction story, so the history itself including abundant information such as historical characters, old streets, wars, buildings, and fashions, must be the sources, which the author derived from hard reserch.


The story is carried chronologically by the third person who delivers clearly the reason why history changes. Almost every description about the age’ situation are faithful to historical fact. Also, the material of this book was devided chronologically into twenty-five chapters starting with the cattle guard. In these chapters, we can find very interesting stories such as Hamilton-Burr duel and the process to organize New York Stock Exchage. Each stories is very interesting and linked with each other to build one main streem, history of Wall street. Moreover, as has been shown in (2) source’ section, the category in which the author had researched within the history of Wall street is beyond the one street in Manhattan and it had been always related to New York history or even history of the United States. The method to devide these materials into twenty-five chapter is also the factor to create a format.


There is no doubt that the general interpretation of the word ” Wall street ” is the financial center. However, I was surprised to know the role Wall street had played since Dutch settled in Manhattan. The most interesting topic was, of course, the origin of Wall street’ name, but a lot of stories had been related to this street; lives of residents, their reformation, environment surrounding it, politics, and economics. Also, this book is the fruit mainly of the author’ knowledge and hard research, the author succeeded in combining broad historical facts. In this meaning, as I had shown, it is significant to collect a lot of materials in a single street. On the other hand, it must be very difficult to find a story of one like this among hundreds of city streets.

Writen by Seigo Dobashi, Baruch College History Department, 1997.


Hill T. Frederick. The Story of a Street, New York and London: Harper & Brothers Publishers,1908