Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Trust Company That Saved Olana

When Don Draper, Roger Sterling and the other Mad Men leafed through the April 27, 1968 issue of The New Yorker, surely they stopped at this lavish two-page spread from Bankers Trust.

The trust company had held Olana, home of famed artist Frederick Church, in an estate long enough for preservationists to save it. The self-congratulatory copy was possibly overdone. Just imagine the news items had the decision gone the other way:

"Only months before preservationists could raise money to save Frederick Church's Persian-styled home on the Hudson, Bankers Trust ordered the contents sold and the mansion razed." Would have been bad PR, to say the least.

Today Olana survives but Bankers Trust does not. After misadventures with derivatives, the trust company was acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1998.

Clouds over Olana, by Frederic Edwin Church, 1872

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