Salomon, Hayim

Salomon, Hayim (1740-1785) Financier: Salomon immigrated from Poland to New York at the age of 32. He set up business as a bill-broker, purchasing and selling currencies at a discount. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Salomon moved to Philadelphia and began to negotiate the sale of Continental currency for hard French and Dutch bills. Asking for a nearly negligible commission on transactions, he made himself available for Congress, which appointed him official Broker to the Office of Finance of the United States, The French consulate appointed him Treasurer of the French Army in America. Salomon was able to maintain a thriving private business in addition to his official duties, despite his interest-free personal loans to such government officials as James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, General von Steuben, and General St. Clair. Nevertheless, by the time Salomon died at the age of 45, private individuals and the government reputedly owed him $638,000. Although Salomon never presented a claim for repayment, his son, Haym B. Salomon, petitioned for such repayment after his father's death. Other descendants continued to petition Congress, although they gave up on repayment and simply requested that a commemorative medal be issued in honor of Salomon the "Financier of the Revolution." This request was never fulfilled, but the Jewish community in Chicago raised funds themselves and, in 1941, presented a park statue of George Washington, with Robert Morris and Haym Salomon on either side. Other statues were later erected in Salomon's honor in New York and Los Angeles.