NPR logo Episode 505: A Locked Door, A Secret Meeting And The Birth Of The Fed

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Episode 505: A Locked Door, A Secret Meeting And The Birth Of The Fed

Episode 505: A Locked Door, A Secret Meeting And The Birth Of The Fed

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J.P. Morgan: Not a pussycat. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

J.P. Morgan: Not a pussycat.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On today's show, we tell the creation story of the Federal Reserve — one of the most powerful financial institutions on the planet.

The story includes a 70-year-old man with a bad head cold and a bunch of mistresses, a nation that's deeply ambivalent about a central bank, and a secret meeting at an island with a sketchy name.

Our guests are Liaquat Ahamed, author of Lords of Finance, and Gary Richardson, Federal Reserve System historian and professor at UC Irvine.

Music: 10cc's "Wall Street Shuffle" Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/Spotify/ Tumblr. Download the Planet Money iPhone App.