Sage, Russell


Sage, Russell

biographical name

(born Aug. 4, 1816, Shenandoah, N.Y., U.S.—died July 22, 1906, Lawrence Beach, N.Y.) U.S. financier. He worked as an errand boy, studying arithmetic and bookkeeping in his spare time, and in 1839 he started a wholesale grocery business, which earned him enough money to start a Hudson River shipping trade. He served in Congress (1853–57). Sage invested successfully in the La Crosse Railroad in Wisconsin, and he eventually acquired an interest in more than 40 railroads, serving as director or president of 20. He helped organize the Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. In 1872 he originated stock-market puts and calls (options to buy or sell a set amount of stock at a set price and within a given time limit), but he stopped dealing in them after losing $7 million in the panic of 1884. His wife, Margaret Olivia Sage, established the Russell Sage Foundation and Russell Sage College (Troy, N.Y.) after his death.

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