SPEYER, German and American family of international bankers and philanthropists. Progenitor of the family was MICHAEL ISAAC SPEYER (d. 1692) who, on his marriage in 1644, established residence in the Frankfurt ghetto and became community head. His great-grandson ISAAC MICHAEL SPEYER (d. 1807) was an Imperial Court Jew. The latter's nephew JOSEPH LAZARUS SPEYER (1783–1846) married into the Frankfurt banking family Ellissen, and his son LAZARUS JOSEPH SPEYER (1810–1876) carried on business from 1836 under the hyphenated name Lazard Speyer-Ellissen. The latter's partner, PHILIPP SPEYER (1815–1876), moved to New York in 1837. Together with his brother GUSTAV (1825–1883) he established the bank Philipp Speyer & Co. in 1845, later Speyer & Co. Together with its Frankfurt affiliate, it placed the first North American Civil War loan in Germany. Gustav's American-born sons, JAMES (1861–1941) and EDGAR (1862–1932) piloted the family concern to its height. While remaining partners of the Frankfurt house, whose last head was their brother-in-law EDUARD BEIT VON SPEYER (1860–1933), James conducted the American business and Edgar took charge of Speyer Brothers, London. Edgar was made a baronet, but, suffering defamation during World War I, returned to New York. Speyer & Co. alone, and sometimes jointly with kuhn , Loeb & Co. and National City Bank, led syndicates which raised European capital for investment in American industry. This movement was reversed after World War I, when a subsidiary, New York & Foreign Investing Corporation, mobilized American capital for investment, mainly through the Frankfurt branch, in German and other Central European issues. Absorbing a Berlin private bank in 1927, the Frankfurt branch became temporarily prominent in the international expansion of the German rayon industry. However, the worldwide crisis after 1929 stopped the trans-atlantic flow of capital, and the German and American houses were liquidated in the 1930s. Institutions benefiting from the family's philanthropic interests included Frankfurt University; Museum of the City of New York; and Mount Sinai Hospital, New York. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Baer, Stammtafeln der Familie Speyer (1896); K. Grunwald, in: LBYB, 12 (1967), 176; S. Birmingham, Our Crowd (1968). (Hanns G. Reissner)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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