From the Editor’s Perch…

Your Money is Watching

Your Credit Agency Has Its Eye on You

Your Credit Agency Has Its Eye on You

 

A Descendant of

“America’s First Motivational Poster”

 

            The first modern credit report was issued by “the first modern credit bureau, Lewis Tappan’s Mercantile Agency”, Scot Sandage  relates in his book, “Born Losers”.   These first modern credit reports were gleaned in the early nineteenth century from far flung sources throughout our burgeoning country.  They were evaluations of a man’s character, credentials and fiscal standing, and necessary in a country where business was conducted at great distances.  Tappan developed sources who could attest to the comings and goings and general fiscal health of far flung business associates.  The local Postal Official often supplemented his income by filing such (secret) reports on the citizens of his community.   These credit ledgers – as collected by Tappan –  were written in longhand and were condensed narratives and appraisals of a man’s life.  Currently, they often make compelling reading;  as piquant as short stories, or cautionary tales.

“Managing identity meant more than guarding one’s name as a priceless asset”, Sandage also reports.  “Benjamin Franklin supposedly drew that lesson in America’s first motivational poster, “The Art of Making Money Plenty” – the “art” consisting of a rebus (or picture puzzle) with maxims from Poor Richard’s Almanack.  An eyeball stood in for the middle vowel in “creditors”, a reminder that someone was always watching.  Dating from that, it became a popular Currier & Ives lithograph.  The eye of Providence had watched over America, atop the pyramid in the Great Seal that Franklin helped design.  “Making Money Plenty” substituted the eye of commerce;”

            …” besides the creator, “thy creditors” and competitors also observed and judged you.”

Photo from Google Images

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: