Russell Sage – 1816-1906
Sage worked his way up from grocery store errand boy to a major investor in the nation’s developing railroad and telegraph systems, whose growth his management greatly spurred. Sage introduced a key innovation into the U.S. stock market in 1872, “puts and calls”— options to sell or buy a set amount of stock at a set price and within a specified time limit. Working with financier Jay Gould, he used this in his manipulation of stocks. Sage’s fortune became the basis of the Russell Sage Foundation, devoted to social research.