IN 1729, on the heels of John Law and the Mississippi Bubble, young Ben Franklin, then twenty-three, wrote anonymously A Modest Inquiry into the Nature and Necessity of Paper Currency. Its popular appeal was so strong that it forced upon the government of Pennsylvania an issue of irredeemable paper money, which was anathema to the rich of Philadelphia. Those in the know awarded the anonymous author the contract for printing the bills — a very profitable job, and, as he says, a very present help to the printer in a time of trouble. The birth of the dollar some sixty-odd years later marked the beginning of modern American money, but neither the beginning nor the end of American monetary troubles.
Whenever times get hard and most people can no longer earn money, many take to writing of how to ‘make’ it. Panic literature generally turns up some queer books and always some interesting ones. Here are a few of the latter type arranged in logical sequence rather than in chronological order of publication.