From Mary R. and Charles A. Beard’s Basic History of the United States, Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1944:
“In 1893 George K. Holmes, of the United States Census Office, formulated the following estimate: ‘Twenty per cent of the wealth of the United States is owned by three-one-hundredths of one per cent of the population; seventy-one per cent is owned by nine per cent of the families, and twenty-nine per cent of the wealth is all that falls to ninety-one per cent of the population.”
Holmes was measuring the conditions that existed just before the Panic of 1893, the worst financial crisis in the nation’s history thus far. It started with a flood of railroad failures. The modern equivalent might be, oh, I don’t know, maybe a flood of subprime mortgages going down the crapper?