Financial History

Articles from No. 105, Winter

Accounting: OUR FIRST COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
Our urge to account - to measure and record our wealth - is one of the oldest human impulses. We were accounting before we could use abstract numbers; we were accounting before we could write. In fact, it now appears that writing, one of the greatest...
DIAMOND RINGS: Capitalizing on Social Trends
From bridal gowns to multiple tiered cakes, elaborate weddings have become an American tradition: a tradition that usually starts with a trip to the jewelry store. Today, diamond engagement rings symbolize the couple's everlasting love for each other....
Don't Mess with My Gold: The Vigilantes of Montana
Gold has motivated entire societies, torn economies to shreds, determined the fate of kings and emperors, inspired the most beautiful works of art, provoked horrible acts by one people against another, and driven men to endure intense hardship in the...
James Ling and the Craft of Financial Alchemy
Alchemy is the medieval study of transmutation, with the primary goal of unlocking the secret of turning lead into gold. Although no one ever discovered this panacea - creating something of value from something without value - one person did accomplish...
King of the Bucket Shops
In 1885, Julia E. Hetsch was just 22 years old and the mother of two tiny daughters when she gave Thomas Bishop her life's savings. His brokerage was doing well for thousands of investors, according to the advertisements Bishop placed with her husband's...
Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States
Lind's thesis is that there have been not one but three American republics, each based on an economic model that arose from the ashes of the previous: the preindustrial, the steam age and the motor age. Lind also suggests that the nation is currently...
Museum Commemorates 25th Anniversary with "Restoring the Faith of Investors" Symposium
On October 19, the Museum observed its 25th anniversary, along with the anniversary of the Crash of 1987, with a thought leadership symposium entitled "Restoring the Faith of Investors." This invitation-only event generated meaningful discussion amongst...
Museum Update: 25th Anniversary and Close Call with Sandy
Message to MembersThis fall brought two memorable events. The first occurred when super storm Sandy hit New York. As most members know, the Museum is only one short city block from flood zone A, the mandatory evacuation zone. As the storm was descending...
New Acquisition: Educational Series Note
The Museum recently added to its collection one of the most beautiful historical examples of US paper money. The Educational Series $1 note is renowned in the numismatic community for its detailed engraving, and it is generally considered to be among...
The Beginnings of Corporate Governance
During the next few months, shareholders of publicly-held companies will be asked once again to use their voting power to select members of their Boards of Directors, approve independent auditors and offer opinions on executive compensation and other...
The Einstein of Money: The Life and Timeless Financial Wisdom of Benjamin Graham
This is a welcome work in many ways. For the millions who know Graham only through his seminal work, The Intelligent Investor, the story of the man behind the Bible of value investing adds depth and camaraderie to the shrewd calculus of the spread sheet....
The Fall and Rise of Independent Research
There are three teams active at any sporting event: the two competing sides and the officials. Perceived good and bad calls are greeted with boos or cheers, but no one ever actually roots for the refs per se. Still, everyone acknowledges their importance;...
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