A Nation of Small Shareholders: Marketing Wall Street after World War II

Overview

Immediately after the frightening Great Crash of 1929, many Americans swore they would "never" or "never again" become involved in the stock market. Yet hordes of Americans eventually did come to embrace equity investing, to an extent actually far greater than the level of popular involvement in the market during the Roaring 1920s. A Nation of Small Shareholders explores how marketers at the New York Stock Exchange during the mid twentieth century deliberately cultivated new ...

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A Nation of Small Shareholders: Marketing Wall Street after World War II

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Overview

Immediately after the frightening Great Crash of 1929, many Americans swore they would "never" or "never again" become involved in the stock market. Yet hordes of Americans eventually did come to embrace equity investing, to an extent actually far greater than the level of popular involvement in the market during the Roaring 1920s. A Nation of Small Shareholders explores how marketers at the New York Stock Exchange during the mid twentieth century deliberately cultivated new individual shareholders.

Janice M. Traflet examines the energy with which NYSE leaders tried to expand the country’s retail investor base, particularly as the Cold War emerged and then intensified. From the early 1950s until the 1970s, Exchange executives engaged in an ambitious and sometimes controversial marketing program known as "Own Your Share of America," which aimed to broaden the country’s shareholder base. The architects of the marketing program ardently believed that widespread shareownership would strengthen "democratic capitalism" which, in turn, would serve as an effective barrier to the potential allure of communism here in the United States.

Based on extensive primary source research, A Nation of Small Shareholders illustrates the missionary zeal with which Big Board leaders during the Cold War endeavored to convince factions within the Exchange as well as the outside public of the practical and ideological importance of building a true shareholder nation.

In these troubled economic times, every citizen should welcome studies that shed light on U.S. financial markets. A Nation of Small Shareholders puts the role of individual investors in broader, long-term perspective.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Enterprise and Society - James Taylor

This is a highly original, readable, and impressively well-researched book... It is essential reading not only for historians of Wall Street, but also for those interested in the history of advertising and marketing, and cultures of investment.

Essays in Economic and Bussines History - Luis G. Dopico

Traflet successfully explores the shifts in both small savers' attitudes toward stocks and in NYSE officials' attitudes toward small savers and mass merchandising.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421409023
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2013
  • Series: Studies in Industry and Society Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Janice M. Traflet is an associate professor in the School of Management at Bucknell University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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