Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ladies of the Ticker by George Robb

book cover
Ladies of the Ticker:
Women and Wall Street from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression
by George Robb

ISBN-13: 9780252082719
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Released: Aug. 15, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Long overlooked in histories of finance, women played an essential role in areas such as banking and the stock market during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Yet their presence sparked ongoing controversy. Hetty Green's golden touch brought her millions, but she outraged critics with her rejection of domesticity. Progressives like Victoria Woodhull, meanwhile, saw financial acumen as more important for women than the vote.

George Robb's pioneering study sheds a light on the financial methods, accomplishments, and careers of three generations of women. Plumbing sources from stock brokers' ledgers to media coverage, Robb reveals the many ways women invested their capital while exploring their differing sources of information, approaches to finance, interactions with markets, and levels of expertise.

He also rediscovers the forgotten women bankers, brokers, and speculators who blazed new trails--and sparked public outcries over women's unsuitability for the predatory rough-and-tumble of market capitalism. Entertaining and vivid with details, Ladies of the Ticker sheds light on the trailblazers who transformed Wall Street into a place for women's work.

My Review:
Ladies of the Ticker is a history of women involved in the American stock market from around the 1880s to 1920s. The author started by describing the laws (in England and America) that made it difficult for women to control and invest their own money and the changes that came about in the late 1800s that allowed more women to invest in stocks and bonds.

The rest of the book focused "the Gilded Age to the Great Depression." He started by describing how novels, magazines, financial manuals, and similar sources portrayed the stock market and women who invested in bonds or stocks. He then looked at records from two stock brokers showing what women actually invested their money in, their investment habits, and how they acted in their correspondence with the stock broker. He acknowledged that women didn't all behave the same way, yet there were certain general trends. He contrasted women's investment behavior to the records of men's investments and to how popular culture portrayed women investors.

The author also talked about fraud (involving banks, stocks, and bonds) that was directed at women or that was done by women. He looked at the women's rights movement and how they promoted financial education and empowerment for women. He talked about early women brokers, capitalists, and financiers. Some parts read like biographies. We're told about several women who tried to set up as a stock brokers, what the press and such said about the woman, what she said about her past, and what we know about what happened to her. We also learned details about several women who carried out sensational financial frauds.

This book had an academic tone. As in, I felt like the topic had been carefully researched and a balanced view presented. As a woman who is interested in this time period and who invests in stocks, I found it very interesting. Overall, I'd recommend this book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

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