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History of Wall Street

Selected References

Compiled by Ellen Terrell
Business Reference Services
February 2008
Updated April 2013


        Overview                   Print Resources
Internet Resources     LC Catalog Searches
            Image Searches at LC    


Wall Street is the name of a street in lower Manhattan running east from Broadway downhill to the East River. As for why the street is called Wall Street, in the 17th century the wall formed the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam settlement erected for defensive purposes. Now the term encompasses all business directly related to stock exchanges and the financial market. In this guide you will find listed older books which provide a picture of Wall Street at the time each book was written.


Wall & Broad Steets, New York City,  1929
Wall & Broad Streets, New York City, 1929
Photographed by Irving Underhill
Prints and Photographs Division (Library of Congress)
Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-124940

There are two terms that are often used to describe market trends,External Link Bull Market and Bear Market. A Bull Market is one in which investors are optimistic and are trading securities heavily. There is even a bronze sculpture of a charging bull External Link that has become a popular tourist attraction. A Bear Market is one in which investors are not as confident and securities trading is down.

If you want to know about the specific exchanges, we do have finding aids on the history of both: the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange/NASDAQ.

Internet Resources

Print Resources

100 Years of Wall Street by Charles R. Geisst. New York : McGraw-Hill, 2000.
LC Call Number: HG4572.G38
Catalog Record: 99074662
Table of Contents
Publisher Description
Publisher-supplied Biographical Information

101 Years on Wall Street : An Investor's Almanac by John Dennis Brown. 1st ed. Roseville, Calif. : Forum, c2002.
LC Call Number: HG4572.B74
Catalog Record: 90021454

The Big Board : a History of the New York Stock Market by Robert Sobel. Washington, DC : Beard Books, 2000.
LC Call Number: HG4572 .S67 2000
Catalog Record: 00023860

The book covers the history until 1965. It starts with the European influence and goes into securities in early America, and then breaks out the history in various time frames corresponding with business "eras" like the Age of Rail (1837-1857); the rise of investment banking (1873-1884), etc.

Bulls and Bears of New York, with the Crisis of 1873, and the Cause by Matthew Hale Smith. Freeport, N.Y., Books for Libraries Press [1972]
LC Call Number: HG4572 .S64 1972
Catalog Record: 79039661

Chronology of the Stock Market by Russell O. Wright. Jefferson, North Carolina : McFarland, c2002.
LC Call Number: HG4572 .W75 2002
Catalog Record: 2002265975

Dangerous Dreamers : the Financial Innovators from Charles Merrill to Michael Milken by Robert Sobel. New York : Wiley, c1993.
LC Call Number: HG4621 .S65 1993
Catalog Record: 92040748

People profiled: Louis Wolfson; Charles Merrill; James Ling; Michael Milken as well as classes of people like the Drexel Network, yuppies, corporate raiders. There are also three chapters on various issues relating to law enforcement and regulation of the industry including discussion of Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, and Drexel.

The First Wall Street : Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, and the birth of American finance by Robert E. Wright. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2005.
LC Call Number: HG5131.P5 W75 2005
Catalog Record: 2005009428
Table of Contents
Publisher Description
Publisher-supplied Biographical Information

Inside Wall Street. by Robert Sobel. Washington, DC : BeardBooks, c1977 (2000 printing).
LC Call Number: HG4572 .S6723 2000
Catalog Record: 00025426

Chapters include information on the various exchanges that existed in 1977 as well as more specific information that relates to stocks like a chapters on the SEC, investment bankers, and other institutions.

Panic on Wall Street: a History of America's Financial Disasters. by Robert Sobel. Washington, D.C. : Beard Books, 1999.
LC Call Number: HG4572 .S674 1999
Catalog Record: 99059480

Wall Street by Walter Werner and Steven T. Smith. New York : Columbia University Press, c1991.
LC Call Number: HG4572.W44
Catalog Record: 90039369

Wall Street : A History by Charles R. Geisst. New York : Oxford University Press, 1997
LC Call Number: : HG4572 .G4 1997
Catalog Record: 97006096
Publisher Description
Publisher-supplied Biographical Information

Wall Street : A History : From Its Beginnings to the Fall of Enron by Charles R. Geisst. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2004.
LC Call Number: : HG4572 .G4 2004
Catalog Record: 2004555123

A revised and expanded edition of the author's Wall Street : A History. The book contains the following sections: The early years (1790-1840) -- The railroad and Civil War eras (1840-70) -- The robber barons (1870-90) -- The age of the trusts (1880-1910) -- The money trust (1890-1920) -- The booming twenties (1920-29) -- Wall Street meets the New Deal (1930-35) -- The struggle continues (1936-54) -- Bull market (1954-69) -- Bear market (1970-81) -- Mergermania (1982-97) -- Running out of steam (1998- ).

The Work of Wall Street by Sereno S. Pratt. New York, D. Appleton and Company, 1903.
LC Call Number: : HG4572 .P9
Catalog Record: 03001354

Chapters include a 1903 view of the evolution of Wall Street geographically and economically, an explanation of the stock market and various components like prices and the listing of securities, chapters on the NYSE, the tools and language, panics, etc.

Library of Congress Catalog Searches

Additional works on Wall Street in the Library of Congress may be identified by searching the Online Catalog under appropriate Library of Congress subject headings. Choose the topics you wish to search from the following list of Library of Congress subject headings to link directly to the Catalog and automatically execute a search for the subject selected. For assistance in locating other subject headings which relate to this topic, please consult a reference librarian.

Wall Street (New York, N.Y.)

Stock exchanges--United States

Searching for Images of Wall Street

Although some of the prints and photographs of Wall Street in the collections of the Library are listed in the online catalog and may be identified by limiting key words using words in the subject headings included in the section above (Library of Congress Catalog Searches) to "Photograph, Print, Drawing," many more images may be identified by searching directly in the Prints and Photogaphs Online Catalog (PPOC) under any of the subject headings listed below.

Please note that not all images displayed in PPOC are in the public domain. It is the obligation of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Library's collections. In some collections, only thumbnail images display to those searching outside the Library of Congress because of potential rights considerations. For more information, see the PPOC home page.

Last Updated: 09/19/2016

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