Humor and Satire

Investors often turn to humor and satire for comfort, especially in times of financial crisis. This exhibit includes a sampling of comical texts written for financiers and other members of the investment community. Perhaps because financial dealings often involve a social Darwinist approach to competition where the ruthlessness frequently triumphs, many of these publications reveal their authors' intolerant racist or sexist biases. Others, however, demonstrate a witty cleverness that surely helped their readers see certain precarious economic circumstances in a refreshingly humorous light.

Anonymous, All I Know About the Stock Market. [N.p.], [n.d.]

While this book's decorative facings suggest a wealth of accumulated knowledge, it presents readers with a perfect instance of why books should not be judged by their covers--inside is a book of blank pages.

Anthony, Joseph. The Lost Shirt. New York: Bretano's, 1929.

A book of comical poems that address the stock market crash of 1929 and the sorry state of affairs into which that crisis plunged so many investors. In a spoof on the pretensions of limited edition publications, an introductory note claims "This edition is printed on special banknote paper, for which the company had no particular use. It is limited to 1,496,857 copies. These copies are neither numbered nor autographed, but for ten cents additional the reader may receive the author's autograph on a check of any denomination." First edition, hardbound.

Cantor, Eddie. Caught Short: A Saga of Wailing in Wall Street. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1929.

Written by the author "while the frenzied ticker was still sputtering forth news of the country's most violent stock market crisis," Cantor mockingly quips, "For twenty million people who were thrown into frenzy and despair by the boom and its explosion, this extravaganza should be an hilarious memento, a pillar of strength in an hour of need, and a consoling philosophical refuge. In a pinch, the book could be used as additional collateral." Fourth printing, hardbound with illustrations and dust jacket.

Cantor, Eddie. Yoo-Hoo, Prosperity! The Eddie Cantor Five-Year Plan. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1931.

This book takes A lighthearted look at some causes of the depression of the early 1930s and offers some humorous solutions for turning things around. First edition, hardbound with illustrations.

Cass, Eli. Wall Street Guide To Stacks & Blonds: Illustrated Lavishly With Some of the Most Attractive Speculative Possibilities On the Market. New York: Kanrom, 1962.

A collection of writings that pun drolly upon business and investment maxims. Included in each chapter are titillating photographs of semi-nude men and women who help to illustrate the title's visual pun. First edition, paperback with illustrated, gold wraps.

Loring, Paule S. Never Argue With the Tape. Barrington, RI: Rhode Island Bond & Share Co., 1954.

A collection of cartoons portraying oft-quoted Wall Street epigrams in a comical new light. First edition, hardbound with illustrations.

Schwed, Fred, Jr. Where are the Customers' Yachts? Or, A Good Hard Look at Wall Street. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1940.

"The chief concern of this book will be with an examination of the nonsense--a commodity which keep sluicing [into Wall Street] . . . with the irresistible constancy of the waters of the rolling Mississippi." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket. Illustrated by Peter Arno.

Schwed, Fred, Jr. Where are the Customers' Yachts? Or, A Good Hard Look at Wall Street. New York: Simon and Schuster, c. 1940.

"For fifteen years now a small hardy group of admirers of this book . . . have happily quoted passages from it to one another. Lately they have sent complaining notes to the publisher asking why this wonderful book is out of print. The clamor for republication has now been rewarded with this new Bull Market Edition." Bull Market Edition, hardbound with dust jacket. Illustrated by Peter Arno.

Van Tillingham, Throgmorton C. Bulls, Bears and Buffaloes. New York: Vantage Press, 1963.

A lighthearted treatise on three differing approaches to investment. Along with the satirical discussion of the three market species is some advice for experienced and novice investors. First edition, hardbound with illustrations and dust jacket.

 

                                                                                                             

Last Updated: 1/3/12