Market Denunciations
For as long as securities have been traded, the securities markets and those associated with them have been subjected to harsh, and often justified, criticism. In his text, The Securities Racket, for example, E. Jay Comer levies this charge against the investment banking industry: "The eighth wonder of the world might well be termed the disregard by certain so called "investment bankers" for other fellows' money." To those who view the primary purpose of the stock exchanges as that of defrauding the unsuspecting public, Comer's comment might well be applied to Wall Street generally. Represented in this exhibit are condemnations of bankers, brokers, swindlers, insurance companies, directors, traders and even investors. Many of these books offer suggestions for improving a flawed system while others adopt the view that the stock market is so full of corruption and reprehensible rascality that it ought to be abolished altogether.

Black, Hillel. The Watchdogs of Wall Street: The Inside Story of How the S.E.C. Exposes the Big Stock Manipulators. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1962.

Black's text chronicles the history of some latter-day stock swindling schemes and "describes the real reasons why Congress has called for the first major investigation of Wall Street in twenty-five years." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

"Brutus." Confessions of a Stock Broker: A Wall Street Diary. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1971.

"From July of 1970 to January of 1971, while the Dow Jones and billions of paper dollars went down the drain, a keen young stockbroker with a diabolical gleam in his eye was keeping a diary." This book is the culmination of that record and in it, "Brutus" comes clean about how he and the "Big Boys of Wall Street" operate. Second printing, hardbound with dust jacket.

Comer, E. Jay. The Security Racket: Behind Closed Doors. Chicago, Dunelm, 1932.

Citing the statistic that "more than 600 different bond issues, representing an aggregate approximately $1,500,000,000 par value, defaulted in the ten months between January 1, 1931 and November 1, 1931," Comer concludes that Capone and other so called public enemies were playing a penny ante game when compared with the investment banking racket of the early 1930's. A former investment banking himself, Comer hopes to see the day when this "dignified and necessary business may once more be restored to its former high plane of service and usefulness." First edition, hardbound.

Erleigh, Viscount. The South Sea Bubble. Manchester, England: Peter Davies Limited, 1933.

Anentertaining and informative treatment of the notorious 18th century scheme to refinance the national debt of England through the stock of the South Sea Company. In a move that presaged some later-day stock fraud ploys, promotional efforts to boost the stock, combined with speculative mania, lifted the price of the South Sea Company to dizzying heights until the bubble burst. First edition, hardbound with illustrations.

Floyd, William. People vs. Wall Street: A Mock Trial. New York: Vanguard, 1930.

Anexpose of stock market corruption before the 1929 crash, written in the form of a trial transcript. Dedicated "to the victims," it represents what the author may have seen as an ideal courtroom comeuppance for the crafty financiers who helped pick the pockets of the common investor.

Frasca, Charles B. Stock Swindlers and Their Methods. New York: Charles B. Frasca, 1931.

A survey of the many different types of financial fraud schemes that victimize the public, from bucket shop speculation to Florida real estate investing, written by an investment broker who "since 1920 has successfully exposed many stock frauds." First printing, hardbound.

Garret, Garet. A Bubble That Broke the World. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1932.

Subtitled "The story of the rape of American credit," this critique of the modern banking system "explains the nature of credit and shows how its inflation and deflation effect the common man." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Gaskill, John Franklin. Gouge. (Los Angeles): published by the author, 1938.

A critique of the life insurance business of the late 1930's by one who is amazed at "the profit margins, inequities, inconsistencies , extravagances, delusions and deceits" of the industry. Ultimately, the author proposes a government life insurance policy that he hopes might deliver us from the gouging of privatized insurance companies.

Hooker, Edward E. You Can't Win in Wall Street. New York: Hooker Publishing, 1929.

"The object of publishing this book is to hold up the Red Flag of Danger, and put before the MARGIN TRADER in WALL STREET . . . such FIGURES and FACTS, that a person will understand the absurdity and fallacy of attempting to overcome a PERCENTAGE that is against him, so STAGGERING, that without the sight of the actual figures, it is past all belief." First edition, hardbound.

Hoyne, Thomas Templeton. Myself and Fellow Asses. Chicago, Economic Feature Service, 1923.

Reflections upon economics, government, and egoism that point out the recurring follies in people's thoughts. First edition, hardbound with illustrations by Earle R. Kirkbride.

Kelly, Fred C. How To Lose Your Money Prudently; Being the Truth About Trust Companies. Philadelphia: Roland Swain, 1933.

"Akeen analysis of trust companies and their methods of administering funds. Whole estates are shown to have been almost entirely wiped out under Trust Company supervision, even while profitable fees were being drawn from their administration. The author asks the question: 'Why not let your own children have the fun of losing their inheritance, instead of paying other people's children to do so?'" First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Lawson, Thomas. Frenzied Finance: The Crime of Amalgamated. New York: Ridgeway-Thayer, 1906.

Originally published serially in Everybody's Magazine, Frenzied Finance was one of the most influential texts ever written about the workings of the corporate world. Breifly stated, the book is a narrative account of the "deviltry" and "unpenalized crimes" of high finance that became standard practice for the Standard Oil Trust of New York at the trun of the last century. First edition, hardbound with embossed orange boards.

Lowenthal, Max. The Investor Pays. New York: Knopf, 1936.

This books pierces through the technicalities of what happens when a company in which one holds shares goes into receivership; what actually happens to his money. For the purposes of making the subject clearer to the average security-holder, the concrete case of the failure of the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company has been chosen. First edition, third printing, hardbound.

McNeel, R. W. Sick in Bed with Common Stocks. Boston: McNeel Institute of Investment Education, 1930.

A post-crash analysis of the "human side" of stock market investing. By explaning not only the basic principles of investing but the emotional side of the enterprise as well, the author hopes to prevent his readers from losing sleep over their investments. First edition, hardbound, with illustrations.

Pinto, Erasmus. Ye Outside Fools! New York: Lovell, Adam, Wesson & Company, 1877.

A call to reformative action for British politicians, stock exchange members and individual citizens. At fault, claims the author, is not the honorable men who comprise the membership the London Stock Exchange, but "the system." This book is a collection of anecdotes that demonstrate the flawed nature of the British financial markets. First edition, hardbound with embossed green boards.

Plummer, A. Newton. The Great American Swindle Incorporated. New York: A. Newton Plummer, 1932.

Anindictment of unscrupulous Wall Street activities before the crash of 1929, written by one who claims to have been on the inside. Newton supplied evidence to the Senate Committee, headed by F. H. La Guardia, that investigated Wall Street's shady dealings after the momentous crash. "Without pleading 'extenuating circumstances,'" writes the author, "I feel that the public service I rendered in revealing the unethical practices of Wall Street leaders to the Senate Committee, and in publishing this book on my own responsibility for the enlightenment of American investors, mitigates my participation in this scandalous stock jamboree." First edition, hardbound in decorative boards that depict a stock certificate with illustrations. "This first edition of The Great American Swindle Incorporated is limited to 2000 copies of which this is number [unnumbered]."

Reis, Bernard J. False Security: The Betrayal of the American Investor. New York: Dodge, 1938.

One reviewer wrote of this book: "Mr. Reis describes with inescapable accuracy the various ways in which the naive investor is fooled by prospectuses, cheated by his proxy, robbed of his interest. . . .[False Security] goes beyond . . . muckraking: it outlines a plan for the protection of the widow, orphan and amatuer." Second edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Salmon, David L. Confessions of a Former Customers' Man. New York: Vanguard, 1932.

A "remarkable document of revelation and self-revelation" wherein the author "tells the whole sorry truth of the fashion in which he 'earned' his living" for over fifteen years as a stock broker. "In addition to pandering to greed," Salmon writes, Wall Street "does not distain to play upon every known human lust." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Sherrod, Julian. Scapegoats. Dallas: Julian Sherrod, 1931.

This book is a "plea for a return to old-time banking. . . . Specifically, it is a plea for the divorcement of true banking from security floatation and high-pressure salesmanship." First edition, third printing, paperback with brown paper wraps.

Sherrod, Julian. Scapegoats. Dallas: Julian Sherrod, 1931.

A hardbound reprinting of the book the author printed and published himself months earlier.

Simmons, E. H. H. Cooperation Against Security Frauds. [N.P.]: [n.p.], [1924].

Simmons, a former president of the New York Stock Exchange, delivered this address to help stem the problem of financial fraud because it "so constantly and so gravely [threatens] our public and private credit, as well as the entire credit machinery of the country." Hardbound edition.

Simpson, Kemper. The Margin Trader: A Study in Trade in Securities and Insecurity in Trade. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1938.

"Anovel analysis revealing the pitfalls of margin trading as it affects the trader, the investor, the broker, the banker and the business man." Written by the former Economic Advisor of the Securities and Exchange Commission, "it considers what has been done and what has been left undone in the regulation of margin trading." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Stilwell, Arthur Edward. Cannibals of Finance. Chicago: Farnum, 1912.

Anexpose of the deeply entrenched corruption in the railroad industry, written by a former insider. Fifth edition, hardbound.

Washburn, Watson and Edmund S. De Long. High and Low Financiers: Some Notorious Swindlers and Their Abuses of Our Modern Stock Selling System. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1932.

Primarily intended to "throw light on the customary methods of swindlers," the authors of this book often found it necessary to "criticize the methods of legitimate dealers or financiers." The resulting work includes discussions of stock and bond brokers, investment trusts and the "uses and recent abuses of the important functions of the Stock Exchange." First edition, hardbound with dust jacket.

Wilcox, U. V. The Bankers Be Damned. New York: Daniel Ryerson, 1940.

According to Wilcox, the bank holiday of 1933, coupled with recent reforms to the banking industry, has maligned and damned the banking industry and its future as well as "every citizen who now uses or expects to avail himself of the facilities of a bank." First edition, third printing, hardbound with dust jacket.

Wurtz, Gideon. Foolish Finance. Boston: JohnW. Luce and Company, 1935.

Inthis book, Gideon claims to have "cataloged the facts, made a list of the factors, analyzed the motives and memorized the methods of all this Foolish Finance business with the sole object of speaking with authority and good humor to these befogged and befuddled Common People--who really seem in immediate need of a Primer equipped with diagrams, raised letters, and a club." First edition, hardbound with illustrations.


Last Updated: 6/27/22