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Remembering Wall Street, 1950-1980 >

The Bonnie and Richard Reiss Wall Street Oral History Archive

In 2017, the N-YHS completed a two-year project to document the enormous changes that transformed Wall Street after World War II: “Remembering Wall Street, 1950-1980.” The project was undertaken as a partnership with the Narrative Trust, an accomplished multimedia company specializing in long-form oral histories. The archive includes interviews with over fifty Wall Street veterans who built their careers during the period. Their stories form a vivid and complex mosaic of a profession undergoing momentous change. Following World War II, Wall Street was still the physical epicenter of the financial world; it was not yet a metaphor for something larger and more abstract. Relatively small firms clustered around the New York Stock Exchange, buying and selling shares for individual clients. The apparatus of trading was manual and had not changed appreciably over the course of first half of the 20th century. Firms were partnerships in which principals staked their personal wealth on the fortunes of the firm. It was a world in which women and people of color were notably absent. Over the course of the next thirty years, Wall Street evolved from an insular, analog world into a highly automated global marketplace dominated by institutional investors moving huge blocks of shares at a dizzying pace. It matured into a meritocratic world open to people of all race, class and gender.

The “Remembering Wall Street, 1950-1980” project has been underwritten by many generous donors, in particular the Reiss family. We hope to be able to bring the story of Wall Street forward into the 21st century. To contribute the vital support needed to continue the project, please contact Matt Bregman. Vice President of Devclopment at the N-YHS (matthew.bregman@nyhistory.org or 212-485-9253).

Access to the Archive:
“Remembering Wall Street, 1950-1980” has been conceived as a research archive. Both the videotapes and the transcripts of the interviews are available for consultation on-site in the Library of the N-YHS.

To play short video clips click on the images that have play buttons. For catalog information, click on the names of the interviewees.

Creative: Tronvig Group