The Library of the Graduate School of Business Administration has recently acquired a collection of records of the Boston Stock Exchange of considerable importance to students of New England economic history. Mr. Joseph C. Martin, for many years a successful stock broker with offices at No. 8 State Street, possessed a fortunate penchant for recording the current history of his business. It is his collection of documents and record which has now come into the hands of the Harvard Business School.
Beginning with the year 1856 Mr. Martin issued annually a stock sheet showing the high and low quotations with dividends of stocks sold in Boston at the exchange, by auction or by private sale. Beginning with 1860 and running through 1919 Mr. Martin and his successor, Mr. Ruggles, also kept a voluminous set of note books recording the daily high and low of all Boston stocks. Scrap books of newspaper clippings carry the record of dividend transactions back to the year 1864. Mr. Martin's collection also included a complete set of the original stock exchange sheet of the Boston Stock Exchange from 1866 to 1919, unlisted stocks of the stock exchange from 1890 to 1913, Boston Curb from 1905 to 1919. New York stock exchange sheets from 1857 to 1918 and a large accumulation of annual reports of corporations and other pamphlet material relating to securities of a century or more ago.
Library Rich in History of Securities
The records thus obtained make the Library of the Graduate School of Business Administration unusually rich in the original sources of the history of New England security prices. But not content with accumulating the recording the current history of his time, Mr. Martin delved backward into sources which were then open to him, and recorded in several published volumes the financial history of Boston for a period of one hundred years prior to 1898. He covered the interesting "Bank Panic" of 1837, the second panic of 1857, the depressed times of the rebellion, and the later panics of '73, '84 and '93. Three New England railroads quoted during the first panic, the Boston & Lowell. Boston & Providence, and Boston & Worcester, fell from highs of 137, 127, and 114 in 1835 to lows of 86, 83, and 74 in 1837. During the same period bank stocks, which then were the principal investment securities, registered smaller declines, while Amoskeag, as typical of the manufacturing stocks, at a par of $1000 fell from a high of 1450 to a low of 810.
Many Amusing incidents Recorded
In these records many amusing incidents of early New England railroads shed light upon the vagaries of popular opinion which had to be overcome. In 1827 the projected railroad from Boston to Albany was declared to be "as useless as a railroad from Boston to the Moon". In 1833 a Connecticut Yankee thanked C. d that he lived in a country so hilly that it was impossible to build railroad there; but, as fate would have it, he lived to see tracks pass within four feet of his house. In 1834 the Boston & Worcester Railroad was obliged to advertise that, contrary to the previous practice of stage coaches, the new railroad trains would not call for passengers at their homes, but that "seats are provided for all who apply at the ticket office."
Mr. Martin's collection of early records has added a material item of interest to the already large collection of corporate history documents gathered together in the Library of the Business School.