The Rise of Managers: 1850–1880


More than fifty anxious, perspiring brokers pressed around the fountain in the “Gold Room” on Broad Street, next to the New York Stock Exchange, as the caller marched to his position on September 24, 1869. The operator cleared his throat, then shouted “145 for 20,000,” a code indicating that he had a bid for 20,000 ounces of gold at $145 an ounce. Instantly the price surged still higher, streaking up to $155 as “operators became reckless, buying or selling without thought of the morrow or consciousness of the present.”1

The account, a description of Black Friday, climaxed a struggle called the “Gold ...

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