Noyes, Alexander Dana (1862-1945) by Bachman, James

Alexander Dana Noyes (1862-1945) was a distinguished American financial columnist born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1862. The son of a merchant, Noyes got his start in journalism with , where he reluctantly became the paper’s Wall Street correspondent in 1884 when the banking house Grant and Moore failed and he happened to be the only reporter in the office not on assignment. Noyes recalls these formative experiences in , a memoir that tends to pay more attention to historically significant financial crises than to autobiographic milestones. Alexander Dana Noyes The Commercial Advertiser The Market Place: Reminiscences of a Financial Editor When Noyes began work as a financial editor of the in 1891, most financial columns in the popular press were pieces (writings advertising risk-free investments as insider tips) and agency handouts, meant more to promote certain investments than to illuminate the inner-workings of the market. According to historian , Noyes was one of the first American journalists (244). Through his work as a reporter and financial editor for the and , Noyes covered the Great Panic of 1891, the 1907 Banker’s Panic, and the closure of the stock market in 1914, establishing himself as (Sobel 245). During his career, Noyes also authored several monographs, including (1907) and (1926), which would become standard financial histories in university circles. He started writing the monthly feature for in August 1915. Noyes initially used this space in the magazine to discuss the financial problems arising from the outbreak of World War I, but the feature (later known as ) would continue to run well past the war. New York Tribune tout Robert Sobel to combine economic analysis and a knowledge of the market in such a way as to interest the general reader Tribune New York Evening Post an American counterpart to [editor of London’s ], which is to say that he was read by serious students of the market and had a trans-Atlantic audience Walter Bagehot The Economist Forty Years of American Finance The War Period in American Finance Financial World Scribner’s Magazine The Financial Situation In his article Noyes warns against the belief on Wall Street that America had entered a New Era that (adv 88). Always critical of unchecked speculation and current trends, Noyes consistently emphasized his belief that clues to the contemporary marketplace are revealed by a historical knowledge of finance: The Speculative Markets, differs so greatly from any in the past that old-fashioned precaution is out of date [The speculative 1901 bull market assumed] that we were living in a New Era; that old rules and principles and precedent of finance were obsolete; that things could safely be done to-day which had been dangerous or impossible in the past. This illusion seized on the public mind in 1901 (in New York at any rate) quite as firmly as it did in 1929. It differed only in the fact that there were no college professors in 1901 who preached the popular illusion as their new political economy. ( 195) The Market Place This style of historical analogy, illustrated above by his comparing the speculation of 1901 and the Depression of 1929, is a staple of Noyes’ prose. In the numerous articles he wrote for , Noyes uses a similar strategy of analogy to describe World War I, using The Seven Years’ War, America’s Civil War, and the Napoleonic Wars to draw out questions about America’s apparent wartime prosperity and the fate of Europe’s economy following the war. Several of Noyes’ contributions to during the war years were compiled into a book, . Scribner’s Scribner’s Magazine Financial Chapters of War In 1920 Noyes became the financial editor of the , where he continued to prove himself an adept reader of the market. During his tenure at the , Noyes predicted the bull market that would emerge in 1921 and was the led up to Black Tuesday in 1929 (Klein 16). The skepticism of the in the months leading up to the Depression strongly contrasts with the outlook of the and several other financial publications that failed to realize the danger signs in the market. Noyes remained at the until his death in 1945. New York Times Times one of only a few voices that chose not to sing in the all-bulls choir Times Wall Street Journal Times Works Cited and Additional Works about Noyes . . New York: Oxford UP, 2003. Klein, Maury Rainbow’s End: The Crash of 1929 . March 20, 1938. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times, 89. MacDonald, William Finance and the Daily Press: Alexander Dana Noyes, in the ‘The Marketplace,’ Looks Back upon His Long and Distinguished Career. The New York Times . 60.5 (November 1916): 657-adv92. Noyes, Alexander Dana The Financial World: Speculative Markets. Scribner’s Magazine —. . Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1938. The Market Place: Reminiscences of a Financial Editor . . New York: Beard Books, 2000. Sobel, Robert Inside Wall Street —. . New York: Beard Books, 1999. Panic on Wall Street: A History of America’s Financial Disasters and . Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan UP, 1998. Steeples, Douglas W. David O. Whitten. Democracy in Desperation: The Depression of 1893 Selected Works by Alexander Dana Noyes . New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916. Financial Chapters of the War 58.2 (August 1915): 261-64. The Financial World: Economic Results of the War to the Present Date. Scribner’s Magazine 59.5 (May 1916). The Financial World: When the War Ends. Scribner’s Magazine . New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1909. Forty Years of American Finance: A Short Financial History of the Government and People of the United States since the Civil War, 1865-1907 . Washington: National Monetary Commission Printing Office, 1910. History of the National-Bank Currency . Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1938. The Market Place: Reminiscences of a Financial Editor . New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1926. The War Period of American Finance, 1908-1925

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