On occasion we dig into picture archives to see if any old gems can illuminate current news. Today's prompt is the volatility in global stock markets, and the search term at the Library of Congress photo archive is "New York Stock Exchange." Among the results is a group of 11 pictures of the NYSE floor from 1907:
Pearson's Magazine via Library of Congress file
The floor of the New York Stock Exchange, circa October 1907, secretly shot with a camera hidden in the photographer's sleeve.
The caption attached to one of the prints shows how far a Pearson's Magazine photographer had to go make the images:
"This remarkable photograph, made expressly for Pearson's magazine, represents the first successful attempt to catch in the camera the great gambling scene on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Extraordinary precautions are taken to prevent photographers from giving the American public an idea of the place where stocks involving thirty million dollars have been gambled with in one day. This picture was made through the empty sleeve of a coat used to conceal the camera from the sharp eyes of the stock exchange guards...."
In 1907 the stock market was in a tumult. We're not economics pros here at PhotoBlog, so we'll leave any comparisons to you to draw, along with two links to related reading:
- In 2007, Robert F. Bruner and Sean D. Carr wrote a book called The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm. There's a long excerpt of the The Panic of 1907 at the financial blog The Big Picture.
- Ron Chernow's excellent The House of Morgan contains a detailed description of the role J.P. Morgan played in countering the crash.