Wall Street to Main Street Charles Merrill and Middle-Class Investors Synopsis
Wall Street to Main Street, first published in 1999, focuses on the spectacularly successful career of financier Charles Merrill (1885-1956), the founder of Merrill Lynch & Co., the world's largest brokerage and investment firm. Merrill was the most innovative entrepreneur in the United States financial services sector in the twentieth century and the most important figure in promoting common stocks as a prudent long-term investment vehicle for members of the American middle class. With more than 100 branch offices across the nation, his firm solicited millions of middle-class households and became famous for bringing Wall Street to Main Street in the post-World War II era. Today, American investors hold, either directly or indirectly through mutual funds, a greater percentage of common stocks in their financial portfolios than do the citizens of any other country. Based on archival sources, this book is the first biography published about the career of this major Wall Street figure.
Wall Street to Main Street Charles Merrill and Middle-Class Investors Press Reviews
'This work makes an important contribution to the history of financial services.' Journal of Financial History Review Readers who enjoy biographies and the history of business will find food for thought in this very comprehensive history of the world's largest brokerage and investment firm, Merril Lynch, and biography of founder Charles R. Merrill (1885-1956). Scholarly and detailed but readable, the book discusses Merrill's success with the Safeway food chain, the business climate during the 1920's and 1930's, his relationship with Edmund Lynch (who died in 1938), and the war and postwar years and his success in opening offices nationwide (100 by 1950) that attracted flocks of middle-class investors to the stock market. Steven J. Mayover, Library Journal With access to company archives and cooperation from Merrill's family, Perkins provides this scholarly portrait of Merrill's business career. David Rouse, Booklist ...a first class portrayal of a most innovative entrepreneur. Fore Word This readable and well-documented work is recommended for public, academic, and professional libraries. Choice ...an excellent book that will be of especial interest to business and financial historians. Louis Cain, Journal of Economic History ...lively and well-written book... H-Net Reviews One of the most exciting aspects of Wall Street to Main Street is the extent to which it opens new topics for future research...the book opens up new ground...because Perkins is himself so well versed in the larger concerns of the field of business history, the study os a fertile starting point for future research. Business History ...lively and well-written book...read Perkins' interesting and provocative treatment yourself and, like me, wait for the outcome of the discussion of Merrill's career that this fine book is sure to engender. EH.Net [It] does a very good job explaining brokerage and investment banking operations and how government regulation affected them...a lively biography of an important American businessman. American Historical Review This polished study centers on Merrill's business career, assessing his significance within the development of America's financial sector of the personalities of Merill and other key executives with a clear delineation of the economic and regulatory context, using comparisons with earlier and later ears in marketing and financial services...access to internal sources and Perkin's authoritative and lucid analysis make this a high quality addition to the literature in business. Enterprise & Society