Abstract: Mom, Apple Pie, and the Market: How the NYSE Came to Court Women Investors

Janice Traflet


In the early 1950s, keenly aware that most member firms still had not fully recovered from the loss of business suffered in the wake of the Great Crash, the NYSE Executive Board decided to embark on an unprecedented massive marketing campaign. The main goal was to publicize the virtues of the stock market in order to stimulate business for struggling brokerage firms. This article focuses on the depiction of women in campaign promotional material, exploring in the process Exchange executives' changing vision of the role that women could play in reviving business for the securities industry. Initially, the NYSE looked to middle-class married women to serve primarily as influencers who could help infuse stock investing with an aura of legitimacy. While early campaign advertisements thus tried to remake investing into an activity construed as fundamentally American as "Mom and apple pie," the later stages of the campaign finally began to focus on women as potential investors in their own right. By examining the role of gender in the Exchange's first full-fledged marketing campaign, this article endeavors to shed light on the NYSE's changing perceptions of women's place both in society and in the stock market.