Students Pen Cover Story for National Magazine

An article by senior Marissa Knaak (St. Cloud, Minn.) and junior Megan Soe (Fremont, Neb.) is featured as the cover story for the Winter 2012 issue of Financial History, the magazine of the Museum of American Finance. Knaak and Soe are both recipients of Thomas Willing Institute fellowships.

The article, "Female Investment in America: From the 18th Century to the Great Depression," follows the integral role of women in the market economy as consumers, employees, entrepreneurs and investors.

"The traditional view that women were largely excluded from the financial system until after World War II is factually flawed," Knaak and Soe argue in the article. "Following English precedents, women in America since the colonial period invested in financial securities, including government bonds and corporate equities. What they lacked, as both females and as small investors, was control. Before the Civil War, when small holders still exerted influence over corporate affairs, female investors remained in the minority. When they owned a majority of shares in some commercial banks in the late 19th century, Victorian mores excluded them from directorships. And by the time they came to own a majority of the shares in major industrial concerns in the early 20th century, executives had successfully seized control of corporate elections and entrenched themselves in power. Despite their effective disenfranchisement, women were expected to continue to turn their savings over to the control of men and, effectively blocked from other lucrative investment options, for the most part did so."

Read the complete article.