Posted by on Tuesday, July 24, 2012
You have never heard of her. Most people haven’t. But for the few who knew Rosalind, they can tell you a bit about this quiet, unassuming woman. Like most women right after World War I, she was expected to find a good husband, have some children and move into that little house with the picket fence. Not that she was against all that, it just never seemed to work out that way for her. For one thing, she wanted to work. But good jobs for women were about as scarce as hen’s teeth. There was nurse, secretary, cook - oh, I don’t have to tell you what it was like.
Rosalind did find a job at $8.00 a week as secretary for the Wall Street Journal. She liked the newspaper business all right, but she really got excited about the investing business. She loved watching stock prices, listening in on the conversations that the Wall Street reporters were having with the brokers and big financiers of the time. It was a heady business, that’s for sure.
Rosalind decided it was time to do a little investing of her own. But to her surprise, she had trouble even getting a stock broker to open an account for her. None of them wanted to open an account for a woman. So, she tried a new tactic. She wrote a letter to a broker and asked to open an account. She told the broker she worked for the Wall Street Journal, which she did of course, and signed the letter with only her initials. The broker assumed that it was one of the men executives or reporters at the Journal and opened the account.
All went pretty well for some time, until telephones came in daily use. When the broker tried to call R.W. Alcott, she had to speak in a low voice to hide her identity. She got pretty good at the whole thing. She listened to the reporters, she overheard industry executives talking about their companies and the competition, and she invested.
But then she became concerned, very concerned. She didn’t like what she was seeing in the market. The executives had new attitudes, the reporters were not speaking in the same tone as they had before, and there were rumblings within the government. And Rosalind heard it all. She decided that something bad was up, and there was going to be trouble.
She told her reporter friends what she had noticed and urged them to write about it. But they told her she was just being female, emotional, silly! Nothing was wrong. It was all her imagination. OK, if those bozos wouldn’t listen, she would just take care of herself, like she always had.
It’s a Little Known Fact that Rosalind W. Alcott tried her best to warn everyone that things were about to crater. But when no one would listen to a woman, she cashed in her entire investment accounts in late September.
Two weeks later - disaster! At a time when people were jumping out of windows in desperation out of their financial ruin, Rosalind took her $10 million (now in cash) and later moved to Los Angeles. Rosalind passed away in Dec 1990 at 105 years old.
We could have used several reporters like Rosalind prior to the economic crash of 2007, and we could still use responsible news media today.
Tags: wall street economy crash recession media news journalism corporate owned media