The Corner for July 18, 2014

The Wall Street Journal celebrated its 125th anniversary July 8.

Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstesser launched their newspaper through their company Dow Jones & Company July 8, 1889.

The newspaper today is the largest paid daily national newspaper with some 2.2 million subscribers.

In 1982, on the 100th anniversary of Dow Jones & Company, Jerry Rosenberg wrote “Inside The Wall Street Journal.” In his book, Rosenberg writes, “The Wall Street Journal currently has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the United States.

Many people consider it the nation’s most influential newspaper as well …. Organized in 1882, the company (Dow Jones & Company) is still dedicated to its original purpose: gathering news about and affecting the world of business and reporting that news in lucid, and levelheaded style …. Printing The Wall Street Journal is an amazing accomplishment. The paper begins its daily manufacturing process with no finished goods in inventory at noon, and, within 12 hours, creates, processes, packages and distributes – from 14 different plants – a product to more than 2 million consumers spread over 3.5 million square miles, insuring that over 95 percent of them receive their newspaper the next morning whether they live in a large city or small hamlet.”

The Journal is published in 12 global versions. It has reporters in 75 countries and comes out in nine different languages. It has had many Pulitzer Prize recipients, 35 altogether, including Stanley Penn, Ed Cony, Lour Kohlmeier, Peter Kann, Vermont Royster, Robert Bartley, James Stewart, David Sanford and more recently Joseph Rago.

Exactly 125 years after the first issue of the WSJ, on page R3 of the Journal Report section, the paper printed a piece done by Jason Zweig with the cover title, “The Past, Reimagined: How the Wall Street Journal of 2014 Might Have Covered the News of July 8, 1889.” It is a page that is formatted the way the Journal is today, except it has the stories of 125 years ago.

The picture directly above the fold features the famed 1888 Harper’s Weekly etch by Thure de Thulstrup (April 5, 1848 – June 9, 1930) with the original title “Downtown Lunchroom 1888.”

There is a really fun story below the fold entitled “Female Speculators Rattle Wall Street Traditions” with pictures of Hetty Green and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In the 1992 book, “The New York Stock Exchange,” edited by Jim Buck, Green is described as “the greatest woman financier in the world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Shrewd and miserly, she invested in the stock market with money inherited from her father and built a fortune of over $100 million.”

Under “What’s News,” there is a blurb that states, “The Dow Jones 12-Stock Average closed on Saturday at 87.71, down 0.4% on the day but up 1.4% for the year-to-date. Total NYSE volume was light at 96,520 shares.”

As a last note, on the very front page of the first Wall Street Journal there were number of ads taken out. Of all the ads placed in that edition, there are only two companies still in operation. One is map maker Rand McNally and the other is the brokerage and investment banking firm of Dominick & Dickerman, now Dominick & Dominick.

Hats off to the Wall Street Journal! I wonder what their 225th anniversary edition will look like in 2114.

Quote of the Week: “In a fast-changing and complicated world, The Wall Street Journal stands committed to being your essential guide, engaging, informing and, we hope, delighting you along the way.” – Gerard Baker (Editor in Chief, The WSJ)

Bart Ward is the chief executive officer of Ward & Co. Ltd., an Anoka-based registered investment adviser – specializing in the management of stock and bond portfolios in companies which are listed on the NYSE.

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