Category Archives: Exhibits

Last Month of “Women of Wall Street” Exhibit: Profile of Abigail Adams

The Museum’s groundbreaking exhibit, “Women of Wall Street,” is on view until the end of March, which is Women’s History Month.  The exhibit was conceived in January of 2009, when Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and profiles five pioneering historical figures and five of the most powerful women in finance today.

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Museum will post a blog entry about each of the famous historical figures in the exhibit, beginning with Abigail Adams.

Abigail Adams is most famous for being the wife of American statesman and former President John Adams, but few people know that she was a bond trader, or in the lingo of the times, a “stock-jobber.”   Adams’ trading activities were one of the few sources of contention between the pair; John Adams, much more conservative by nature, asked his wife to invest in land.  She would point out to him that the bonds offered a significantly higher return on capital than land (24% a year versus only 2% for land).  Indeed, she ultimately earned a return of about 400% as a result of her speculative activities.

In Adams’ time, Massachusetts coverture laws were such that legally, all of her property belonged to John.  Even so, she would set aside “pin money” (small amounts given to wives to purchase luxuries and other items) and buy the bonds through her uncle.  Many women who lived through the Revolutionary War in America had to make do without their husbands, which forced them to become independent in many ways.  Even so, women’s legal rights remained limited, something that Adams famously admonished her husband to address when she asked him to “Remember the ladies” as he was helping draft laws for the newly-founded United States in 1776.

Welcome to MoAF’s new blog!

Welcome to the Museum of American Finance’s new blog!  We are currently in the process of launching several exciting new social media initiatives.  In addition to the Museum’s current new media offerings such as our website, MoAF.org; our new wiki, Recessipedia.com; and our Facebook group and fan pages, we will be rolling out a YouTube channel that will aggregate Museum videos and serve as an online arena for shorter, informal video features.  We plan to profile staff members, provide sneak peeks into the creation of upcoming exhibitions, focus on important objects from the archive and document the behind-the-scenes accounts that usually remain hidden from visitors.  In addition, the Museum can now be followed on Twitter via our handle, @FinanceMuseum  (recent tweets can also be viewed on the blog in the top right hand corner of the page).

These new media platforms will provide fresh venues for the Museum to spread the word about upcoming events and programs, and connect visitors in new and innovative ways.  These platforms will help create a more accessible museum experience, and will enable more interaction between the Museum and patrons – both in New York and beyond – allowing visitors to continue their education about finance and financial history after they leave the Museum. We look forward to hearing from you via comments and e-mails, and invite you to tell us what you’d like to see on the blog, what you’re interested in learning about the Museum, and how you think we’re doing.