Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in
The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
The Roaring Twenties were brought to an abrupt end with the great stock market crash of 1929. Coverage of the disaster in The Post of Oct. 30, 1929, was reassuringly optimistic, despite the fact that the nation was about to be plunged into the Great Depression that would linger for the next decade. Three excerpts:
New York, Oct. 29 (A.P.) --
Huge barriers of buying orders, hastily erected by powerful financial interests, finally checked the most frantic stampede of selling yet experienced by the securities markets and which threatened at times today to bring about an utter collapse in prices.
All trading records were broken with a turnover of 16,410,000 shares on the New York stock Exchange and 7,096,300 shares on the New York Curb Market. This contrasts with the previous records of 12,894,600 and 6,148,300 shares, respectively, established last Thursday, and a stock exchange turnover of 9,122,800 shares yesterday.
Extreme declines in the active issues ranged from $10 to $70 a share, but many of these were cut in half in the rally which started in mid-afternoon and continued through to the close ...
Bankers, who had been hurriedly called into conference last night and again at noon today, apparently stood aside at the opening as blocks of 10,000 to 80,000 shares were thrown into the market for whatever price they would bring. When this initial flood of selling had spent itself, supporting orders began to make their appearance, not with the intention of completely checking the streams of selling, but with the avowed object of regulating their flow.
Several times during the day, particularly in the early afternoon and again toward the close, it looked as though a fresh collapse in prices, bringing ruin in its wake, was inevitable, but each time the holes were plugged and the threatened disaster was averted.
Assistant Secretary of Commerce Julius Klein, in the first speech on the stock market situation and business made by a high administration official since the recent startling price declines, informed a national radio audience last night that "regardless of regrettable speculative uncertainties, the industrial and commercial structure of the Nation is sound."
The Commerce Department official said the volume of purchasing power measured the heights of living standards, and then declared that "basically our normal purchasing power has not been appreciably impaired."
Speaking over the Columbia network, he recalled and echoed the conviction recently expressed by President Hoover that the fundamental business of the Nation is on a firm basis. He dealt with the relation of business to the stock market, and refrained from forecasting the trend of the market during the next few days.
New York. Oct. 29 (A.P.). --
A symposium of opinion from 98 leading business executives, all of whom express confidence in the fundamental strength of business, in contrast to the wild hysteria of stock selling, was compiled today today by Louis Guenther, financial publisher.