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Wall Street and the Stock Exchanges: Historical Resources

Wall Street

Irving Underhill, photographer. Sixty Wall Street Tower, 70 Pine St. 1932. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Wall Street is the name of a street in lower Manhattan that began life in the 17th century as the wall that formed the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam settlement erected for defensive purposes. But Wall Street has come to be more than just a street.

Today when people refer to Wall Street, the term encompasses the businesses directly related to stock exchanges and the financial market. These are the companies that list on any of the stock exchanges as well as those companies, like investment firms, that invest in those companies and help companies "go public" (issue stocks and bond). Used even more broadly, many use "Wall Street" to symbolize big business and investing in the United States.

The resources in the section of this guide are related to researching the history of Wall Street more generally. If you are interested in researching particular exchanges see the exchanges part of this guide. Also, if you are interested in researching particular events related to Wall Street those can be researched on their own, for example:

  • Explosion on September 16, 1920
  • Black Friday (1929)
  • Black Monday (1987)
  • Occupy Wall Street (2011)