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Favorites From the Fifth Floor

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Occasionally when visiting the stacks we run across something that we find particularly interesting either from a content or historical perspective.  Shortly after my arrival here at the Library, I found such an item!

Book_spine_smPublished in 1883 the book The Secrets of Success In Business claims to “show completely and practically how business is done, in the great centers, including Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade, New Orleans Cotton Exchange, Union Stock Yards of Chicago, Banks, Clearing Houses, Commercial Agencies, Wholesale Houses, Mining, Shipping, Telegraphing, etc.” (from Title page)

The authors of this book were educators at a prominent Business College at the time and were “engaged in the work of training and educating young men for business pursuits.”  After collecting “a fund of practical information… it has been thought well to give a wider field of usefulness, by placing it before the general reading public.”  (Quotes from book Preface)

The detail in the images on the embossed cover and gold leaf pages add to the charm of this publication.  The level of detail for the business topics covered is enhanced by the use of graphics, color charts, diagrams and examples provided for the reader or student.

Within these pages you will find instruction in penmanship (complete with writing examples and exercises),  how to write a business letter, how to open and run a retail business,  or how to send a telegraph (complete with Morse alphabet, numerals and punctuation).  One can learn about the lumber trade, the wholesale business or elevator and grain trade.

If business law is of interest, the chapter on Law and Legal Forms for the Business Man may be helpful.  I found it interesting that all persons under the legal age (either 21 or 18 years in some states) are referred to as “infants.”  While this term may still be used, we are probably more familiar with the the word “minor” being used to identify someone under the legal age.

The last chapter of this publication is devoted to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.   Here you will learn the history of the exchange, how it was governed, the daily routine, and explanations and examples of a “put,” “call” and  “straddle” (a term which was new to me).

With this writing we would like to start a sharing of our favorite finds or favorite resources – some old and some new.  Through a series of posts titled Favorites From the Fifth Floor we would like to uncover for you some of the many resources available within the walls of the Adams building and the Library of Congress.


  1. Wonderful! I have some old business books written for women. Thanks for sharing this!

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