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Woodhull & Claflin open the first women's brokerage firm on Wall Street...



Item # 673570

February 12, 1870

NEW YORK TIMES, Feb. 12, 1870 

* "Woodhull, Claflin & Co." advertisement
* First Women's Wall Street brokerage


The financial page has an intriguing, somewhat inconspicuous advertisement of a very notable--yet widely unknown--Wall Street "first".
The advertisement is for the very first women's brokerage firm to open on male-dominated Wall Street. It is headed: "Woodhull, Claflin & Co." and notes: "Mrs. V. C. Woodhull, Mrs. T.C. Claflin, Bankers and Brokers. No. 44 Broad St., New York..." with some text on the focus of their business.
As the website "Bumped" notes, Cornelius Vanderbilt helped Victoria and Tennessee *(Tennie) with the finances needed for them to open Woodhull, Claflin, & Co., the first for-women-by-women brokerage firm in the United States.
On February 5, 1870, Victoria and Tennessee, then 31 and 24, officially opened the doors of Woodhull, Claflin, & Co. for business. Despite a sign stating, “Gentlemen will state their business and then retire at once,” most of the estimated four thousand visitors on that first day were men, presumably shocked by the women now working in their midst.
Opening a successful brokerage wasn’t the whole plan. As Victoria later said, “We went unto Wall Street, not particularly because I wanted to be a broker…but because I wanted to plant the flag of women’s rebellion in the center of the continent.”
And in some ways, that’s exactly what she did. Later in 1870 the sisters used the profits from the brokerage firm to launch Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, one of the country’s first publications published by women.
Woodhull, Claflin, & Co. proved to be a huge success. According to some versions of the story, Victoria and Tennessee supposedly made $700,000 in the first six weeks (that’s more than $13 million today).
Eight pages, very nice condition.

Category: Post-Civil War