Petticoats and Pinstripes

Portraits of Women in Wall Street's History

by Sheri J. Caplan


Women have helped shape America's financial affairs since before the nation's founding.

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Cover image for Petticoats and Pinstripes

June 2013


Pages 258
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Business/History
  Women's Studies/Business and Labor

This fascinating work presents biographical essays about women from the colonial period to modern times, chronicling the previously untold story of the female financial experience in the United States.

Petticoats and Pinstripes: Portraits of Women in Wall Street's History provides a fascinating chronological account of the contributions of women on Wall Street through profiles of selected individuals that set their achievements in the context of the prevailing times. The book documents how women frequently assumed financial roles as a temporary palliative to the nation's ills, only to be cast aside once conditions improved, and how they were often restrained from financial endeavors by various factors, including American legal, political, economic, and cultural norms. Author Sheri J. Caplan describes the accomplishments of women in the financial world against the backdrop of the general advancement of women's rights and the evolution of gender-based roles in society, and identifies the primary factors in the development of a greater female role in finance: wartime urgency, personal necessity, technological change, and financial education.


    • Explores the female financial experience in the United States from the colonial period to modern times
    • Presents the history of women on Wall Street by placing personalities in the context of both Wall Street's development and prevailing political and cultural times
    • Identifies common themes and issues confronted by women in finance
    • Provides two quick-reference appendices, one describing the significance of particular women and a second that provides a chronology of milestones
Author Info

Sheri J. Caplan is a writer who previously served as vice president and assistant general counsel at Goldman Sachs and currently is a securities arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Caplan earned her bachelor's degree in history from Yale University and her juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She has provided content to various media outlets and entities, including, Bloomberg Law, The Motley Fool, and the German Historical Institute.



"A useful addition to business and women's studies collections, and especially worthwhile reading for female students. Summing Up: Recommended."Choice

"A great read for those interested in business, history, women's studies, and/or money."Library Journal


"The contribution of women to the growth of Wall Street and ultimately our capitalist system has been largely hidden, until now. From colonial times to the present, Sheri J. Caplan leads us through the adventures of the 'she merchants'—women who pioneered in the male dominated world of finance. Phenomenally well-researched, Petticoats and Pinstripes: Portraits of Women in Wall Street's History, delves into the lives of very real women, from Abigail Adams to Abby Joseph Cohen, all of them groundbreakers, and their relationships with men and money. Women on Wall Street have traveled far and Caplan leads us through that journey with her compelling portraits of those who led the way."—Lisa Endlich, Author, Goldman Sachs: The Culture of Success

"Caplan has crafted a masterful piece of narrative non-fiction that traces the untold story of women in Wall Street's history. She adeptly guides the reader through key events spanning three centuries of American cultural and economic history while highlighting the successes and obstacles encountered by selected women in short biographical essays. She successfully distills key themes affecting women's progress in finance in a highly readable fashion that will appeal to history buffs, Wall Street aficionados, and anyone who enjoys reading accounts of individual determination."—Nina Godiwalla, Best-selling Author of Suits: A Woman on Wall Street

"Groundbreaking work by a talented essayist that finally takes note of women's achievements in finance. Caplan's thorough and astute analysis combined with engaging storytelling provides fast-paced, important, and timely insight to women's progress on Wall Street both yesterday and today."—Janet Hanson, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, 85 Broads

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The Birth of Big Business in the United States, 1860-1914 cover imageA Business in Risk cover imageUnited States Entrepreneurs and the Companies They Built cover image

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