As white-knuckled Americans endure the stock market’s wild ride, WKU’s Special Collections Library continues to acquire historical records of Kentucky businesses and investors. A look at our collections reveals many visually appealing (if not always dividend-paying) stock certificates issued by banks, railroads, turnpike companies, private schools, and other enterprises.
For example, in 1852, seven years before the L&N Railroad reached Bowling Green, the Henderson & Nashville Railroad Company issued five dollars’ worth of stock to James Thomas. From 1907 to 1922, the Warder family of Glasgow received certificates for their shares in Kentucky businesses like the Fountain Run Oil Company, the Marrowbone and Leatherwood Oil & Gas Company, and the New Trutona Medicine Company; they also issued stock in their own Warder Tobacco Company. W. B. Mayes invested more locally, paying $100 in 1913 for one share in the Bowling Green Home Telephone Company. In 1950, Julius and Emilie Twesten purchased 11 shares of preferred stock in Fruit of the Loom at $20 apiece. Click on the names to download finding aids for the relevant collections.