Finding Aid of the Dave Oliver Memoir C058141

Finding aid prepared by Patricia Keats
Society of California Pioneers
300 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA, 94107-1272
(415) 959-1849
August 26, 2011

Title: Oliver, Dave, Memoir, 1875-1880
Identifier/Call Number: C058141
Contributing Institution: Society of California Pioneers
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 1.0 folder (1typescript, 15 pages)
Date (inclusive): 1875-1880
Abstract: This typed transcription is a memoir of a young office boy entitled, "Bonanza Days: Tales of the Stockbrokers of the Big Board Half Decade - 1875-1880, by an office boy and messenger of that period. Dave Oliver", at the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco during the Bonanza Days of the Comstock Lode find. The author's memoir includes details of his five year employment and the work entailed at the exchange, the persons and firms he had daily contact with and a general description of downtown San Francisco's "Pauper's Alley". Also listed are the famous Silver Kings of this era as well as a large number of brokerage firms of the day. This memoir provides a fascinating climpse and insight into the workings of a stock exchange to which outsiders usually never get to know. On the top of the transcription is a handwritten note in ink that reads: "copied from Mr. Oliver's pencilled manuscript. Sept. 1933." A set of indecipherable initials follows this note.
creator: Oliver, Dave, fl. 1860-1910

Existence and Location of Originals note

The Society of California Pioneers, 300 Fourth Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.

Conditions Governing Use note

There are no restrictions on access.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection open for research.

Scope and Contents note

This fifteen page memoir of a young office boy, Dave Oliver, at the Pacific Stock Exchange gives the reader a vivid and detailed picture of his time working there from 1875 to 1880. These years were known as the Bonanaza Days during which securities in the Comstock Lode traded very actively. The author went to work at the brokerage firm of William Hale. He mentioned, among others - James Flood, William O'Brien, John Mackay, and James Fair - as major personalities of the day, collectively known as the Silver Kings. Other persons and firms mentioned were William Ralston, Michael Reese, Thomas Bell, and Adam Grant and others. The author relates his activities on the floor of the exchange, back office, and deliverymen of securities and gold in the course of daily trading. Also mentioned in his memoir are such well known names as Stanford, Crocker, Huntington and Hopkins - all major figures of the day. Apparently, all employees - cashiers, clerks, bookkeepers and messengers - of brokerage firms, were treated well, never "high hatted" (to use Oliver's term), as their employers were most generous. Daily life outside of the office is mentioned in detail. Restaurants and bars they frequented such as the Dividend Saloon and the What Cheer House - in the stock exchange neighborhood known as "Pauper Alley" - are noted. Besides the Bonanaza firms there are listed some 10-15 silver mining operators, some 25-30 brokerage firms, and a dozen or so banks - all of which figured into the activities of the era.

Biographical/Historical note

Dave Oliver graduated from old Lincoln Grammar School in San Francisco in the winter of 1875. Upon graduation, he began work at the brokerage firm of William E. Hale - who was a member of the San Francisco Stock Exchange - as an office boy and messenger. Oliver worked in a lawyer's office - Benjamin S. Brooks - for a few months in 1876, but then returned to the brokerage firm.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Comstock Lode (Nev.) - History
Stock exchanges - United States - History - 19th century