Silent Partners: Women as Public Investors During Britain's Financial Revolution, 1690-1750

ISBN : 9780198767985

Amy M. Froide
240 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Oct 2016
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Silent Partners restores women to their place in the story of England's Financial Revolution. Women were active participants in London's first stock market beginning in the 1690s and continuing through the eighteenth century. Whether playing the state lottery, investing in government funds for retirement, or speculating in company stocks, women regularly comprised between a fifth and a third of public investors. These female investors ranged from London servants to middling tradeswomen, up to provincial gentlewomen and peeresses of the realm. Amy Froide finds that there was no single female investor type, rather some women ran risks and speculated in stocks while others sought out low-risk, low-return options for their retirement years. Not only did women invest for themselves, their financial knowledge and ability meant that family members often relied on wives, sisters, and aunts to act as their investing agents. Moreover, women's investing not only benefitted themselves and their families, it also aided the nation. Women's capital was a critical component of Britain's rise to economic, military, and colonial dominance in the eighteenth century. Focusing on the period between 1690 and 1750, and utilizing women's account books and financial correspondence, as well as the records of joint stock companies, the Bank of England, and the Exchequer, Silent Partners provides the first comprehensive overview of the significant role women played in the birth of financial capitalism in Britain.


1 Introduction
2 Playing the Lottery for Marriage and Profit
3 Early Adopters: Women Investors in the Early Years of the Financial Revolution
4 Women as Investors for their Families
5 Unmarried Women Investing for Retirement
6 Gender and Risk in the Early Stock Market
7 The Financial and Political Agency of Female Investors

About the author: 

Amy M. Froide is Associate Professor of History at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is the author of Never Married: Singlewomen in Early Modern England (2005), which was shortlisted for the Whitfield Prize. She is the co-editor with Judith M. Bennett of Singlewomen in the European Past, 1250-1800 (1999). She has held fellowships at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Newberry Library, and the Henry H. Huntington Library. She is the past book review editor for the Journal of British Studies and founding Director of UMBC's undergraduate minor in Entrepreneurship.

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