57 Pages

1866-1896 4 Prelude to the Modern Age

ByStephen A. Zeff

Youth found inspiration in “Horatio Alger” success stories about young people who turned pennies into fortunes through hard work and unceasing application of their talents in the marketplace. It was all at once the age of P. T. Barnum’s showmanship, the industrial “robber barons,” and unbridled competition among vast enterprises that were to form the first business trusts. This chapter considers the format, content and influence of financial reports of the period including regulatory and legal aspects, the role that accounting systems played in internal administration of large organizations, and attempts by the private and public sectors to establish uniform accounts. Accounting reports rendered during this period were prepared and submitted in longhand, since the popular acceptance of the typewriter did not occur until the mid-1890s. Child, a member of the institute, and attended ty a large audience, was the subject of a feature in the magazine.