Back to the Farm

"All business is essentially the same ... As long as you keep your eyes open, know what's going on and keep your nose clean, you get along all right." On such a homemade maxim, big (6 ft. 1 in.) Emil Schram has gotten along fine. He was a successful farmer, irrigation expert and president of RFC when he became president of the New York Stock Exchange in 1941.

At the time, Wall Street was suffering its worst trading slump in 23 years. Many brokers thought it was caused by too much federal regulation,...

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