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NEVER BOUGHT, ALWAYS SOLD: Salesmanship, the Small Investor, and the Early Postwar Surge in Mutual Fund Participation

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Though today millions of investors flock to them, in 1945, mutual funds exuded no widespread appeal. This essay examines how, why, and when mutual funds first began to regain — and, indeed, exceed — the popularity they had only briefly enjoyed in the 1920s. A key focus is on the role of marketers in stimulating popular interest in mutual funds, particularly among small investors. As will be argued, the surge in mutual fund participation, which began in earnest after the Second World War, should be considered neither accidental nor inevitable.


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