Fearless: Wilma Soss and America’s Forgotten Investor Movement
PUBLIUS SPECIAL GUESTS: Janice Traflet, PhD and Robert Wright, PhD are authors of Fearless: Wilma Soss and America’s Forgotten Investor Movement
WHO IS WILMA SOSS?
Shareholder activist Wilma Soss rocketed to fame in the 1950s fighting for the rights of the individual investor. But over the years, her legacy was almost forgotten.
Based on archival documents, Fearless tells the true story of how a disparate group of activist investors—from a PR star to a Holocaust survivor—found each other and became the advocates Fortune 500 management loved to hate.
Soss and her band of activists, including the incomparable Evelyn Y. Davis, leveraged the media to promote the rights of small shareholders. The idea was simple: buy one share of stock to gain access to shareholder meetings and remind management whom they really serve.
These “corporate gadflies” were determined to speak their minds, even if it meant bringing their own megaphones or being dragged out of public meetings. But their message was undeniable, and ultimately changed corporate America for the better. Increased opportunities in the workplace, improved shareholder voting rights and greater corporate transparency were just some of the reforms Wilma Soss and her Federation kicked off in the post-war era.
If you’re looking for the intellectual heritage of 2021’s WallStreetBets phenomenon or the reason Fearless Girl stands as a symbol of American optimism today, look no further than the life, times and efforts of the fearless shareholder activist, Wilma Soss.
BIO: Business historian Janice M. Traflet (Ph.D., Columbia University) explores in her research many facets of Wall Street history, especially how ordinary citizens have interacted with the securities markets over time. She is the author of the well-acclaimed book A Nation of Small Shareowners (Johns Hopkins), in addition to numerous articles in journals such as Business History, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Cultural Economy and Essays in Economic and Business History. She serves on the Financial History editorial board, in addition to the board of the Economic and Business History Society. She teaches in the Freeman College of Management at Bucknell University.
BIO: Policy historian Robert E. Wright (Ph.D., SUNY Buffalo) has (co)authored 24 books, including The First Wall Street (Chicago 2005), One Nation Under Debt (McGraw Hill 2008), and The Wall Street Journal Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter (HarperCollins 2011). He taught courses in business, economics, and policy at Temple, Virginia, New York, and Augustana universities before joining the American Institute for Economic Research in January 2021. He has appeared on C-SPAN, Fox Business, and other broadcast outlets and been featured in Barron’s, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
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I strongly believe that capitalism works, and that it can work for anybody and everybody. Wilma Soss believed it too and advocated for every shareholder. This book captures the rich history of her life and life’s work. It’s a must read for anyone who believes in our market system. The world belongs to risk takers, and Wilma Soss was one of them! – Ken Langone, co-founder, The Home Depot and author of I Love Capitalism
Media Op: Lyrical Writings Radiate Mother’s Grief and Illuminate Paths Toward Healing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lyrical Writings Radiate Mother’s Grief and Illuminate Paths Toward Healing
San Francisco, Calif., July 11, 2022 ― There may never really be closure when a loved one passes on, but there can be gentle nudges toward healing and, eventually, toward the forgotten fringes of happiness.
In Blown Into Now: Poems for a Journey, Mylo Schaaf carries readers from deep sadness and loss to comfort and support, finally edging toward joy. Her melodic words become a guidebook, allowing those who grieve to witness a spectrum of responses, to understand what might give relief, and to know how to look for the signposts that will guide them down the path toward healing.
Each of Schaaf’s 45 remarkable poems is paired with a striking photograph taken by her mountaineer son, Alex Lowenstein, who passed on unexpectedly in his twenties. Schaaf’s personal journey through grief became this book.
To those who must endure such a shocking new reality, she aims to bring compassion, beauty and spiritual connection.
Her poems reveal a mother’s great heart and the love she shares with her son for granite peaks and untracked desert. Each photograph provides a pause from grief and allows us a glimpse of something we want and cannot name.
About the Author
Mylo Schaaf trained as a journalist, editor and physician, before taking a left turn into poetry. Before everything changed, she was a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, mentoring and teaching students in international, low-resource settings. Her commitment to global health grew out of her work and connection with India, the Americas, Liberia, Haiti and China. Then one day, a shocking phone call collapsed this pursuit of engagement and action. Her 24-year-old son, a mountaineer/peace-and-conflict scholar/veteran, had passed away. Poems demanded to be written. They brought relief and healing, as did warm, grassy hills, tree spirits, and arms of sky. Years wandered past. Poems continue to emerge, as the tangles of our days slip into light.
For more information, please visit https://www.myloschaaf.com, or follow the author on Instagram at writermyloschaaf.
Blown Into Now – Poems for a Journey
Publisher: Blue Light Press
ISBN: 979-8-9864093-0-6 (softcover, available now)
Available from https://www.blurb.com/b/11208355-blown-into-now
Hardcover and eBook editions coming soon (For updates on these additional formats, please visit https://www.myloschaaf.com).
TRUE CRIME – Nov 4, 2019 ambush of Mormon caravan of women & children in northern Mexico
On the morning of November 4, 2019, an unassuming caravan of women and children was ambushed by masked gunmen on a desolate stretch of road in northern Mexico controlled by the Sinaloa drug cartel. The attackers killed nine people and gravely injured five more. The victims were members of the LeBarón and La Mora communities—fundamentalist Mormons whose forebears broke from the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) Church and settled in Mexico when the church outlawed polygamy in the late nineteenth century.
In THE COLONY: Faith and Blood in a Promised Land (Liveright; June 28, 2022) best-selling investigative journalist Sally Denton takes on the still-ongoing case, in a masterful work of history and a chilling, compulsive true crime narrative that begins as the story of a massacre, and unfurls into the strange, violent history of the LeBaron clan in a land much stranger than fiction.
I would love to get you a copy of The Colony and schedule an interview with Sally Denton. Ms. Denton is available starting Tuesday, June 28, 2022. If there is interest, please respond with the best mailing address for a hard copy of the book and a date/time for the interview.
Drawing on firsthand interviews with anonymous women from the LeBarón community and historical research, Denton unfolds an epic, disturbing tale that spans from the first polygamist emigrations to Mexico through the LeBaróns’ internal blood feud in the 1970s—started by Ervil LeBaron, known as the “Mormon Manson”—and up to the family’s recent alliance with the NXIVM sex cult, whose now-imprisoned leader, Keith Raniere, may have based his practices on the society he witnessed in Colonia LeBarón.
Some revelations in the book include:
- The historic violence of the clan
- The longstanding relationship between Colonia LeBarón and NXIVM—this has not been widely reported, having been mentioned only on an obscure NXIVM blog, and once by the Albany Times Union during Keith Raniere’s criminal trial
- The complex relationship between the hugely successful LeBarón nut farmers and their neighbors, including the Mexican drug cartels
- Many first-hand accounts never reported, based on inside sources, about how the massacre happened and the events leading up to it
- How the LeBaróns are raising rightwing militias amid anti-government claims of sovereignty that parallels, and is interrelated with, such movements in the US (e.g. Ammon Bundy, whose followers believe he is “the One Mighty and Strong” is the leader of an anti-government armed militia in the US and is running for governor of Idaho)
- The Colony is a cautionary tale about the impending water wars in the US Southwest, with a drying up water supply and armed violence
- How entwined the LeBarón family became with the Trump administration which they lobbied to designate the cartels as terrorists. This dovetails with recent revelations about the lengths the Trump administration was willing to go to pursue a military strike against Mexico, using the LeBarón massacre as pretext
- The water conflict in Baja California between the LeBaróns and their neighbors has not been reported in the US, and only received minor attention in Mexico
- How the violent reign of Ervil LeBarón in the 1970s is tied to the water conflict in Baja California
- A firsthand look inside Colonia LeBarón from the women’s viewpoint
Pam Oakes 8/11/2022
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