Thursday, February 16, 2006

Edward Davis Jones


With the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching a 4-year high yesterday, it is appropriate that we remember Edward Davis Jones, who died on this day in 1920 in New York City at the age of 64.

A Brown University dropout who entered the newspaper business as a drama critic in Providence, Rhode Island, hard-drinking consummate networker Eddie Jones met the shy, professorial Charles H. Dow while working on the Providence Journal. Davis bought a piece of the Journal and attempted to turn it into a financial paper, but his co-owners disagreed; and after he lost his investment and his job, Dow got him a job with a Manhattan financial news service. In 1882, Dow and Jones started their own news service, Dow Jones & Company, which would focus on objective reporting about management moves, interest rate changes and other company moves.

Jones specialized in covering financial reports, having an uncanny knack for spotting portents in accounting information, but was even more effective as the man-within-earshot at the bar at the Windsor Hotel, Manhattan's "after hours Wall Street." At the office, he was the man in charge -- explosive, demanding, uttering profanities at every lurch, but also the clearest thinking resource when crisis arose.

He authored the business plan for Dow Jones' Wall Street Journal and presided over the business end of the paper for a decade before joining the dark side, becoming a broker with James R. Keene. The present day investment firm of Edward Jones, however, is in no way related to Edward Davis Jones.

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