Before stock market transactions became highly mechanized, groups of friends and neighbors often banded together in investment clubs.
One such club in Yellow Springs was profiled in a Dayton Daily News article (date not included in clipping).
WEATHER FIVE YEARS
Melon Slicers Tackle Bulls, Bears; Rarely Pick Lemon
By MAGGIE FITZGIBBONS
Daily News Staff Writer
“Hindsight is no sight at all when it comes to investing,” philosophized Blanche Bean of Snively Rd., Xenia.
She reminded herself of this truism every time she was tempted to steal a look at Texas Instruments during the hectic days it was topping 200.
Miss Bean and her 10-woman investment club had considered this stock when it sold for 35.
The Melon Slicers, as they optimistically called themselves, take such things in stride. They’re old hands at the ups and downs of the stock market by now.
SHOULD THEY agree to separate they would slice a melon that has grown to about $8,000 according to a recent reckoning.
Actual investment came to $6,540 at $10 a share.
The club came into being in September, 1956, at the suggestion of Rebekah Dunning and Jan Janis, both of Yellow Springs. It grew to 10 and acquired a constitution (at the suggestion of a broker).
But is may be the only club in the world that delayed taking any action until all members ad gone to school. The 10 Melon Slicers took a course in investing at night school in Yellow Springs. The course was presented by George Humm, head of the Dayton branch of Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith.
By February, 1957, the Melon Slicers were ready to write their first check.
Each member contributes $10 month or $100 a year.
“We wait until we have $300 or more before we buy a stock,” Miss Bean explained. “And we balance our stock.”
Miss Bean acts as agent for the group. Her job is to contact the broker and order the stock. Dividends are plowed back.
The constitution calls for no more than 10 members. Members can invest more than $10 a month. But no one can own more than 25 per cent of the stock.
Actually the monthly sum goes to buying a share in the Melon Slicers — for it operates like a private mutual fund.
WHAT DO the Melon Slicers buy?
“We have a wide range,” explained Miss Bean. “We’re interested primarily in growth.”
The portfolio, heavy on growth stocks contains electronics shares, a merchandising stock (that has doubled in value) a drug stock, oil, computer and a chemical-photo stock.
The members meet once a month over dinner or coffee and cake to discuss their choices. They do research, subscribe to advisory services, consult with friends and their broker. Their stakes range from three shares to 40 or 50.
Most members have little experience in business. And they regard their club as an education as well as a stake in the future.
THEY NEVER buy on margin.
“We’re not opposed to quick money,” explained Mrs. Jeannette Drake, warmly.
But buying on margin might call for a sudden decision. And it might be hard to get all members together.
Ruth Ricket and Mrs. Fressa Inman are associated with the admissions office at Antioch college. Mrs. Warren Drake is a homemaker. Mrs. Mildred Keenleyside, who gave3 the club its name is associated with Antioch. President Clara F. Zell works at Wright-Patterson Air Force base.
The women have a lot more in common than their stock.
One of their problems—getting down to business.
“I guess you could say our motivating force is profit,” admitted Miss Bean, an ex-English teacher. “But we are getting an education. I think everyone in America should own at least one share of stock.”