Q&A: The origins of Standard and Poor's

Origins of Standard and Poor's

Who or what were the "Standard" and the "Poor" of the S&P 500?

The company grew out of Henry Varnum Poor's early ventures into writing and publishing books about the railroads, beginning in 1860. In 1868, Poor, who began his career as a lawyer in Maine, and his son, Henry William Poor, published the Manual of the Railroads of the United States, which contained "essential information for investors in the U.S. railroad industry," according to www.StandardandPoors.com. The manual was updated annually.

In 1906, Luther Lee Blake, a "self-trained businessman" from Tennessee, formed the Standard Statistics Bureau, which provided corporate information and news for investors on cards and in an annual bound volume. In 1930, Poor's Publishing struggled to recover from the stock market crash and was taken over by Paul T. Babson.

The companies merged in 1941 and Standard & Poor's soon published the new Bond Guide. By 1950, Standard & Poor's subscriptions had surpassed the $5 million mark, and in 1957, the company introduced the S&P 500 Stock Index.

Irene far from Northeast's worst

Has a hurricane hit the Northeast — particularly New York and New England — that has caused as much damage as Irene?

On Sept. 21, 1938, a hurricane — called the Great New England Hurricane — that started near the Cape Verde Islands in the Atlantic Ocean hit Long Island and then Milford, Conn., at high tide, according to the website of the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Boston.

Sustained winds of 121 mph, with gusts up to 186 mph, battered the region and produced storm tides of 14 to 18 feet along the Connecticut coast. Narragansett Bay was practically destroyed, and Providence, R.I., Falmouth, Mass., and New Bedford, Mass., were submerged. There was widespread flooding throughout the area.

There were 564 deaths and 1,700 injuries in southern New England, and more than 8,900 houses and 2,600 boats were destroyed.

New York City was hit by hurricanes in 1815 and 1893, and a hurricane in 1821 impacted states from Virginia to New England.

An 1869 storm damaged the Maine coast, and in 1944, a storm called the Great Atlantic Hurricane hit Cape Hatteras, N.C., ravaged the Jersey Shore and sank a Navy destroyer and two Coast Guard cutters. It caused 390 deaths and $100 million in damage.

Pixar didn't pay for stamps

Did Pixar Animation Studios pay the U.S. Postal Service to make stamps with its movie characters, and if so, how much?

No, Pixar did not contribute to the cost of the stamps, Postal Service spokesman Roy Betts told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It cost $425,000 to produce 200 million Send a Hello commemorative Forever stamps featuring characters from five films: Cars, Toy Story, Ratatouille, Wall-E and Up.

Q&A: The origins of Standard and Poor's 09/11/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 11, 2011 5:30am]

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