SYLVIA PORTER Biography - People in the News and Media


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Name: Sylvia Porter                                                                   
Born: 18 June 1913                                                                   
Died: 5 June 1991                                                                     
Sylvia Field Porter (18 June 1913 - 5 June 1991) was an American economist and       
journalist. At the height of her career, her readership was greater than 40           
million people.                                                                       
Born Patchogue, New York, on Long Island as Sylvia Field Feldman, she aspired to     
be an author at the age of six. Originally majoring in English literature, she       
switched to economics and finance after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. It has       
been suggested that her fiancee, bank employee Reed Porter, was relying upon         
Sylvia to explain the complications of the worldwide financial panic. They           
were married in 1931.                                                                 
She graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College in 1932, and her expertise in       
government bonds enabled her to get a job as assistant to the president of an         
investment counseling firm. Working 12 hour days, she quickly learned more about     
the bond market, currency fluctuations and movements of the price of gold.           
In her spare time, she pursued an MBA at New York university.                         
Starting in 1934 as "S.F. Porter", she published a newsletter devoted                 
exclusively to U.S. government bonds, and was able to persuade the New York Post     
to hire her to write a thrice-weekly financial column.                               
From there, she began writing a financial column for American Banker, and             
published How To Make Money in Government Bonds, the first book to cover all         
phases of government finance as well as to explain it in plain language. This         
was followed by If War Comes to the American Home, which relied upon simple           
language and interesting anecdotes to explain national defense to the average         
reader. In 1938, S.F. Porter became financial editor for the Post. It was not         
until 1942 that most of Porter's avid readers learned that their most trusted         
financial wizard was not a wise old man, but an attractive 29 year old woman.         
The Post had concluded, correctly, that the widely-respected columnist would be       
accepted regardless of gender. The "revelation" paved the way for Sylvia Porter       
to go on the radio, and the program What Can I Do? began regular broadcast from       
New York's WJZ.                                                                       
In 1959, Porter received her doctorate in literature from Bates College. She         
continued to add to her bibliography of bestsellers about the world of finance.       
In 1975, she published Sylvia Porter's Money Book, subtitled "How to Earn It,         
Spend It, Save It, Invest It, Borrow It and Use It to Better Your Life". After       
43 years with the Post, she hired on with the New York Daily News in 1978. From       
1984 to 1987, she had 400,000 subscribers to her magazine, Sylvia Porter's           
Personal Finance. Her final work was Your Finances in the 1990s. She died on         
June 5, 1991, in Pound Ridge, New York.