With the DOW down 800 points today, this article from 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, seems appropriate (excerpts chosen, shortened and edited for dramatic effect):
In the last few months our economic situation has more clearly developed. Some of the things we thought would take place, have not. We were groping in the dark, listening to economic leaders who, as it turns out now, were either guided by unjustifiable optimism or who made pronouncements with nothing but ignorance as a foundation. This is clearly not an economic setback of the usual kind (as many still believe) but is of far greater magnificence than was assumed months ago. Never has capitalist industrialism been indicted as severely as in the last year. Selfish individualism is rampant everywhere. We cannot blame the British Empire for retaliation against a tariff barrier whose unhealthiness has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Our country is in a crisis. How far down we will go nobody can tell, but the owners of antiquarian books, fine autographs and manuscripts of rarity and quality will form as fine an insurance against financial breakdown and the poorhouse as anybody can wish for.
If my opinion were asked, I would STRONGLY ADVISE ANYBODY WHO IS AT A TOTAL LOSS TODAY WHAT TO DO WITH HIS MONEY TO TRANSFER A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF CURRENCY INTO LITERARY PROPERTY. I also think that every collector could do a great service in pointing out to his non collecting acquaintances the ultimate stability of such property as the only commodity which has stood the test of centuries and which has been the savior of many a man in periods of financial debacle and catastrophe when every other equity was of no value whatsoever.
– The American Book Collector, Vol. 2, No. 1, July 1932. Article by Charles F. Heartman, Editor.
– Charles Frederick Heartman, b.1883 d.1953, was a well known antiquarian book dealer and one of the foremost authorities on rare Americana of his time. His collection was considered to be one of the best anywhere. His collection of rare manuscripts relating to Slavery, consisting of over 4000 items, was eventually sold to Xavier University of Louisiana. His collection of African-Americana is held by Texas Southern University in Houston. You can read much about Charles F. Heartman and his life online.