Financial History 139 (Fall 2021) - Page 26

Walter J . Schloss

A Superinvestor of Graham-and-Doddsville

Courtesy of Edwin Schloss
By James Russell Kelly
On May 17 , 1984 , Warren Buffett gave a speech at a Columbia Business School seminar , marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Benjamin Graham and David Dodd ’ s Security Analysis . In his speech , Buffett presented the extraordinary performance records of seven superinvestors who were disciples of Graham and Dodd . He said , “ These investors simply focus on two variables : price and value .”
Buffett ’ s first example was Walter Schloss . He wrote , “ Walter never went to
Rare unpublished photo from the Buffett Group meeting with Benjamin Graham in La Jolla , CA , in June 1968 . Warren Buffett , Charles Munger and Benjamin Graham are on the far left , and Walter Schloss is the fifth from the right in the rear . college but took a course from Ben Graham at night at the New York Institute of Finance . Walter left Graham-Newman in 1955 and achieved the record shown here for 28 years ( compound annual return 17.2 % vs . 10 % for the S & P 500 Index ).”
Personal History
Walter J . Schloss ( 1916 – 2012 ) grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his parents , Evelyn and Jerome , and his sister , Marjorie . During the Depression years of the 1930s , the whole family , including his grandmother , Pauline Gomprecht , lived in a three-bedroom apartment at 817 West End Avenue , where horse-drawn wagons still delivered milk and the ice truck came by weekly .
He was also a proud New Yorker and an inveterate Yankees fan with a comprehensive knowledge of the history of the franchise . His interests included bird watching in Central Park , stamp collecting and playing bridge . He also enjoyed playing tennis and reading espionage novels .
After graduating in 1934 from the Franklin School , now known as the Dwight School , he went directly to work since the family did not have the financial resources during the Depression years to send him to college . He got a job working as a runner ( messenger ) at Carl M . Loeb & Co . in 1935 with the help of Armand Erpf , a partner , who was a friend of his mother . After a few months , Walter asked him how he could get into the “ statistical department .” Erpf advised reading a new
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