Charles Dow was the son of a farmer. He was born in Sterling, Connecticut, in 1851.
His father died when he was six. He never finished high school, having to work as a labourer to help support his family.
In later life Dow became a journalist. It is believed he started his journalism career covering the city beat for the Springfield Daily Republican in 1872. He subsequently worked for other papers, including a position in 1879 reporting on a mining boom in Leadville, Colorado.
In 1880 Dow became a reporter in New York City, and later accepted a position with the Kiernan News Agency. A colleague at the News Agency was Edward Jones.
Dow and Jones resigned their positions at the Kiernan News Agency and formed Dow Jones and Company, with Charles Bergstresser, in 1882. Jones left the company in 1899.
In 1883 Dow and Jones and Company commenced printing a daily newsletter, the Customer's Afternoon Letter. This two-page publication was considered very radical at the time. It published stock prices and company balance sheet information that previously had only been available to 'insiders'. It was not until 1934 that the Securities Act required companies to file quarterly and annual reports in order to keep the investing public informed.
Dow Jones and Company published the first index that was designed to be representative of the movements of the stocks on the Wall Street stock exchange. This was called the Dow Jones Index.
The Customer's Afternoon Letter became The Wall Street Journal in 1889, the United States' best-known financial news service at that time. Dow was its first editor and remained editor until his death in 1902.
Dow was a member of the New York Stock Exchange from December 1885 to April 1891.
 See also