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A Guide to Finding Business Information at the Library of Congress

Texas. Dallas, 1917. Business section


Researchers seeking historical information about an old company or an extinct firm have a fair bit of detective work to do. Some aids for such a search have been gathered together in the Business Reading Room reference collection and selected titles, primarily focusing on United States companies, are covered in this guide. When available, links are included to online tables of contents, indexes, and lists of sources cited for those resources for which they are available. The guide also includes selected Internet resources relating to business history.

Guide to Business History Resources

Revised June 2015

Table of Contents

General Works
Obsolete Securities
Internet Resources
Master Company List
LC Subject Headings

Caption: Left:
Texas. Dallas, 1917. Business section.
Forms part of: Miscellaneous Items in High Demand Collection
U.S. GEOG FILE - Texas--Dallas
Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-69194

One should begin by searching for any works by or about the company in question in the Library of Congress online catalog and in appropriate bibliographies. Researchers will find wealth of historical information in various business and trade periodicals indexed and available in full-text in several subscription databases. These databases are listed in the Databases section and are only available for the Library of Congress patrons who are on-site and to other subscribers. In addition, researchers may consult several sets of company annual reports available on microfiche in Business Reference Services, including one covering the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries.

Researchers may also be interested in consulting the online catalog under specific subject headings relating to various aspects of business, economic, and labor history for more general works on their topic as well as the Special Collections of the Library of Congress for other related materials.

Business staff at the Library of Congress have already created a number of guides that are historical in nature.  Some, like those related to Wall Street and the various exchanges are short and geared toward more novice researchers.  However, there are guides related to railroads, firearms manufacturers, and the National Recovery Administration that are geared to more advanced researchers and are more comprehensive in nature.  There are also several industry related guides like the one for the alcoholic beverages that do have a significant historical component and many of the sources included are serials which have been published for decades. There are also guides like Selected Dun and Bradstreet Publications in the Library of Congress, United States Banking Periodicals: A Guide to Major Titles in the Collections of the Library of Congress, and Early Business Periodicals: A Guide to Major Titles available in the Collections of the Library of Congress will be helpful for researchers interested in finding specific types of periodicals.

Trade catalogs can also be valuable sources of historical information. The Library of Congress offers an online guide How to Find Trade Catalogs in the Library of Congress compiled by reference specialists at Humanities and Social Sciences Division.

This guide, produced under the auspices of the Bibliographic Enrichment Advisory Team (BEAT) of the Library of Congress as part of the BECites+ Project, is a revision of a guide originally published as Chapter 13 of A Guide to Finding Business Information at the Library of Congress.
Compiled by Richard F. Sharp. Library of Congress. Humanities and Social Sciences Division, 1995.

Revised by Gulnar Nagashybayeva, Ellen Terrell and Jan Herd
Business Reference Services
June 2015

Last updated: 11/18/2015

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  November 18, 2016
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