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A Guide to Finding Business Information at the Library of Congress

XIII. Business History

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 are listed below. One should begin by searching for any works by or about the company in question in the LOCIS databases, in the Main Card Catalog, and in appropriate bibliographies. Researchers should also consult standard indexes such as The New York Times Index, The Wall Street Journal Index, Business Periodicals Index, and the Social Science Index. In addition, one should ask a business reference librarian about the recently acquired microfiche collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century company annual reports.

Trade catalogs can also be valuable sources of historical information. LC offers, free of charge, a pamphlet entitled How to Find Trade Catalogs in the Library of Congress: A Finding Aid and Selected Bibliography. Researchers may request copies from reference librarians in the Business Reading Room.

                       General Works

Corporate America : a historical bibliography. -- Santa Barbara,
Calif. : ABC-Clio Information Services, c1984. -- xii, 341 pp. --
(ABC-Clio research guides).
                                                Z7164.T87 C66 1984

United States corporation histories : a bibliography, 1965-1990 /
Wahib Nasrallah. -- 2nd ed. -- New York : Garland Pub., 1991. --
ix, 511 pp. -- (Garland reference library of social science).
                                                Z7164.T87 N37 1991

Business incorporations in the United States, 1800-1943 -- [New
York] : National Bureau of Economic Research, [1948]. -- viii, 184
pp. : illus.

         Includes statistical analyses.

Corporate archives and history : making the past work / edited by
Arnita A. Jones and Philip L. Cantelon. -- Malabar, Fla. : Krieger
Pub., 1993. -- xi, 211 pp. : ill.
                                                   HF5736.C63 1993

         Includes bibliographical references.


         Most researchers seeking information about early or
obsolete U.S. companies are well served by consulting the older
volumes (request by call slip) of the following directories:

The Business founding date directory -- [1st ed.]. -- Scarsdale,
N.Y. : Morgan & Morgan, [1954]. -- x, 228 pp. : illus.
                                                HD2785.K4 Ref Desk

The Dun & Bradstreet reference book of American business. -- Murray
Hill, N.J. : Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. -- Bimonthly.

         Began publication in 1859 under the title Reference Book.

Thomas register of American manufacturers and Thomas register
catalog file. -- New York : Thomas Pub. Co.

         Title varies slightly.  This basic source for
identification of U.S. manufacturers is arranged by product,
in a large multi-volume set.

             Obsolete Securities Information Sources

The "Questioned stock" manual : a guide to determining the true
worth of old and collectible securities / Albert F. Gargiulo, with
Rocco Carlucci. -- New York : McGraw-Hill, c1979. -- xiv, 193 pp.
: ill.

         This book explains methods of tracking and evaluating old
stock certificates. It is a guide to many helpful sources which can
be found in the Business Reading Room reference collection.
Included are references to the following sources:

Obsolete American securities and corporations. -- New York : R.M.
Smythe, 1904-11. -- 2 v. : front., facsims.

Valuable extinct securities. -- New York : s.n., 1929.

Obsolete securities. -- New York, N.Y. : Oildom Publishing Co.,
Inc., c1923. -- 431 pp.

Robert D. Fisher manual of valuable and worthless securities. --
New York, N.Y. : R.D. Fisher [etc.].

Directory of obsolete securities. -- [Jersey City, N.J.] :
Financial Information, Inc. -- Annual.

The National stock summary. -- New York, N.Y. : National Quotation
Bureau. -- Semiannual.

The Collector's guide to old U.S. stocks and bonds / Andrew C.
Hall, Sr. -- 1st ed. -- New York : Vantage Press, c1984. -- ix, 227
pp. : ill.
                                                   HG4927.H35 1984


         Periodical publications such as those listed below contain
articles of research value.  Both of the following titles are
indexed in the Social Science Index.

Business history review. -- Boston : Harvard Graduate School of
Business Administration. -- Quarterly.

The Journal of economic history. -- Wilmington, Del. [etc.]. :
Economic History Association at the University of Pennsylvania
[etc.]. -- Quarterly.
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  November 9, 2010
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