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The People & Firms

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The History of Accounting

March 2015

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Image (left): Accountant's Office [between 1910 and 1920]
National Photo Company Collection
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

To learn about the history of an industry it can be helpful to know about the people and accounting firms that were part of that industry and that is the intent of this section. Those titles chosen for the People section cover specifically named individuals Including serveral who were chosen to represent many accountants that go unnamed but contribute to the history and lore of the development of accounting and the profession. Most of the material in this section is focused on people and firms in the United States.


Who Audits America. Menlo Park, CA, Data Financial Press.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 W5
LC Catalog Record: 77644093
Holdings: 1976-2010

"A directory - 8000 companies & 800 accounting firms." Includes some information on the accountants themselves.

Membership Directory. National Society of Public Accountants, Washington DC,
LC Call Number: HF5601 .N342
LC Catalog Record: 78000485, 91656591

Holdings cover 1967-1991, 1996. Previous title: Yearbook - National Society of Public Accountants. Both are a continuation of the Membership Directory begun in 1957.

Littleton, A. C. Directory of Early American Public Accountants. Urbana : University of Illinois, 1942
Call Number: HF5011 .I5 no. 62
LC Catalog Record: a42004984

Printed in the University Illinois Bulletin (volume 40, Number 8 for October 13, 1942). Also see Zeff's The U.S. Accounting Profession in the 1890s and Early 1900s.

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The People

Bell, Hermon Fiske. Reminiscences of a Certified Public Accountant. [n.p.] Priv. print. by the Ronald Press Co., 1959.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 B4
LC Catalog Record: 60017891

This is an autobiography detailing Bell's career over fifty years. It includes a number of brief anecdotes and other interesting memories.

Blough, Carman G. Carman G. Blough, His Professional Career and Accounting Thought. New York : Arno Press, 1978.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 B48 1978
LC Catalog Record: 77087319

Carman Blough was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 1961. This is a series of reprints of article published by Blough throughout his career. Several are biographical in nature though most are about specific issues, practices, and industry situations.

Duties of the Junior Accountant. New York : Garland Pub., 1988.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 D87 1988
LC Catalog Record: 88025128

Includes reprints of three titles of the same name: Duties of the Junior Accountant by W.B. Reynolds and F.W. Thornton, Duties of the Junior Accountant by Alfred B. Cipriani, and Duties of the Junior Accountant by R.K. Mautz. The title by Reynolds and Thornton is also available online via the HathiTrust Digital Library External Link. The work by Cipriani is described in an Editor's note as based "to some extent on an earlier work under the same title by W. B. Reynolds and F. W. Thornton."

Duties of the senior accountant.. New York : Garland Pub., 1988.
LC Call Number: HF5635 .D97 1988
LC Catalog Record: 88025127

This is a reprint of a title written by F.W. Thornton and John C. Martin in 1932. The Martin contribution was from a separate title, Duties of Junior and Senior Accountants, a supplement to the CPA Handbook edited by Robert L. Kane, Jr.

Eric Louis Kohler, Accounting's Man of Principles / William W. Cooper and Yuji Ijiri, editors. Reston, Va. : Reston Pub. Co., c1979.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 E73
LC Catalog Record: 78018397

Kohler was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 1961. This title is a series of articles written by several different authors covering aspects of Kohler's life and career, including his time as comptroller of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), his work at the General Accounting Office (GAO), work on the Marshall Plan, and his contributions to early accounting, etc.

Kahle, John J. American Accountants and Their Contributions to Accounting Thought, 1900-1930. New York : Garland, 1993.
LC Call Number: HF5604.K34 1993
LC Catalog Record: 93009761

Includes biographic sketches with contributions on a number of individuals including: Spurgeon Bell, James Bliss, William Morse Cole, Sir Arthur Lowes Dickinson, DeWitt Carl Eggleston, Paul-Joseph Esquerre, Henry Anson Finney, Stephen Gilman, Harry G. Guthmann, Henry Rand Hatfield, David Himmelblau, Roy Bernard Kester, Joseph Jerome Klein, Ananias Charles Littleton, James Oscar McKinsey, Robert H. Montgomery, George Hillis Newlove, Jerome Lee Nicholson, William Andrew Paton, Charles Forrest Rittenhouse, Earl Adolphus Saliers, D.R. Scott, Clinton Homer Scovell, Charles Ezra Sprague, Ross Graham Walker, and John R. Wildman. Each sketch includes citations to books and articles.

May, George Oliver, 1875-1961. Memoirs and Accounting Thought. Edited by Paul Grady. New York, Ronald Press Co. [1962]
LC Call Number: HF5604.M3 A3
LC Catalog Record: 62020673
Full text available online from Hathi Trust Digital Library External Link

George May was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 1950 as part of its very first group along with Robert Hiester Montgomery and William A. Paton. This is his autobiography and covers his professional career and contributions. It is divided into three parts, Part I Memoirs, Part II Accounting Thought, and Part III Thought Across the Years of the first inductee. In part I, the author described his education, how he wanted to study mathematics but a visit from a relative changed his mind and he decided to study accountancy instead. Details from his personal life are included, for example the people he met such as Arthur Lowes Dickinson, Robert H. Montgomery, and William Andrew Paton; as well as his beloved wife, career, how he traveled and was able to undertake projects assigned to him. Part II and III examine his thoughts on accounting and also contain his letters, lectures, speeches, and writings about accounting issues. At the very end, there is a collection of his “sayings” regarding accounting, such as “In the accounting field there seems to be a constant disposition to sacrifice accuracy to terseness” (296), which demonstrates a deeper view into May's accounting mind.

Montgomery, Robert Hiester. Fifty Years of Accountancy, C. P. A. New York Priv. Print. By the Ronald Press company, 1939, 1978.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 M65
LC Catalog Number: 39011990
Full text available online from Hathi Trust Digital Library External Link

This book is written in the first person by Robert Heister Montgomery himself. He gives an open, honest account of most of his life; which includes his education, career, and personal life as well. The rest of the book contains papers, reports, and prefaces by Montgomery. The chapters are divided into parts; the first part being Public Accounting, the second Taxes and How I was Forced Into The Practice of Law, third is War, and fourth Hobbies.

Paton, William Andrew. Paton on Accounting. Edited, with notes, by Herbert F. Taggart. [Ann Arbor] Bureau of Business Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Michigan, 1964.
LC Call Number: HF5635 .P316
LC Catalog Record: 64064728

Paton was inducted to the Accounting Hall of Fame. This book begins with a biographical portrait of the author and is a collection “selected writings.” The author does well in including facts about Paton's life so the reader can relate to Paton on some level. The author moves on to Paton's writings, including, The Educational Value of training in Accounting, Assumptions of the Accountant, Aspects of Asset Valuations, etc.

Spacek, Leonard. The Growth of Arthur Andersen & Co., 1928-1973 : An Oral History. New York : Garland Pub., 1989.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U7 A787
LC Catalog Record: 89071407

Spacek worked at Arthur Andersen beginning in 1928 and became a partner in 1940 after the death of Arthur Andersen. He was chief executive beginning in 1947 and served as chairman of the partnership from 1963 until he retired in 1973. This is a biography and history of the firm as seen through his tenure at the firm.

Wagner, Nancy A. Eric Louis Kohler in the Accounting Profession. Atlanta, Ga. : Business Pub. Division, College of Business Administration, Georgia State University, 1987.
LC Call Number: HF5604.5 .K64 W34
LC Catalog Record: 86025633

Eric Kohler was a giant in the accounting word and was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 1961. He wrote many books (see the Accounting Hall of Fame section) most notably his dictionary, a title that was the standard accounting dictionary for over 40 years. This is a history of his work in the profession and contributions to accounting principles. Particular attention is paid to his dictionary, accounting for government agencies, and his impact on the profession.

Zeff, Stephen A. Henry Rand Hatfield : Humanist, Scholar, and Accounting Educator. Stamford, Conn. : JAI Press, c2000.
LC Call Number: HF5604.5.H38 Z44 2000
LC Catalog Record: 00037532

This book studies the first full-time accounting professor in a US university; his two textbooks, Modern Accounting (1909) and Accounting (1927), were among the most respected accounting works in the first half century. It is broken down into time periods: the first outlines his professional career, then moves to the early years 1866- 1904, the years 1904-1919/20 (at Berkeley and in Washington), the “historical Defense” and accounting between 1919/20-1930, and final active years, 1930-1945. There is a discussion of his contributions and personal life as well as information on his papers (the Hatfield Collection in the business school on the University of California campus) and publications.

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Allen, David Grayson. Accounting for Success : A History of Price Waterhouse in America, 1890-1990. Boston : Harvard Business School Press, c1993.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U7 P752 1993
LC Catalog Record: 92015492

This is a general history that begins with the British parentage of the firm from 1850-1901 and moves on to the American years beginning in 1901. It does include organizational charts from various years.

Andersen (Arthur) and Company. The First Fifty Years. [Chicago, c1963]
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 A59
LC Catalog Record: 63021169

This is a history of the firm published by the firm. It starts with the founding on December 1, 1913 and talks about the founder Arthur Andersen. It takes readers chronologically through its history through the year 1963. There is a reprint of this title in 1984.

Arthur Andersen & Co. The First Sixty Years, 1913-1973. Chicago : A. Andersen, [1974]
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 A59 1964
LC Catalog Record: 74084156

This is an updated history of the firm published by the firm.

Cypert, Samuel A. Following the Money : The Inside Story of Accounting's First Mega-Merger. New York : AMACOM, c1991.
LC Call Number: HF5611.C97 1991
LC Catalog Record: 90001200

This book is a look into the 1989 merger involving the Big Eight accounting firms. Ernst & Whitney would merge with Arthur Young to form Ernst & Young while KPMG courted Coopers & Lybrand, and Price Waterhouse unsuccessfully courted Arthur Andersen, while Deloitte Haskins & Sells merged with Touche Ross.  After all was done, the Big Eight would become eventually the Big Six.

DeMond, C. W. Price, Waterhouse & Co. in America : A History of a Public Accounting Firm. New York : Arno Press, 1980 [c1951]
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 D45 1980
LC Catalog Record: 80001485

This is a general history of the firm from its genesis in London. Mentions are made of particular individuals and firms – Jones, Caesar & Co, the Dickinson team, William Bynner Campbell, John Crockhart Scobie. There are some special items as they relate to the firm as it was in 1950 including an organization chart, partners list (including birth date, birth location, apprenticeship to info), a list of the contract staff (with years of employment principal offices), and a list of the offices of members firms and resident partners/managers in charge. This is a reprint of book originally published in 1951.

The Early History of Coopers & Lybrand. New York : Garland Pub., 1984.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 E16 1984
LC Catalog Record: 83049108

This is a general history of Coopers & Lybrand. It includes their 50th anniversary title covering the years 1898-1948 that was private printed by Lybrand, Ross Bros. & Montgomery. It also has a re-print of an article from the January-March 1958 L.R.B. & M. Journal (volume 39, number 1) which provides a picture of the firm at that time.

Ernst and Ernst. Ernst & Ernst: A History of the Firm. [Cleveland, c1960]
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 E75
LC Catalog Record: 61008292

A general history of the firm from its founding in June of 1903 until 1960.

Haskins & Sells. Haskins & Sells; the First Fifty Years, 1895-1945. [New York] 1947.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 H33
LC Catalog Record: 47024489

General history of the firm that includes a number of photos and images.

Haskins & Sells. Haskins & Sells, Our First Seventy-five Years; [1895-1970. New York, 1970]
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 H34
LC Catalog Record: 75132631

This firm was started in New York by Charles Waldo Haskins and Elijah Watt Sells in 1896. It was renamed Touche, Ross, Bailey & Smart, in 1960 and later become Touche Ross in 1969. This is the firm that eventually merged with Deloitte to form Deloitte Haskins & Sells which merged with Touche Ross in 1989 to form Deloitte & Touche. This is a history of the firm and includes information on the founders.

Inside Arthur Andersen : Shifting Values, Unexpected Consequences / Susan E. Squires ... [et al.]. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : FT Prentice Hall, c2003.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U7 A784
LC Catalog Record: 2003273945
Table of Contents

This is a history of the firm and does include information about the break-up of the firm in 2002 in the wake of ENRON, as well as a chapter on the implications for the wider public accounting industry.

Jones, Edgar. True and Fair : A History of Price Waterhouse. London ; New York : Hamish Hamilton, 1995.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U7 P755
LC Catalog Record: 97177048

This is a general history of the firm but does put it in the context of the rise in the accounting profession. The heavy focus is on the firm in the U.K.

Kettle, Russell, Sir. Deloitte & Co., 1845-1956. Fifty-Seven Years in an Accountant's Office / Ernest Cooper. New York : Garland, 1982.
LC Call Number: HF5611.K47 1982
LC Catalog Record: 82048359

This is general history of the firm. The title is broken into three major sections with the first covering the years 1845-1900, the second 1901-1956, and the last covering other offices of Deloitte & Co.

Olson, Wallace E. The Accounting Profession : Years of Trial, 1969-1980. New York, N.Y. : American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, c1982.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 O44
LC Catalog Record: 82197782

This book discuses a time period when the accounting profession was facing issues over third-party liability, confidence in the independence of public accountants, changes in standards and structure for self-regulation, and investigations in auditor performance, competition, education and minority participation, specialization and an increase in attention to international standards.

Stevens, Mark. The Accounting Wars. New York : Macmillan, c1985.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 S74 1985
LC Catalog Record: 84027357

One of three books on public accounting firms from the Big Eight to the second tier written by Stevens. It was written between his two other books (see below) and tracks the changes to accounting firms in the early 1980’s brought on by the changing American and international economy.

Stevens, Mark. The Big Six : The Selling Out of America's Top Accounting Firms. New York : Simon & Schuster, c1991.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 S754 1991
LC Catalog Record: 91008914

There is a brief overview in the prologue about how mergers led to the emergence of the Big Six – Arthur Andersen, Coopers & Lybrand, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG Peat Marwick, and Price Waterhouse. Several chapters are devoted to specific situations including Touche Ross and Beverly Hills Savings & Loan, ZZZZ Best, the tension at Andersen with the rise of consulting, and the remaking of Deloitte Haskins & Sells. The last two chapters detail the end of the Big Eight era and how the Big Six compete for clients.

Stevens, Mark. The Big Eight. New York : Macmillan, c1981.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U5 S75
LC Catalog Record: 81008403

This book focuses on the firms that make up of the Big Eight – Arthur Andersen; Arthur Young; Coopers & Lybrand; Deloitte Haskins & Sells; Ernst & Whitney; Peat, Marwick, Mitchell; Price Waterhouse; and Touche Ross.

Swanson, Theodor. Touche Ross, a Biography. New York : Garland Pub., 1990.
LC Call Number: HF5616.U7 T687 1990
LC Catalog Record: 89077261

This is a general history of the firm from its origins in Scotland and England and going forward.

Last updated: 03/11/2015

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