Guide to the Research Collections
|SECTION -- III -- THE SOCIAL SCIENCES|
|35 -- GENERAL RESOURCES IN ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION|
Extensive resources on commerce form a strong collection, including good holdings of publications on business abroad, as indicated by the fact that the Public Catalog contains about 900 entries under the heading "Commerce, Foreign" and more than 23,000 under "Commerce," subdivided by country. Of the latter group approximately 2,400 refer to Great Britain and 6,400 to the United States. General materials include large
Holdings of house organs compose another important group. The collection contains about 1,600 titles, of which approximately 400 are currently received. The fact that many house organs ceased publication during the depression or war years explains, in part, the difference between the two figures. The library attempts to obtain only those publications containing material of substantive value; it does not collect those dealing chiefly or exclusively with news of company personnel. On the whole, the sets which are complete from the first volume and which extend over many years represent large American corporations in a variety of industries, among them the Chase Manhattan Bank, Chicago Tribune, Kaiser Aluminum, Norfolk and Western Railroad, and U.S. Steel; in some instances the collections contain the publications of more than one division--DuPont, Eastman Kodak, and General Electric are examples. Perhaps 10 or 15 percent of the total titles come from foreign companies, chiefly British, although there is a small number of magazines from Germany and Japan and one or two from each of a dozen other countries.
The publications of university schools of commerce and business administration, both serial and monographic, form another important class of materials in the resources on commerce. Examples of institutions represented include Harvard, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North-western, Ohio State, Pennsylvania, and Stanford. The publications encompass studies from bureaus or institutes of business research, lecture series, entrepreneurial histories, proceedings and papers of conferences and symposia, and bibliographical compilations. Finally, long files of trade and commercial directories, both domestic and foreign, constitute another valuable holding. An interesting collection is a complete set of the catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Resources on the South Sea Company form a substantial block of material, although they do not rival in extent the Bancroft collection at Harvard University's Kress Library.3 About 250 entries in the Public Catalog represent both eighteenth-century and later publications. More than 130 items compose the former group, which begins in 1711 with such titles as Daniel Defoe's True State of the Case between the Government, and the Creditors of the Navy, Herman Moll's View of the Coasts, Countries and Islands within the Limits of the South-Sea-Company, and A True State of The South-Sea-Scheme. Holdings are well distributed over the remainder of the century, and for several titles the library possesses one of only a few known copies. Of modern publications are monographs like John Carswell's The South Sea Bubble (1960) and articles which have appeared in such serials as Journal of Economic and Business History, Political Science Quarterly, and Hispanic American Historical Review. The Prints Division has a collection of over 100 caricatures and broadsides dealing with the South Sea and Mississippi Companies. The largest number are Dutch, followed by English and French materials; many date from 1710 to 1720. The Research Libraries contain more than 200 publications by and about the Hudson's Bay Company. They include its annual report since the turn of the century (with some gaps), published documents from the British Colonial Office, legal materials on the boundaries of Ontario, and accounts of early life in northern Canada.
Of the special phases of business literature not already mentioned, accounting has probably received most attention. The Research Libraries have acquired the standard bibliographies and indexes and some foreign, as well as the most important American, journals on the topic. The publications of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and of some state societies are present, while a group of early American accounting and bookkeeping titles forms a small but interesting historical assemblage. Publications on auditing, cost accounting, depreciation, and accounting for special industries (e.g., agriculture, automobiles, corporations, hotels, petroleum) are also available.
For other phases of business and commerce the Research Libraries collect more selectively. In the area of sales literature substantial holdings on special fields such as real estate or retail trade complement general publications on salesmanship and the psychology of selling; also included are many titles of the self-help variety, but on the whole little foreign language material. Resources on personnel cover not only current domestic and foreign practices but are also useful in tracing their evolution. There has been no attempt to assemble a strong collection on business education, but some publications on this subject are held.
Although the Manuscripts and Archives Division does not actively collect records of modern corporations, it has a considerable amount of material on the merchants and entrepreneurs of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Among the manuscript groups of substantial size are the following: 18 mercantile account books relating mainly to the general business affairs of the Van Cortlands and other merchants and ranging in date between 1700 and 1839; a large quantity of land papers, ledgers, account books, and other material from about 1780 to the late nineteenth century from various members of the Gansevoort family,4 papers, account books, and shipping papers (1774-1803) of William Constable, Revolutionary War officer, merchant, and land promoter