Baker Library | Bloomberg Center

Historical Collections

Business Manuscripts Collection

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The Historical Collections Department has approximately 1,400 sets of original business records in a range of formats extending back to the days of the Medici family, ca. 1400. Since its founding, Baker Library has been collecting materials actually produced by firms in their daily operations as sources for teaching on current problems faced by businesses. The extensive manuscript holdings are the result. Manuscripts cover the broadest range of business activities, including: agricultural, manufacturing, construction, publishing, and recreation industries; transportation, communication, and commodity utilities; marketing, financial, professional, and personal services; and business affairs of private, public, and governmental organizations.

The collection contains over 30,000 photographs and prints documenting the history of industry in the United States. Photograph collections, albums, and photographs within manuscript collections illustrate plants, equipment, techniques, processes, and people at work in a wide variety of industries, from automobile manufacturing to paper mills. A large portrait collection includes prints and photographs of prominent business people.

Access Information

The collection is open to all researchers who are engaged in scholarly research. Due to our limited staff and preservation concerns, the collection is not available for genealogical research.

Planning a Visit

Many collection items are stored off-site. If you wish to visit, please notify us as far in advance as possible.

Checklist for Visitors

Finding Resources

Getting Started


Manuscripts dating prior to 1820 may not be photocopied. All photocopy requests are subject to staff review.

Permission to Publish

Contact Historical Collections

Baker Library | Bloomberg Center, Harvard Business School, Soldiers Field, Boston, MA 02163, 617-495-6040