The R.G. Dun & Co. Collection consists of 2,580 volumes of handwritten credit reports on individuals and firms from the United States, the western territories, Canada, and the
Founded in 1841 by Lewis Tappan, the Mercantile Agency--later known as R.G. Dun & Co.--was the first commercial reporting agency in America and dominated the field well into the twentieth century.
These volumes contain a wealth of business history information on hundreds of American communities during the period from 1841 to 1892. Entries include information on the duration of the business, net worth, sources of wealth, and the character and reputation of the owners, their partners, and their successors.
These credit reports clearly document women as entrepreneurs, business owners, and economic actors throughout nineteenth-century America.