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Spotlight on Historical Collections

Chandler Collection Offers Seven Decades of Historical Research

Published: 09/15/2005

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alfred D. Chandler Jr. recently donated his papers to Baker Library's Historical Collections, offering researchers a treasure trove of material dating from 1941 to 2004. Chandler is the world's foremost authority on the historical evolution and organizational development of the modern corporation.

The collection will prove an unmatched, unique resource to researchers studying the development of corporate structure in the United States and other industrial economies. In addition to research material, the collection includes a wealth of notes taken and photocopies made from records in institutional and company archives.

Among this quantity are correspondence and research materials connected with the writing of Alfred P. Sloan's My Years with General Motors (1964); the Daniel Bell Fortune magazine files spanning the years 1948 to 1958 and consisting of research on recruitment, training of managers, and theories of the corporation; lecture and conference notes; material from Chandler's association with many institutions and organizations; and of course, work related to all of his books, beginning with his first work about Henry Varnum Poor, the business analyst who was Chandler's great-grandfather.

Historical research is critically important today and in the future, says the eighty-seven-year-old Chandler, a longtime professor at HBS who has been emeritus since 1989. He hopes that future scholars will benefit from his materials by learning how a historian works. Anyone who studies the evolution of modern business wants to be aware of what he calls "two sides of a major coin"—economics (in tandem with statistics) and history.

To request access to the Chandler collection, e-mail

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