About This Collection

Special Collections holds nearly 1,600 sets of original records produced by companies and entrepreneurs in the course of their regular business operations. They are an invaluable resource for the study of the development and growth of American commerce and industry, date from the 17th to the early 20th century, and cover the broadest range of business activities.

Collection Highlights:

Particular strengths include the papers of colonial and early republican-era farmers, craftsmen, and merchants, like the Hancock family; the records of major manufacturing firms, especially textile companies such as the Lawrence Manufacturing Co., that developed the factory system from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the mid-20th century; and the papers of individuals, like Henry Villard and Thomas W. Lamont who were involved in building American financial, industrial, and transportation systems during the 19th and 20th centuries.