The historic industry and trade literature included in Special Collections and Archives is a resource integral to tracing the development and growth of global business and industry from the late 19th century to the first half of the 20th century.


The strength of these holdings is the Baker Old Class Collection, the original circulating collection in Baker Library, with materials ranging in date from the mid-19th century to 1972. The unique arrangement of this collection brings together books, periodicals, and pamphlets by industry, allowing researchers to readily browse related resources. 

Special Collections and Archives also includes over 2,000 trade catalogs primarily from 1870 to 1930. This period marks the full transformation of the United States from a primarily agricultural society to an industrial nation, in which companies produced goods that they marketed far from the site of manufacture. Trade catalogs, usually heavily illustrated, were part of that marketing effort, and are a valuable resource for social and cultural history but also the history of technology and innovation.

The Baker Old Class Collection and our collection of trade catalogs are cataloged in HOLLIS.

Browsing Baker Old Class Collection:

The collection is open for browsing Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Researchers may retrieve materials for use in the de Gaspé Beaubien Reading Room. Research librarians are available to guide you on how to best use the collection.  Contact us to learn more.