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“Emblematical Print of the South Sea,” by William Hogarth, 1721, reprinted 1809.

South Sea Bubble Home : The South Sea Bubble Collection : Collection Description

Collection Description

The South Sea Bubble Collection is a group of specialized research resources within the Kress Collection at Baker Library, Harvard Business School. The collection focuses on the South Sea Bubble stock market crisis in the early part of the eighteenth century and the speculative mania surrounding it. The collection includes more than 300 books, broadsides, pamphlets, Parliamentary documents, manuscripts, prints, and ephemera.

At the core of the South Sea Bubble Collection is the Bancroft Collection. Assembled in the early part of the twentieth century by Hugh Bancroft, Harvard University alumnus and former president of Dow, Jones & Co., the collection was generously given to Harvard Business School by Mrs. Hugh Bancroft in 1935.

Although the Bancroft Collection is a remarkably complete assemblage of materials related to the South Sea Bubble, there are additional resources on the subject within the main Kress Collection as well as in the Bleichroeder Print Collection. To provide a comprehensive research grouping while preserving the integrity of the Bancroft Collection, the decision was made to create a “virtual” collection that would include not only the Bancroft Collection but all relevant resources in the Kress Collection. The South Sea Bubble Collection index includes a list of all of the items currently in the collection. This index will be expanded as new materials are identified or acquired.