The Library has many collections that may not, at first glance, be obvious places to find information for those doing business research. Most of these collections are only accessible to those that come to the Library, but some of the material from those collections has been digitized. Business Reference created a list of these “special” collections that may be of interest to those doing business research. Below are a few notable examples – some feature digitized materials while others are in-person use only:
- For those interested in the Founding Fathers and Alexander Hamilton in particular, we published a blog post about him which features links to some of the material at the Library, and the Library of Congress has recently digitized his papers, which are searchable on our web page – most date from 1777 until his death in 1804.
- The Library has papers from several Secretaries of the Treasury other than Hamilton, including Salmon P. Chase, Albert Gallatin, Henry Morgenthau, and William McAdoo. My blog posts on Chase and Gallatin also feature other materials in the Library of Congress relating to these men.
- For those doing research in labor history, there are digitized materials gathered as part of the U.S. Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writers’ Project related to the 1930’s taxi strike and elevator strike.
- For anyone looking to research the history of the mass consumer economy before the Great Depression, the Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929 collection includes a “wide array of Library of Congress source materials from the 1920s that document the widespread prosperity of the Coolidge years, the nation’s transition to a mass consumer economy, and the role of government in this transition.”
- There are a number of items for those interested in African American business history, including African American Business, Entrepreneurship and the Commerce Department: records of the Office of the Secretary’s Advisor on Negro Affairs, 1940-1953 and papers of Nannie Helen Burroughs, an African-American businesswoman in Washington, D.C.
- I wrote a blog post about using the Working in Paterson collection – Folklife at 40: the Working in Paterson collection – for business research.
- The Science & Business Reading Room has a number of microfiche collections, including Securities & Exchange Commission filings from 1978-1994, as well as several sets of corporate annual reports.
- Anyone doing research on the railroads and their impact on the economic development of the country might want to look at our digitized railroad maps, as well as any of the other maps the Library has digitized.
- Teachers and students can definitely find great photographs and place maps on our web pages to use for classroom materials and projects by just searching www.loc.gov.
Lastly, I wanted to make the case for presidential papers. The Library has digitized papers from Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, and Lincoln, in addition there are many presidential papers that have not been digitized. While the papers aren’t strictly “business,” they do include material related to government activities and legislation that impacted business and the economy, such as commerce, trade, banking, taxes, money, etc. Specific examples include the digitized Act to Incorporate Central Pacific Railway Co from the Lincoln papers and mentions of the Louisiana Purchase and information about the U.S. government’s budget from Jefferson’s papers.
Those are just a few highlights. These are just some of the avenues for business researchers beyond books and periodicals at the Library of Congress.