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Researching Old Companies: a Business Class on June 23

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For over a year the Library has conducted research orientations on Saturdays.  On June 23 Business Reference takes its turn.

Instead of doing our general Business Research Orientation, I will be teaching a class titled So…you want to research old companies at the Library of Congress. While the class is primarily about using the Library’s resources to do historical research on companies, some of the resources I will cover aren’t necessarily specific to the Library, so if you can come,  you may be able to take what you learn back home and see if your local public libraries and historical societies have resources that can help with this type of research.

I plan on covering print and electronic sources – both free and subscription – as well as giving a few tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years.

This is an in-person class (sorry, no webinar) that starts at 10am in room LJ-139B – which is just around the corner from the Reader Registration station in the Jefferson Building.  If you want to attend, you can sign up on Eventbrite at (the form says Business Research Orientation but it is for this class)

Note: Request ADA accommodation five days in advance at 202.707.6362 or [email protected]

Comments (16)

  1. I really wish I could afford to go but I can’t even make my own rent.sorry

  2. Victor – we do hope to do a webinar in the future. I really hope that I can get this class recorded and put on the Library’s website so people can watch it on their own schedule.

  3. I also would like to have access to a recorded version

  4. This is a useful class. Is there a chance of doing a webinar? D.C. is horribly expensive.

  5. I would absolutely love to attend this class. Unfortunately, I will be out of town that weekend. Please do offer this class again sometime in the future, whether in person or via webinar. Thank you for your wonderful offerings.

  6. Vicki – I do plan on doing this class again – I think sometime in the fall during the week but I haven’t set a date – so keep your eyes peeled.

    And given that there seems to be indicated interest in a webinar, I may have to put that on the front burner as well.

  7. I would love to see the webinar, and while waiting, would you be willing to share your syllabus?

  8. Victor, the event is free. Registration is for organizational purposes. See you there!

  9. Unfortunately circumstances prevent me from attending. Please, please do a webinar! This appears to be exactly the type of class I need for my research into telegraphic codes and the companies that compiled them.

  10. Fred – sorry you can’t come! After seeing all these comments I think that I will end up doing a webinar then you can!

    As to your particular research, the Library has many of these in our collections and there are few ways to find them. First, which is the easiest to explain it to find an example and click on the subject heading or the call number. One example is “Private telegraphic cipher code, Fort Worth, Smith & Browne, printers, 1894” at The subject for that is Cipher and telegraph codes–Cotton trade. The second way is to go to and do a SUBJECTS beginning with search on “Cipher and telegraph codes.” Third, is to do a CALL NUMBERS (LC class no.) search on HE7677.

    If you want to more tips you can submit a question to

  11. I would love to attend, but would need more time to prepare for the time away from home.

  12. Thank you Ellen. I look forward to the webinar. One of the high lights to my trip to DC (with my wife and daughter a few years back) was the LOC. I was able to call up and examine a couple of code books that the Library had that were not in my personal collection. The Library of Congress is a truly wonderful and amazing institution.

  13. Just want to add another voice urging you to make this a webinar! Sounds very useful.

  14. Ms. Terrell,

    This subject often comes up at the local level, so a webinar class would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

  15. Might this include companies that have been purchased by others = Firestone, Inland Steel, or smaller ones dating post Civil War?

  16. Martha – definitely. The class isn’t limited to any particular time period but the amount of information will vary and determine what you find.

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