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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:1414 1930-1940 P838

Portrait Photograph Collection


This collection includes photographic prints of copies of paintings, prints, and engravings and portraits of businessmen and industrialists


  • Creation: 1930-1940

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact for more information.


12 linear feet (12 boxes)

The Portrait Photograph Collection contains approximately 900 black and white photographic prints of various sizes. The collection includes portraits of more than 650 individuals. Most are businessmen; however, a few portraits of female business leaders are also included. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1930s. Most of the images in the collection are photographic portraits, but some are copy photographs of paintings, prints, and engravings. Biographical information is written on the back of most of the portraits. This typically includes the individual’s name, dates, company, and position.

The photographs are housed in 12 boxes of four different sizes. Each of the four sizes is arranged alphabetically.

Provenance Note:

In May 1935, the Bulletin of the Business Historical Society announced, “The Society has lately interested itself in securing the photographs of our contemporary business leaders, to supplement a similar collection of the photographs of pioneers in American industry…. This collection is not only of present educational value, but will also constitute a valuable legacy for posterity.” The Business Historical Society solicited autographed photographs from prominent contemporary businessmen throughout the 1930s. The portraits were subsequently deposited in Harvard Business School’s Baker Library.

Box index list:

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  1. Box 1: Aldrich, Winthrop W. – Clarke, Edgar A.
  2. Box 2: Clausen, A.W. – Foreman, H.
  3. Box 3: Forrestal, James V. – Hill, James J.
  4. Box 4: Hobbs, Franklin Warren - Means, James H.
  5. Box 5: Merck, George W. – Souther, John
  6. Box 6: Spaght, Monroe E. – Ziegler, William
  7. Box 7: Adams, Charles Francis – Heard, John
  8. Box 8: Herrick, Robert F. – Zukor, Adolf
  9. Box 9: Allen, Charles L. – Hill, James J.
  10. Box 10: Insull, Samuel – Prentis, Henning Webb, Jr.
  11. Box 11: Reynolds, Jackson Eli – Young, Howard I.
  12. Box 12: Carry, Edward F. – Young, Owen D.

Physical Location


Related Materials:

The Pictures of Individuals (PI) File held by the Baker Library’s Historical Collections Department contains many non-photographic portraits, including prints, engravings, and clippings.

Many of the images contained in the Portrait Photograph Collection are related to those in the Industrial Life Photograph Collection (Mss:1412 1920-1941 B979). Between 1930 and 1941, the Business Historical Society solicited photographs of industrial operations from a wide variety of companies. Many of these photograph sets included portraits of company founders, presidents, and other officers, which were removed and added to the portrait file.

Processing Information

Processed: July 2001

By: Maggie Hale, assisted by Naomi Singer

Processing Note:

The collection was processed during the Historical Collections photographic survey project of 1999 to 2001. For many years, the portraits were stored in folders in filing cabinets drawers. The photographs were rehoused in acid and lignin-free folders and then placed in flat, drop-front boxes appropriate to their size. Four different box sizes were employed. Mylar and interleaving materials were used as needed.

The contemporary photographs were combined with an existing collection of portraits of historical business figures, such as Alexander Graham Bell and Samuel P. Colt. The resulting collection constituted a general picture file of individuals involved in the history and development of many businesses and industries. The collection grew during later years as portraits were added from a variety of sources, including several of the manuscript collections held by Baker Library.

Portrait Photograph Collection, ca. 1930-1940: A Finding Aid
Baker Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections and Archives, Harvard Business School Repository

Baker Library Special Collections and Archives holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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