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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch E10A.14

Business Historical Society, Inc. records


Records of the Business Historical Society, an organization established to encourage and broaden research into the history of business.


  • 1925-1962

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact for more information.


12.5 linear feet (12 cartons, 1 box)
The records of the Business Historical Society document the founding in 1925, its organization, development and publications during its existence, as well as information about its dissolution in 1953. There is also a small amount of material dated to 1962 concerning the transfer of publication of the Bulletin of the Business Historical Society to The Business History Review; a reciprocal publishing and distribution arrangement with The Business History Foundation; and some financial and tax information. BHS records contain correspondence, agendas, minutes, acquisitions, membership data, membership lists, financial statements, tax returns, research notes, manuscripts, photographs and negatives, brochures and news clippings. For other material relating to the BHS, consult the papers of individual faculty members N.S.B. Gras, Arthur H. Cole, Edwin Gay, Ralph M. Hower and Henrietta Larson and the records of the Business History Foundation.

Historical Note:

The Business Historical Society, Inc. (BHS) was incorporated at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration (now Harvard Business School) in September, 1925 for the purpose of collecting, in one location, business records in order to encourage and broaden research into the history of business. American business was the main collecting focus of the Society but international records were also sought. George E. Woodbridge, a former Boston Globe journalist who had joined Dean Wallace Brett Donham’s staff in 1922 and been instrumental in the creation of Baker Library, and Charles H. Taylor, treasurer of the Boston Globe, met informally with other local businessmen as a “Committee on the Development of the Harvard Business Library.” This committee developed into the BHS. The founding members were Charles H. Taylor, President; Frederick H. Curtiss, Vice-president; Allan Forbes, Treasurer; and Edward H. Redstone, clerk. They, along with John E. Oldham, George A. Rich and George E. Woodbridge, made up the first board of trustees and council. Under terms of a contract with Harvard, the books and manuscripts collected by the BHS were housed at HBS. When the BHS was dissolved in 1953, its assets were transferred to Harvard University. Initially the BHS concentrated on acquiring books and manuscripts. The national economy was flourishing during the early years of the Society and gifts were generous. Of particular note very early in the BHS’s existence was the gift made by C.A. Moore, Jr. and his family to Baker Library of 50,000 books and 20,000 pamphlets. While always continuing to collect, the BHS soon expanded its focus to research and publication. In addition, fellowships were awarded for study at HBS from 1949 to 1953. The BHS began publishing the Bulletin of the Business Historical Society, Inc. in June, 1926, and it continued to appear until the Society folded in 1953. (It was succeeded by The Business History Review.) Another BHS publication, the Journal of Economic and Business History, was founded in November, 1928 but could not survive the Depression; the last issue was published in November, 1932. The first of the Harvard Studies in Business History series, conceived and organized by N.S.B. Gras, appeared in 1931. Seventeen titles were eventually published under the auspices of the BHS.

Physical Location


Processing Information

Processed: January 1996

By: Timothea Frost
Link to catalog
Business Historical Society, Inc. Business Historical Society Records, 1925-1962: A Finding Aid
Baker Library

Repository Details

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

Baker Library Special Collections 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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