View comprehensive list of Books About Companies in WL
A. Purpose...................................................................................... I
B. Scope......................................................................................... I
C. Methodology............................................................................... II
D. Limitations.................................................................................. II
E. Tradition & Growth...................................................................... IV
F. Selected Reference Tools and Bibliographic Sources
for the Study of Business History................................................ VI
North American.................................................................... VI
Great Britain......................................................................... VIII
Biographical Works............................................................... IX
G. Selected Indexes and Abstracts for the Study of
Business History......................................................................... X
H. Periodicals Relating to Business History........................................ XI
I. Selected Primary Sources for the Study of Business
J. Acknowledgments........................................................................ XII
Books About Companies in Western Libraries ....................... 1
This bibliography is designed to direct the reader to the considerable resources in the University of Western Ontario Library System that are related to Business History generally and the histories of companies specifically. In both cases a bibliography should prove to be of value since material relating to those subjects is often scattered in different areas of the collections and is not usually easily identified or located.
Business History is a rather amorphous subject that can encompass a variety of related subjects and disciplines. The breadth of the subject is indicated in the following description of a course on Business History which appeared in a syllabus here at Western. It was noted that the course would cover:
the emergence of modern business techniques and structures in Europe, and the further development of
these techniques and structures in Canada. Topics to be covered include: the rise of modern finance and
business policy; barter, banking and currencies; business and technological development during the industrial
revolution; land and real estate; the growth of business elite's; commercial capitalism and business cycles;
labour-management relations and the impact of business development upon the working classes; transportation,
communication and industrial development; the rise of the imperial and multinational corporation.
This bibliography will not embrace all the subjects mentioned above. Nor will it attempt to lead you to resources which are easily found under the related subject headings provided below: Accounting - History; Advertising - History; Economic History - (by period); Commerce - History; Corporations - (the country) - (by period); (Country) - Industries - History; etc. The focus of this bibliography as it relates to Business History is on works of a general nature that will serve to introduce you to the subject.
The scope of this endeavor as it relates to the histories of companies is somewhat broader, in that an attempt has been made to identify all the books in the Library System that provide accounts of individual companies. One will find older works relating, for example, to the Bank of Upper Canada which were published in the 19th century, and a new book published in the last 12 months that examines Bell Canada Enterprises. Geographically the range is also wide and one will find antipodal accounts of companies from Tasmania (Clyde Company) to Alaska (Alaska Commercial Company) and from Borneo (Borneo Company) to Brazil (Brazilian Traction...). There are prestigious companies included (Rolls Royce) and some which one imagines were less so (Jitney-Jungle Stores). Some of the books about companies which are listed do not relate specifically to business operations. Art in Business: The Philip Morris Story describes that corporation's program of corporate support for the visual arts and the first chapter offers an overview of business support for the arts generally. Mural With Blue Brushstroke describes how Lichtenstein created a five story high mural for the lobby of the Equitable Life Assurance building in New York. There are also many company histories that are political in nature, linking the activities of the companies to the actions of politicians and the polity (I.G. Farben) and to other social and environmental issues (Union Carbide and Bhopal). Companies from virtually every commercial and manufacturing sector are included and one will find books ranging from the lowliest of trades to the even lower savings and loan institutions.
Business History as a subject is rather difficult to pin down. Company histories do not exist as a distinct genus, classified and arranged in an orderly fashion in the library stacks. To find what company histories exist, one has to select individual company names and begin the search. Even then, one is often uncertain if every item relating to a company has been located. For example, one book about Morgan Grenfell is found under that name, while another is located under "Guiness Group". To get around the problems inherent in researching these subjects, a strategy was adopted that relied on a mixture of approaches that range from the admittedly serendipitous to the mildly sophisticated. Accidental discovery played an important part; knowing where to look helped. The process was speeded up when the Library System introduced the Boolean option to the Online Public Catalogue. This option made it possible to combine words in creative ways to locate items whose existence was otherwise obscured under strict subject headings. Other bibliographies prepared at other places were also very useful. For example, our holdings were checked against the entries found in Nasrallah's United States Corporation Histories and some of the other bibliographies which are noted below.
Although it was indicated that the scope of this work is rather broad, it has to be admitted that it is by no means exhaustive. There are undoubtedly many more company histories to be discovered. The reader is invited to assist in the discovery and any omissions can be called to the attention of the author so they can be included in subsequent editions - if there is sufficient interest to warrant other editions.
This bibliography consists of a list of books which are found in the University of Western Ontario Library System. It does not include articles that are found in journals. Some suggestions for finding articles are provided below. With very few exceptions, articles and essays which are found in books are also excluded. For an example of some books that contain corporate profiles see Appendix A - "Collected Works of Corporate Histories" in Nasrallah's United States Corporation Histories (UWO in fact has almost all of the cited works).
Coded government documents are not included in this bibliography. Anyone who is interested in thoroughly searching our collection for corporate and business history should consult our government publications microcatalogue. For example, the Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration (CA1 PV1875 C5205) contains numerous historical sketches of Canadian corporations.
Biographical material that relates more to the individual than to the business has been generally excluded, as have most accounts relating specifically to labour rather than management. One will usually not find items like the very important collection - The Papers of John L. Lewis. Books that deal generally with an industry rather than the specific companies in the industry have also been ignored.
It has not been possible to provide indexes, although their importance is acknowledged and they will be included in future editions. The companies are presented in alphabetical order and are not listed by industry or nationality. Two works which do provide useful indexes are: United States Corporation Histories and Geahigan's U.S. and Canadian Businesses: 1955 to 1987: A Bibliography.
True bibliographers will be appalled by the fact that the entries are not complete. To save time, only the basic information necessary for people to locate an item has been included. Complete bibliographic information can be easily obtained on the Online Public Catalogue by using the FUL command when an item is retrieved.
Company name changes have not been traced. Generally the name appears in the bibliography as it appeared in the source. It was not possible to spend the time that would be required to follow the fortunes of a company through numerous takeovers, mergers and acquisitions. In a few instances "see references" have been employed to refer the reader to an alternate company name or spelling.
Most of the items in this bibliography were located by using the Online Public Catalogue. It was not possible to physically examine every book which is listed.
Although this bibliography is rather inclusive and lists some non-profit corporations, there were some cases when companies were excluded. For example, when a keyword boolean search was done using broad terms like "company" and "history" often some clearly non-commercial companies were retrieved. When items relating to "theatre companies" or "opera companies" were located they were usually excluded from consideration.
The outstanding Business History program is located at Harvard University. A description of the program is contained in a very interesting article in the Harvard Business School Bulletin (February, 1985) titled, "The Year of Business History". In the article the following observation is made:
Offered as an elective to the School's doctoral candidates, the seminar regularly attracts an overflow crowd of
students and other HBS and Harvard University faculty, as well as prominent scholars from other Boston-area
universities. More often than not, the visitors - from Harvard's departments of economics, sociology, and history
among others - outnumber the doctoral students. Standing room only is the general rule for late arrivals.
While one cannot claim that students here are standing in the aisles for Business History seminars, the courses that are offered in the History and Political Science faculties are very popular with students.
Western has a rather rich tradition in Business History. It is interesting to note that the pioneer Business Historian who began the program at Harvard and who held the Isidor Strauss Chair as professor of Business History was N.S.B.Gras. He graduated from Western and many of his books are in our collection.
We also have many, many books in the Library System that relate to railroads which "...represented the cutting edge of big business in nineteenth century America." (see American Business History: Case Studies, p.179). For those books Western owes a debt of gratitude to Professor R.C. Overton, a former member of the History Department and accomplished scholar in the field of Business History. Professor Overton died in 1988 and an obituary outlining his many accomplishments can be found in Western News on the 17th of November of that year. For an example of his influence, consult the dissertation in this bibliography by Nina Edwards, for whom Overton acted as an advisor (The Bookkeeping Records and Methods of E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company...).
At the present time, one senses that the number of publications relating to Business History is increasing and many have become very popular. For example, in Canada we have the examples of Northern Enterprise by Bliss and Newman's work on the Hudson's Bay Company. Often the accounts have an impact far beyond the limited field of Business History. Here one can mention such works as Turner's German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler and Martin's The Hawk Nest Incident: America's Worst Industrial Disaster.
The number of corporate histories is also increasing, but more importantly, the calibre of them is generally much higher than was the case in the past. Often they are more analytical and are not simply public relations projects. See, for example, the following three items on Cadbury: "The Early Application of Scientific Management at Cadbury," in Business History, Vol. 30, No.4, Oct. 1988; "The Creation of Company Culture: Cadburys 1861-1931," in the American Historical Review, Vol. 92, No.1, 1987, and the new book, The Chocolate Conscience (DBWSTK HD9330.C653G78). It was noted in Newsweek that: "Whereas company histories used to be public relations, vanity publications, now companies have hired in-house corporated historians to analyze the past so the company can keep from repeating the mistakes of the past". It should be noted, as well, as this article indicates, the number of employment opportunities for historians in this area has also increased ("Profiting From the Past", Newsweek, May 10, 1982, p.73).
Business History is now often allied with both Oral and Public History programs and interests. The magazine, Institutional Investor, recently published The Way it Was: An Oral History of Finance, 1967-1987. See also: "Applications of Oral History to the History of Labour and Business", in the Canadian Oral History Association Journal, Vol. 3, No.2, 1978, p.9; "Taping Company Lore for Posterity", in Nation's Business, Vol. 69, July, 1981, p.79, and "Oral History Reopens Old Corporate Doors", in the Wall Street Journal, Jan. 20, 1988. The application of Public History is also obvious in such works as Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers and in articles like "Industry Discovers in the Archives a Tool for Corporate Decision Making", in the Christian Science Monitor, March 23, 1984. More tangible evidence for the interest in the subject is found in Scotland where an anonymous donor gave 1 million pounds to fund the establishment of a new Centre for Business History in Glasgow (History Today, Feb. 1988).
Two works are particularly helpful: United States Corporation Histories by Wahib Nasrallah, both editions of which are found in the Business Library, and Priscilla Geahigan's U.S. and Canadian Businesses, 1955-1987: A Bibliography (DBWREF Z7164.C81.G32 1988). A new multi-volume set provides capsule histories which are very useful: International Directory of Company Histories, Thomas Derdak, editor, (DBWREF HD2721.I57).
Guide To Business History: Materials For The Study Of American Business History And Suggestions For Their Use. Larson, (DBWSTK & Z7164.C81L3). Although this book is somewhat dated, it is still very useful. The introduction is good and at the beginning one will find a general discussion of the subject.
American Economic And Business History: Information Sources. Lovett, (DBWSTK & Z7165.U5L66). Chapter 2 concerns Business History.
Manuscripts In Baker Library: A Guide To Sources For Business, Economic And Social History. (STORAGE Z7164.C81H278 1978).
American Business History. Galambos. (STORAGE D16.2S4).
American Economic History Since 1860. Kirkland. (STORAGE Z7165.U5K53).
American Economic History Before 1860. Taylor. (STORAGE Z7165.U5T37).
Canadian Business And Economics: A Guide To Sources Of Information. Brown. (Bus Reading Room Z7165.C2C19). Not historical in orientation, but still useful in that it provides one with a number of sources that have been published over a long period of time.
Mid-Canada Bibliography. (DBWREF Z1392.N6M45). Has relevant sections on trade, finance and industrialization. See also the section on "single enterprise communities".
A Reader's Guide To Canadian History: Confederation To The Present. Bliss. (DBWREF Z1382.R42). See the section, "Economic and Business History".
Ontario Since 1867: A Bibliography. (DBWREF Z1392.06067).
Canadian Company Histories: A Checklist. Craven. (Bus Reading Room Z7164.C81C87).
Bibliographia Canadiana. Thibault. (DBWREF Z1382.T47).
"Business History: A Bibliographic Essay," In Recent Developments In The Study Of Economic And Business History: Essays In Memory Of Herman E. Kroos. Hidy.
There are two works which are invaluable for the study of early American Business History: Early American Land Companies: Their Influence on Corporate Development, Shaw Livermore, (STORAGE HD195.A3L58); Essays in the Earlier History of American Corporations, Joseph Davis, (STORAGE HD2785.D38, 2 vols.) The chart below is taken from the latter work.
Contemporary Printed Sources For British And Irish Economic History, 1701-1750.Hanson. (STORAGE Z7165.G8H35). "The aim of this book is to include every new English work on economic affairs published in the period".
"A Bibliography Of Scottish Business History", In Studies In Scottish Business History. Payne. (DBWSTK HC257.S4P3).
Bibliography Of British Industrial Relations. Bain & Woolven. (DBWSTK Z7164.L1B26). An extensive bibliography on a variety of business-related subjects.
The British Labour Movement To 1970: A Bibliography. Smith. (DBWSTK Z7164.L1.S47). Very thorough on the labour movement, strikes and trade unionism.
Naval And Maritime History: An Annotated Bibliography. Albion. (DBWREF Z6834.H5A4). Has a good section on commercial theory and policy. See also p. 310, "Business Methods and the Maritime Economy".
Victorian England. Altholz. (DBWREF Z2019.A56). The section on "Economic History" is useful. Includes references to books and articles. Some material on particular businesses is found in the section on "Science and Technology". There are other bibliographies in this series covering other periods in British history.
Modern England. Havighurst. (DBWREF Z2020.H38).
British Economic And Social History: A Bibliographic Guide. Chaloner & Richardson. (DBWRES Z7165.G8C46 1976) Very good. Arranged chronologically by subject.
Company Archives: The Survey Of The Records Of 1000 Of The First Registered Companies In England And Wales. Richmond & Stockford. (DBWREF CD1043.3R52).
A Guide To Tracing The History Of A Business. Orbell. ( HD2321.O7 1987).
The Dynamics Of Victorian Business. Church. (DBWSTK HF5349.G7D96). Has a dozen essays on a variety of industries and a good bibliography.
British Industry Between The Wars: Instability And Industrial Development. Buxton & Aldcroft. (DBWSTK HC256.B84). Essays on ten industries and a good bibliography.
Business And Businessmen: Studies In Business, Economics And Accounting History. Barriner. (DBWSTK HF5341.B86). The introductory essay provides a good discussion of Business History.
Tradefull Merchants: The Portrayal Of The Capitalist In Literature. Mcveagh. (DBWSTK PR151.C37M38).
English Culture And The Decline Of The Industrial Spirit. Weiner. (DBWSTK DA533. W555). Like Hoppit's more recent Risk And Failure In English Business, this book tries to explain the decline of British industrial power.
Bio-Base. (DBWREM Z5301.B562). A major microfiche reference source containing millions of citations.
Dictionary Of Business Biography: A Bibliographical Dictionary Of Business Leaders Active In Britain In The Period 1860-1980. Jeremy. (DBWREF HF3504.5.A2D54)
The British Biographical Archive. (DBWMFH CT771.B75.)
Dictionary Of Scottish Business Biography 1860-1960. (DBWSTK HC252.5.A2054).
Biographical Dictionary Of American Business Leaders. Ingham. HC102.5.A2I53).
As one might expect, articles on Business History are found in many different kinds of journals. Some of the most useful abstracts/indexes for finding those articles are listed below:
America: History And Life. (DBWPRR Z1236.S54). See "economic history" and other related subjects in the extensive index. Canadian material is also included. Material relating to the history of American corporations taken from these abstracts has been cumulated in Corporate America. (DBWSTK Z7164.T87C66).
In the Business Library there is a CD-ROM product (ABI/INFORM) that contains considerable information written about companies since 1971. Consult the information handouts in that Library.
Articles relating to Business History will be found in many different types of journals and they may be located by using the indexes noted above. Listed below are some of the major periodicals and some that frequently contain articles on the subject of Business History.
Business History Review. (Business Library). Formerly the Bulletin Of The Business History Society (1926-1953). This journal out of Harvard contains long research articles and book reviews.
Business History. (Business Library). The other major journal in the field, published in England.
Economic History Review. (DBWPER HC10.E4).
Journal Of Economic History. (DBWPER HC10.J64).
History Of Political Economy. (DBWPER H1.H55).
Labor history. (DBWPER HD4802.L32).
The difficulty one experiences when trying to isolate secondary sources for the study of Business History is experienced again when one looks for primary sources which are also widely scattered. Some of the primary sources that have been identified are provided below. The list is not exhaustive. Some of the items listed here are described in more detail in A Guide To Collected Microform Collections And Sets In The D.B. Weldon Library.
Benjamin Franklin's Account Books. (DBWMFM E 302.F851).
The Charles Carrol Papers. (DBWMFM E 302.C3A2).
The Diary Of George Folliot, 1765-1766. (DBWMFM E 187.5F6).
The Vassall Letter Books, 1769-1800. (DBWMFM F 73.44V36).
The Letterbooks Of Richard Champion, 1760-1775. (DBWMFM DA 690.B8C38).
Journals Of The Ship "Lloyd", 1767-1772. (DBWMFM VM 395.L56A3).
The American Papers Of Ralph Carr, Merchant Of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. (DBWMFM HF 3504.C27A4).
The Papers Of Henry Fleming, 1772-1795. (DBWMFM HF 3504.5.F54A2).
Dun And Bradstreet Reference Books. (DBWMFM HF 5581.C2D8).
These volumes, filmed by the Archives of Ontario, give credit ratings for businesses, merchants and manufacturers throughout Canada. We have holdings for the period from 1860 to 1900.
Additional local material has been accumulated in the Regional History Collection. Much of this material remains uncatalogued. Some examples:
Mara Fabrics. approximately 90 boxes.
Hobbs Hardware. records from 1945 to 1984.
Mccormicks. corporate records circa 1870 to 1940.
Northern Life. records from 1894 to 1974.
LONDON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FILES. approximately 150 boxes.
It should be noted, as well, that the Business Library has resources that will be very useful for those studying contemporary Business History. Hard copy and microfiche reproductions of the annual reports of Canadian corporations have been maintained and there are a considerable number of Financial Post cards dating to the 1940s.
Jack Hyatt, Chair of the Department of History, is acknowledged for his support and enthusiasm for intellectual joint-ventures. Professor Ben Forster, also a member of the History Department, teaches courses relating to Business History and generates demand for projects such as this one. His own forthcoming bibliographic essay on Canadian business and economic history will add to our knowledge of those subjects. The encouragement provided by both Jack and Ben is much appreciated. Professor C.B. "Bud" Johnston, former Dean of the Western Business School, was also very supportive. Over the years Bud has argued continually that more attention needs to be paid to our commercial past and perhaps with the assistance of this bibliography we will begin to do so.
Notwithstanding the support of these individuals, this bibliography remained very much a part-time project. I would never have been able to complete it without the assistance of Patricia Hunter who worked on it in her spare time. Her eagerness, willingness and competence are greatly appreciated.
(presented here in alphabetical order by author)
Albion, Robert G. Naval and Maritime History: An Annotated Bibliography.
DBW reference Z6834.H5A4
Has a good section on commercial theory and policy. See also p. 310, "Business Methods and the
Altholz, Josef L. Victorian England.
DBW reference Z2019.A56
The section on "Economic History" is useful. Includes references to books and articles. Some material
on particular businesses is found in the section on "Science and Technology". There are other
bibliographies in this series covering other periods in British history.
Bain, George S. Bibliography of British Industrial Relations.
DBW stack Z7164.L1B26
An extensive bibliography on a variety of business-related subjects.
Brown, Barbara. Canadian Business and Economics: A Guide to Sources of Information.
DBW reference Z7165.C2C19
BUS reference Z7165.C2C19
Not historical in orientation, but still useful in that it provides one with a number of sources that have been published over a long period of time.
Business Archives Council, London. The First Five Hundred: Chronicles and House Histories of Companies and Organizations In the Business Archives Library.
Buxton, Neil K. and Aldcroft, Derek H. British Industry Between the Wars: Instability and Industrial Development.
DBW stack HC256.B84
Essays on ten industries and a good bibliography.
Chaloner, W.H. and Richardson, R.C. British Economic and Social History: A Bibliographical Guide.
DBW reserve Z7165.G8C46 1976
Very good. Arranged chronologically by subject.
Church, Roy. The Dynamics of Victorian Business.
DBW stack HF5349.G7D96
Has a dozen essays on a variety of industries and a good bibliography.
Craven, Paul. Canadian Company Histories: A Checklist.
BUS reference Z7164.C81C87
French, Goldwin S. Ontario Since 1867: A Bibliography
DBW reference Z1392.O6O67
Galambos, Louis. American Business History.
DBW stack D16.2S4
Granatstein, J.L. and Stevens, Paul. A Reader's Guide to Canadian History: Confederation to the Present.
DBW reference Z1382.R42
See the section, "economic and Business History".
Hanson. Contemporary Printed Sources for British and Irish Economic History, 1701-1750.
DBW stack Z7165.G8H35
"The aim of this book is to include every new English work on economic affairs published in the period".
Havighurst, Alfred F. Modern England.
DBW reference Z2020.H38
Hidy. "Business History: A Bibliographic Essay" in Recent Developments in the Study of Economic and Business History: Essays in Memory of Herman E. Kroos.
Kirkland, Edward Chase. American Economic History Since 1860.
DBW reference Z7165.U5K53
Larson, Henrietta M. Guide to Business History: Materials for the Study of American Business History and Suggestions for their Use.
DBW stack Z7164.C81L3
Although this book is somewhat dated, it is still very useful. The introduction is good and at the
beginning one will find a general discussion of the subject.
Lovett, Robert W. American Economic and Business History: Information Sources.
DBW stack Z7165.URL66
Chapter 2 concerns Business History
Lovett, Robert W. and Bishop, Eleanor C. Manuscripts in Baker Library: A Guide to Sources for Business, Economic and Social History.
DBW stack Z7164.C81H278
Marriner, Sheila. Business and Businessmen: Studies in Business, Economics and Accounting History.
DBW stack HF5341.B86
The introductory essay provides a good discussion of Business History.
McVeagh, John. Tradefull Merchants: The Portrayal of the Capitalist in Literature.
DBW stack PR151.C37M38
Orbell, John. A Guide to Tracing the History of a Business.
BUS reference HD2321.O7 1987
Payne, Peter L. "A Bibliography of Scottish Business History", in Studies in Scottish Business History.
DBW stack HC257.S4P3
Richmond, Leslie and Stockford, Bridget. Company Archives: The Survey of the Records of 1000 of the First Registered Companies in England and Wales.
DBW reference CD1043.3R52
Smith, H. The British Labour Movement to 1970: A bibliography.
DBW stack Z7164.L1S47
Very thorough on the labour movement, strikes and trade unionism.
Taylor, George R. American Economic History Before 1860.
DBW reference Z7165.U5T37
Thibault, Claude. Bibliographia Canadiana.
DBW reference Z1382.T47
Toronto : Maclean-Hunter. Mid-Canada Bibliography.
DBW reference Z1392.N6M45
Has relevant sections on trade, finance and industrialization. See also the section on "single enterprise communities".
Weiner, Martin J. English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit.
DBW stack DA533.W555
Like Hoppit's more recent Risk and Failure in English Business, this book tries to explain the decline of British industrial power.
Bank, David and Esposito, Anthony. The British Biographical Archive.
Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co. Bio-Base.
DBW reference microfiche Z5301.B562
A major microfiche reference source containing millions of citations.
Ingham, John N. Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders.
BUS reference HC102.5.A2I53
Jeremy, David J. Dictionary of Business Biography: A bibliographical Dictionary of Business Leaders Active in Britain in the Period 1860-1980.
DBW reference HF3504.5.A2D54
Slaven, Anthony et. al. Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography 1860-1960.
DBW stack HC252.5.A2O54
- When the number of entries relating to a company was exceptionally large the following note appears under the company name: "Search the catalogue using the company name as a subject." See, for example, the East India Company and the Ford Motor Company.
- The location codes for items are explained in handouts and posters available in any library on campus.
- A large number of items in this bibliography were published by the Newcomen Society and that fact is acknowledged in the entry. They are typically short accounts and many are located together on the 5th floor of the D.B.Weldon Library at T1.N46. There are others, however, scattered throughout the collection.