Archives Unbound: Business and Economic History

Covering topics such as commerce and trade, finance and economy, industrial history, and organized labor, these collections feature business history around the world.  Whether it is commercial relations between Japan and the United States, labor equality in household work, Black economic empowerment, or the economy of the Third Reich, students and researchers will find a wealth of information.

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  • City and Business Directories

    City and Business Directories: Alabama, 1837-1929

    City and Business Directories: Arkansas, 1871-1929 

    City and Business Directories: Florida, 1882-1929

    City and Business Directories: Louisiana, 1805-1929 

    City and Business Directories: Maryland, 1752-1929 

    City and Business Directories: Mississippi, 1860-1929

    City and Business Directories: North Carolina, 1886-1929 

    City and Business Directories: Tennessee, 1849-1929 

    City and Business Directories: Virginia, 1801-1929 

    City and Business Directories: West Virginia, 1839-1929

    City directories are among the most comprehensive sources of historical and personal information available. Their emphasis on ordinary people and the common-place event make them important in the study of American history and culture. One of the few means available for researchers to uncover information on specific individuals, these directories provides such information as:
    • Addresses
    • City and county officers
    • Heads of families, firms, and names of those doing business in the city
    • Lists of city residents
    • Occupations
    • Street Directories
    In addition, researchers can learn much about day-to-day life through analysis of information on churches, public and private schools, benevolent, literary and other associations, and banks. Finally, most directories include advertising, often illustrating the products being sold. This information lends valuable insight into the city’s lifestyles and illustrates popular trends.

  • Commerce and Trade

    Commercial and Trade Relations Between Tsarist Russia, the Soviet Union and the U.S., 1910-1963 - This collection of U.S. State Department Central Classified Files relates to commercial and trade relations beginning in the Tsarist Russia period and extending through the Khrushchev period in Soviet history. It contains a wide range of materials from U.S. diplomats including materials on treaties, general conditions affecting trade, imports and exports, laws and regulations, customs administration, tariffs, and ports of entry activities.

    Japan: Records of the U.S. Department of State Relating to Commercial Relations, 1910-1949 - This archive reproduces microfilm of the U.S. Department of State Decimal Files 611.94 and 6194.11. The documents trace the commercial relations between the United States and Japan for almost half a century in the years 1910-1929, 1930-1939, 1940-1944, and 1945-1949. The files are predominantly instructions to -- and despatches from -- diplomatic and consular officials. Notes between the Department of State and foreign diplomats in the United States, memoranda prepared by State Department officials, and correspondence with officials of other government departments and with private businesses and persons are also featured. Subjects include advertising, aircraft, commerce, customs administration, drug regulations, duties, embargo, free ports, landing certificates, law, markets, merchandise, prison-made goods, pure food and drug regulations, smuggling, tariff treaties, export and import trade, undervaluation of imported merchandise, among many other topics.

    Japan: Records of the U.S. Department of State Relating to Commercial Relations, 1950-1963 - This archive reproduces Decimal File 494 and is based on the microfilm title Records Relating to U.S. Commercial Relations with Japan, for the years 1950-1954, 1955-1959, and 1960-1963. The documents in this collection are predominantly instructions to -- and despatches from -- diplomatic and consular officials are often accompanied by enclosures. Notes between the Department of State and foreign diplomats in the United States, memoranda prepared by State Department officials, and correspondence with officials of other government departments and with private businesses and persons are also included.

    Johnson Presidency Administrative Histories: Economy, Finance and Trade - This collection provides extensive documentation on a variety of presidential programs and initiatives. Agency and departmental records include Bureau of the Budget; Council of Economic Advisers; Department of Commerce; Department of Treasury; Federal Deposit Corporation; Federal Home Loan Bank Board; Federal Reserve System; Federal Trade Commission; Interstate Commerce Commission; and Securities Exchange Commission. The archive is based on the film title Administrative Histories of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidency, The Economy, Finance and Trade.

    Records of the National Council for United States-China Trade 1973-1983 - This collection documents the formation of the National Council for United States-China Trade and its role in the development of U.S.-China trade, and the Council’s library holdings relating to China’s trade and economy. The Council is an association of U.S. business firms interested in trade with the People’s Republic of China. It was formed in 1973 with the encouragement of the U.S. Government.

    Revolution in Honduras and American Business: The Quintessential "Banana Republic" - Honduras is the “standard” for a “banana republic” having been O. Henry’s model. This collection would detail both the political and financial machinations of the fruit companies, but also the graft and corruption of the national government, the American banking community’s loans, the U.S. government’s response, and the various aborted popular/revolutionary uprisings. The largest single group of records relates to Honduran political affairs; pertaining chiefly to the turbulent political situation and almost continuous revolutionary activity in Honduras. Included are discussions of boundary disputes and border troubles with El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala and revolutionary movements originating from these neighboring countries and Mexico; German activities in Honduras in World War I; landing of U.S. Marines to protect U.S. citizens during revolutions; cases of an alleged violation of neutrality laws, and shipment of arms and munitions to Honduras from the U.S.; the participation of Sumner Welles in a conference to mediate the revolution in 1924; and presidential campaigns and elections. Another large group of records relates to financial affairs and concerns such matters as the proposed adjustment of the Honduran debt by the United States, loan negotiations and agreements between the Republic of Honduras and the J. P. Morgan Co. and other banking groups in the U.S., re-funding of the internal debt of Honduras, settlement of Honduras' foreign debt, and loans to the Government of Honduras by various fruit companies.

  • Economic History

    Black Economic Empowerment: The National Negro Business League - Booker T. Washington, founder of the National Negro Business League, believed that solutions to the problem of racial discrimination were primarily economic and that bringing African Americans into the middle class was the key. In 1900, he established the League “to promote the commercial and financial development of the Negro,” and headed it until his death. The League included small African American business owners, doctors, farmers, craftsmen, and other professionals. Its goal was to allow businesses to put economic development at the forefront of getting African-American equality in America. Booker T. Washington felt that there was a need for African Americans to build an economic network and allow that to be a catalyst for change and social improvement.

    Johnson Presidency Administrative Histories: Labor and Employment - This collection provides extensive documentation on a variety of presidential programs and initiatives. Agency and departmental records include Civil Service Commission; Department of Labor; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service; General Services Administration; Post Office Department; and National Labor Relations Board. The archive is based on the film title Administrative Histories of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidency, Labor and Employment.

    Nazi Bank and Financial Institutions: U.S. Military Government Investigation Reports and Interrogations of Nazi Financiers, 1945-1949 - This publication comprises two collections, Records Regarding Bank Investigations and Records Relating to Interrogations of Nazi Financiers, from the records of the Office of the Finance Division and Finance Advisor in the Office of Military Government, U.S. Zone (Germany) (OMGUS), during the period 1945–1949. Records Regarding Bank Investigations, 1945–1949, consists primarily of memorandums, letters, cables, reports, exhibits, newspaper clippings, and civil censorship intercepts on the financing of the German war effort and German financial institutions. The records include reports on Nazi gold, the use of Swiss banks, and links between German and Swiss banks, inclusive of Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Golddiskontbank, Dresdner Bank, and Reichs-Kredit-Gesellschaft. The investigations contain information regarding Aryanization, bank operations outside of Germany, industrial ties, liquidation proposals, and the restitution of Hungarian property. Records Relating to Interrogations of Nazi Financiers, 1946–1947 consists of interrogation reports and transcripts, exhibits, and questionnaires. Names included are Bernhard Berghaus, Alois Alzheimer, August von Finck, Eduard Hilgard, Kurt Schmitt, and Franz Schwede-Coburg. Also among these records are files relating to Carlowitz & Company and Japanese firms operating in Germany.

    Price Control in the Courts: The U.S. Emergency Court of Appeals, 1941-1961 - In the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, Congress established a comprehensive system of administrative controls over prices, as a means of checking the inflation that accompanied America’s entry into World War II. The Act created a temporary Emergency Court of Appeals, staffed by federal judges from the district courts and courts of appeals, with exclusive jurisdiction to determine the validity of price control regulations.

    The Economy and War in the Third Reich, 1933-1944 - This official statistical source provides rare, detailed data on the German economic situation during the Third Reich up to and throughout World War II. Consisting of Monatliche Nachweise-ber den Auswartigen Handel Deutschlands (January 1933-June 1939); Der Aussenhandel Deutschlands Monatliche Nachweise (July 1939); and Sondernachweis der Aussenhandel Deutschlands (August 1939-1944)

    The Global Financial and Economic Crisis - This collection delivers the full story leading to the current global economic and financial crisis -- highlighting corporate finance, joint ventures, and M&A, country profiles, capital markets, investor relations, currencies, banking, risk management, direct investment, money management and all the rest -- specifically tailored for faculty and students around the world. Included are over 320 papers and reports published by the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Reserve Banks, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. General Accountability Office, Congressional Research Service, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Office of Thrift Supervision, International Organization of Securities Commissions, and other bodies.

    The Savings and Loan Crisis: Loss of Public Trust and the Federal Bailout, 1989-1993 - This publication consists of studies, analyses, testimony, talking points, and news clippings which detail the origins of the S&L crisis and outlined solutions to the growing crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In essence, this publication provides an analysis of the causes and political perspectives on the Savings and Loan Crisis—What lessons did we learn?

  • Industrial History and Organized Labor

    FBI File on John L. Lewis - One of the most influential figures in the American Federation of Labor (AFL), John L. Lewis (1880–1969) rose through the union ranks to become president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMW). This FBI file details John L. Lewis's career as a labor leader from the 1920s to the 1950s, with some material dating back to 1909. Much of the file relates to Lewis's tenure as president of the United Mine Workers. The bulk of the file is chronological under one subject heading "civil rights." Also included is an Official and Confidential File report written by Louis Nichols. This file will be of great interest to those researching American labor history.

    Industrial Mobilization in Britain and the Ministry of Munitions, 1915-1918 - The standard reference source on the unprecedented industrial mobilization of an entire economy to fight the war of 1914-1918, this 12 volume set has previously only been available in a few select libraries with which the British government deposited copies. It is essential for anyone who wants to study the economics behind World War I, the career of David Lloyd George, and the process of state intervention in industry. The history of the Ministry of Munitions is one of the most extraordinary and instructive episodes in modern British history. Within less than three years, David Lloyd George and his successors transformed the face of British industry and created the largest government department the county had ever seen. As many as 1,600,000 men and 800,000 women were employed on protected munitions work on behalf of the Ministry. Control was exercised over the iron, steel, chemical, and engineering industries. Over 15,000 firms were engaged in munitions work. A third of them were ‘controlled establishments’, giving precedence to government contracts and employing labor on conditions prescribed by the Ministry. More than 200 factories were either nationalized or specially built for munitions work.

    National Farm Worker Ministry: Mobilizing Support for Migrant Workers, 1939-1985 - This collection reproduces correspondence, reports, speeches, minutes; included are materials relating to the farmworkers, poverty programs, Public Law 78, Braceros, labor camps, the United Farm Workers Union and the Delano Grape Strike.

    Reporting on the Coal Industry: The Coal Trade Bulletin, 1901-1918 - Spanning the years 1901-1918, this publication "devoted to the coal industry" provides a unique research opportunity. The coal industry was a major foundation for American industrialization. As a fuel source, coal provided a cheap and efficient source of power for steam engines, furnaces, and forges across America. As an economic pursuit, coal spurred innovations in technology, energy consumption, consumerism, and transportation. When mining companies brought increased sophistication to the organization of work in the mines, coal miners responded by organizing into trade unions. The influence of coal was so pervasive in America that by the advent of the twentieth century, it became a necessity of everyday life. This publication traces the expansion of the coal industry in the early twentieth century and brings to life the trials and tribulations of a burgeoning industry.

    The American Fur Company: America's First Business Monopoly - The papers include original letters received from factors, foreign and domestic agents, mainly to Ramsey Crooks, president of the Company; copies of letters sent by the Company; records of furs received from the Indians, and orders for goods to be shipped to the factors in exchange for furs.

    The Quest for Labor Equality in Household Work: National Domestic Workers Union, 1965-1979 - The National Domestic Workers Union was founded in Atlanta in 1968 by Dorothy Bolden to help women engaged in household work. The collection consists of records of the United Domestic Workers Union (U.S) from 1965-1979. The correspondence (1965-1979) reflects Bolden's efforts in organizing the Union and includes such correspondents as Julian Bond, Senator Sam Nunn, Senator Herman Talmadge, Allen Williams, Andrew Young, and other Georgia and national political figures. The subject files (1967-1979) cover a myriad of topics illustrating the Union's involvement in the Black community, the Manpower Program, the Career Learning Center, the Homemaking Skills Training Program, Maids Honor Day, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), and various federal agencies. The collection contains minutes of the Union (1968-1971, 1978), the Citizen's Advisory Committee on Transportation (1970-1972), the Citizens Neighborhood Advisory Council (1972-1978), and MARTA (1973-1975). The collection also contains financial documents (1968-1979) including budgets, membership records, and files relating to Equal Opportunity Atlanta, which funded many of the Union's projects; and legal documents including agreements and contracts with Economic Opportunity Atlanta.

    The Union Label and the Needle Trades: Records of the United Garment Workers of America - This collection consists of two full series and one partial series from the Records of the United Garment Workers of America—Series I: Time and Motion Studies; Series III: Office Files, 1899-1994—Meeting Minutes of the General Executive Board subseries; and, Series VIII: Index Card Files for plants and/or locals in. The Time and Motion Studies are made up of time study/ time and motion research files for the garment industry, as well as files relating to industry research and information from the first half of the twentieth century. The minutes from the early period cover issues such as immigration, sick benefits, and nine-hour workdays; those from the 1950s are concerned partly with the trial and ultimate dismissal of Board member Joseph Crispino, and those from the latter period contain issues such as the financial struggles and the loss of membership. The overwhelming majority of the Series VIII index card files comprise information on various plants and union locals. These are in alphabetical order by city (with a few exceptions) and contain information about the locals, manufacturers, wages, garments, and efforts to organize locals in those cities.

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