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Research Guides@Tufts

Business & Management

Resources on business and management.

Company Histories

Among the most useful primary sources for the history of a specific company are its own annual reports and other publications.  The availability of online versions of these materials varies by company and often may not go back for more than a decade, so the individual company may need to be contacted for these materials (the Company Research Guide lists sources for tracking company contact information).  Official corporate filings with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) typically go back no earlier than 1994.

Business History Journals and Journal Collections


A comprehensive list of sources on business history books, as well as other sources, is provided in the Guide to Business History Resources, published by the Library of Congress.  Many of these sources will need to be ordered through ILLiad.  The sources listed below either are in the Tufts collection or are available online.

Research Centers, Organizations, and Portals

Other Sources on Business History

Business history is embedded in a range of other types of resources:

  • Biographies In-depth profiles of notable business people, often providing insights into the subject's historical era, business climate, and management strategies.  Biographies may cover individuals or groups.  Business affiliates or competitors also provide good leads, for example, when looking for sources on Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company), also look at biographies of Albert P. Sloan (General Motors) or Eiji Toyoda (Toyota).  Many biographies are collective, focusing on the achievements of a group in a particular industry (e.g. banking or automobiles). Business biographical sources are listed in the Company Research Guide and in our online Biographical Directories.
  • Legal Documents  Financial documents filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) are required to list basic biographical information on upper level management and the nature of the company and its markets during a particular reporting period.  Patents provide a history of technological and intellectual achievements by particular individuals or companies.  Court cases document the legal struggles of companies and their owners.
  • Newspapers and Media Excellent sources of profiles, contemporary news, and other primary source materials. Nearly a century of business history is now captured on news reels and other audiovisual formats. The News & Newspapers Guide lists top sources for historical new sources.