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Mss:1406 1600-1969 B979

Business instruments collection, 1600-1969: A Finding Aid

Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University


Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Mss:1406 1600-1969 B979
Repository: Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Title: Business instruments collection
Date(s): 1600-1969
Quantity: 15.50 linear feet (29 boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: A collection of seventeenth century to twentieth century business instruments such as accounts receivable, bills, checks, notes, stock certificates, warranties, and samples of business letterhead.


Gift of H.F. Aiken, November 1931; Permanent loan from American Bank Note Company, 1959-1961; Baldwin Papers; Gift of Mrs. Bancroft; Boston Public Library; Gift of A.H. Churchill; Gift of Mr. Clark, May 1947; Gift of Elizabeth C. Coburn; F.R. Currier; Gift of Walter H. Dugan, June 1932; Gift of Mrs. F. Eckstrom, September 1931; Gift of Chas. S. Ensign, Jr., June 1938; Gift of F. Murray Forbes, Jr., October 1952; Gift of Harriet J. & Florence G. Ford, August 1934; Hobbs Collection; Purchase from Julian C. Hood, 1948; Gift of T.F. Jewett, May, 1933; Clara L. Leach; Gift of Mrs. C. Mills, 1932; Gift of Missouri Pacific Railroad Co., November 1950; Gift of Mrs. Lawrence Park, April 1937; George B. Roorbach; Donald R. Sohn; Gift of Charles Taylor; Trotter Collection.; Gift of Robert and Irma Jackson, 1993.

Processing Information:

Processed: March 1999
By: Sean Perrone

Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact specialcollectionsref@hbs.edu for more information.

Preferred Citation:

Cite as: Business instruments collection. Baker Library Historical Collections. Harvard Business School.

Historical Note:

Business instruments are written statements of fact that have sufficient authority to serve as evidence or proof in legal proceedings. At a minimum, business instruments provide evidence of specific transactions, obligations, or intentions that comprise commercial activity. The form and function of these documents evolved with changes in business law and information technology, but many of the more common types have their roots deep in European commercial traditions.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Scope and Content Note:

The collection contains a wide variety of business instruments dating from the seventeenth century to the twentieth century. The documents are divided into three series: Forms, Miscellany, and the Robert and Irma Jackson Collection of Business Documents. The first two series are arranged alphabetically by document type. The Jackson series is a small collection of business instruments arranged by company name (when known) or by document type. The collection provides an overview of the various types of business instruments, such as accounts receivable, bills, checks, stock certificates, warranties, etc. The bills and receipts are also a valuable resource for determining commodity prices during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Also of interest are the autographs and corporate letterheads. Portfolio items and oversized documents have been removed to the manuscript-oversize collection.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Business. Forms.
Account books.
Bank statements.
Bills of exchange.
Bills of lading.
Bonds (legal records)
Bonds (negotiable instruments)
Insurance policies.
Legal documents.
Letters of credit.
Letters patent.
Powers of attorney.
Promissory notes.
Ships' manifests.
Stock certificates.