Columbia Historical Corporate Annual Reports

Columbia University's Watson Library of Business and Economics owns a unique collection of historical annual reports.  The majority of the reports predate the 1934 Securities Exchange Act which regulated and standardized reporting.

The reports were written for and disseminated to stockholders and the public. While many reports were published, there was no requirement that they be produced or adhere to a particular format.

The 4,482 corporations whose reports comprise the collection represent most of the industries that were instrumental in the creation of early industrialized America including:

  • mining
  • forest products
  • industrial machinery
  • electrical power
  • agriculture
  • food processing
  • metals manufacturing
  • oil & gas
  • textiles
  • chemicals
  • pharmaceuticals
  • communications
  • transportation
  • retail & wholesale trades
  • water utilities
  • beverages
  • insurance
  • financial services
  • publishing
  • building or construction

Digitized Annual Reports

For a selected collection of digitized annual reports for New York city companies, consult the Columbia Historical Corporate Reports Online Collection.

Accessing the Non-Digital Collection

All reports are housed in Columbia University Libraries' off-site facility. To request a report:

  1. Consult the finding aid (Excel format) and locate the company of interest in the list.
  2. Write down the barcode associated with the company.
  3. Call or visit the Business and Economics Library to request the report from off-site.  Reports must be requested in advance (barcode required) and will be provided for in-library consultation only.
    Phone: (212) 854-7804 or e-mail:

For non-affiliates, the library access pages provide information on using the Columbia University Libraries.