In 2007 a project was undertaken to digitize a selection of corporate reports from the Columbia Business Library’s extensive collection of historical corporate annual reports. The majority of these 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 full collection represent most of the industries that were instrumental in the creation of early industrialized America.
Historical Corporate Reports Online Collection offers approximately 770 digitized reports amounting to around 17,340 pages of text documenting 36 New York City-based companies drawn from the Columbia Business Library’s extensive collection of historical corporate annual reports. Selected corporations in the digital collection include department stores, utility companies, banks, and railroads ranging from the 1850s through the early 1960s.
The project was paid for by funds allocated from the Libraries Digital Program digitization budget. Digitization was performed in 2008 on-site at Columbia by a commerical vendor (Backstage Library Works); pre- and post-processing tasks were handled by staff from the Business Library and the Preservation and Digital Conversion Division respectively.
This project was a joint effort of the Columbia University’s Watson Library of Business and Economics, the Preservation and Digital Conversion Division, and the Libraries Digital Program Division.
- Extensive run of reports from the first savings bank in America, the "Bank for Savings in the City of New York"
- Reports from a number of companies covering the years of the Great Depression