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United States Banking Periodicals at the Library of Congress

American banking periodicals are excellent sources of information on the history of banking in this country and the individual states. This research guide provides links to serial titles that document the development of the banking industry since 1840.


Bank of Pennsylvania
George Strickland, artist; William E. Tucker, engraver. Bank of Pennsylvania. 1827. Library of Congress Prints and Photograph Division.

The Library of Congress has an extensive collection of banking periodicals, including many that extend back into the nineteenth century. For the most part, United States banking periodicals are classed in HG1501. United Kingdom and Commonwealth periodicals on banks and banking are classed at HG1503, while those published in other countries are classed at HG1505. Directories, yearbooks, statistical publications, and Federal Reserve periodical publications, which are classed elsewhere, are excluded from this guide.

American banking periodicals are naturally excellent sources of information on the history of banking in this country and the individual states. With respect to finance and banking, these periodicals provide detailed information about the development of the industry, bank operations, bank technology, and new lines of business. They are also a rich resource for studying the history of trade and professional associations. Most periodicals provide regular news of association activities and detailed coverage of conventions. They also provide a detailed and fascinating picture of crime, criminals, and constantly developing means of protecting legitimate bank business against criminals.

Legislative, regulatory, and judicial actions played increasingly important roles in banking, and this fact is amply demonstrated in the news and features of these periodicals. Banking publications mirror the changing topics of national debate on money, banking, finance, and the economy.

Banking periodicals provide detailed information and comment on national economic and business conditions, as well as the ways in which businesses adapted to cope with changes in those conditions. Researchers will find reliable information about businesses and business conditions in various regions of the country. Bankers were central to all business activity, and needed to be thoroughly informed about contemporary conditions as well as all factors that might affect business prospectively. For this reason, banking periodicals are a good source of information on many industries, such as agricultural products and livestock, railroads, mining, and real estate. Many banking periodicals Include articles on foreign business and economic conditions. Even regional banking journals, particularly those covering geographic areas that produced marketable goods, report extensively on foreign commerce and banking.

For anyone doing local history or genealogical research these periodicals may furnish excellent information as well as photographs. Many, especially regional periodicals, published biographical sketches, anniversary or retirement features, and obituaries of those who had been active in the industry.

This guide is based on a 2013 collections assessment of United States banking journals held by the Library of Congress. The HF1501 periodicals selected for attention are separated into three broad groups: those intended for a national audience, those dedicated to regional interests, and a sampling of those that had short runs or for which the Library of Congress has only limited holdings. Each entry provides a brief description of the content of a periodical, its call number, all title changes with related Library of Congress catalog record numbers, and a summary of holdings found at the time of this review in 2013. Holdings reported on the Library of Congress catalog records will reflect additions and other changes, and will indicate those volumes which are stored off site. Please note that titles stored off site must be requested at least a day in advance.

About the Business Section

Part of the Science & Business Reading Room at the Library of Congress, the Business Section is the starting point for conducting research at the Library of Congress in the subject areas of business and economics. Here, reference specialists in specific subject areas of business assist patrons in formulating search strategies and gaining access to the information and materials contained in the Library's rich collections of business and economics materials.