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Business and Labor History: Primary Sources at the Library of Congress

This guide highlights those special collections at the Library that would be of interest to researchers studying business and labor history with an emphasis on personal and organizations papers and related resources.


Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. North Corridor, Great Hall. Labor mural in lunette from the Family and Education series by Charles Sprague Pearce. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. 2007. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

The Library of Congress' collections include a wealth of primary sources documenting business and labor history in the United States. These include personal papers, organizational records of companies and firms, presidential papers, and the records of government officials, judges, lawyers, and other members of the judicial system. The collections listed in this guide are arranged by topic, with an alphabetical list of all collections included in this resource. Note that this guide is not a comprehensive list of business and labor collections at the Library of Congress. Visit the Related Resources page to learn how to continue searching for other resources at the Library of Congress.

Although some of these collections are available online or through InterLibrary Loan (ILL), most are only available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. Many of the collections listed here are in the custody of the Manuscript Division and may be consulted in the Manuscript Reading Room, but others are available in the Microform and Electronic Resources Center, the Science, Business and Technology Reading Room, or elsewhere in the Library. Each collection listed in this guide has the location listed underneath the title, with a link to the catalog record and finding aid where available. Be aware that some collections have restrictions on access or are stored off-site. For more information about how to access these collections, select Using the Library of Congress from the main navigation bar, or use the Ask-a-Librarian link on this page to contact Library staff directly.

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.

About the Manuscript Division

The Manuscript Division seeks to preserve personal papers and organizational records that document the course of America's national experience. Its more than twelve thousand collections and more than seventy million items touch upon every aspect of American history and culture. The Manuscript Division's holdings are strongest, however, in the areas of American national government, the federal judiciary, diplomacy, military history, women's history, and black history.