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History of Accounting: A Resource Guide

This guide provides access to materials for researching the history and development of the accounting profession and practice. It highlights print materials in the Library of Congress collections, subscription databases, and other online resources.


Accountant's Office. Between 1910 and 1920. National Photo Company Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This is a guide to assist those studying the history and development of the accounting profession and practice. While it is focused on the Library’s collection of print materials with some information about useful databases to which the Library subscribes, much of the information may also be of interest to others studying in this field who are not at the Library of Congress.

The goal of this guide was not to be exhaustive while still being as comprehensive as possible. This guide can be used to trace changes in practices and standards by looking at many of the titles included, but for those interested in more modern practices and standards, please see a related guide on accounting and auditing. It focuses on the practices and history of accounting in the United States through the middle of the 20th century. However, some materials, particularly very early works, were chosen because of their impact on accounting in the world as well as to illustrate how practices in the United States developed. Some titles were chosen for their historical overview, while others were chosen to provide a window into a particular period of time. While there was an effort to include materials over a large span of time, it was not possible to include everything. In many cases what is included may be information on a re-issued title of popular or seminal works. For those titles that had many editions, information about later editions was included when possible for those that are interested in tracking changes in practice by looking at the changes of a particular title.

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.