The roots of the Business Historical Society date back to 1924, when a former journalist named George Woodbridge suggested to his friend Dean Donham that HBS serve as the home of an “Institute of Business,” which would take a historical approach to business.

Several prominent Boston businessmen—including Boston Globe treasurer Charles H. Taylor, who was once described as an “incorrigible collector” of business records and artifacts—joined forces with interested HBS faculty and supporters from other parts of the country to create the “Business Historical Society” (BHS).

The BHS was well endowed in its early years. In addition to income derived from membership fees, the Society received a $10,000 gift from the heirs of Charles A. Moore, a founder of the American Civic Association. A year after the founding of the BHS, Dean Donham reported to his faculty that the Society had spent some $8,000 acquiring more than 45,000 books and pamphlets.

Meanwhile, Librarian Charles C. Eaton was conducting a dragnet of his own, and had increased the library’s historical holdings by more than 50 percent. A huge collection of historical material—destined for ultimate deposit in the new HBS library, then under construction—began to accumulate.

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Acknowledgement of gift in Bulletin of Business Historical Society
Librarian Charles C. Eaton