What Knowledge is Useful? > History
The Business Historical Society
I think one of the most interesting, to me one of the most exciting things about the history of the Harvard Business School is how in almost every area new terrain was being laid. And that’s certainly true in terms of libraries and collections. Because we were one of the first graduate business programs in the United States, that, consequently, meant that we were also one of the first graduate business libraries in the United States. And so there really was no precedent, in terms of: what is the material that’s included in a business library? You couldn’t go and look at other libraries to see what their collections consisted of, and duplicate that type of material.
So in the beginning, with Arthur Cole, the effort was really comprehensive. And even though the library was established in the teens, and the building, the physical building was established with the building of the campus in ’27, they were collecting a wide breadth of material so that they went retrospectively. It wasn’t like publications starting in 1927, and going forward. They actually went back to the mid-19th century, and began to collect material. And the effort was really extremely comprehensive, so that a tremendous diversity of material was collected.