What Knowledge is Useful? > History
Laura Linard on Polaroid Collection
One of the most significant things that I think we’re engaged in right now is really an effort to try to document and record the more contemporary business world. As I mentioned, many of the strengths of our collections are from the 18th, 19th, early 20th century. So we have collections that are very strong up until about World War II. And so what we’re trying to do right now is really try to document that more contemporary, that post-World War II era. And I think one of the most exciting things for us has been the receipt of two very large collections.
First, the Lehman Brothers collection from the 1920s to the 1980s. And then, secondly, the rather intimidating, but incredibly wonderful Polaroid collection, which records the history of this very significant, pivotal company, Polaroid, from the 1930s to the 1980s. And I think one of the things about Polaroid is—that’s so exciting is the extent of the collection—it really is comprehensive, in terms of all the material that Polaroid generated, from science reports, and science studies to advertising material, to cameras. The whole range is included in Polaroid. And the reason that I say it’s slightly intimidating is it’s four thousand linear feet, which is just huge. But it’s a very important collection, and it was an incredibly important company. I recognize that it was the Google of its day. It was the company that meant innovation, etc.
So that was a very exciting moment, to actually be able to have the collection donated to the Harvard Business School, and to physically even get it here was very satisfying.