Harvard Business School supports a number of multi-faculty projects that focus on historical research. The projects are diverse, but all bring together shared interest of faculty to explore the long-term evolution of capitalism, globalization, democracy, and policy. Many projects are done in collaboration with Special Collections at Baker Library.

Creating Emerging Markets

Creating Emerging Markets explores the evolution of business leadership in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. At its core are interviews, many on video, conducted by Harvard Business School faculty members with leaders or former leaders of businesses and NGOs. These interviews, with men and women of diverse backgrounds, address pivotal moments of transition in their regions. They contain compelling insights on entrepreneurship, innovation, family business, and the globalization of firms and brands. Emphasizing ways that businesses can create value for their societies, the project provides a unique resource for research and teaching. From the beginning it was envisioned as a public good, designed to be available to scholars and educators worldwide. Along with the interviews, the site contains video clips for classroom teaching, and a wealth of relevant resources to allow for further research.

The Medici Project

Baker Library’s Special Collections houses one of the largest collections of business papers produced by the Medici family. The Medici Project showcases the depth of this collection and uses the quintessentially international nature of the Medici ledgers to increase our understanding of the origins of capitalism and globalization.

The collection includes nearly 150 manuscript books containing business records dating from 1376 to 1711. These account books detail the business activities of seven generations of Medici wool merchants, who imported wool from Spain, manufactured it in Florence, exported it to profitable Levantine markets, and imported silk from Bursa in Ottoman Turkey. The project includes the writing of a new case on the Medici businesses, a new finding aid to the archival collection, and two academic conferences.

The Way to Wealth Project

The Way to Wealth project, directed by Sophus A. Reinert, is a digital history resource based on Kenneth E. Carpenter’s bibliography of Benjamin Franklin’s Way to Wealth. This project develops an array of unique research tools and contextual essays for understanding the influence and impact of Franklin’s seminal essay on work ethic and frugality. The site also features a searchable, and growing database of over 1,000 editions of The Way to Wealth.