Browse Special Collections FAQs By Topic

Curriculum & Learning Services Fast Answers

Learn more about the resources and services of Baker Library via Curriculum & Learning Services Fast Answers.

Last Updated: Jun 16, 2020     Views: 24

Q.
R.G. Dun/Dun & Bradstreet

How can I access the Dun credit reports?

Does Special Collections have Dun credit reports from the 1900s?

What material do you have on Dun & Bradstreet in Special Collections?


A.

Our two main Dun collections are the R.G. Dun & Co. credit report volumes and the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation records.

The R.G. Dun collection consists of volumes of handwritten credit reports dating from the 1840s-1890s on individuals and firms from the United States, its western territories, Canada, and a small number of foreign countries and include information on the duration of the business, net worth, sources of wealth, and, at times, commentary on the reputation of the owners, their partners, and successors. The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation records are an extensive archive of business records detailing the growth of the company and its predecessors from the 1840s to the late 20th century. The R.G. Dun & Co. credit report volumes cannot be photographed or duplicated. Researchers need to transcribe information from the volumes. Special Collections also offers a name search service for a fee.

The R.G. Dun collection ends in the 1890s, as the company began using typewriters. An associated resource found in our print holdings, the Mercantile Agency Reference Book or Reference Book, includes a two-part credit rating for individuals and firms, consisting of estimated pecuniary strength and general credit. These volumes do not contain any narrative information and are not considered a continuation of the R.G. Dun credit report volumes. Baker Special Collections holds an incomplete run of the Reference Book. The Library of Congress has a complete collection of these books, as well as a large collection of Dun and Bradstreet publications.  

To learn more about the history of R.G. Dun & Co., consult these published histories:

Norris, James D. R.G. Dun & Co., 1841-1900: The Development of Credit-reporting in the Nineteenth Century. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978.  (Available at many libraries worldwide)

Vose, Edward Neville. Seventy-five Years of the Mercantile Agency, R.G. Dun & Co., 1841-1916. Brooklyn, N.Y.: R.G. Dun & Co., 1916.

The Dun and Bradstreet Corporation Records are the historical business records of the credit reporting agency known as R.G. Dun & Company. The company became the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation after the merger of R.G. Dun & Co. and J.M. Bradstreet & Company in 1933. Records include correspondence, photographs, legal, financial, and administrative material pertaining to the company.

Please Ask Us! or reach out to the Baker Special Collections Reference Staff directly at specialcollectionsref@hbs.edu if you are interested in using the Dun collections or have any additional questions about our collections or services.