Baker Library Special Collections

Baker Library collects rare and unique materials that focus on the evolution of business and industry. The collections span eight centuries beginning in the late 1300s to the present day and include corporate archives, manuscripts, account ledgers, rare books, broadsides, photographs, films, electronic records, and company annual reports. These rich and varied collections support research in a remarkably diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

Recent exhibits at Baker Library include:

Lehman Brothers 1850-2008

At the Intersection of Science & Art: Edwin H. Land and the Polaroid Corporation

A Chronicle of the China Trade: the Records of Augustine Heard & Co., 1840-1877

The Art of American Advertising, 1865-1910

Recent classes at Baker Library include HU Freshman Seminar: Money Matters, History 97L What is Atlantic History, and Women in Economic Life: Research Seminar.

Recent classes at the Baker Library Special Collections include sac, 3 and 3.


  • Contemporary Corporate Archives Baker Library’s growing collection of late 20th and 21st century company archival records are an essential component in fully understanding a corporation’s advance from fledgling entrepreneurial enterprise to industry giant.
  • Photographs & Prints Baker Library’s collections include more than 32,000 photographs, daguerreotypes and stereographs of factories, manufacturing techniques, business leaders, and people at work in industrial settings ranging from automobile plants to paper mills. Researchers will find photographs documenting US industry and business operations in Central and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, dating from 1855 to the present.
  • European Economic History & Philosophy—Kress Collection Baker Library’s rare book collections aid in the study of the history of political economy, economic philosophy, finance, agriculture, and trades and manufactures, particularly of the South Sea Bubble of 1720 and the works of Adam Smith.
  • American Business History—Business Manuscripts Baker Library’s collection is an invaluable resource for the study of the development and growth of American commerce and industry, date from the 17th to the early 20th century, and cover the broadest range of business activities.
  • Staff Services

    • Assistance with presentation of materials in class
    • Assistance with selection of materials
    • Bibliography of materials used in class
    • Tour
    • Pre-class planning appointment
    • Reserve class materials for Reading Room Use
    • Pre-class appointment for instructor (required for first time requester, recommended for everyone)
    • Ongoing reference assistance for students interested in using collections for course assignments
    • Creation of library research guide for class
    • Introduction to Archives and Special Collections Research
    • Support for student-led digital curation of exhibits and collections

    Technology Available

    • Computer and data projector
    • Wifi

    Administrative Information

      Class limit: 15

    The Baker Library Special Collections does not have a publicly available calendar. When making a request, please submit with your preferred times and a staff member will get back to you.