R.G. Dun & Company credit ledgers (microfilm)1840-1895
Founded in 1841 by Lewis Tappan, the Mercantile Agency — later known as R.G. Dun & Co. — was the first commercial reporting agency in America and dominated the field well into the twentieth century. The microfilmed credit ledgers contain volumes of handwritten credit reports on individuals and firms from the Mid-Atlantic region.
31 item(s) (31 reels of microfilm)
Founded in 1841 by Lewis Tappan, the Mercantile Agency — later known as R.G. Dun & Co. — was the first commercial reporting agency in America and dominated the field well into the twentieth century. Tappan formed the agency in New York City to gather credit information on merchants from the United States and Canada doing business in the New York market. Benjamin Douglass acquired sole ownership in the agency in 1854, and he was bought out in 1859 by Robert Graham Dun. R.G. Dun & Company maintained offices around the country to supply credit data on firms and individuals to the New York office. The company then, in turn, sold these credit reports to individuals and firms across the country. In 1933, Dun merged with the Bradstreet Company to form Dun and Bradstreet.
Scope and Contents
The R.G. Dunn & Company credit ledgers are microfilmed copies of volumes of handwritten credit reports on individuals and firms from the Mid-Atlantic region. Entries include information on the duration of the business, net worth, sources of wealth, and the character and reputation of the owners, their partners, and successors.
The ledgers are arranged by state and then by county or city. The entries are handwritten, made in the New York office, from field reports. Most volumes have name indexes. Here may be found reports on thousands of firms across the country, many for a considerable span of time. The reports are fullest from the 1850s to the 1870s. The microfilms cover the entire states of Delaware and Maryland; Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties in New Jersey, and Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania. Also available are seven bound volumes of xerox copy flow from the microfilm containing the indexes for Delaware, Maryland and Berks, Lehigh and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania.
Location of Originals
Originals held at Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts.
No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.
Photocopying of records not permitted. Permission to publish must be obtained from Hagley Museum & Library and Dun & Bradstreet Inc.
Language of Materials
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- R.G. Dun & Company credit ledgers (microfilm)
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- 2021: Ashley Williams