The Imprints Department holds Hagley's printed and published materials, with particular emphasis on publications not typically found in general or college and university libraries. It began with books and periodicals collected by Pierre S. du Pont on the development of business and industry in America, a practice that successive librarians have continued. Hagley has substantial holdings of printed material on national and international business history with particular strength in business activities in the region between the Hudson and the Potomac and west to the Allegheny Mountains. The Imprints Department also holds the library of French Physiocrat Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, the finest collection on late-eighteenth-century French society and politics on this side of the Atlantic.
The imprints collection has expanded by obtaining tens of thousands of publications from firms, trade associations, and individuals associated with American business as well as printed materials from government entities that pertain to business practices. Business publications form the largest component of the imprints collection. Company magazines, such as Better Living from DuPont and Store Chat by Strawbridge & Clothier, typically contain articles prepared by the company's advertising or public relations department. These magazines often include profiles and news of employee activities such as events, promotions, or retirements, and occasionally "family" or "women's" pages. Company histories and other promotional materials directed to customers usually combine interesting visuals with statements of corporate self-image. Because corporate reports were not usually circulated outside the company, they often contain what was once proprietary information; Hagley's collection of corporate reports, therefore, offers interesting insight and information on historical business perspectives.
Hagley's collection of more than 40,000 trade catalogs, which runs from the mid-nineteenth century to date, is one of the finest in the country. These catalogs usually contain illustrations and descriptions of items marketed to firms for use in their manufacturing or commercial activities. They range from describing tools and industrial machinery―such as Presses, Dies, Tools and Special Machines for Working Sheet Metal (1909), by the Adriance Machine Works―to promoting items for eventual use by individuals―as with the Age of Steel in Office Equipment (1900), from the Rand Kardex Service Corporation. Thousands of products from virtually all American industries can be researched in Hagley's holdings of trade catalogs.
Publications pertaining to particular business sectors form another substantial segment of the Imprints Department's holdings. Hagley aggressively collects trade journals devoted to single industries, whether consumer goods-oriented, such as Browning's Magazine: A Periodical of Fashions and Fancies (1890-1922), or directed to manufacturers, as with The Industrial Review and Textile Reporter (1887-1893). These journals contain extremely rich information on business practices and interactions with customers. Pamphlets issued by trade associations―such as The Competitive Challenge to Steel (1961), from the American Iron and Steel Institute―offer insights into how an industry views political and business developments.
Imprints also holds publications generated by America's principal national business associations. Pamphlets often present the public face of business on political issues, such as Prevention or Punishment in the Administration of the Anti-Trust Laws (1929), from the National Association of Manufacturers―or are intended to explain matters of concern to constituent members―as with Understanding the Balance of Payments (1970), from the National Industrial Conference Board. These national perspectives on business are complemented by Hagley's holdings of general business periodicals, ranging from Hazard's Register and Niles' Register in the early nineteenth century to Fortune in the twentieth and twenty-first.
To complete Hagley's documentation of business and industry, the Imprints Department has a selection of encyclopedias, mechanical dictionaries, engineering textbooks, and manuals describing now-obsolete technologies, artifacts, and office practices. The volumes distributed by the International Correspondence Schools, such as Elements of Bridge Engineering (1897), are especially valuable. The department selectively collects government publications pertaining to business practices as well as legal documents for nationally significant cases involving antitrust, bankruptcies, reorganizations, and patent disputes.
Guidebooks and catalogs for the great international expositions form one of the most dramatic assets of the Imprints Department. Covering most American and international expositions since London's Crystal Palace World's Fair in 1851, materials range from richly illustrated guidebooks to detailed descriptions of exhibits.
For further information, contact Max Moeller or Linda Gross in the Imprints Department at 302-658-2400 ext 227 or use our Ask Hagley online form.