Friday, March 18, 2011

Nineteenth-century credit reports

You'll never get to eyeball these records unless you can convince the gatekeepers at Hahvahd (Business School, Baker Library) that you're a "scholar," a word they use in opposition to "genealogist."

So you might as well learn what you can from historian Dan Alosso's critical examination of this original source that seems to resemble death certificates in that it contains a mix of primary and secondary information -- or to put it another way, a mix of first-hand knowledge and gossip, with the power to make or to ruin local businesspeople who depended on out-of-town credit.

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