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U.S. Business History: Corporate Annual Reports

Corporate Annual Reports


As mandated by Section 13 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, publicly traded companies must file annual reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This "official" annual report is known as the "10K."

While 10Ks primarily contain detailed financial information about the company, they are also required to include information such as any legal proceedings in which the company is involved, a management discussion, and information on executive compensation.

  • 1968-1988: DANA REF. MICROFICHE
    Note: 1968-1974 includes company names beginning with G-Z only.
  • 1996-present: EDGAR

Annual Reports to Shareholders

Public companies are generally required to provide annual reports to their shareholders in preparation for their annual meeting. In the 19th century, the annual report was usually a letter to stockholders followed by a financial statement. This has evolved into a "State of the Company" report including a statement from the CEO, a report on continuing operations, plans for new products, programs, and activities, market data, and research and development activities. It also includes financial data, although in general this is less detailed than the data obtainable in the 10K.

Annual reports are valuable historical records. They are the "public face" of corporations; they reflect what a company at a specific point in time wanted the general public to know about them.

  • 1966-1988: DANA REF. MICROFICHE
  • Most recent 10 years: Mergent Online Rutgers-restricted Access
Historical Corporate Reports
A growing collection of digitized annual reports from U.S. companies covering the period 1800 through 1955. Browse or search by company name, industry, year, or words in text. A project of the Lippincott Library at the University of Pennsylvania.
Columbia Historical Corporate Reports Online Collection
About 770 selected reports from Columbia's Watson Library of Business & Economics. Reports from banks, utilities, department stores, railroads, etc. issued between 1850 and 1960.

Corporate Archives

Directory of Corporate Archives in the United States and Canada
Society of American Archivists. Business Archives Section.
Arranged by company name. Each entry includes address, contact information, hours of service, conditions of access, and brief description of archive contents. Based on the 5th (1997) edition; updated on an ongoing basis.

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