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The Age of Big Business, A Chronicle of the Captains of Industry - NOTE










The materials are abundant for the history of American industry
in the last fifty years. They exist largely in the form of
official documents. Any one ambitious of studying this subject in
great detail should consult, first of all, the catalogs issued by
that very valuable institution, the Government Printing Office.
The Bureau of Corporations has published elaborate reports on
such industries as petroleum (Standard Oil Company), beef,
tobacco, steel, and harvesting machinery, which are indispensable
in studying these great basic enterprises. The American habit of
legislative investigation and trust-fighting in the courts,
whatever its public value may have been, has at least had the
result of piling up mountains of material for the historian of
American industry. For one single corporation, the Standard Oil
Company, a great library of such literature exists. The nearly
twenty volumes of testimony, exhibits, and briefs assembled in
the course of the Federal suit which led to its dissolution is
the ultimate source of material on America's greatest trust. As
most of our other great corporations--the Steel Trust, the
Harvester Company, the Tobacco Company, and the like--have passed
through similar ordeals, all the information the student could
ask concerning them exists in the same form. The archives of such
bodies as the Interstate Commerce Commission and Public Utility
Commissions of the States are also bulging with documentary
evidence. Thus all the material contained in this volume--and
much more--concerning the New York traction situation will be
found in the investigation conducted in 1907 by the Public
Service Commission of New York, Second District.

American business has also developed a great talent for
publicity. Nearly all our big corporations have assembled much
material about their own history, all of which is public
property. Thus the American Telephone and Telegraph Company can
furnish detailed information on every phase of its business and
history. Indeed, one's respect for the achievements of American
industry is increased by the praiseworthy curiosity which it
displays about its own past and the readiness with which it makes
such material accessible to the public. Despite the abundance of
data, there is not a great amount of popular writing on these
subjects that has much fascination as literature or much value as
history. The only book that is really important is Miss Ida M.
Tarbell's "History of the Standard Oil Company," 2 vols. (new
edition 1911). Of other popular volumes the present writer has
found most useful Herbert N. Casson's "Romance of Steel" (1907),
"History of the Telephone" (1910), and "Cyrus Hall McCormick: His
Life and Work" (1909); J.H. Bridge's "Inside History of the
Carnegie Steel Company" (1903); "Henry Ford's Own Story" as told
to Rose Wildes Lane (1917).

For Chapter V, the author has drawn from articles contributed by
him in 1907-8 to "McClure's Magazine" on "Great American Fortunes
and their Making;" and for Chapter IV, from an article
contributed to the same magazine in 1914, on "Telephones for the

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