chapter
13 Pages

The Research Library

Standard & Poor's Corporation Dennis F. Jensen
Byof the Railroads and Canals of

Standard & Poor's traces its roots back to 1860 when Henry Var­ num Poor first published A History of the Railroads and Canals of the United States. Poor, who had formerly been editor of The Amer­ ican Railroad Journal, had become involved in a crusade to combat the attitude of most of the financial moguls of the day exemplified in Cornelius Vanderbilt's famous line: "The public be damned." Poor eventually succeeded in getting corporations to tell their share­ holders information about their operations and condition and be­ came a power that big business had to reckon with. Today, he is known as the "father of corporate disclosure" and the company he started still plays a major role in the broad dissemination of informa­ tion about corporations to current and potential stockholders .' The Standard & Poor's Research Library was begun in 1917 by

Miss Eleanor Cavanaugh for the Standard Statistics Company. Through more than four decades she developed it from a one-wom­ an library into a fully-staffed information resource which, at the time of her death in 1959, included 35,000 volumes and extensive files on 15,000 corporations. While guiding the growth of this li­ brary through a number of major moves, expansions and reorgani­ zations, including the merger with Poor's Publishing Company in 1941 that transformed it into the Standard & Poor's Library, Miss Cavanaugh also somehow found the time to make a significant con­ tribution to the development of special librarianship itself. In 1931 she convinced the Standard Statistics Company to provide

free office space for the Special Libraries Association, which had just moved to New York City. From 1942-1944 she served as SLA

President. Her unselfish dedication to and constant laboring for the development of special librarianship was recognized by her col­ leagues through the SLA Professional A ward (1954) and by nomination to the SLA Hall of Fame (1959) . The library she created is still generally regarded as one of the

most powerful financial information resources in the world . Since her death in 1959, the library has been guided by Gertrude Shutze, Mildred Breaznell, Ann Wickersham (Bladstrom), George Barlow and, since 1975, myself. I am frequently reminded in my activities as Library Manager

that the library is still very much Eleanor Cavanaugh's library. There are still more than a few S&P old timers who remember her with fond reverence and recall how they could always count on get­ ting a quick answer from Miss Cavanaugh or one of her assistants, Miss Marie Sanders or Mrs. Ljubica Valentekovic. Any description of the S&P Research Library would be incomplete without recog­ nizing the contributions of these dedicated professionals. All the im­ provements and embellishments we have made since were possible because of the strong foundation they laid down. The Standard & Poor's Research Library is currently located at

25 Broadway. The building, facing Green Park and the Customs House, was built in 1921 and was occupied by the Cunard Steam­ ship Lines Company. The main lobby, or "Great Hall," just north of S&P's lobby is noteworthy for its architecture and murals. It is currently occupied by the U. S. Post Office. The Research Library occupies approximately 5,500 square feet on the 16th floor.