This essay provides an overview of the development of business archives in the United States. The author reviews the uncertain beginnings of corporate archives programs in the 1950s and 1960s, the sudden rush of programs in the 1970s, and the harsh reality check caused by reengineering and downsizing in the 1980s and 1990s. She also reviews the role of public repositories which house corporate archives collections in preserving corporate records. In addition, this essay also presents the author's reflections on the interaction between corporate archives and repositories which collect business records, as a result of her participation in the Records of American Business (RAB) Project. She also lists a number of unanswered questions arising out of the RAB project, requiring further research and writing by the business archives community. The essay concludes with an annotated list of major American corporate archives.

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