Public Company Sources – Doing Historical Company Research: A Resource Guide – Research Guides at Library of Congress

Documents filed with the SEC are likely to be the most accessible but also going to provide the most information on public companies.

When it comes to company filing documents, finding them is likely a combination of electronic sources and microfiche sources. No sources are 100% complete. Between our microfiche sets and the databases, the Library does have a good collection that does have some overlap. However, these sources may be harder to find or access around the country.

  • If you are looking for older for SEC filings that date after 1994 the EDGAR system is free on the SEC’s website. Prior to that you have to look to elsewhere. The Library has a microfiche set but you will need the print index to find the filings themselves.  There are several volumes by year and the entries are alphabetical by company. Not all filings for all companies are included. The set includes 10Ks/annual reports to shareholders, proxies, 10Qs, and some 8Ks.
  • There are vendors like Thomson Reuters and Westlaw that do have databases with SEC filings and annual reports (the Library doesn’t have access) but access to them may be limited.
  • The Library does have access to two relevant databases – Proquest Historical Annual Reports and Mergent Archives, both of which have annual reports while Mergent also has archival 10Ks back to the early 1960’s.
  • The Library has several sets of microfiche annual reports to shareholders and links to the inventories are below.

Also, if the public company that is highly regulated try government sources. For example, banks are regulated and the FDIC has collects detailed financial information for decades. Other agencies like the Civil Aeronautics Board has the Quarterly Report of Air Carrier Financial Statistics and the Handbook of Airline Statistics for United States certified air carriers that contains some pretty detailed financial data as well as data specific to air travel like passenger v. cargo/mail, some aircraft information, some destination information, etc.

Below are databases and open access resources. The subscription resources marked with a padlock padlock 308589 340 are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.