October 24, 2006. The Polaroid Corporation’s Archives, a unique collection of materials that document the evolution of one of America’s most famous and innovative companies, have been donated to the Harvard Business School’s Baker Library (HBS). Housed in the library’s Historical Collections, the Polaroid Corporation Archives includes approximately 1.5 million items dating from the company’s founding in 1937 to the present – and chronicling the invention of instant photography by Polaroid founder Dr. Edwin H. Land ...
... as well as company press clippings, packaging, employee newsletters, and annual reports. Artifacts within the collection include sunglasses, military goggles, 3D glasses, and examples of many of the camera models and accessories Polaroid produced from the early 1950s to the late 1990s. Portions of the collection will be available for research use in mid-2007.
Notable items within the Polaroid Corporation Archives are research and development files and patent records that detail the company’s many innovations, including Dr. Land’s early work with polarizing lenses and the invention of instant photography. The firm’s marketing and publicity efforts are well documented by an extensive collection of advertising materials, product packaging, and corporate publications.
“Students and scholars in a number of areas—from business history and management to marketing and technology–will benefit greatly from access to these important materials,” said HBS Professor Geoff Jones, one of the School’s Directors of Research. “In addition to the rich material on path breaking scientific inventions and innovations, this collection allows us to view at close range the corporate decisions and activities of an iconic American company.”
The Polaroid Corporation Archives also contain a vast and comprehensive set of photographs taken by Polaroid employees and professional photographers from 1937 to the 1990s. These images were taken for research purposes during the testing of new Polaroid products and as part of the company’s advertising campaigns.
Tom Petters, CEO and Chairman of the Petters Group Worldwide, which acquired the Polaroid Corporation in 2005, said the archives reflect Polaroid’s dynamic evolution. “We’re committed to honoring and preserving the legacy of Dr. Land and the evolution of Polaroid as the company continues to grow its successful consumer electronics and eyewear businesses, and looks to expand in other categories.”
“We are very pleased that these materials, which capture a vital part of American innovation, will be preserved at Harvard Business School,” said Tom Beaudoin, Polaroid’s Chief Operating and Financial Officer. “By sharing the archives, Polaroid hopes to inform students of history and inspire generations of entrepreneurs.”
“Polaroid is among the world’s most recognizable brands, and this record of the company’s history is a notable addition to the School’s Business Manuscripts Collection,” said Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director of Baker Library. “We are most grateful to be able add this extraordinary resource to Harvard Business School’s Historical Collections.”
A gift from the de Gaspé Beaubien Family Foundation supports the activities, projects, and programs of the HBS Historical Collections, which includes all HBS archival material and houses one of the most extensive business history resources for scholars, researchers, students, and other interested audiences around the world.
It is composed of the Kress Collection of Business and Economics, widely recognized as one of the world’s premier rare book collections; the Business Manuscript Collection, with approximately 1,400 sets of original business manuscripts from the fifteenth through twentieth centuries; and a collection of original company documents and reports dating from the early 1800s to the present.
Polaroid Corporation, a Petters Group Worldwide company, designs, develops and manufactures instant, digital imaging and consumer electronics products, which are marketed worldwide. The historical leader in instant cameras and film, Polaroid is rapidly expanding its leadership in consumer electronics and other commercial and consumer categories. The company’s other products and services include eyewear, principally sunglasses, and passport/ID photography as well as commercial ID systems. For more information on Polaroid, please visit www.polaroid.com.
About Harvard Business School
Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School (www.hbs.edu) is located in Boston and offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 40 Executive Education programs. With a faculty of more than 200 distinguished scholars, the School is dedicated to educating leaders who make a difference in the world. Its core focus is to shape the practice of business, build enduring knowledge, and effectively communicate important ideas. Harvard Business School is the world’s largest producer of business cases, a method of teaching pioneered by the School in the 1920s.