January 18, 2022

Acquisitions: Ernst & Young Historical Archives Gifted to Case Western Reserve U. in Cleveland

From CWRU:

Ernst & Young (EY), the global “Big Four” professional services firm formed via the 1989 merger of Ernst & Whinney and Arthur Young & Company, has gifted its historical archives to Case Western Reserve University’s Kelvin Smith Library. The collection will be known as the Ernst & Young Founders Archive.


The archive includes such memorabilia as handwritten accounting ledgers detailing firm transactions from the early 1900s, firm advertising from the 1920s, Ernst & Ernst employee and management communications dating back more than 90 years, awards, vintage photos, Arthur Young’s personal cash book and many other historical items.


As part of the library’s Special Collections, the Ernst & Young Founders Archive will allow students and scholars to experience the early days of the firms and of the accounting profession, track the evolution of services and get a sense of the great contributions of both A.C. Ernst and Arthur Young as innovative accounting leaders and benefactors to their communities.

For example, the collection contains Ernst & Ernst internal correspondence that addressed long-ago issues facing the nation and offered glimpses into the day-to-day challenges then facing the firm and its people. One, dated Feb. 24, 1926, discusses a tax law change then passed by the U.S. Congress. The change increased personal exemptions while reducing tax rates to 1.5 percent on the first $4,000 of net income, 3 percent on the next $4,000 and 5 percent on the remainder.

The bulletin also refers to “the projected end of the bull securities market”—three years in advance of the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Other bulletins stressed proper staff conduct at client sites, the importance of integrity and independence in client dealings and outlined operational and professional rules to be followed. Still others hinted at the economic pressures faced by the firms and their clients as the Great Depression tightened its grip on the country. Additional archival materials, including internal legal documents never before publicly available, may also shed light on the origins of the two firms and key episodes in their early history.

See Also: Learn More About Special Collections at the Kelvin Smith Library
About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.