Financial History Research

The Yale Collection of Historical Securities is a collaborative project between the International Center for Finance (ICF) and the Beinecke Library. Each document in the collection is, in effect, a contract between a company or country and an investor. 

These securities represent important innovations in financial markets that are linked to new methods of raising capital and special events or periods in the history of capital markets. In 2005, the history of financial instruments was documented for the first time in an award-winning book named The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets. Edited by ICF Fellows William N. Goetzmann and K. Geert Rouwenhorst, this book traces the evolution of finance through 4,000 years of history, from the invention of interest in Mesopotamia and the origin of paper money in China to the creation of mutual funds, inflation-indexed bonds, and global financial securities.

Museum of Money

The Museum of Money is a virtual museum aimed at public education in economics in general with a focus on explaining the importance of money and financial institutions in guiding personal, business and government activities. Explore the artifacts of financial history through virtual exhibitions, including:

  • Credit and Credit Evaluation
  • The Emergence of Economic Institutions in Mesopotamia
  • The IFC Collection of Historical Securities
  • The Presidential Vote Equation
  • Silver Slippers on a Golden Road
  • The Invention of Inflation-Indexed Bonds in Early America
  • A Collection of Games
  • Physicist on the Money
  • A Brief History of Money and Religion

Origins of Value

Origins of Value is an on-line visual database of financial instruments, securities and documents related to the history of financial markets. Unless noted othwerwise, these documents come from personal collections or the Yale Libraries.