Buy Now, Pay Later: A History of Personal Credit

A hat tip to John Fowler for this link to the Harvard Business School: Historical Collections. Buy Now, Pay Later: A History of Personal Credit. There has been great hand wringing over the nature of personal debt in recent years, and some commentators have made it seem as if this recent trouble was without historical precedent. This engaging exhibit draws on their historical materials “to show how previous generations devised creative ways of lending and borrowing long before credit cards.” The exhibit is divided into four sections, including “Credit in a Consumer Society” and “Credit in Pre-Industrial Society”. Each section has short topical essays, accompanied byimages of germane woodcuts, prints, engravings, legal documents, and otheritems that illustrate the relationship between credit and charity, credit reporting, and other matters. The exhibit is rounded out by the “Research Links” area, which brings together full-text manuscript and collection guides to items like the Briggs Motor Sales Company Records.

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