R G Dun and Company

  • 1849-1859: B Douglass and Company
  • 1841-1849: Mercantile Agency
  • American

Founded as the Mercantile Agency in 1841, R G Dun & Company – the predecessor firm to Dun & Bradstreet – was the first successful commercial reporting agency in the United States and a pioneer in the industry of credit reporting, an important tool in the development of American commerce. - Harvard Library

Notable Position Person From To
Clerk, Partner 1859 Robert Graham Dun 1851 1900
Contributor Abraham Lincoln 1841
Contributor Ulysses S Grant
Contributor Grover Cleveland


Y/M/D Description Association Composition Place Locale Food Event
Y/M/D Description Association Composition Place Locale Food Event
1841/00/00 The Mercantile Agency is founded by Lewis Tappen to keep track of the honesty and reliability of business executives. Established
1841/00/00 Abe Lincoln sends a field report to the Mercantile Agency on the reliability of certain businessmen. Lincoln's report in the R G Dun and Company archive has been scraped off the page, apparently with a razor blade. History
1849/00/00 Benjamin Douglass, a clerk in the agency, becomes a partner and expands the firm to include a network of offices supplying information. Local credit reporters are hired for the offices to investigate and report on businesses. History
1851/00/00 Robert Dun is hired as a clerk at the Mercantile Agency. History
1859/00/00 Robert Dun succeeds Douglass as partner, continuing the expansion across the United States and abroad. Under his leadership, the company, known as R G Dun and Company, publishes credit status reports and reference books for distribution. History
1859/00/00 The Grant Leather Store at 120-122 South Main Street in Galena, Illinois, receives two 'good', one 'very fair' and one 'fair' rating from B Douglass and Co, 314 Broadway, New York. Reviewer J R Grant Leather Store Galena, IL
1863/06/00 R G Dun and Co reports that produce merchant JD Rockefeller "is not much of a businessman, but had some capital, it is said, advanced by his father, who is reputed well off." JDR had borrowed $1,000 from his father, a conman, at 10 percent interest. Reviewer
1873/06/00 R G Dun and Company identify one storekeeper in Halifax County, North Carolina as a "purchaser of stolen goods, a great scamp." Reviewer
1893/00/00 R G Dun and Co inaugurate a weekly report of business conditions called "Dun's Review". Although R G Dun and Company is an international business, Dun maintains a home on Madison Avenue in New York City, close to the firm's original home and headquarters. History
1913/00/00 R G Dun and Company buy a large empty lot on Nevins and Butler streets in Gowanus that had been used by the Halstead Company as a lumber yard to relocate their presses from Manhattan. Owner R G Dun and Company Building New York City
1933/00/00 R G Dun and Company merge with the John M Bradstreet Company to form Dun and Bradstreet. End R G Dun and Company Building New York City
1962/00/00 The Dun and Bradstreet Corporation donates the R G Dun and Company archives to Harvard University. The collection consists of 2,522 volumes of handwritten credit reports on individuals and firms, Reports date from the 1840s to the early 1880s. History
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