Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Department of Economic History, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg Göteborg Papers in Economic History

No 16:
En värdefull berättelse Wallenbergarnas historieprojekt

Ulf Olsson ()

Abstract: This working paper is about how a series of business history projects was launched in the second half of the twentieth century. In connection with the 1956 centenary of the Wallenberg’s bank, the family assembled the necessary expertise to document the first hundred years. In the 1960s the radical left was highly critical of the Wallenberg’s financial and industrial dynasty; the head of the family, Marcus Wallenberg, accordingly initiated an extensive programme of historical research to show what his family and its enterprises had actually done for Sweden’s economic development. The historian and archivist Gert Nylander was entrusted with the task of recruiting scholars for the various projects: biographies of the family’s successive heads and histories of the major companies in which the Wallenbergs had a controlling interest. The two dozen or so business histories are presented in this article along with their authors, of whom I am one. Marcus Wallenberg’s and Nylander’s mutual trust meant that besides being based on excellent access to the sources, these business histories could meet the standards that professional historians expect. Private industrialists’ interest in their own history is liable to clash with the aims of academic research. In my opinion, in this particular case and thanks to a number of circumstances, fruitful collaboration was achieved to the benefit of historical research into Swedish business.

Keywords: Wallenberg; Banking History; Sweden; Financial History; Gert Nylander; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: N24; N84; (follow links to similar papers)

23 pages, September 2, 2013

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