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Texas Business and Company Research

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Researching the history of a company can involve compiling information from a variety of sources. The Texas State Library and Archives collections contain business information produced or gathered by local, state, and federal government agencies. The resources below may be helpful as you develop your research strategy.

Biennial report of the Secretary of State

Texas. Secretary of State. Biennial report of the Secretary of State of the State of Texas. Austin, 1904

Corporate Filings

The Texas Secretary of State (SOS) Corporations Section collects information on corporations, limited liability partnerships, and non-profit associations.

  • SOS Business Services "" provides instructions and forms for requesting current corporation information.
  • Use the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Taxable Entity Search "" to find public company information filed with the Texas SOS, such as mailing address, SOS registration date, management, ownership, and registered agent.

Texas Secretary of State biennial reports include lists of corporations or associations filed with the Corporations Section. The information in these lists becomes more detailed over the years, however these reports do not contain the text of the charters.

  • Digitized copies of reports covering 1881-1930 are available from HathiTrust "". Not all reports or years are digitized or available.
  • Print copies for 1882-1934 are available through TSLAC. Contact your local library for assistance with borrowing these publications or requesting scans through interlibrary loan (ILL).
  • The WorldCat record "" lists libraries that may have print copies of these reports. You can confirm availability with these libraries directly.

Indexes and registers of corporations dated 1871 to 1928 are part of the Texas State Archives collections. To request a search of these volumes, send an email to ref@tsl.texas.gov with the company name you would like us to search.

Most public companies in the United States are required to file annual shareholder reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Detailed financial and operational information can sometimes be found in these reports.

Business Directories

Directory of Texas Manufacturers (1932-1999)

Lists Texas manufacturers by a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, which describes a company’s primary business activity. Listings include contact information, number of employees, and sales figures. Produced by the Bureau of Business Research, University Texas at Austin.

  • Print copies for 1932-1999 (not inclusive) are available through TSLAC.
  • The WorldCat record "" lists libraries near you that may have available copies.

Thomas Register of American Manufacturers (print editions 1905-2006)

Business listings with financial ratings arranged by product and state.

  • Some digitized editions are available to view or search from HathiTrust "".
  • The WorldCat record "" lists libraries near you that may have available copies.

Search current Texas manufacturer and supplier listings by industry or company name through ThomasNet online "".

Texas Almanac (1857-present)

Features include business listings, state business and manufacturer information, and industry statistics.

  • Digitized issues of the Texas Almanac "" for 1857 to 2004-2005 (not inclusive) are available on the Portal to Texas History, hosted by the University of North Texas.
  • Print copies of the Texas Almanac for 1857-current issue (not inclusive) are available for on-site use at TSLAC. 
  • WorldCat "" lists libraries near you that may have available copies.

Texas Business Review (1927-2011)

Data and analysis for Texas manufacturers, with supplements on special subjects related to Texas business and economy. Published by the Bureau of Business Research, University of Texas at Austin. Search or browse full-text issues through Texas ScholarWorks "".

There are other general business directories for specific types of industry and businesses. Often these directories are national in coverage and arranged by state. You can search for business directories in our online library catalog or through WorldCat "".

Contact your local public or academic library for information about general business or industry directories, or access to reference databases and materials. Several business reference databases are available through the TexShare Databases program. Access to the TexShare Databases is available at our library in Austin, Texas, and to registered TSLAC patrons. Check with your local library about available databases.

Company History

Corporate websites may include detailed company information such as recent financial and annual reports, press releases, and corporate contacts. If you know the name of the company and it is currently in operation, you can search for company websites using your preferred search engine or business directory.

Historical newspapers and city directories from the area you are researching may include business listings and advertisements. Our Newspaper Research and City Directory Research guides include resources available at TSLAC and other repositories, and online databases that can be searched by name and keyword.

Published area histories can include information about local businesses and industries. Search for county or area histories in our online library catalog or WorldCat.org "". Contact your local library about borrowing or requesting scans from publications of interest through ILL. Find a Texas Library in the area of your research and inquire about local history collections and research services.

Other state agencies may provide information about specific Texas businesses:

  • The Handbook of Texas from the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) includes articles on many historical Texas businesses. Search the Handbook "" by business or founder’s name or browse entries by category "". Check the bibliography at the end of each article for additional sources to consider.
  • The Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) Texas Historic Sites Atlas "" may include historical markers for Texas businesses. Use the keyword search to find businesses by name.
  • THC has a list of Texas Treasure Business Award recipients "" that includes hundreds of Texas businesses and the year each business was established.
  • The Portal to Texas History "", hosted by the University of North Texas, provides digital copies of many historical resources including newspapers, publications, and maps. Search results can be narrowed down by location, time period, and resource type.
Property History

Property records, including surveys and deeds, may be available from the Office of the County Clerk where the property is located.

Historical maps may show the location of a business or include building or area details during a specific time period.

Our Land and Property Research guide provides a variety of state and local sources that can help with researching the history of a property or structure.
Industry Data

Texas business and industry statistics are available from the following state and federal sources:

Business research guides may be helpful for general business and industry research:

Other Resources

The Library of Congress Historical Company research guide "" includes helpful details about searching historical print and digital collections. While not specific to Texas, this guide can help you with strategies for business research in your own community.

Page last modified: October 6, 2023