THE CONTRIBUTION OF BUSINESS ANNALS.
Several of the theorists whose writings were laid under contribution in Chapter I--notably Tugan-Baranovski, Bouniatian and Lescure--have devoted much attention to the history of crises and depressions. Similarly, some of the statisticians referred to in Chapter III--for example, Warren M. Persons and his colleagues--have supplemented their time series on occasion by preparing annual summaries of business conditions. But the histories have dealt largely with what was common in the episodes treated, and the summaries have been confined to rather brief periods in a few countries. For theoretical uses, there is needed a systematic record of cyclical alternations of prosperity and depression, covering all countries in which the phenomena have appeared, and designed to make clear the recurrent features of the alternations. If the view taken in Chapter II of the circumstances under which business cycles occur is valid, it may not be impracticable to make a modest descriptive record of this sort which approximates completeness.
While the National Bureau of Economic Research has not been able to perform this whole task, it has sought to form a larger collection of what we may call "business annals" than has been available hitherto. Dr. Willard L. Thorp, who directed the work of compilation, ransacked the rich resources of the New York Public Library for official documents, reports, pamphlets, periodicals, and books dealing systematically or incidentally with business conditions in various countries. The generous coöperation of several foreign scholars brought additional materials and special knowledge to the work.1 For every year and every country covered, the plan required a digest____________________