Inherited by the Graduate Institute in 2008 from the Crédit Agricole, which had received it from the Crédit Lyonnais after the merger between the two banks in 2002, the collection represents the preserved part of a once gigantic collection of economic and financial information gathered by the Crédit Lyonnais Service des Etudes Financières, created in 1871.
Owing to difficulties of preservation — it had been stored in a former textile factory in Tourcoing in northern France, where it experienced damage from humidity — most of the collection was lost. Two major parts, however, survived. One is the vast store of government budgets from countries over the world, which was sorted out through the cooperation of EHESS and the University of Paris XII, under the supervision of Professors Broder and Flandreau, and transferred to the Centre Technique du Livre, a state-run library repository in France. The other is the collection of stock exchange publications which the Graduate Institute acquired from Crédit Agricole in 2008.
Covering stock exchange information for 6 continents, the repository could be said to be Thoreau’s figurative "Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within (…), opening new channels (…) of thought." Approximately 700 linear meters, the collection covers an immense stock of information concerning the world of finance in the age of globalisation. High frequency quotation records from 73 stock exchanges from 41 countries constitute the main component of the collection. They bring to life the complexity of Stock Exchange trading, underscoring the multiplicity of exchanges: several for each country, sometimes several for one market, and occasionally (as for a rare series of prices for gold mines), one market for several cities — as was the case for South African Gold Mines options traded simultaneously over the counter in Paris and London, and for which one Hirsch, a bullion broker in London and Paris produced a price list.
The complete series, such as London, New York, Brussels, or Amsterdam cover over 100 years of stock exchange quotations. More exotic or rare series, such as Bilbao, Alexandria or Cairo have shorter time frames but are still complete. This stock (no pun intended) of information offers a very rare opportunity for a better understanding of the world of capitalism and finance as it opens up a transnational dimension, beyond the well-researched operation of individual markets. It discloses the entangled spatial logistics of capital raising, trading and the global architecture of financial information.