Collection supervisor

About the collection

The Swiss Economic Archives (SWA) has been taking over the archive collections of companies, associations and individuals for more than 100 years. Today, the SWA is a part of the University Library Basel. This collection includes more than 500 economic archives from the year 1750 until today, geographically covering all of Switzerland but with a main focus on the Basel region. There are internal business documents such as minutes and accounting records, sample books, photographs and plans. The archiving follows the principle of provenance which means that documents coming from the same corporate bodies or individuals are kept together. They are all private archives, that is the documents are from private, non-government actors. The collection is divided into economic branches. The private archives are complemented by the economic documentation.

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General

Newest titles

Offers for schools and teaching

Digitised industrial films (access via Memobase+ station/AV workplace)

All digitised holdings

Strikes, labour relations

Archives labour movement and strikes in the Basel silk ribbon industry, winter 1868/69 (SWA HS 66)

Archives construction workers strike 1905, support for strikers (SWA HS 70)

Archives of the Basel sculptors' assocation, Bildhauerverein Basel (SWA HS 165)

Shop rules of silk ribbon factories (SWA HS 271 K 2)

Documents relating to general strike 1918, by Fritz Mangold (SWA HS 371 CII 2)

Parts of company archives Hans Balthasar Burckhardt und Sohn (SWA HS 418 F 4, F 5, F 6)

Architecture, building industry

Company archives Neue Birstaler Portland-Cement-Fabrik AG (SWA HS 329)

Company archives Löffel, Wilhelm, construction works (SWA HS 483)

Selected photographs and publications of company archives Suter + Suter AG, architects (SWA PA 510)

Emigration, colonization

Company archives Compagnie des Eaux de Skutari et Kadi-Keui à Bâle (SWA HS 198)

Company archives Schweizerische Colonisations-Gesellschaft Santa Fé AG (SWA HS 238)

Company archives Texas Landgesellschaft (Texas land company, Basel) (SWA HS 387)

Company archives Société Immobilière d'Algérie (SWA HS 414)

Fragmentary archives Zwilchenbart AG, Emigration and travel agency (SWA HS 415)

Bank

Memorial about the John Law swindle (SWA HS 122)

Company archives Basler Pfandleihanstalt AG (SWA HS 164)

Personal archives Sarasin-Iselin, Alfred, Dr. h.c., banker (SWA HS 212)

Parts of company archives savings bank Spar- und Leihkasse Bremgarten (SWA HS 234)

Parts of company archives Aktiengesellschaft von Speyr & Cie, (SWA HS 314)

Parts of company archives Hypothekenbank in Basel AG (SWA HS 327)

Parts of company archives Passavant & Cie, bank (SWA HS 351)

Chemical industry

Company archives Schlumberger-Zuber, Charles, drugstore, and Schlumberger-Ehinger, Amedée (SWA HS 225)

Travel letters by Johann Rudolf Geigy-Merian, dyestuff and drug producer (SWA HS 341)

Parts of company archives Vischer, Leonhard & Sohn, Kolonial- und Farbwarenhandlung (SWA HS 446)

Company archives Walz & Eschle, soap producer (SWA HS 463)

Parts of company archives Chemie Uetikon, chemical industry (SWA PA 578)

Energy sector

Parts of company archives Kohlenzentrale AG (SWA HS 304)

Food industry

Parts of company archives Hero, canned food producer (SWA PA 540)

Research

Personal archives Bauer, Stephan, Prof. Dr. jur / voyages, Russia, centrally planned economy (SWA HS 417 A 9)

Parts of archives Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Statistik und Volkswirtschaft) (SWA HS 798)

Trade

Collection of way bills (SWA HS 17)

Company archives Corporation for the exploitation of the Mavrogordato patents (SWA HS 84)

Commission book of a travelling salesman (SWA HS 94)

Company archives Faesch, Isaak und Hoffmann, Johann Jakob, Dutch trading agents in Curacao (SWA HS 114)

Archives of organisations around Christian Friedrich Spittler, bookseller and founder of Chrischona (1782-1867) (SWA HS 227)

Parts of the collection of business circulars (SWA HS 255)

Personal archives Forcart-Merian, Carl Wilhelm (SWA HS 264)

Personal archives Merian-Hoffmann, Christoph (SWA HS 265)

Personal archives Merian-Burckhardt, Christoph (SWA HS 266)

Prices: Collection of price lists, circular letters and price tables (silk prices, cotton prices, prices of diverse commodities) (SWA HS 278)

Company archives Konsumverein Bremgarten und Umgebung (SWA HS 284)

Personal archives Streckeisen-Schaub, Mathias (SWA HS 348)

Personal archives Streckeisen-Caesar, Emanuel (SWA HS 349)

Parts of company archives Hans Balthasar Burckhardt und Sohn (SWA HS 418)

Company archives Frères Merian (SWA HS 459)

Parts of archives cooperative Basler Rabattmarke (SWA HS 484)

Information books (credit ratings of business partners)

Company archives Thurneysen & Cie, silk ribbon production, information book (SWA HS 243 D)

Company archives Basler Bandfabrik vormals Trüdinger & Cons, silk ribbon production, Information books (SWA HS 253 O)

Company archives Burckhardt-Wildt & Sohn (Württembergerhof), information book (SWA HS 259 S)

Company archives Forcart-Weis und Burckhardt-Wildt (Württembergerhof), information book (SWA HS 260 U)

Company archives Burckhardt & Co. (Württembergerhof), information letters about companies (SWA HS 261 G)

Company archives Basler Brauerei Cardinal, brewery, information books (SWA HS 281 X)

Company archives Aktiengesellschaft von Speyr & Cie, information books with register (SWA HS 314 B)

Company archives Passavant & Cie, bank, information books (SWA HS 351 H)

Personal archives family Vischer-Burckhardt, Peter, silk ribbon producers, information book (SWA HS 402 F)

Company archives Hans Balthasar Burckhardt und Sohn, information book (SWA HS 418 A 13)

Company archives Vischer, Leonhard & Sohn, Kolonial- und Farbwarenhandlung, information book (SWA HS 446 G)

Company archives Senn & Cie. AG, information book (SWA PA 587 E 1-2)

Machinery

Parts of company archives Maschinenfabrik an der Sihl AG (SWA PA 524)

Diaries of Hans Schindler (SWA PA 582)

Metals

Parts of company archives Alusuisse, all digitised documents, among them:

Private housholds

Personal archives Margreth-Geering, Elisabeth (SWA HS 99)

Personal archives Geering-Schliephacke, Hermine (SWA HS 100)

Personal archives Hildenbrand, Vinzenz Jakob (SWA HS 101)

Personal archives Oeschy, Joseph (SWA HS 102)

Personal archives Hörler-Krug, Anna Maria, Partikularin (SWA HS 104)

Personal archives Krug, Johannes (SWA HS 105)

Personal archives Burckhardt-Vischer, Sophie (SWA HS 201)

Personal archives Burckhardt-Vischer, Karl, Rentier (SWA HS 202)

Personal archives Merian-Burckhardt, Sophia (SWA HS 203)

Personal archives Vischer-Preiswerk, Sophia (SWA HS 204)

Personal archives Poeppig, Eduard Friedrich (SWA HS 223)

Personal archives Iselin-Weis (Falkner), Daniel (SWA HS 263)

Personal archives Fellmann-Keller, Paul (SWA HS 294)

Personal archives Falckner-Birr, Emanuel, Mayor of Basel (SWA HS 347)

Archives family Streckeisen-Caesar and relatives (SWA HS 350)

Personal archives Burckhardt-Keller, Johann Jakob (SWA HS 380)

Personal archives Wengen-Meyenrock, Fanny Rosalie à, widow, pensioner (SWA HS 403)

Personal archives Faesch, Johann Rudolf, mayor of Basel (SWA HS 481)

Personal archives Max Oettinger (SWA PA 592)

Textile industry

Personal archives Eglinger, Joh. Jakob, inventory of silk ribbon weaving looms etc. (SWA HS 205)

Company archives Perrollaz [Gebrüder Jean, Francois und Joseph] und Konsorten, trade in cloth and haberdashery goods (SWA HS 210)

Firmenarchiv Wagner, Franz & Cie., cotton printing (SWA HS 239)

Company archives Thurneysen & Cie, silk ribbon production (SWA HS 243)

Personal archives Hoffmann, Emanuel, silk ribbon producer (SWA HS 252)

Parts of company archives Basler Bandfabrik vormals Trüdinger & Cons, silk ribbon production (SWA HS 253)

Documents about Company archives Württembergerhof (SWA HS 256)

Company archives Weis-Leissler, Markus und Nachfolger (Württembergerhof) (SWA HS 257)

Parts of company archives Forcart-Weis & Söhne (Württembergerhof) (SWA HS 258)

Parts of company archives Burckhardt-Wildt & Sohn (Württembergerhof) (SWA HS 259)

Parts of company archives Forcart-Weis und Burckhardt-Wildt (Württembergerhof) (SWA HS 260)

Parts of company archives Burckhardt & Co, Seidenbandfabrikation (Württembergerhof) (SWA HS 261)

Parts of archives of the Bandpropaganda-Comité des Basler Bandfabrikanten-Vereins, silk ribbon marketing organisation (SWA HS 274)

Parts of company archives Edwin Naef, silk products (SWA HS 316)

Company archives Sarasin & Cie I, silk ribbons (SWA HS 320)

Parts of company archives J.S. Alioth & Cie. (SWA HS 345)

Company archives Spinnerei Atzenbach (Atzenbach Spinning Works, SWA HS 390)

China Chop Book, created by Von der Mühll, Fritz (SWA HS 393)

Personal archives family Vischer-Burckhardt, Peter, silk ribbon producer (SWA HS 402)

Personal archives Burckhardt-Wildt, Daniel, silk ribbon producer (SWA HS 413)

Parts of company archives Christoph Burckhardt & Co. (Segerhof) (SWA HS 420)

Parts of company archives Senn & Co. AG, silk ribbons (SWA PA 587)

Documents on the economic history of Basel and Mulhouse, by Markus Bolliger (SWA PA 638)

    Parts of Silk ribbon pattern book collection of some Basel silk ribbon producers (SWA HS 800)

    Tourism and hotels

    Hotel images and brochures, archives of Schweizerische Hotel-Treuhand-Gesellschaft SHTG (SWA PA 554)

    Images and brochures, from the archives of Schweizer Hotelierverein (hotelleriesuisse) (SWA PA 601 HAS 001)

    Documents from archives Hans Herwig, Sanatorium, Arosa (SWA PA 602 HAS 003)

    Letters of Karl Behr (1879-1914), hotel employee (SWA PA 604 HAS 007)

    Images and brochures from company archives Hotel Edelweiss, Beckenried (NW) (SWA PA 605 HAS 014)

    Images from the collection of menu cards, by Marcel Rolli (SWA PA 606 HAS 019)

    Images from the collection of material on hotels, by Heinz Fankhauser (SWA PA 610 HAS 033)

    Images from the collection of material on hotels, by Hedy Tschumi-Häfliger (SWA PA 612 HAS 041)

    Images from the company archives Pension Tiefenau (SWA PA 615 HAS 050)

    Transport

    Company archives steamship company "Die Adler des Oberrheins" (SWA HS 190)

    Company archives shipping company Basler Personenschiffahrtsgesellschaft (SWA HS 191)

    Company archives funicular railway Interlaken-Heimwehfluh AG (SWA HS 346)

    Business associations

    Parts of archives of the Basel Chamber of commerce, Verbandsarchiv Basler Handelskammer (SWA PA 575)

    Parts of archives British Chamber of Commerce for Switzerland (SWA PA 632)

    Business ledgers

    Textile industry and trade

    The archives of notable merchants and industrialists, such as the Segerhof and the Württembergerhof, date back to the 18th century. They may be considered as European cultural assets of the first rank. The files of large schappe spinning mills document the factory industrialisation of the 19th century, for example Schappe AG or Alioth.
    Several collections of companies and organisations represent the silk ribbon industry, e.g. theBasler Bandfabrik and the Bandpropaganda-Comité.

    Premises of the Uetikon chemical works

    Banks and industry

    The Basler Bankierverein, a merger of private bankers, represents a major investment in the railway construction. Documents by food retailer Usego, the shipping company Schweizerische Reederei, the Schweizerhall chemical works, Suter + Suter architects, the Hero canning factory and the aluminium producer Alusuisse represent modern times.

    Letter of Edgar Jaffé to Stephan Bauer

    Organisations and personal archives

    Personal archives and papers, including that of the economists Stephan Bauer and Fritz Mangold, housekeeping books and the archives of business associations, illustrate the environment in which the companies operated.
    The files and posters from the Armbrust / Schweizer Woche organisations document the efforts made for a national economic propaganda and for a mark of origin for Swiss products.

    The archives of companies, organisations, and individuals are searchable in the search portal swisscollections.
    swisscollections is your gateway to historical and modern collections in Swiss libaries and archives.

    All the archives can also be found in the search portal swisscovery Basel. For orders, you will always use swisscovery.
    swisscovery Basel is the catalogue of the Basel library network.

    Search for a collection and its structure

    An overview of the structure and order of the indexed archive collections can be found in the tectonics of archives in swisscollections. You can filter the search results by facets.

    All archive collections can be found in our search portal SWA Search. Please use the facet "object type" ("Archivmaterial..."), und the facet "level". The facet "Hierarchy/Context" allows an overview of the structure and order of the archive collections.

    Furthermore, the archival fonds can be found in the register of economic archives in Switzerland arCHeco.

    Searching for a specific document

    The search portal swisscollections allows for detailed searches.
    You can use swisscollections for index searches e.g. for call numbers.

    In the search portal SWA Search you can use the "Basic search" and filter the results using the facets. You can also search directly in the facets, e.g. for a firm or person.

    Alternatively, you can use the search portal swisscovery.

    State of indexing

    The economic archives are recorded on the level of series or files/dossiers in their entirety in the search portal swisscovery and in swisscollections.
    Newly acquired collections are at first documented as a whole at fonds level.

    Digitisation

    Selected economic archives, or parts of them, are available digitally on the platform e-manuscripta. The priority for digitisation conforms to specific criteria: frequently used holdings; historically important holdings holdings; holdings typical for the SWA; connection to Basel and relevance to the University of Basel; documents with dense or high information content; conservational aspects (protection of holdings, digitisability).

    The focus of the digitisation is on older, small to medium-sized collections (typical for the SWA) which have a connection to Basel but are of interest well beyond Basel’s borders, e.g. collections from the textile industry or colonisation societies. Of the more recent or larger collections, core series with high information content – such as minutes – are digitalised.

    Literature

    Amstutz, Irene/Wiesmann, Matthias. Sammeln - Ordnen - Vermitteln: SWA - Schweizerisches Wirtschaftsarchiv: 1910-2010. Basel 2010. (PDF, in German).

    Archive documents can generally be ordered directly from the search portal swisscovery.
    You will need a swisscovery user account for ordering.
    When placing your order, please state when you would like to consult the documents.
    Orders made before 16:00 are usually available at the Special reading room of the University Business and Economics Library - Swiss Economic Archives after 30 minutes.

    There may be use restrictions. Where this is the case, there is no order button in the catalogue. For questions about these documents, please contact us.

    Digitised industrial films are accessible via the AV workstation (Memoriav+) in the reading room.

    Use restrictions

    The basis for the use of the archives are the user regulations (PDF, in German). The terms of use comply with the "Archivgesetz" of the Canton of Basel-Stadt (in German) and the accompanying archive regulations (in German); individual contractual terms remain reserved.

    Unlike the material in the economic documentation, the economic archives contain internal business documents which have never been intended for the general public. Because of that, there is a protection period of 30 years after closing the files for the most recent archives. Special protection periods are applied to documents with personal data.

    Use restrictions are only summarily provided in the catalogue. Users are responsible for their own compliance with the restrictions regarding copyright and protection of privacy laws.

    Reproduction

    You are allowed to take photographs of the archives (without using a flash); photocopies are not permitted.

    Contact us for professional reproductions of documents from the economic archives. Fees set by the digitisation centre of the University Library Basel apply; die Rechnungsstellung erfolgt direkt über die UB. Reproductions of plans of the Suter + Suter (CH SWA PA 510) portfolio are created by an external repro-service provider.

    Publication

    For the publication (print or online) of images or documents from the SWA, the repro guidelines at the University Library Basel (PDF, in German) apply.

    Citing from SWA holdings

    Please note the citation guidelines (PDF, in German) for documents from the SWA.

    Loans for exhibitions

    For loans, please conctact us.

    A selection of digitised sources

    Young Swiss and emigration to the US (1879-1880)

    Rhine steamships and the responsibilities of their crew (1842)

    Aged 23, Rudolf Geigy travels to Egypt and India (1853-1854)

    A young man founds a family - and notes his expenditures (1922-1924)

    A young woman marries - and notes her possessions (1830)

    Factory work in the "good old times" - shop rules from the silk ribbon industry (1920)

    Hourly rate: 1 franc 60 - working conditions in the textile industry (1900-1920)

    How was Switzerland involved in the Transatlantic slave trade? (1782-1815)

    History competition HISTORIA

    HISTORIA, the Swiss national history competition, honours outstanding works by young people between the ages of 14 and 21, that were written in the field of history. 

    The current topic for 2023-2025 is Youth in movement. There are several historical sources in the Swiss Economic Archives that would be suitable as a starting point for research.  

    What does business have to do with youth? In earlier centuries people did not live as long. To a certain extent, young people grew up more quickly. Entry into working life and the establishment of a household often occurred early. In other words, there were many workers and entrepreneurs, who by today’s standards, were still almost young people.

    Read old German scripts

    The ad fontes portal offers exercises and reference options for old manuscripts.

    Guided tours in the Swiss Economic Archives

    Would you like a taste of archive air? Examine original documents closely? Please contact us.