May 1st marks 44 years since Vanguard opened for business. In this blog, we take some time to reflect on the past four decades with a virtual tour of Vanguard’s History Center.
Vanguard was started as a bold experiment – a firm built solely for the benefit of investors, not outside owners. Since the mid-1970s, we’ve remained steadfast to our investment philosophy and guiding principles. When a company has existed for over forty years, it’s bound to have accumulated some interesting artifacts. These can be fun treasures, like celebratory photos, or service awards, but may also include business data, fund reports, and employment documents. Unfortunately, over time, these relics can get lost, thrown away, or just physically fall apart.
The Vanguard History Center is changing all of that.
Established in 2014, the History Center is Vanguard’s corporate archive. They acquire and preserve items that tell the Vanguard story: both its origins, and its evolution. In addition, the Center collects original records that reflect our broad range of products, services, and other offerings. A staff of archivists gathers and conserves items, in addition to promoting awareness about Vanguard’s heritage, answering reference questions concerning Vanguard’s history, and delivering educational presentations about the Center’s work.
The collection currently includes business reports, marketing materials, advertisements, photographs, and objects. Assistant Archivist Kate F. observes, “One of the most valuable items archived in my opinion is documentation from the early days of the world’s first index mutual fund – the First Index Investment Trust – which was launched by Vanguard in 1976. These materials possess a wealth of intellectual value and are of central importance to telling Vanguard’s unique story.”
And thanks to donations from current and former crew, the collection is always growing. Here are just a few of the items crew can find there: