The 1840s in America were a period of unprecedented commercial growth and with it, unprecedented business risk.
In 1841, Lewis Tappan established a network of correspondents that would provide merchants with reliable, consistent and objective credit information about companies. Established in New York as The Mercantile Agency, this was one of the first businesses formed for the sole purpose of providing business information to its customers.
Over 170 years later, Tappan’s agency has become The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation – the world’s leading provider of business information and related services.
Tappan, envisaged a system where credit would be granted according to sound information gathered methodically by men of strict principle – men such as future U.S. Presidents – Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland and William B. McKinley – who served as D&B credit correspondents early in their careers.
Ulysses S Grant
William B McKinley
Tappan foresaw that business information would be a catalyst for growth, and foster an open and ethical business environment.
Those goals still form an integral part of our business today. Since our first offices opened about 170 years ago, they have driven our progress towards becoming a leading trusted provider of business insight to customers globally.