Although Germans have made major contributions to the study of historical economics and the discipline of economic history, the pioneer work on the enterprise, that lies beneath them all, has been done by Americans. Such continental newcomers to the field as the journals Histoire des Entreprises or Tradition, and the Hamburg Research Center in Entrepreneurial History (Wirtschaftsgeschichtliche Forschungsstelle e. V.) are only now catching up with an important set of data which have been ignorantly neglected. Their approach to economic history, mainly through entrepreneurial history, has the great strengdi of forcing a reconciliation between actual entrepreneurial behavior and the implications of rigorous historical analysis. But it also has evident limitations. The problem of social and economic placement of entrepreneurs, seeking to determine the general effect of their policies, hinges upon quantitative generalization that cannot be derived from particular histories of enterprises remaining within the framework of the firm. One of the major aims of this paper is to show the Hamburg Research Center's recognition that an increasing part of the interest in the history of the enterprise should focus on broader questions that transcend the limits of monographs on firms, questions diat relate business development to economic change.