Business and banking history are relatively underdeveloped fields within the English-speaking Caribbean and many of the books published on particular business and banking institutions are of dubious merit. A good number of these monographs are little more than
vanity publications issued to commemorate a marketing milestone or a corporate birthday. Often, these texts are lavishly illustrated, expensively bound, and, given their privileged access to archives, well sourced.
Generally published to serve an audience of shareholders and staff members, they are rarely critical. Similarly, histories of foreign business and banking institutions operating in the West Indies often have the veneer of academic legitimacy (established scholars are commissioned
to write them, reputable university presses are enlisted to publish them) but their authors are constrained by the needs of their patrons and the histories they recount are often deployed for the strategic aims of the institution. With little work to constitute a scholarly tradition of business and banking history in the English-speaking Caribbean, it is no wonder that two recent texts-West Indian Business History: Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, edited by historians Barry Higman and Kathleen E.A. Monteith, and A History of Money and Banking in Barbados, 1627-
1973, authored by economist Eric Armstrong-both begin by noting that the field is neglected. Both works are attempts at redressing this neglect and developing a tradition of scholarship on Caribbean business and banking history.