This paper examines the case of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, chartered in 1823, to gain perspective on how a 19th century corporation obtained financing, communicated with shareholders, and sparked technological innovations in the years before the ascendance of railroads in America. Helping to expand the accounting history literature on canals, we examine the annual reports issued during the firm's first decade of existence. Despite early problems, management continually cast an optimistic view of the company's future in these reports. And, after initially increasing the amount of financial and other information disclosed, the annual reports subsequently became less forthcoming and transparent.

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