Special Collections & University Archives | UMass Amherst Libraries


Born in 1902, Carl Halpern grew up in the Bronx where he attended elementary school. Upon leaving school, he took several jobs, including shoe salesman and accounting clerk, before he was hired as an errand boy in 1917 at the Electro-Chemical Engraving Company. Halpern stayed with the company for more than 40 years, retiring as an Executive Vice President.

The collection consists chiefly of materials relating to Halpern's tenure at Electro-Chemical Engraving Company, including company reports and inter-company memos, advertisements for products, and other materials related to the business. Of singular importance is Halpern's memoir, which intertwines his personal history with that of the company during the nearly five decades he was associated with the business.


The collection is open for research.


SCUA: the archive of social change
Carl Halpern Papers
1920-1986 (Bulk: 1950-1965)
2 boxes (1 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 783
Background on Carl Halpern
Carl Halpern

Carl Halpern

Sadie and Abraham Halpern immigrated to the United States from Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. The couple met and married in New York City in 1900, and their first of four sons, Carl, was born in 1902. Five years later the young family moved to the the Bronx where Halpern attended school. By the end of elementary school, Carl began working at a number of different jobs including shoe salesman and accounting clerk before landing a job as an office boy in 1917 at Hauserman Metal Manufacturing Company, a predecessor to Electro-Chemical Engraving Company Incorporated. This job would prove to shape the rest of Halpern's life--both professionally and socially--as he rose from errand boy with little formal education to Vice-President of the company at the time of his retirement in 1964.

During his early years at Electro-Chemical, Halpern returned to school in the evenings in order to earn his high school diploma. Later he attended City College and the Mechanics Institute in New York City where he learned mechanical drafting, blueprint making, and techniques for metal tooling and tool making. Always eager to acquire new skills, Halpern continued to take on additional resposilbities at Elctro-Chemical and over time he assumed a leadership role at the company.

Carl Halpern met his wife Nettie in 1924 at the wedding of his secretary and they were married the following year. The couple had two children: Joel in 1929 and Helen in 1938. After his retirement, Halpern wrote an incredibly detailed memoir tracing both his personal history as well as the history of the Electro-Chemical Engraving Company. Carl Halpern passed away in early 1986.

Contents of Collection

The bulk of the collection relates to Carl Halpern's nearly fifty-year long association with the Electro-Chemical Engraving Company. Included in these materials are internal communications, reports, such as the General Survey of Manufacturing Facilities (c.1954), and company advertisements.

Halpern's memoir provides the most detailed picture of the company's operation over several decades. In it he records memories of staff who worked at the company, different types of equipment the company used and purchased, and changes in the company and its culture.

Related to the memoir are biographical pieces on Carl and Nettie Halpern, an article in The Bronx County Historical Society Journal about Carl's early employment, and some personal correspondence.

Collection inventory
Address books
ca. 1967
Box 2: 21
Address books
ca. 1970
Box 2: 22
Alzheimer's Disease
Box 2: 23
Barnes, Eleanor: letter, Electro-Chemical Engraving Co. memories
Box 1: 1
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: advertisements
ca. 1960
Box 1: 2
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: annual report, pension fund
Box 1: 3
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: bankruptcy
Box 1: 4
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: bankruptcy, letter to creditors
1965 July 23
Box 1: 5
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: Christmas lists and expenses
Box 1: 6
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: company rules and union contract
Box 1: 7
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: contract demands, Local Union #14531
Box 1: 8
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: correspondence
1957, 1962-1963
Box 1: 9
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: Electro Analysis
1952, 1954
Box 1: 10

Bi-monthly newsletter.

Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: Etched Products Corporation advertisement and sample
ca. 1950
Box 1: 11
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: Etched Products Corporation, auction sale
Box 1: 12
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: General Survey of Manufacturing Facilities
Box 1: 13
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: General Survey of Manufacturing Facilities
ca. 1954
Box 1: 14
Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.: report and memos
ca. 1954
Box 1: 15
Electroplating: technical notes
ca. 1940
Box 1: 16
Genealogical reports
Box 3: 1
General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York: library brochure
ca. 1979
Box 3: 2
Halpern, Carl: Bronx County Historical Society Journal
Box 1: 17

Issues of the publication containing articles by Carl Halpern and his son Joel Halpern, recording memories of childhood, family, and his career at Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.

Halpern, Carl: Classical music: list by composer
Box 3: 3
Halpern, Carl: correspondence
1960-1966, 1985
Box 1: 18
Halpern, Carl: dinner announcements
1938, 1940
Box 1: 19
Halpern, Carl: interview notes
1977 Aug 20
Box 1: 20
Halpern, Carl: interview transcript
Box 1: 21

Interview conducted in 1976; transcript typed in 1981. See photocopies of the testimonial dinner photographs.

Halpern, Carl: Memoirs
ca. 1980
p. 8-77
Box 1: 22
Halpern, Carl: Memoirs
ca. 1980
p. 78-177
Box 2: 1
Halpern, Carl: Memoirs
ca. 1980
p. 178-277
Box 2: 2
Halpern, Carl: Memoirs
ca. 1980
p. 278-378
Box 2: 3
Halpern, Carl: Memoirs
ca. 1980
p. 379-477
Box 2: 4
Halpern, Carl: Memoirs
ca. 1980
p. 477-555
Box 2: 5

Includes appendices, which feature a copy of the payroll from the Electro-Chemical Engraving Co., ca. 1950s.

Halpern, Carl: Memoirs, additional material on family relationships
1981 July 23
Box 2: 6
Halpern, Carl: Memoirs, "autobiography" (drafts)
ca. 1980
Box 2: 7
Halpern, Carl: Memoirs, biographical notes
ca. 1980
Box 2: 8
Halpern, Carl: Memoirs, early jobs
1979 Dec
Box 2: 9
Halpern, Carl: Memoirs, early jobs
Box 2: 10
Halpern, Carl: Memoirs, family history
ca. 1980
Box 2: 11
Halpern, Carl: resignation notices
1962, 1964
Box 2: 12
Halpern, Joel M.: correspondence
Box 3: 4
Halpern, Joel M.: Letters: research, Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.
Box 2: 13
Halpern, Joel M.: research, Electro-Chemical Engraving Co.
Box 2: 14
Halpern, Nettie M.: Biographical notes
1978 Dec
Box 2: 15
Halpern, Nettie M.: Finances: record book
Box 3: 5
Halpern, Nettie M.: Recollections
Box 2: 16

Notes recorded in 1965, typed in 1981.

Halpern, Nettie M.: Travel diary
Box 3: 6
Judaica: printed materials
ca. 1960-1970
Box 3: 7
Judaica: printed materials
ca. 1970-1980
Box 3: 8
List of names
Box 2: 17
Negatives (photographic): Niagara Falls, family trip
Box 2: 18
Photograph: family
ca. 1953
Box 2: 19
Photograph: family
ca. 1953
Map case 4: 5
Photographs (photocopies): dinner
Box 2: 20

See interview transcript for background on images of Carl Halpern's testimonial dinner.

YM-YWHA of Souther Westchester: birthday/anniversary list
Box 3: 9
Administrative information

Acquired from Joel M. Halpen.

Digitized content

Selected material in the collection has been scanned and are available online through our digital repository, Credo.

Processing Information

Processed by Jason Fuller, September 2013.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Carl Halpern Papers (MS 783). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms
  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.)
  • Genealogy
  • Electro-Chemical Engraving Company
  • Halpern, Carl
  • Halpern, Joel Martin
Genre terms
  • Memoirs