Special Collections and University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries

Collection area: Manufacturing (page 2 of 4)

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4

George Cooley & Co. Ledger, 1843-1851

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 111

Ledger, begun by George Cooley in 1843 to record the accounts of his soapmaking business in the Cabotville section of Chicopee, continued by Titus Chapin, an ardent abolitionist, and Mordecai Cough who managed the business following Cooley’s death (or departure) in 1848. The 1843 date coincides with the coming of many small businesses to Cabotville in connection with the growth of industries there at the time.

Cooley accepted goods, services and cash as payment. The most frequently accepted goods had relatively obvious value to a soap maker: grease and ashes, tallow, pork, scraps and skins, and candles. Some of the services bartered were repairing wagon, shoeing horse, fixing wippletree, making 30 boxes, and covering umbrella. The business sold gallons, bars, and cakes of soap. Mount Holyoke Seminary bought 28 “fancy soaps”. Also listed were shaving soap and hard or hand soap. In addition, sales sometimes included candles, butter, mop handles, molasses, apples and potatoes, squashes, satinet, cheese, cord wood, paint, and rosin. Some of the listings were annotated with regard to the customer’s character: Ashad Bartlett was seen as “bad and poor and fights with his wife”‘ Norris Starkwether was “an honest man”; and Miss L.B. Hunt “eloped with a man”.

  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Soap trade--Massachusetts
  • George Cooley and Company

George H. Gilbert Co. Records, 1842-1931

26 boxes, 126 vols. (36 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 096

In 1841, George H. Gilbert and Charles A. Stevens formed a partnership to manufacture broadcloth and cloaking in Ware, Massachusetts. Ten years later, the partnership dissolved and each partner carried a part of the business into separate establishments. The newly formed George H. Gilbert Company continued making high-grade woolen flannels, for which it developed a national reputation, until 1930.

Records, consisting of correspondence, financial records and cash books, construction contracts, sales lists, production records, and sample books, document the operation of Gilbert and Stevens and later the Gilbert Company for almost a century. The labor accounts (1851-1930), document the phases of the varying ethnic composition of the workforce — Irish, French-Canadian, and eventually Polish — well as the family orientation of the mills.

  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Ware (Mass.)--History
  • George H. Gilbert and Co
Types of material
  • Account books

Granville Brothers Aircraft Company Collection, 1978-1980

2 items
Call no.: MS 911

Between 1929 and 1934, the Granville Brothers Aircraft Company manufactured their distinctive Gee Bee aircraft at the airport in Springfield, Mass., using a hangar converted from a former dance hall as their plant. Originally from New Hampshire, the five brothers drew upon their self-taught mechanical ingenuity in the years after the First World War to transform an automobile and aircraft repair business into aircraft design and production. The brothers flew their first craft in Boston in May 1929, a biplane they advertised as “the fastest and most maneuverable licensed airplane for its horsepower in the United States,” moving operations to Springfield later that year. Although only about two dozen Gee Bees were ever manufactured, the planes gained a wide reputation for their innovative aerodynamic designs, raw power, and extraordinary success on the air racing circuit. Gee Bees claimed speed records and numerous prizes, including the coveted Thompson Trophy in 1931 and 1932 won by pilots Lowell Bayles and Jimmy Doolitte, but the death of the eldest brother in a flying accident and the impact of the Great Depression caused the company to shutter in 1934.

Aviation historian Tom Nallen conducted a series of interviews with former employees of the Granville Airplane Co. beginning in the late 1970s, recording memories of the company and its workers, the Gee Bee planes, and their performance during the golden age of air racing.

  • Airplanes--Design and construction
  • Gee-Bee (Racing plane)
  • Granville, Robert
  • Nallen, Thomas E.
  • Roberts, Paul
Types of material
  • Audiocassettes
  • Oral histories
  • Sound recordings

Josiah Green and Co. Records, 1829-1905

2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 683

Josiah Green and Co. were pioneering manufacturers of mass produced pegged boots, one of the earliest and largest firms of its kind in Central Massachusetts. Founded by Josiah Green in the town of Leicester in 1812, the firm relocated to Spencer in 1816 or 1817 and erected its first factory there in 1834. In 1850, J. Green and Co. was the largest of six major shoe- and boot-manufacturers in town, though it lost market share thereafter. Green ran the company until control passed to his sons in 1867.

The records of Josiah Green and Co. document the growth and peak years of operation of one of the most important high-volume manufacturers of boots in central Massachusetts. Although the account books and ledgers extend back into the 1820s, the bulk of the correspondence dates from 1889-1894, when Josiah’s sons controlled the firm and while it was losing ground to its competitors. Although sporadic and incomplete, the correspondence offers a glimpse into the manner in which Green’s business was conducted during a period when the firm sold to a wide network of wholesalers and jobbers in the northeast and Midwest. Most of the correspondence concerns placement or fulfillment of orders and issues over prices and payment. The collection contains four press copybooks containing outgoing letters for the years 1889-1892 and 1904-1905.

  • Shoe industry--Massachusetts--Spencer
  • Spencer (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Green, Josiah
  • J. Green and Co
Types of material
  • Account books

Carl C. Harris Papers, 1898-1960

12 boxes (18 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 667
Carl C. Harris Papers image
A slencil

An inventor, entrepreneur, and corporate executive, Carl C. Harris was the third of four generations of his family to help manage the Rodney Hunt Company, a major manufacturer of waterwheels, turbines, and textile machinery based in Orange, Mass. While still in high school in 1898, Harris already displayed a sharp business and technical eye, establishing the first telephone company in Orange, and he began his career after graduation from Worcester Polytechnical Institute, working as a draftsman for GE and then as a superintendent at Rodney Hunt. After a brief stint at the Simplex Time Recorder Company in Gardner, Harris returned to Rodney Hunt for good in 1912. After acquiring a controlling interest in 1917, he remained with the company in several capacities through the Depression and Second World War, serving as general manager, vice president, and treasurer, and from 1938-1947, as president. Throughout his career, Harris remained active in developing or improving a variety of new products and processes, registering a total of 99 patents, and he regularly used his offices at Rodney Hunt to launch other, smaller enterprises, including the Slencil Company,which manufactured mechanical pencils; Riveto, which produced toys and a paper fastening device; and Speed-Mo, a manufacturer of a moistening pad system. Harris retired in 1956 and died four years later in Orange at the age of 79.

The Harris Papers are centered closely on the entrepreneurial activity of Carl C. Harris, and include a particularly thick set of business records for the Slencil Company (ca.1935-1960) and the Riveto Company (1930s-1940s), and the slender record book of the Home Telephone Company. In addition to these, the collection includes many dozen slencils, including prototypes, speciality models, presentation sets, store displays, and marketing designs; examples of Riveto toys, Simplex inventions, flotation devices, and other oddities invented by Harris, along with the associated patents.

  • Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Orange (Mass.)--History
  • Toys
  • Harris, Carl C.
  • Riveto Company
  • Rodney Hunt Company
  • Slencil Company
  • Speed-Mo Company
Types of material
  • Realia

Carl and Edith Entratter Henry Papers, ca.1935-2001

ca.20 boxes (30 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 749
Carl and Edith Entratter Henry Papers image
Carl Henry

Born into an affluent Reform Jewish family in Cincinnati in 1913, Carl Henry Levy studied philosophy under Alfred North Whitehead at Harvard during the height of the Great Depression. A brilliant student during his time at Harvard, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in the class of 1934, Henry emerged as a radical voice against social inequality and the rise of fascism, and for a brief time, he was a member of the Communist Party. Two days before the attack in Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Henry met Edith Entratter, the daughter of Polish immigrants from the Lower East Side of New York, and barely three weeks later, married her. Shortly thereafter, however, he dropped his last name and enlisted in the military, earning a coveted spot in officer’s candidate school. Although he excelled in school, Henry was singled out for his radical politics and not allowed to graduate, assigned instead to the 89th Infantry Division, where he saw action during the Battle of the Bulge and liberation of the Ohrdruf concentration camp, and was awarded a Bronze Star. After the war, the Henrys started Lucky Strike Shoes in Maysville, Ky., an enormously successful manufacturer of women’s footwear, and both he and Edith worked as executives until their retirement in 1960. Thereafter, the Henrys enjoyed European travel and Carl took part in international monetary policy conferences and wrote under the name “Cass Sander.” He served as a Board member of AIPAC, the American Institute for Economic Research, the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, among other organizations. His last 17 years of life were enlivened by a deepening engagement with and study of traditional Judaism and he continued to express a passion for and to inform others about world affairs and politics through a weekly column he started to write at age 85 for the Algemeiner Journal. Edith Henry died in Sept. 1984, with Carl following in August 2001.

The centerpiece of the Henry collection is an extraordinary series of letters written during the Second World War while Carl was serving in Europe with the 89th Infantry. Long, observant, and exceptionally well written, the letters offer a unique perspective on the life of a soldier rejected for a commission due to his political beliefs, with a surprisingly detailed record of his experiences overseas.

  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Henry, Edith Entratter
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs

Samuel Henry Accounts Books, 1813-1881

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 013

Justice of the peace, merchant, landowner, and entrepreneur from Prescott and Shutesbury, Massachusetts. Nine volumes contain descriptions of his duties as justice of the peace, a book of deeds and mortgages from local real estate transactions, account books of sales in his general store and from his palm leaf hat business, and notes of accounts with individuals.

  • General stores--Massachusetts--Shutesbury
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Shutesbury (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Shutesbury (Mass.)--History
  • Henry, Samuel, 19th cent
Types of material
  • Account books

Lyman Higgins Account Book, 1851-1886

1 vol. (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 118

A resident of South Worthington, Massachusetts, Lyman Higgins appears in the Federal Census and in town histories as also pursuing a variety of other callings: mechanic, farmer, blacksmith, sawmill proprietor, and manufacturer. Higgins eventually devoted his work life to basket making, supplying textile mills and paper companies as far away as New York City with large batches of assorted baskets tailored to their needs.

Higgins’ account book includes records of jobs performed, payment (in goods and services as well as in cash), employees and their wages, and the local companies to which he sold his custom-made basket products.

  • Basket industry--Massachusetts--South Worthington--History--19th century
  • Basket making--Massachusetts--South Worthington--History--19th century
  • Harris Woollen Mill
  • Lawrence Duck Co.
  • Paper industry--Equipment and supplies--History--19th century
  • Sawmills--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • South Worthington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Stark Mills
  • Sugar River Paper Co.
  • Textile industry--Equipment and supplies--History--19th century
  • Wages--Basket industry--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Wages-in-kind--Massachusetts--South Worthington--History--19th century
  • Higgins, Lyman
Types of material
  • Account books

Nathan Holden Daybook, 1852-1887

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 349 bd

Farmer from New Salem, Massachusetts, whose secondary occupation was that of a shoe repairman. Daybook documents a component of small-scale, handwork shoe production in a local economy prior to the arrival of centralized, mechanized manufacturing; lists Holden’s shoemending skills and the method and form in which he was paid by customers, including cash, customers’ labor, and services or wares such as butchering pigs or cows, chopping or gathering wood, traveling by buggy to a different town, using a neighbor’s oxen, and a variety of food and tools.

  • Barter--Massachusetts--New Salem--History--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--New Salem--Economic conditions--19th century
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Shoemakers--Massachusetts--New Salem--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Shoes--Repairing--Massachusetts--New Salem--History--19th century
  • Wages-in-kind--Massachusetts--New Salem--History--19th century
  • Holden, Nathan, b. 1812
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Hubbard and Lyman Daybook, 1844-1847

1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 237 bd

Partners who manufactured harnesses, saddles, and trunks in Springfield, Massachusetts. Includes the prices paid for harnesses, whips, trunks, valises, and a variety of repair jobs such as splicing, coupling, and repairing of the hoses of the Springfield Fire Department. Also contains method and form of payment (principally cash, but also wood, leather, and leather thread in exchange) and twenty pages of clippings with the names of Lyman’s daughters, Mary and Frances, written on them.

  • Aaron P. Emerson Co. (Orland, Me.)
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Springfield--History--19th century
  • Harness making and trade--Massachusetts--Springfield--History--19th century
  • Harnesses--Prices--History
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Springfield (Mass.). Fire Dept
  • Trunks (Luggage)--Prices--History
  • Wages--Leatherworkers--Massachusetts--Springfield--History--19th century
  • Whips--Prices--History
  • Hubbard and Lyman
  • Hubbard, Jason, b. 1815
  • Lyman, Moses, b. 1815
Types of material
  • Daybooks
  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4

© 2016 Special Collections and University Archives * UMass Amherst Libraries

Site policies