Logo and link to University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections and University Archives : University Libraries

Collecting area: Business & industry (Page 13 of 17)

Putnam, William

William Putnam Papers

1840-1886
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 014

For several decades in the mid-nineteenth century, William Putnam (1792-1877) and his family operated a general store in Wendell Depot, Massachusetts, situated strategically between the canal and the highway leading to Warwick. Serving an area that remains rural to the present day, Putnam dealt in a range of essential merchandise, trading in lumber and shingles, palm leaf, molasses and sugar, tea, tobacco, quills, dishes, cloth and ribbon, dried fish, crackers, and candy. At various times, he was authorized by the town Selectmen to sell “intoxicating liquors” (brandy, whiskey, and rum) for “Medicinal, chemical and mechanical purposes only,” and for a period, he served as postmaster for Wendell Depot.

The daybooks and correspondence of William Putnam record the daily transactions of an antebellum storekeeper in rural Wendell, Massachusetts. Offering a dense record of transactions from 1840-1847, the daybooks provide a chronological accounting of all sales and credits in the store, including barter with local residents of the community and with contractors for the new Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad. The last in the series of daybooks lists a surprisingly high percentage of Wendell’s residents (by name, in alphabetical order) who owed him money as of October 1846. The correspondence associated with the collection continues into the 1880s and provides relatively slender documentation of Putnam’s litigiousness, his financial difficulties after the Civil War, and the efforts of his son John William to continue the business.

Gift of Donald W. Howe, 1957; Robert Lucas, 1987 (correspondence); and Dan Casavant, 2001

Subjects

Barter--Massachusetts--WendellConsumer goods--Massachusetts--WendellConsumers--Massachusetts--WendellGeneral stores--Massachusetts--WendellLiquor stores--Massachusetts--WendellPanama hat industry--Massachusetts--WendellSchools--Massachusetts--WendellVermont and Massachusetts RailroadWendell (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th centuryWendell (Mass.)--History--19th century

Contributors

Putnam, William

Types of material

Daybooks
Rankin, Joseph

Joseph Rankin Papers

1832-1866
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 147

A dry goods merchant and chair maker in Erving, Massachusetts, Joseph Rankin dealt in a variety of goods from Boston to Hartford, selling chairs as far away as New York City and Chicago. Rankin’s store supplied the essentials: produce, hardware, news, and gossip.

This collection contains an assortment of correspondence and receipts documenting the nature of business in small town Massachusetts, with small glimpses of the growth of the furniture trade in Franklin County.

Subjects

Cabinetmakers--Massachusetts--ErvingDry goods--Massachusetts--ErvingErving (Mass.)--HistoryMerchants--Massachusetts--Erving
Rodney Hunt Machine Company

Rodney Hunt Machine Company Records

ca.1850-1987 Bulk: 1862-1943
316 boxes, 150 vols. 158 linear feet
Call no.: MS 105

The Rodney Hunt Company Records document the operation of one of the region’s major producers of textile machinery, water wheels, turbines, and other specialty industrial products. Founded in Orange, Massachusetts, in 1840, the company was incorporated in 1873. Still an active concern, it continues to sell its products in international markets.

Due to a fire in 1882, and several floods, relatively few early records of the Rodney Hunt Company survive, but from the time of its incorporation in 1873, documentation improves, with nearly complete coverage from the period 1883–1914. The collection provides an excellent introduction to the history of technology and industry in 19th- and 20th-century Massachusetts. Of particular note is the incoming correspondence from 1876 to 1903, which is nearly complete. Other materials include company histories, correspondence, board minutes, blueprints, installation drawings, sketchbook drawings, patents, payroll ledgers, account books, price lists, sales books, brochures, catalogs, newsletters, subject files and photographs.

Subjects

Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditionsTextile industry--MassachusettsTurbines--Design and constructionWaterwheels

Types of material

Account books
Rundlett, Samuel H.

Samuel H. Rundlett Daybooks

1873-1879
3 vols. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 214 bd

A teamster from Newburyport, Mass., Samuel H. Rundlett operated a substantial business as a teamster and “truckman” from the 1830s through 1880s.

The three daybooks in this collection document Rundlett’s work for local businesses, including hauling bales of raw cotton and finished cloth, delivering coal, produce, fertilizer, and goods; as well as prices paid for freight handling and forms of payment (cash, credit at a store, and produce from a local farmer). Of note is Rundlett’s delivery of goods to the Newburyport branch of the Sovereigns of Industry, a workingmen’s cooperative association.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Subjects

Newburyport (Mass.)--HistorySovereigns of IndustryTeamsters--Massachusetts--Newburyport

Types of material

Daybooks
Sagendorph Woolen Co.

Sagendorph Woolen Company Daybook

1885-1887
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 430

The Sagendorph Woolen Company of East Brookfield, located about sixty miles southwest of Boston in Worcester County, Massachusetts, maintained sixteen looms and specialized in the carding of shoddy and the manufacture of cashmeres, repellents, and suitings. There is some evidence that Sagendorph also spun raw materials for other companies and sold some textile goods on commission.

This daybook records the daily transactions between the Sagendorph Woolen Company and other businesses, local residents, and the company’s labor force. These detailed entries present a dynamic picture of the company’s manufacturing operations ranging from the purchase of raw materials to the sales of finished products.

Subjects

Carding (textiles)East Brookfield (Mass.)--HistoryTextile construction processes and techniquesTextile industry--Massachusetts--HistoryTextile manufacturers--MassachusettsTextile materialsYarn-making processes and techniques

Contributors

Sagendorph Woolen Company

Types of material

Daybooks
Sampson Perkins & Co.

Sampson Perkins & Co. Account Book

1866-1873
1 vol. 0.15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 232 bd

Iron foundry in Taunton, Massachusetts that produced stoves for individuals and several large local companies. Includes monthly labor payments to workforce of thirteen, as well as monthly accounts of sales, merchandise on hand, and rent. Also documents the company’s worth, annual profits, and the worth of company partners in 1870.

Subjects

Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th centuryIron foundries--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th centuryStove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th centuryTaunton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th centuryWages--Iron and steel workers--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th centuryWages--Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century

Contributors

Perkins, Sampson, b. 1806Sampson Perkins & Co

Types of material

Account books
Sears, Roebuck and Company

Sears, Roebuck and Company Catalog Collection

1929-1980
104 vols. 19.5 linear feet
Call no.: RB 020

Sears, Roebuck and Company were pioneers in the concept of the mail order catalog. Beginning in 1894, company founder Richard Sears began sending thick catalogs offering a wild profusion of consumer goods, ranging from clothing and kitchen goods to toys, bicycles, furniture, and even homes themselves. With an affordable price tag, the catalogs became a staple in many homes, particularly in rural settings and locations with limited access to stores. Changes in the retail market and the country’s demographics led Sears to end publication of its “big book” catalogs in 1993, although the company continues to issue specialty and seasonal catalogs.

This collection contains over one hundred seasonal catalogs issued by Sears from its stores in Boston between 1929 and 1990.

Subjects

Department storesMail-order business

Types of material

Mail order catalogs
Shearer, James

James Shearer Daybook

1836-1838
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 418 bd

During the late 1830s, James Shearer operated a general store near Palmer, Massachusetts, trading in the gamut of dry goods and commodities that made up the country trade in Massachusetts, from dried fish, butter, rum, and brandy, to soap, nails, chalk, cloth, sugar, molasses, spices, coffee, and tea. Although some customers paid their accounts in cash, most appear bartered goods (e.g, with butter) or services (carting).

The Shearer daybook contains detailed records the transactions of a general store located in or near Palmer, Mass., during the years surrounding the financial panic of 1837. The volume is attributed to Shearer based on a single signature on the last page of the volume, closing out a lengthy account with J. Sedgwick. Although Shearer cannot be identified with certainty, it appears likely that he was a member of the prolific Shearer family of Palmer in Hampden County.

Subjects

General stores--Massachusetts--PalmerPalmer (Mass.)--History

Contributors

Shearer, James

Types of material

Daybooks
Shreve and Earl

Shreve and Earl Account Book

1807-1809
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 625 bd

In the first decade of the nineteenth century, the firm of Shreve and Earl operated in Burlington County, New Jersey, trading in a range of sundries from molasses, sugar, and butter to fabrics and spices. They also sold large quantities of liquor, suggesting that they may have operated as wholesalers of whiskey and spirits.

Kept in standard double column format, the Shreve and Earl account book documents two years of a fairly extensive retail operation, probably located in Burlington County, N.J. The principals in the business are possibly Alexander Shreve (1769-1854), husband of Mary H. Earl, and his son Joshua, along with Alexander’s brothers-in-law Thomas and Caleb Earl. Several accounts are notable for the relatively large quantities of alcohol recorded: of 33 entries for Reuben Gauntt, for example, 29 are for either whiskey or spirits and one for molasses and coffee.

Subjects

General stores--New JerseyLiquor industry--New JerseyNew Hanover (N.J.)--Economic conditions--19th century

Contributors

Shreve and EarlShreve, Alexander, 1769-1854

Types of material

Account books
Smith and Wesson Company

Smith & Wesson Records

1920-1973
30 boxes 15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 267

World famous handgun and handcuff-manufacturing company founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in the 1850s.

The Smith and Wesson records are comprised of incoming sales and service correspondence with some outgoing correspondence and administrative and financial/legal subject files, including categories such as ads and advertising, American Railway Express, audits, counselors at law, debtors, insurance, legal actions, newsletters, patents and trademarks, personnel, photos, sample parts, sideline ventures, stocks and bonds awards, and Western Union Telegrams. Includes correspondence with the National Rifle Association, Small Arms Industry Advisory Committee, and the United States Revolver Association.

Subjects

Pistols--Design and construction

Contributors

National Rifle AssociationSmall Arms Industry Advisory CommitteeSmith and WessonUnited States Revolver Association