George and Kent Records, 1887-1890.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 888
Late in the nineteenth century, George and Kent was one among many firms in Barre, Vt., specializing in the supply of granite for grave markers and monuments. Under senior partner William L. George, the firm was located on Seminary Street in the 1880s, supplying a clientele that reached as far away as Iowa. Although the firm was listed in city directories from at least 1883 to 1890, further details are scant.
This small collection consists of receipts and correspondence relating to George and Kent’s trade in granite memorials. Concentrated in a narrow window, mostly 1887-1888, the collection includes three sketches for memorials to be produced by the firm.
- Granite industry and trade--Vermont
Types of material
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
Types of material
Chauncey S. Gillett Daybook, 1841-1845.
1 vol. (0.2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 417 bd
Although poorly known, Chauncey S. Gillett (1815-1846) appears to have carried on a relatively small custom at a general store in Southwick, Massachusetts, during the early 1840s. The son of Almon and Cinthia Gillett, Gillett traded in the typical range of groceries, dry goods, and other commodities, including buttons, cloth, paper, tobacco and tea, molasses, and candles, but also in liquors of various sorts (rum, gin, and brandy cider). Gillett died at the age of 30 on January 4, 1846, and is buried in Southwick.
Kept by the young Chauncey Gillett, this daybook records a chronological series of transactions at a general stores in Southwick, Mass., between 1841 and 1845. Among Gillett’s customers were several relatives, including Almon, Rhodolphus, and Levi Gillett, all of whom are also buried in the Southwick cemetery.
- General stores--Massachusetts--Southwick
- Southwick (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
Glass Container Association Records, ca.1930-1953.
The Glass Container Association of New York and Chicago received inquiries from manufacturers and food processors about various products and methodologies. In response, the association conducted tests and reported results. Records include the correspondence, reports, and published writings in connection with these inquiries and regarding industry standards.
- Glass container industry--United States
- Glass Container Association
Granville Brothers Airplane Company, 1978-1980.
Call no.: MS 911
Between 1929 and 1934, the Granville Airplane 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 Bee Gees 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 1932 won by pilot Jimmy Doolitte, but their reputation for instability in the air (partly a function of their power) 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 Bee Gee 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
- Oral histories
- Sound recordings
Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation Records, 1833-1846.
In June 1811, the Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation was incorporated with the aim of constructing a road at the northern end of the Fifteenth Massachusetts Turnpike, stretching from Great Barrington, Mass., through Alford and North Egremont before crossing the state line and ending in Hudson, New York. Under the direction of Josiah Milland and Jacob and John Van Deusen (who lived near the road), the corporation was apparently not exceptionally profitable. A leg of the turnpike through Great Barrington was made free in 1831, and in 1846, having failed in their petition to receive compensation for loss of privileges, the corporation transferred the road into public management.
Although only a slender 21 pages in length, this record book is nearly the only documentation of the finances for a small, but typical turnpike company in antebellum Massachusetts. The book includes somewhat sparse records of receipts from the toll booths and expenditures for maintenance, extending from 1833 until the corporation was dissolved in 1846. At the end of the book are wo pages of personal expenses associated with a trip to Ohio.
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
- Toll roads--Massachusetts
- Milland, Josiah
- Van Deusen, Jacob H.
- Van Deusen, John
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
Jonah B. Griswold Ledgers, 1841-1876.
4 vols. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 638
An industrious artisan with a wide custom, Jonah B. Griswold made gravestones and sepulchral monuments in Sturbridge, Mass., during the three decades saddling the Civil War. Making 20 or more stones a month, Griswold had clients throughout southern Worcester County, including the Brookfields, Charlton, Wales, Woodstock, Warren, Brimfield, Union, Oxford, Worcester, Southbridge, Holland, New Boston, Spencer, Webster, Dudley, and Podunk, and as far south as Pomfret, Conn.
The four volumes that survive from Griswold’s operation include: record of cash expenditures for personal items, 1843-1876, combined with accounts of work performed for Griswold and daybook with records of marble purchased and stones carved, 1861-1876; daybook of cash on hand 1841-1842, with accounts of stone purchased and stones carved, April 1843-1849; daybook of stones carved, 1849-1860; and daybook of stones carved, 1855-1876. Griswold seldom records inscriptions, with most entries restricted to the name of the client and/or deceased, location, and cost, such as: “Oct. 14. Brookfield. Stone for Mr. Woods child 25.43″ Prices during the antebellum period ranged from $10 (half that for infants) to over $140, with larger monuments going higher.
- Stone carving--Massachusetts
- Sturbridge (Mass.)--History
- Association for Gravestone Studies
- Griswold, Jonah B
Types of material
Whiting Griswold Papers, 1837-1890.
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 814
A politician and native of Greenfield, Mass., Whiting Griswold was born in Buckland on Nov. 12, 1814, the son of Maj. Joseph Griswold. Earning his way through Amherst College (BA, 1838) by teaching in the local schools, Griswold studied law in the offices of Grennell and Aiken, but politics soon came to dominate his life. A serious player in partisan politics, he won election as a Democrat to the state House in 1848-1850 and then the Senate in 1851-1852. after taking part in the state Consitutional Convention of 1853, Griswold supported Buchanan for the presidency in 1856, but changed party to support Lincoln, winning terms in the state Senate on a Coalition vote in 1862 and as a Republican in 1869. Griswold was twice married: first, to Jane M. Martindale (1844), with whom he had two children, and second to Frances L. Clarke (1856), with whom he had three children, including the attorney Freeman Clarke Griswold (1858-1910), a graduate of Yale and Harvard law school (1884), who represented Greenfield in the State House in 1888.
The Griswold papers are dense collection documenting the lives and careers of two state-level politicians in Massachusetts during the years straddling the Civil War. Contents range from discussions of the political crises of the 1850s and Civil War to political agitation over railroad construction in Franklin County, to elections, political speeches, and papers written as a student. The collection includes five letters of the Transcendentalist minister James Freeman Clarke and some essays and correspondence from Freeman Griswold.
- Greenfield (Mass.)--History
- Massachusetts--Politics and government
- Massachusetts. House
- Massachusetts. Senate
Types of material