Esleeck Manufacturing Company Records, 1898-1987.
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 505
A manufacturing firm specializing in the production of onion skin paper, the Esleeck Manufacturing Company was established in 1898 as the Monadnock Paper Co. The principal owners, Augustine W. Esleeck and Alfred T. Judd, had worked together with the Valley Paper Mills of Holyoke, Mass., but when striking out on their own, moved to Turners Falls, believing the town to be the ideal location for a mil. Changing their name to Esleeck Manufacturing Co. in 1901, the firm sought to be a good neighbor, using local labor and products from local firms in their manufacturing. After more than 100 years of continuous operation, the company was purchased by Southworth Co. in 2006.
The collection consists chiefly of financial records, but also includes three minute books from 1898-1961 that capture the the company’s early history, as well as a memorial history of the company written by a long-term employee in 1954.
- Paper industry--Massachusetts
- Turners Falls (Mass.)--History
- Esleeck Manufacturing Company
Fitchburg Railroad Company Account Book, 1884-1887.
1 vol. (0.15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 181 bd
Incorporated in 1842 and running from Boston to Fitchburg, the Fitchburg Railroad Company built a railroad line across northern Massachusetts leading to and through the Hoosac Tunnel, and later into Vermont and New York. The railroad was leased to Boston and Maine in 1900, and the two companies merged in 1919.
- Railroad companies--United States--History--19th century
- Fitchburg Railroad Company
Florence Manufacturing Company Histories, 1916, 1974.
1 folder (0.15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 380
Photocopies of two typescript company histories for the Florence Manufacturing Company: “50 Years of Brush Making (1866-1916)” and “50 More Years of Brush Making, 1916-1974.”
- Broom and brush industry--Massachusetts--History
- Florence Manufacturing Company
Granville Brothers Aircraft Company Collection, 1978-1980.
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
- Oral histories
- Sound recordings
Western Massachusetts Ice Storm Photograph Collection, 1942.
1 envelope (0.15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 354
Approximately every twenty years, western New England suffers from devastating ice storms, leaving heavy ice coating on trees and buildings and hazardous conditions. Major storms struck in 1921, 1942, 1961, 1983, 1998, and 2008, with the storm of December 29-30, 1942, disrupting power and closing roads throughout a broad swath of the northeast. In northern New York state, ice depths reached six inches.
The collection includes twenty six of an original thirty eight photographs depicting ice storm damage to power lines in the Pittsfield District (Windsor, Middlefield, Washington Mountain to Becket) resulting from the storm in December 1942. The collection also includes a cover letter pertaining to photos (not included) documenting a similar situation in Northampton, affecting the New England Power Service Co.
- Electric lines--Massachusetts--Photographs
- Electric power systems--Natural disaster effects --Massachusetts--Photographs
- Ice storms--Massachusetts--Photographs
- New England Power Service Company
Types of material
Portland Granite Company Records, 1836.
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 648 bd
Three months after it was incorporated by the state of Maine in March 1836, the Portland Granite Company acquired 17 acres of land from Seth Clark in Westbrook, Me., and began its quarrying operation. With 160 shares of common stock, the company’s members elected a board of three directors (Henry Iseley, M.P. Sawyer, and George Clark), with Henry R. Stickney serving as Treasurer and Secretary.
Recorded in a bound ledger, the records of the Portland Granite Company provide slender, but critical documentation of the organization of a significant quarrying operation. Included are the formal act of incorporation for the company, a record of approval by the corporation to accept their charter; a list of company by-laws; approval for the distribution of stock to members of the company (160 shares); and an agreement with Seth Clark to purchase 17 acres in Westbrook for the operation. The records were apparently kept by Stickney.
- Granite industry and trade--Maine
- Stickney, Henry Rolfe, 1799-1887
Types of material
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.
- Department stores
- Mail-order business
Types of material
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.
- Pistols--Design and construction
- National Rifle Association
- Small Arms Industry Advisory Committee
- Smith and Wesson
- United States Revolver Association
Stanze Monument Company Records, ca. 1921-1970.
7 boxes, 13 drawers
Call no.: MS 734
Established in 1921 in St. Louis Missouri, the Stanze Monument Company was family-owned and operated until it was sold in the mid-1980s. The company custom-cut gravestones for more than sixty years and was one of the last monument companies to cut gravestones by hand.
The collection consists of gravestone, monument, and mausoleum technical and architectural drawings. Most of the tracings and drawings of headstone patterns were used to make glass molds for sand-blasting granite headstones, while the rubbings represent reproductions of designs and font sizes and styles. Some of the architectural drawings depict conceptual plans for a typical forty-acre cemetery. The drawings were transferred from the Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum in Illinois; a small portion of the materials were identified as being part of the “Gustafson Collection.”
- Sepulchral monuments--Design
Types of material
- Architectural drawings (Visual works)
- Technical drawings
Urbana Wine Company Records, 1881-1911.
6 boxes (9 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 660
Founded by John W. Davis, H.H. Cook, A.J. Startzer and others in 1865, the Urbana Wine Company was among the earliest and most successful wineries in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Organized in Hammondsport, N.Y., the center of the eastern wine industry, Urbana’s claim to fame was its widely popular Gold Seal Champagne and other sparkling wines and along with Walter Taylor, they dominated regional wine production during the Gilded Age. The winery survived passage of Prohibition in 1919 , both World Wars operating under the Gold Seal label, but was closed by its parent company, Seagrams, in 1984.
The Urbana Records are concentrated in the period 1881-1885, as the company was growing rapidly. Among other materials, the collection includes a range of correspondence, receipts, some financial records, and tallies of grapes. Additional material on the company is located in Cornell University’s Eastern Wine and Grape Archive.
- Wine industry--New York