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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--Wendell
  • Consumer goods--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Consumers--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Liquor stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Schools--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad
  • Wendell (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Wendell (Mass.)--History--19th century
Contributors
  • Putnam, William
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Rodney Hunt Company

Rodney Hunt 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 conditions
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Turbines--Design and construction
  • Waterwheels
Contributors
  • Rodney Hunt Company
Types of material
  • Account books

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.)--History
  • Textile construction processes and techniques
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts--History
  • Textile manufacturers--Massachusetts
  • Textile materials
  • Yarn-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 century
  • Iron foundries--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
  • Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
  • Taunton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Wages--Iron and steel workers--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
  • Wages--Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
Contributors
  • Perkins, Sampson, b. 1806
  • Sampson Perkins & Co
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 Association
  • Small Arms Industry Advisory Committee
  • Smith and Wesson
  • United States Revolver Association

Smith, Gilbert, b. 1801

Gilbert Smith and Gilbert Smith, Jr. Account Books
1798-1846
2 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 205 bd

Gilbert Smith was a shoemaker and doctor from New Marlborough, Massachusetts, and his son Gilbert Jr. was a prosperous farmer from Sheffield, Massachusetts. Includes merchandise sales, labor accounts, lists of boarders, and documentation of the sale of homemade butter and cheese to local merchants, as well as trade with the substantial rural black community of the region.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Agricultural wages--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Dairy products--Massachusetts--Marketing--History--19th century
  • Family--Economic aspects--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Sheffield--History--19th century
  • New Marlborough (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Sheffield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Smith, Gilbert, 1801-
  • Smith, Gilbert, d. 1804
Types of material
  • Account books

Watchmaker (Springfield, Mass.)

Watchmaker's Account Book
1882-1883
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 623 bd

The mid-century success of the Waltham Watch Company set the stage for a period of innovation and corporate ferment in the manufacture and distribution of watches in the United States. As watchmakers and technologies spread and new companies sprouted and split at a rapid pace, Springfield emerged as a center for the production of high quality, mass produced watches. Perhaps best known among the large local corporations, the Hampden Watch Company was established in 1877 from the New York Watch Company and was bought out in turn by the Dueber Watch Company and relocated a decade later.

The unidentified owner of this slender account book maintained itemized records of income and expenses for a relatively small watchmaking concern in Springfield between May 1882 and September 1883. Most of the trade consisted of sales of accoutrements and repair work.

Acquired from Dan Casavant, 1999
Subjects
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Watchmakers--Massachusetts--Springfield
Types of material
  • Account books

Wheeler, Truman

Truman Wheeler Account Book
1764-1772
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 618 bd

One of twelve children of Obadiah and Agnes (Tuttle) Wheeler, Truman Wheeler was born in Southbury, Conn., on Nov. 26, 1741. After completing his education, reportedly at Yale, Wheeler moved north to Great Barrington, Mass., in the spring of 1764. Acquiring property about a mile south of the center of town, he soon established himself as a general merchant trading in silk, fabrics, and a variety of domestic goods.

The Wheeler account book represents the initial years of a thriving, late colonial mercantile business in far western Massachusetts. Beginning in June 1764, not long after Wheeler set up shop in Great Barrington, the account book includes meticulous records of sales of domestic goods ranging from cloth (linen, silks, and osnabrig) to buttons, ribbons, and pins, snuff boxes, a “small bible,” “jews harps,” and tobacco. Among the prominent names that appear as clients are members of the Burghardt and Sedgwick families.

Subjects
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
Contributors
  • Wheeler, Truman, 1741-1815
Types of material
  • Account books

Wright, John

John Wright Account Books
1818-1859
9 vols. (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 162

Descendants of one of the founding families of Northampton, Mass., John Wright and his brother Samuel were farmers and freight haulers during the first half of the nineteenth century. Before the 1840s, the brothers hauled freight by wagon from Northampton as far away as Hartford and Boston, however the advent of lower-cost carriers over canal and rail, led them to restrict their operations to a local clientele.

The Wright collection includes nine bound volumes and four folders of loose material associated with the businesses of John Wright, his brother Samuel, and son Edwin. They document the growth of a freight hauling firm that supported a substantial trade stretching to Boston, as well as the eventual decline of that business.

Subjects
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
  • Account books

Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies

Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies Collection
1699-1853
76 titles (20 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 029

Founded by Arthur Kinney in 1998, the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies promotes the research, teaching, and dissemination of all aspects of literature and culture in the Early Modern Period (roughly 1400-1700). In addition to sponsoring a diverse array of visiting scholars, scholarly conferences, lectures, and seminars, the Center hosts dramatic performances, concerts, and special events for the general public.

As a partner of the Renaissance Center, SCUA is steward for antiquarian books that fall outside the Center’s primary chronological and thematic scope. Books printed during the Renaissance and selected scholarly works on the era are housed at the Center itself.

Transfer from the Renaissance Center, 2016-2017
Subjects
  • Printing--History
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