University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections and University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
SCUA

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.

Background on Joseph Rankin

Born in Buxton, Maine, on Nov. 11, 1806, Joseph Rankin won success as both a dry goods merchant and manufacturer of wood-seat chairs. Sometime after marrying Lydia Wentworth in 1831, Rankin resettled in Erving, Mass., where he pursued his trade and raised three children. His businesses grew despite the erratic economy and his chair shop, powered by a waterwheel, eventually included a frame sawmill as well. A member of the Harmony Lodge of Freemasons, he was well enough connected in Erving to be appointed postmaster in 1857.

Rankin died on Feb. 19, 1865 (sometimes recorded as 1866) and is buried in a family plot on Hiram, Maine, along with his wife.

Contents of Collection

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.

Collection inventory
Business card: Joseph Rankin, Wood-seat chair manufacturer and dealer in dry goods, groceries, hardware, etc., Erving, Mass.
ca.1865
Box 1
Business correspondence and receipts
1854-1855
Box 2
Business correspondence and receipts
1856-1957
Box 3
Business correspondence and receipts
1858
Box 4
Business correspondence and receipts
1859
Box 5
Business correspondence and receipts
1860-1861
Box 6
Business correspondence and receipts
1862
Box 7
Business correspondence and receipts
1863
Box 8
Business correspondence and receipts
1864
Box 9
Business correspondence and receipts
1865
Box 10
Business correspondence and receipts
1866
Box 11
Business correspondence and receipts
undated
Box 12
Personal correspondence
1849
Box 13
Property description, Erving, Mass.
1832
Box 14
Administrative information
Provenance

Provenance unrecorded, 1986.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, Sept. 2015.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Joseph Rankin Papers (MS 147). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Subjects
  • Cabinetmakers--Massachusetts--Erving
  • Dry goods--Massachusetts--Erving
  • Erving (Mass.)--History
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Erving

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