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Robinson and Via Family Papers

Collector:
Robinson, Franklin A., Jr., 1959- (actor)  Search this
Names:
Capital Transit Company (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Serenity Farm, Inc.  Search this
Howes, Grace Bourne, ?-1976  Search this
Robinson, Adina Theresa, 1963-  Search this
Robinson, Amanda Baden, 1849-1940  Search this
Robinson, Elizabeth Bourne, 1892-1976  Search this
Robinson, Frank A., 1883-1970  Search this
Robinson, Franklin A., 1841-1905  Search this
Robinson, Franklin A., Sr., 1932-  Search this
Robinson, Martha Walls, 1807-1897  Search this
Robinson, Robert David, 1962-  Search this
Robinson, Robert Henry, 1851-1937  Search this
Robinson, Thomas Wells, 1803-1869  Search this
Townshend, Martha Robinson, 1880-1961  Search this
Via, Adina Mae, 1937-1966  Search this
Via, Ida Virginia Woods, 1914-2010  Search this
Via, Robert Delano, 1933-  Search this
Via, Robert Milton, 1906-1983  Search this
Creator:
Conner, Mary Robinson, 1930-2009  Search this
Extent:
23.1 Cubic feet (71 boxes, 3 map-size folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Correspondence
Photographs
Postcards
Baby books
Phonograph records
Postcard albums
Ephemera
School yearbooks
Diaries
Albums
Housebooks
Snapshots
Home movies
Family papers
Scrapbooks
Funeral registers
Architectural drawings
Place:
Maryland -- Family farms
Washington (D.C.)
Prince George's County (Md.)
Arizona -- Motion pictures
Benedict (Md.)
Charles County (Md.) -- Family farms
Calvert County (Md.) -- Family farms
California -- Motion pictures
Bahamas -- Motion pictures
Yosemite National Park (Calif.)
Puerto Rico -- Motion pictures
Washington -- motion pictures
Oregon -- Motion pictures
Disneyland (California)
Brandywine (Md.)
St. Thomas, V.I. -- Motion pictures
Florida -- Motion pictures
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- Westminster
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- Marston
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- New Windsor
Date:
1838-2023, undated
bulk 1872-1985
Summary:
Papers documenting the farming and family life of the Robinson family of Prince George's County and after 1975, Charles County, Maryland. Papers documenting the farming and family of the Via family of Greene County, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Prince George's and Calvert Counties, Maryland, by 1949.
Scope and Contents:
An extensive and comprehensive collection of papers relating to family, farming, and the Southern Maryland tobacco culture, the Robinson and Via Family Papers cover many aspects of family and farm life. The papers are particularly important in regard to the tobacco culture that defined Southern Maryland for generations. The papers concern two distinct family groups, the Robinson and Via families who are connected through the marriage of Franklin A. Robinson and Adina Mae Via. The papers consist of material generated by the Robinson and Via families in their personal and working lives and as farm owners and operators.

The papers are especially strong in 20th century material. They consist of various types of farm records: account books, bills, receipts, tenant farming agreements, ephemera, land rental and purchase agreements, insurance policies, photographs and 8mm and 16mm films of farming practices and procedures, equipment and landscapes, related to the farming of tobacco, small grains, and livestock. The personal records include diaries, letters both personal and business, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, high school yearbooks, baby books, house plans, recipe books, photographs and 8mm films of birthdays, holidays, weddings, baptisms, family occasions, and family travel, oral histories, and funeral ephemera including photographs, and transcription discs. Of particular interest are the "Serenity Farm Tobacco Production Photographs" documenting the crop year 1999-2000 and the films detailing agricultural practices. There is a memorandum book for Black Walnut Thicket, 1885-1901, the Baden farm in Baden, Prince George's County.

This collection includes a comprehensive range of 8mm and 16mm films and photographs documenting farming practices and landscapes as well as family gatherings, birthdays, holidays, and vacations. The researcher is alerted to the fact that in some cases with the memorandum and account books, books printed for a given year were often saved and used for subsequent years, some were dated, some were not.

The collection is divided into seven series arranged by subject and most often chronologically at folder level within each series.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into seven series:

Series 1: Ferndale Farm (Potomac Landing), Prince George's County, Maryland, 1861-1973, undated

Subseries 1.1: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, and publications, 1861-1973, undated

Subseries 1.2: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, 1945-1960, undated

Subseries 1.3: Farm papers, bills, and receipts, 1960-1965, undated

Series 2: Robinson Family, 1845-2017, undated

Subseries 2.1: Family Papers and Publications, 1845-1993, undated

Subseries 2.2: Townshend, Martha Robinson, 1896-1961, undated

Subseries 2.3: Robinson, Frank A., 1899-1970, undated

Subseries 2.4: Robinson, Elizabeth Bourne, 1841-1976, undated

Subseries 2.5: Conner, Mary Robinson, 1938-1985, undated

Subseries 2.6: Robinson, Franklin A., 1932-1997, undated

Subseries 2.6.1: Farming, 1948-1976, undated

Subseries 2.6.2: Financial, 1948-1988, undated

Subseries 2.6.3: 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA), 1945-1954, undated

Subseries 2.6.4: Travel, 1959-1970, undated

Subseries 2.7: Robinson, Jr., Franklin A., 1959-2001, undated

Series 3: Serenity Farm, Charles County, Maryland, 1962-2000, undated

Series 4: Via Farm, Calvert County, Maryland, 1954-1987, undated

Series 5: Via Family, 1932-2010, undated

Subseries 5.1: Family papers, 1941-1983, undated

Subseries 5.2: Via, Robert M., 1933-1987, undated

Subseries 5.3: Via, Ida Virginia, 1928-2010, undated

Subseries 5.4: Via, Robert D., 1933-1988, undated

Subseries 5.5: Robinson, Adina Via, 1937-1966, undated

Series 6: Photographs, Photographic Slides, and Photographic Negatives, 1860-2000, undated

Subseries 6.1: Photographs, 1872-2000, undated

Subseries 6.2: Photographic negatives, 1927--2000, undated

Subseries 6.3: Photographic Slides, 1955-1979, undated

Series 7: AudioVisual, 1943-1988
Biographical / Historical:
Robinson Family

The Robinson family is thought to be of Scottish origin and appear in the records of Prince George's County, Maryland by the early 18th century. The line has been definitively traced to James Robinson (?-1849). James' father was probably Benjamin Robinson (?-1810), of Prince George's County, Maryland. (Will Book TT1, pg. 15, Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Maryland State Archives (MSA))

James Robinson and Sarah Wynn were issued a marriage license on February 28, 1802 in Prince George's County, Maryland. (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland) Eleven children lived to maturity (not listed in birth order); Thomas Wells (1803-1869), Ann, Priscilla, James Monroe, Benjamin (1813-1882), John C. (1819-1895), Mary Sophia, Thomas Stanley (1800-1874), Alfred, Sarah Ann, Matilda, and Rebecca Maria.

James worked as a farm manager for Benjamin Oden near Upper Marlborough, Prince George's County. (Oden Papers, Maryland Historical Society) The Robinsons and their children, moved to Wood County, Virginia (now West Virginia) by April 18, 1818 where James acted as Oden's land agent (Deed Book 6, pg. 123, Land Records of Wood County, West Virginia). They brought with them three enslaved described in the above reference as, "Kate a woman 45 years of age very black; Colonel a boy aged 8 years yellow complexion: and George a boy aged six years of a dark brown complexion." They settled on part of what was known as the "Burnt Mill" tract in the general area where the Hughes River meets the Little Kanawha River. (Deed Book 9, pg. 110 and Deed Book 14, pg. 40, Land Records of Wood County)

Thomas Wells Robinson may not have accompanied his family to Virginia as he has a presence in Prince George's County prior to 1822 and was employed as a farm manager for Benjamin Oden at least until 1832. He married Elizabeth J. Richards on December 15, 1829 (Robinson Family Bible). They had nine children; Richard Thomas (1831 1906), Rebecca Maria (1832-1895), Mary Wynn (1834-1916), James George (1835-1883), Virlinda Victoria (1837-1838), Elizabeth Ann (1839-1916), Sarah Ann Sophia (1840-1874), Franklin Alexander (1841-1905) and John Alfred (1843); seven lived to maturity. (Robinson Family Bible) Elizabeth died on August 17, 1843 from complications in childbirth. She was buried in the graveyard of Page's Chapel (later known as St. Thomas Episcopal Church), Croom, Prince George's County. In 1843, Thomas purchased the plantation of Dr. Benjamin B. Hodges for $10,000 or approximately $15 an acre. Hodges was a brother-in-law of Benjamin Oden. The deed dated September 7, 1843 describes the parcel as containing, "Six hundred and twenty nine acres of land more or less and constitute that plantation or Estate of the said Benjamin Oden heretofore commonly called "Brown's Quarter Place" being the Land tracts and parcels of land sold by the said Benjamin Oden to the said Benjamin B. Hodges and by deed bearing date the tenth day of December eighteen hundred and thirty five and recorded in Liber AB no. 10 folio 162 also one of the land Records of the County aforesaid". (JBB no. 3 pgs. 312 314, Land Records of Prince George's County) The land was level to rolling bordered on the north by a tributary of Piscataway Creek and generally termed "white oak land". Underlying the whole property was a large strata of gravel and sand. The entire parcel went by the name, Potomac Landing.

Thomas supplemented his land holdings with later purchases. With the exception of twenty acres purchased from Sarah Talbert in 1844, (JBB no. 3 pg. 475, Land Records of Prince George's County) and the purchase of lot #3 consisting of 195 acres, part of the estate of John Townshend in 1856, these purchases were not contiguous to Potomac Landing. By the time of his death in 1869 these non-contiguous parcels had been sold. Thomas sold eighty-six acres of Potomac Landing and Jeffries to Edward Eversfield in October of 1843. (JBB no. 3, pg. 198, Land Records of Prince George's County) On January 13, 1846 Thomas married the widow Martha Ann Walls, daughter of George and Martha Naylor Walls. They had two sons; Benjamin Wells (1848-1849) and Robert Henry (1851-1937).

In addition to his sons, Thomas owned enslaved. The number varied from six in 1849 (JBB 6, folio 186, Land Records of Prince Georges' County) to eleven as noted in the census for 1850, and finally six as noted in the census of 1860. The 1867 Maryland Slave Statistics noted that, "at the time of the adoption of the Constitution of Maryland, in the year 1864, . . ." Thomas owned six enslaved, their names and ages being; Isaac Franklin age 31, Alfred West age 19, Susan West age 17, Margaret Franklin age 14, Fannie Franklin age 12, and Peter Franklin age 9. All were noted as being in good physical condition. (Prince Georges' County Slave Statistics 1867 1869, C 1307 1, MdHR:6198, page 185, MSA)

Thomas's financial problems began in the mid-1800s when Deeds of Trust appear in the county records securing outstanding loans. In 1856 and 1857 Thomas joined with others as bondsman for his son, Richard who was serving as "Collector of the State and County Taxes" for the 4th collection district, making he and the other signatories liable for any uncollected taxes. This, coupled with poor investments, led to his almost being "sold out" in 1859-1860 by J.W. & E. Reynolds of Baltimore to pay his debts. He executed three drafts on Penn & Mitchell, also of Baltimore, to pay off J.W. & E. Reynolds. (Equity Case #597, Prince Georges' County) Thomas was in poor health and his son James managed the farm in 1857 and 1858, and again from 1861 to October of 1862 (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County)

In October of 1862 Thomas' two sons, James and Franklin, traveled to Richmond to join the Confederate States Army. James enrolled in the 5th Battalion, Local Defense Arsenal and Franklin enrolled in the 5th Virginia Infantry, the Stonewall Brigade. (CSA Military Records, National Archives) James visited home frequently but was captured by the Union Army in St. Mary's County, Maryland on May 15, 1864 and spent the remainder of the war in Point Lookout Prison Camp. He was released on May 14, 1865. Franklin was not able to visit home at all during the war but survived to return home in 1865. In 1865, Thomas surveyed a parcel of 172 acres for his daughter Rebecca Maria. Rebecca had married her second cousin, William B. Robertson, on November 18, 1855. He made a gift of fifty acres, and Rebecca agreed to purchase the remainder. The Robertsons named this parcel Holly Grove. In Equity Case #849 (1872) filed after Thomas' death, his widow Martha and Samuel H. Berry, as executrix and executor, sought to recover payment for this land. At that time, William B. Robertson described this 172 acres of Potomac Landing: "There was no fences on the line which separated this land from the old gentleman's land, but he was to put a fence on it which he agreed to do before we agreed to come there. The land was thin, unimproved, with gullies and scrubby pine. If witness had been a judge of land he would not have given five dollars for it. All the improvements were one comfortable quarter the other indifferent with a poor oak shingle roof, worn out which made it not tenantable." Further along in his testimony, William gave an account of a conversation, "In a few days my father in law Thos. W. Robinson came to Washington and told me there his children had returned from the South, his two sons, that his debts were small and he was a happy man." Rebecca and William built a house on the property, a side-hall, double parlor plan that most likely her brother James was builder. They also built accompanying farm structures. (Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Equity Case #849, MSA)

Thomas' son, Franklin, managed the farm after the War. In December 1868 Thomas entered into a sharecropping agreement with Edward Hanson, an African-American. After about a year-long illness, on May 16, 1869, Thomas died, deeply in debt. He was buried beside Elizabeth in the graveyard at St. Thomas' Church. He named as executrix his wife, Martha, and his friend and lawyer, Samuel H. Berry, as executor. His will divided the farm into thirds, one third going to his wife and their son Robert Henry, one third to his son James, and one third to his son Franklin. The land was surveyed according to the will. His personal property was sold but not enough profit was realized to pay off his creditors. The Commissioners of Prince George's County sued the estate on behalf of Thomas' creditors. The outcome was that in 1876 the property was sold at public auction. The Notice of Sale dated September 1, 1876 in the local county newspaper, The Prince Georgian, describes the farm as, "containing 514 2/3 acres More or less. The Improvements consist of a SMALL DWELLING, Three Barns, Stabling, and other necessary outbuildings. It is well wooded and watered, and the soil of fair quality. It has recently been divided into three lots and will be offered in lots, a description of which will be given at the time of sale." The sale was held on September 27, 1876, Lot No. 1 was purchased by Robert for $6.00 an acre, Lot #2 was purchased by Franklin for $5.00 an acre and Lot #3 was purchased by James for $4.00 per acre. Robert and Franklin eventually paid off their mortgage, but James defaulted on his purchase and later moved to St. Mary's County, Maryland. His portion later came to be owned by the Hawkins family, some members who had worked on the Robinson farm. (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County, MSA)

Lot #1, purchased by Robert from his fathers' estate, consisted of 177-1/3 acres, including the dwelling and farm buildings. On July 24, 1872, he married Amanda Malvina Baden (1849-1940), daughter of Robert W. G. and Margaret Caroline Early Baden. The Baden and Early families were both prominent south county families. Robert and Amanda had eight children; Caroline Early (1873 1967), Lucy Tennent (1875 1958), Albert Henry (1878 1914), Martha Perry (1880 1961), Robert Gover (1882 1882), Frank Alexander (1883 1970), Margaret Baden (1886 1956) and Grace Malvina (1889 1965).

By 1880 Robert had paid off his debt on the property and was fully engaged in farming. Unlike his father, or perhaps because of his father, Robert did not add to his land holdings, choosing to remain relatively debt free for his lifetime. The only land transactions he participated in were the sales of 79-3/4 acres in 1921 of Amanda's inheritance from her father and her interest in two smaller parcels of her father's land sold in 1894 and 1928 respectively. In 1928 he transferred 3.09 acres to his son Frank.

As late as the Federal census of 1880, Franklin was living with Robert and his household, both men engaged in farming. Sometime after 1880, Franklin took up residence on his part of Potomac Landing. His brother James most likely built the side-hall double parlor house that copied the main house at Potomac Landing. On February 18, 1897, Martha Robinson, died at the age of ninety. She was buried in the graveyyard of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden, Prince George's County. Robert continued cultivation of tobacco and small grains as his father before him. The first reference to the farm being named Ferndale is found in the "Communion Record" of Robert's daughter, Martha Perry "Pattie", dated 1896. (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The exact origin or reason for this new name is lost but perhaps the name Potomac Landing held such bitter memories of debt and hardship that, as a symbolic break with the past, a new name was found. It also may have simply been a way to distinguish this portion of Potomac Landing from the others. The farm continued to be listed on tax bills as Potomac Landing well into the 20th century, but was known to the general public and businesses as the Ferndale Farm. (Robinson and Via Family Papers)

Robert served as deputy inspector at the State Tobacco Warehouse in Baltimore for eight years under W.B. Bowie. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Brandywine. In July of 1905, Franklin died, a bachelor farmer. He was buried facing south in the graveyard of the Church of the Atonement, Cheltenham, (a chapel in St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish) where he had served as vestryman, treasurer, and cemetery custodian. Franklin died intestate and a lengthy process of dividing his estate began. This resulted in the sale of his part of Potomac Landing (Lot #2) in July 1908 to William E. Boswell. The court declared Robert ineligible for any inheritance due to his being " . . . a brother of the half blood." The Boswell family later sold the property to the Billingsley family of St. Mary's County. (Equity Case 3209, Prince George's County)

In 1910, after living in the farm's original home for approximately sixty seven years, the Robinson family built a new home. It was described in a 1956 insurance policy as, "2 story, frame, metal roof, 16x43, wing 14x28, 9 rooms." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The house design was a simple Victorian with plastered walls, and lit by carbide gas. Electrical lighting was installed in 1951. The house was built with monies from Robert and Amanda, and their son Frank, who served as builder and contractor.

On Tuesday March 9, 1937, "During a celebration in honor of his wifes birthday anniversary, Mr. Robinson collapsed at the table and died immediately without a word or a sigh." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) Robert was buried beside his mother in the cemetery at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden.

At Robert's death, Ferndale Farm was valued at $30.00 an acre, the total acreage, 174 acres, being valued in the whole at $5,220.00. Robert died intestate, again the fate of the land was in question. He left eight heirs, his widow, Amanda, six of his children and his son Albert Henry's only surviving child, R. Henry Robinson. Rather than have the farm sold and his mother's life disrupted, Frank purchased the estate and personal property from the heirs. Before this could take place, a deed had to be granted the heirs for the property since one had never been recorded after the 1876 sale. Equity case 873 was reopened sixty-two years after its supposed resolution. Frank testified, "over a period of about thirty years I would on a number of occasions, talk about the fact that he had purchased and paid for this property and that a deed had never been executed to him and [he] kept saying he was going to have someone straighten this matter out for him." It was discovered that Robert had fully paid for his part of Potomac Landing. On February 14, 1938 the farm was deeded from Amanda along with Robert''s heirs to Frank. (Book 499, page 334, Land Records of Prince George's County) According to the deed and a 1937 fire insurance policy the farm consisted of 177 1/3 acres, "1 two story dwelling, one tenant house, 1 barrack, 1 tobacco barn, 1 corn house & cow stable, 1 Stable, and 1 Granary & Stable." (Robinson and Via Family Papers)

Frank A. Robinson, now the sole owner of Ferndale Farm, was born August 17, 1883. He learned farming and in addition took up the trade of builder and contractor. As a young man, he worked in the general store of his uncle Robert Baden. He was the contractor for the first Bank of Brandywine and many homes in and around the town of Brandywine, including the home of his cousin Robert E. Baden, DDS. He was secretary of the Building Committee for construction of the Chapel of the Incarnation in Brandywine, a mission chapel for St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish. His success in the building trade gave him disposable income that he invested in land. His first purchase was in August, 1915 of a 2-9/100 acre of land in Brandywine that was being sold by the Board of County School Commissioners; the purchase price was $300. In March 1916 he purchased 38.09 acres of his Uncle Franklin's farm. This property adjoined Ferndale Farm. Over the next fifty-four years of his life, Frank bought and sold many pieces of real estate. Perhaps his most significant purchases were: 18-1/3 acres purchased from The German American Colonization Land Company of Maryland in October 1915 (Book 115, pg. 140, Land Records of Prince George's County); 147.99 acres purchased from August and Wilhelmina Noltensmeir in December 1917 (Book 129, pg. 263, Land Records of Prince George's County) and 320 acres called the Vineyard purchased from William M. Wilson in March 1928. Frank used these three parcels as collateral for other purchases. Never once did he mortgage Ferndale Farm, insuring that no matter what financial stormy seas might blow, his home was secure. Over the course of his life, especially in the case of the Noltensmeir farm, when cash was needed a parcel of land would be surveyed off and sold. He inherited his grandfather Thomas' love of land but had fortunately developed a shrewd business sense to go along with it.

On November 20, 1929, he married Elizabeth Freeland Bourne, daughter of Joseph Blake and Maria Gantt Bourne of Calvert County, Maryland. They had three children: Mary Elizabeth (1930-2009), Franklin Alexander (1932-2023), and Robert Lee (1935-1997). In addition to his construction business he continued farming, raising tobacco, hay, and small grains. He engaged in sharecropping with tenants on his various properties. He was active in community affairs serving on the Board of The Maryland Tobacco Growers Association (MTGA), the Vestry of St. Thomas Parish, and as sheriff of Brandywine. On January 9, 1940 Amanda Baden Robinson died. She was buried next to her husband at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden. In February 1958, Frank and Elizabeth conveyed 1.57 acres of Ferndale Farm to son Franklin where he and his fiancée, Adina M. Via, were building their new home prior to their marriage in July of that same year.

The booming economy and suburbanization of the Washington metropolitan area in the early 1960's led to the high quality gravel lying beneath Ferndale into becoming a valuable commodity. In October 1962, Franklin and his parents granted a three-year lease to William C. Nolte for mining sand and gravel on the Ferndale Farm at .174 per yard. (Book 2747, pg. 11, Land Records of Prince George's County) From now until 1975 when the property was sold, gravel would be mined from under the farm by various companies. In November 1962, Elizabeth and Frank transferred to Franklin the 38.09 acres Frank had purchased from Fitzhugh Billingsley in 1916. (Book 2754, pg. 99, Land Records of Prince George's County) That same year they transferred 6.754 acres, part of the Vineyard, to son Robert and his wife Lois, (Book 2765, pg. 201, Land Records of Prince George's County)

On December 28, 1965, Frank and Elizabeth participated in a land exchange/purchase of the farm of Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown located along the Patuxent River in Benedict, Charles County, Maryland. Franklin had rented this farm the year before and was impressed enough by its location and arability to work out a purchase. Frank and Elizabeth traded 65.9920 acres that would eventually become Franklin's under Frank's will. On February 21, 1966 they deeded the Charles County farm to Franklin and Adina. Adina named this property Serenity Farm. The property consisted of 480.66 acres. (Liber 179, page 708 etc., Land Records of Charles County)

On February 5, 1970, after a short illness, Frank died at Cafritz Memorial Hospital. He was buried at St. Paul's Episcopal Church near his parents. In his will, probated March 4, 1970 he left thirty acres of the property purchased from the German American Land Company and A. Noltensmeir to Elizabeth. He willed forty acres of the same parcel to daughter Mary Robinson Conner. The remainder of Ferndale Farm was willed to Franklin and the remaining acreage of the Vineyard was left to Robert Lee. Franklin Alexander Robinson was born August 13, 1932 at the Garfield Hospital in Washington, D.C.. He received his schooling in the public school system of Prince George's County, graduating from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. He was a charter member of Gwynn Park's chapter of The Future Farmers of America. He was extremely active in FFA, achieving the Degree of Maryland Farmer in 1950 and their highest award, the Degree of American Farmer at their convention in Kansas City, Missouri in October 1953. He obtained his private pilots license in 1954. He entered the United States Army in February 1955 and went through basic training at Camp Gordon, Augusta, Georgia. After basic training he was transferred to Camp Hanford, Washington State. There he worked part time on the farm of Dick and Theresa Laurent during his off duty hours and began a lifelong friendship with them. He returned home to farming on an agricultural discharge in October of 1956. On July 27, 1958 he married his high school sweetheart, Adina Mae Via, daughter of Robert Milton and Virginia Woods Via. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962), and Adina Theresa (1963).

Franklin continued expanding and improving the farming operation by modern methods and means. At times, he farmed over one thousand acres, both owned and rented. On February 21, 1966, his parents deeded their purchase of the Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown farm in Benedict to he and Adina, later known as Serenity Farm Franklin and Adina engaged an architect to draft house plans for an anticipated new residence. A small A frame vacation home was built on the property so the family could spend weekends there.

On December 14, 1966, after a long illness, Adina died from complications associated with Hodgkin's Disease. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Waldorf, Charles County. Franklin married Margaret Walker Lennox (nee Tallen, known as Rita) on August 21, 1970 (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland). This marriage ended in divorce in 1977. There were no children from this marriage.

On July 14, 1975 the Robinson family, Franklin, his second wife, Margaret, her daughter Margaret W. Lennox, Franklin, Jr., R. David, A. Theresa and Elizabeth B. Robinson, moved to Serenity Farm. On July 17, 1975 Franklin and Elizabeth sold the remaining acreage of Ferndale Farm to Brandywine Sand and Gravel, thus ending 131 years of ownership by the Robinson family. Elizabeth Bourne Robinson died on July 15, 1976 and was buried beside her husband at St. Paul's Church, Baden. Franklin married Hiltrud (Ceddie) Harris (nee Sedlacek) on July 15, 1978. (Robinson Family Bible) This marriage ended in divorce in 1986. There were no children from this marriage. Franklin married Diedre Gale Merhiage on April 19, 1989; this marriage ended in divorce in 1997. There were no children from this marriage. He married Remelda Henega Buenavista on January 13, 2007.

The Robinson family continue day-to-day operations of Serenity Farm. The land is well suited to the growing of tobacco and small grains, which crops, (with the exception of tobacco) along with a flock of sheep, are cultivated there to the present time. After the crop year 2001 the Robinson family took the tobacco buyout program offered by the state of Maryland and ceased growing tobacco. Franklin is active in farming and community affairs having served on the vestry of St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, the Board of Directors of the Maryland Tobacco Growers Association (MTGA), the Board of the Production Credit Association, the Boards of three schools, Holy Trinity Day School, Queen Anne School, and Calverton School, and numerous other organizations. Currently the farm consists of approximately 275 acres. In 1981 a state agricultural land preservation district of 222.755 acres was created. This was the first such district in Charles County and one of the first in the state of Maryland.

Via Family

The Via family traces its origins to the colony of Virginia, where the probable progenitor of the line, Amer Via, a French Huguenot, settled in Manakin Town, Albemarle County between 1670-1700. It is impossible to trace the Via line definitively due to the loss of Virginia county records during the Civil War.

The Via family line covered in this collection can be definitively traced to William Via of Fredericksville Parish, Louisa (later Albemarle) County, Virginia. The William Via family lived west of the present day town of Whitehall at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, an area commonly known as Sugar Hollow. William Via III served in the Virginia Line during the Revolutionary War. He married Mary Craig, daughter of Thomas Craig and Jane Jameson, on March 17, 1784. William died on June 27, 1836, in Albemarle County (Rev. War Pension Appl. 6363, National Archives). His son Thomas married Sally, widow Griffin, on January 1, 1811 (Albemarle County Marriage Records). Their son, Hiram Karl Via (1812-1893), married Harriet Ardenia Naylor by license dated March 7, 1836 (Albemarle County Marriage Records).

Hiram and Harriet's son, Robert St. Clair Via (1844-1925), served as a private in Company I, 7th Virginia Infantry of the Confederate States Army (CSA Military Service Records, National Archives). After the war he married his first cousin, Mary Frances Naylor, daughter of Samuel Chapman Naylor and Eliza Jane Gardner, on April 3, 1866 in Rockingham County (Rockingham County, Virginia, Marriage Records). Sometime between 1870 and 1872, they moved to Linn County, Missouri, and settled about seven miles from the town of Bucklin. Their son, Hiram Chapman Via (1872-1933), was born there. In 1893, the family returned to Virginia, and settled on a farm in Greene County near the town of Stanardsville.

Hiram Chapman Via operated a mill as well as a farm. On March 15, 1899, he married Adina Eleanor Eusebia Runkle, daughter of Milton D. L. Runkle and Roberta A. Beadles (Greene County, Virginia, Marriage Records). They had three children: Bernice Olive (1902-1999), Robert Milton (1906-1983), and Deward Daniel (1909-1977).

Robert moved to Washington, D.C.. In December 1927 he began employment with the Capitol Traction Company as a streetcar conductor (Robinson and Via Family Papers). During the early 1930s, Robert rented a townhouse at 715 A St., SE, where he lived with his sister Bernice V. McMullan and her son, William C. McMullan; his brother and sister in law, and his parents. Next door, at 717, lived the Moses Albright family, including Moses's stepdaughter Ida Virginia Woods (1914-2010), daughter of Jesse Lee Woods (1894-1918) and Donna Mae Barker (1896-1928) of Frederick County, Maryland. Robert and Virginia began a courtship and on September 3, 1932 were married in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland (Frederick County, Maryland, Marriage Records).

After their marriage, Robert and Virginia lived in various locations in the Washington metropolitan area. Their first child, Robert Delano, was born on March 24, 1933, and their second child, Adina Mae, was born on April 12, 1937. Virginia was employed outside the home while her children were in school. Her first job before her marriage had been with Woolworth's in Martinsburg, WV working the candy counter and then before the birth of her son at The Hecht Company on F St. in Washington, D.C.. After her marriage she worked briefly for the United States Postal Service in Capitol Heights, Maryland. Beginning in the 1950s, she worked first at the Hecht Company department store on 7th Street in the District and later for Charles of the Ritz as a receptionist in their beauty salon located in Woodward & Lothrop's F Street store in Washington, D.C.. She also worked as salon manager at the Charles of the Ritz salons in the Woodward & Lothrop stores in Seven Corners, Virginia, and Chevy Chase, Maryland. She retired due to health reasons in 1973.

On September 10, 1941, Robert and Virginia purchased Lot #43 in Woodlane subdivision in Prince George's County. (Book 619, pg. 12, Land Records of Prince George's County) A house was designed for them for this lot by Clyde E. Phillips. They did not construct a home on this property due to the outbreak of World War II. Robert, due to his employment in public transportation, did not serve with the Armed Services in World War II. On October 18, 1946, they purchased approximately thirty acres bordering on Burch's Creek near the towns of Clinton, also know as Surrattsville, and T.B. in Prince George's County from Joseph H. and M. Pauline Blandford. (Book 873, pg. 483, Land Records of Prince George's County) Over the next three years, hiring private contractors, doing work themselves, and with the help of Robert's brother Deward, they built the two story house designed by Phillips in 1941. They moved to the farm from Capitol Heights in 1949. Robert raised hogs, small grains and a crop of tobacco yearly on this farm and also maintained his job with Capitol Transit (formerly Capitol Traction). In 1954, Robert and Virginia purchased a farm of approximately 150 acres in Island Creek, Calvert County, Maryland. The intention was for Robert and his son to enter into a full time farming operation on expanded acreage. Robert D. Via, known as Delano, graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. Delano was a part-time farmer and pursued a career as a country and western singer with Bashful Bob and the Rhythm Rangers, he being Bashful Bob. He was employed in various jobs, and began a tour in the Army in 1953. By the time the Via family moved to Calvert County in 1956, he decided to pursue careers other than farming. He eventually traveled and worked in various parts of the United States. He married first Delores Cooper, second Gloria J. Irick, and finally Candice Marinelli in December 1974, they had two children, Robert Marin (1975) and Kirstin Marin (1976).

On June 1, 1956 Robert resigned from his position at Capitol Transit due to health reasons. He and his family moved to the farm in Island Creek, Calvert County where he began full time farming. He and Virginia sold the thirty-acre farm in Prince George's County on June 21, 1956 to Melvin C. and Geraldine H. Rardia. (Book 2003, pg. 564, Land Records of Prince George's County) Virginia continued her employment with Charles of the Ritz. Adina, now a graduate of Gwynn Park High School, was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland. They both commuted daily from Calvert County to their places of employment.

Robert farmed in Calvert County, raising hogs, cattle, small grains and tobacco. Over the course of the next twenty-seven years, Robert and Virginia sold smaller parcels off the farm. In 1974, Robert and Virginia built a small retirement home designed for them by Calvert Masonry Contractors. Robert died on December 22, 1983. He was buried beside his daughter Adina in Trinity Memorial Gardens. At the time of Robert's death, the farm consisted of 28.694 acres. In 1998, Virginia deeded the remainder of the farm, then less than six acres, to her grandson, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr. who sold all but a one-acre lot in April 1999.

Virginia continued to live on the farm in Calvert County, maintaining a small herd of cattle. In the fall of 1989 Franklin, Jr. went to live with her. In 1993, the onset of Alzheimer's Disease required her to move to Serenity Farm and take up residence with her granddaughter A. Theresa. Virginia participated in various studies on Alzheimer's Disease conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland beginning in 1992. She was profiled in the September 1997 issue of Washingtonian Magazine. In October of 1998 she moved to All American Senior Care in Brandywine, Maryland and in 1999 she moved to Morningside, an elderly care facility in Waldorf, Maryland. In 2002, she moved to St. Mary's Nursing Center in Leonardtown, Maryland. The remainder of the farm was sold in 1999 and 2002. She died January 14, 2010 and was buried at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf.

Adina Mae Via was born April 12, 1937 at the Homeopathic Hospital in Washington, D.C.. Adina grew up in Washington, D.C. attending public schools. She moved with her family to the Burch's Creek farm, Prince George's County, in 1949. She enrolled in the Prince George's County school system, and graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June of 1955. After graduation, she was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs.

In July of 1956, she moved with her family to the Via farm in Island Creek, Calvert County. On July 27, 1958 she married Franklin A. Robinson at the Chapel of the Incarnation. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962) and Adina Theresa (1963). In the fall of 1958, she and Franklin took up residence in the home they had built on Ferndale Farm. She resigned from her position with the USAF in 1959.

On December 14, 1966, at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC, Adina died from complications due to Hodgkin's Disease. She had been battling this disease for many years prior to her death. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Charles County.
Related Materials:
Materials at Other Organizations

The Maryland Historical Society holds items (costume, farming related implements) related to the Robinson and Via families.
Separated Materials:
Materials at the National Museum of American History

The Division of Work and Industry (Agriculture Collection) holds agricultural implements and artifacts associated with both the Robinson farms and the Via farm; the Division of Home and Community Life holds clothing, textiles (crib quilt), jewelry, cosmetics and Adina M. Robinson's sewing box and dress patterns; (Costume and Textiles Collection). See accession numbers: 1989.0688, 1990.0394, 1991.0010; 1991.0722, 1992.0184, 1992.0283, 1992.0321, 1992.0474, 1992.3106, 1994.0064, 1994.0304, 1997.0327, 1998.0038, 1998.0129, 2001.0196, 2002.0087, 2003.0015, 2005.0009.

Division of Armed Forces History (now Division of Olitical and Military History, National Numismatics Collection) holds the Robert M. Via Trolley Token Collection.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the National Museum of American History, Archives Center, by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., in November 1993.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but negatives and audiovisuial materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to the donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Farms -- Maryland  Search this
Holidays  Search this
Amusement parks -- California  Search this
Children's parties  Search this
Rural women  Search this
Sheep ranches  Search this
Parks -- California  Search this
Rural families  Search this
Tobacco -- Harvesting  Search this
Tobacco -- Storage  Search this
Street-railroads  Search this
Street-railroads -- Employees  Search this
Travel  Search this
Urban transportation  Search this
Work and family  Search this
Tobacco curing  Search this
Women in agriculture  Search this
Farm equipment  Search this
Farm buildings  Search this
Family recreation  Search this
Family festivals  Search this
Farm ownership  Search this
Farm life -- 20th century  Search this
Farm management  Search this
Illiterate persons  Search this
Christmas  Search this
Soldiers  Search this
Students  Search this
Family -- 20th century  Search this
Family farms  Search this
Easter  Search this
Electric railroads  Search this
Acting -- 1980-2000  Search this
Amateur films  Search this
Agricultural machinery  Search this
Agriculture -- 20th century -- Maryland  Search this
Tobacco farmers  Search this
Housewives -- United States  Search this
Weddings  Search this
Farmers  Search this
Dairy farms  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Photographs -- 20th century
Postcards
Baby books
Phonograph records
Postcard albums
Ephemera
School yearbooks
Diaries
Albums
Housebooks
Photographs -- 19th century
Snapshots
Home movies
Family papers
Scrapbooks
Funeral registers
Architectural drawings
Citation:
The Robinson and Via Family Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0475
See more items in:
Robinson and Via Family Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep86b1972cf-a789-45ec-8f3e-fb780d43456d
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0475
Online Media:

Robinson Family

Collection Collector:
Robinson, Franklin A., Jr., 1959- (actor)  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1838-2023, undated
Scope and Contents:
This series is divided into six subseries. The Robinson family papers deal with the continuous farming operation of a single family over four generations on the same property. They employed not only immediate family members but also sharecroppers, tenant farmers and hired hands. The farming operation was carried out on acreage varying from over five hundred acres to less than two hundred. Account books from the latter part of the 19th century and extending into the 20th century give an accurate and detailed picture of the day to day workings of a farm. Personal letters, diaries and ephemera complement the technical aspects of farming with its human and familial aspects. Through these documents one gathers a sense of the place of the Robinson family in the community, their day to day concerns and inter family relationships. The diaries of Elizabeth Bourne Robinson, covering the years 1951 to 1960, are particularly vivid for detail of the daily operations of farming and family life at mid-20th century.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but negatives and audiovisuial materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to the donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
The Robinson and Via Family Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0475, Series 2
See more items in:
Robinson and Via Family Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep89cf187de-4dc3-4a8c-acfb-07cdeba92c56
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0475-ref44

Leo H. Baekeland Papers

Creator:
Baekeland, L. H. (Leo Hendrik), 1863-1944  Search this
Names:
Bakelite Corporation  Search this
Nepera Chemical Co.  Search this
Extent:
15 Cubic feet (49 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Professional papers
Clippings
Laboratory notes
Personal correspondence
Photographs
Notebooks
Diaries
Date:
1976
1863 - 1968
Summary:
The papers document Leo H. Baekeland, a Belgian born chemist who invented Velox photographic paper (1893) and Bakelite (1907), an inexpensive, nonflammable, versatile plastic. The papers include student notebooks; private laboratory notebooks and journals; commercial laboratory notes; diaries; patents; technical papers; biographies; newspaper clippings; maps; graphs; blueprints; account books; batch books; formula books; order books; photographs; and correspondence regarding Baekeland, 1887-1943.
Scope and Contents:
Baekeland documented his life prolifically through diaries, laboratory notebooks, photographs, and correspondence. These constitute the bulk of the collection. The Bakelite company history is also incompletely documented in this collection through Baekeland's correspondence, the commercial laboratory notebooks, and some company ledgers.
Arrangement:
Series 1: Reference Materials, 1863-1868 and undated

Subseries 1.1: Biographical, 1880-1965

Subseries 1.2:Company History, 1910-1961

Subseries 1.3: Related Interests, 1863-1968 and undated

Series 2: Published and Unpublished Writings (by Leo H. Baekeland), 1884-1945

Series 3: Correspondence, 1888-1963 Subseries 3.1: Personal Correspondence, 1916-1943

Subseries 3.2: Charitable Donations, 1916-1938

Subseries 3.3: Family Correspondence, 1888-1963

Subseries 3.4: Clubs and Associations, 1916-1943

Series 4: Diaries, 1907-1943

Series 5: Reading and Lecture Notes, 1878-1886

Series 6, Laboratory Notebooks, 1893-1915

Series 7: Commercial Laboratory Notebooks, 1910-1920

Series 8: Bakelite Company, 1887-1945

Series 9, Patents, 1894-1940

Series 10: Bakelite Corporation Ledgers, 1910-1924; 1935; 1939

Series 11: Photographs, 1889-1950 and undated

Subseries 11.1: Photographs, 1889-1950 and undated

Subseries 11.2: Film Negatives, 1900-1941 and undated

Subseries 11.3: Photoprints, 1894-1941

Subseries 11.4: Stereographs, 1888-1902 and undated

Subseries 11.5: Film and Glass Plate Negatives, 1899-1900 and undated

Series 12: Audio Materials, 1976
Biographical / Historical:
Leo Hendrik Baekeland was an industrial chemist famous for his invention of Bakelite, the first moldable synthetic polymer, and for his invention of Velox photographic paper. Baekeland's career as an inventor and innovator was punctuated by an urge to improve existing technologies and a willingness to experiment both meticulously and daringly. Born in Ghent, Belgium in 1863, Baekeland was a distinguished chemistry student and became a young professor at the University of Ghent. He had a long standing interest in photography and sought to further photographic technology with his expertise in chemistry. In 1887 he obtained his first patent for a dry plate which contained its own developer and could be developed in a tray of water. With the support of a business partner/faculty associate, Jules Guequier, he formed a company named Baekeland et Cie to produce the plate, but the venture failed due to lack of capital.

On August 8, 1889, he married Celine Swarts, daughter of his academic mentor Theodore Swarts, Dean of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Ghent. After his wedding he travelled to different countries using a traveling scholarship he had been awarded two years previously. His travels ended in the United States where he was offered a job researching chemical problems associated with manufacturing bromide papers and films with A. and H.T. Anthony and Company, a photographic supply producer. Leo and Celine Baekeland had three children: George, Nina and Jenny (1890-1895).

He left Anthony and Company in 1891 to be a consulting chemist. During that time he invented a photographic print paper using silver chloride which could be developed in artificial light instead of sunlight and thus offered more flexibility and consistency to photographers. In 1893, with financial support from Leonard Jacobi, a scrap metal dealer from San Francisco, he formed the Nepera Chemical Company in Yonkers, New York, to manufacture "gaslight" paper under the trade name Velox. The paper became quite popular and the company expanded its operations after its first three years. Finally, George Eastman bought the company for a reported $750,000 which afforded Baekeland the time to conduct his own research in a laboratory he set up on his estate, "Snug Rock," in Yonkers.

Baekeland worked on problems of electrolysis of salt and the production of synthetic resins. He was hired as a consultant to work with Clinton P. Townsend to perfect Townsend's patented electrolytic cell. Baekeland's work there contributed to the success of the Hooke Electrochemical Company which began in operations in Niagara Falls in 1905.

Simultaneously, in 1902 Baekeland began researching reactions of phenol and formaldehyde, and by 1907 was able to control the reactions and produce a moldable plastic (oxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride) which he named Bakelite. Although the process was not perfected for another couple of years, Baekeland applied for a patent for Bakelite right away. He announced his discovery to the scientific community in 1909, and in 1910 formed the General Bakelite Company. Bakelite was a thermosetting resin that, unlike Celluloid became permanently solid when heated. It was virtually impervious to heat, acids, or caustic substances. It could be molded into a wide variety of shapes and was an excellent electric insulator that came to replace hard rubber and amber for electrical and industrial applications. It was also suitable for a wide variety of consumer products such as billiard balls, jewelry, pot handles, telephones, toasters, electric plugs, and airplane instrument knobs. Two companies challenged Bakelite with significant competition, Condensite Corporation of America and Redmanol Chemical Products Company. Bakelite finally merged with these two companies in 1922 to become the Bakelite Corporation. Union Carbide finally bought the corporation in 1939.

Baekeland sustained his interest in photography by taking numerous photographs throughout his lifetime. He also devoted much of his spare time to professional societies and received various honorary degrees and awards such as the Perkin Medal. He had several hobbies such as boating, wine and beer making, and, exotic plants. He also traveled extensively throughout the world, which is documented in his diaries and photographs.

Baekeland spent his final years mostly in his Coconut Grove, Florida home where he became increasingly eccentric until his mind failed him and he was institutionalized. He died in 1943 at the age of eighty.

Scope and Content: Baekeland documented his life prolifically through diaries, laboratory notebooks, photographs, and correspondence. These constitute the bulk of the collection. The Bakelite company history is also incompletely documented in this collection through Baekeland's correspondence, the commercial laboratory notebooks, and some company ledgers.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Albany Billiard Ball Company Records (AC0011)

Celluloid Corporation Records (AC0009)

J. Harry DuBois Collection on the History of Plastics (AC0008)

Materials at Other Organizations

The Hagley Museum and Library, Manuscripts and Archives Department in Delaware also several related collections including: the Directors of Industrial Research Records, 1929 -982; the Du Pont Viscoloid Company, Survey of the Plastics Field, 1932; The Society of the Plastics Industry, 1937-1987; the Roy J. Plunkett Collection, 1910-1994 (inventor of Teflon); and the Gordon M. Kline Collection, 1903.
Separated Materials:
The National Museum of American History, Division Medicine and Science has several artifacts associated with Baekeland including the original "Bakalizer" the apparatus in which Bakelite was first made. See accession numbers: 1977.0368; 1979.1179; 1981.0976; 1982.0034; 1983.0524; 1984.0138.
Provenance:
The bulk of the collection was donated to the National Museum of American History's Division of Physical Sciences in November, 1981, by Celine Karraker, Leo H. Baekeland's granddaughter.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Phenolic resins  Search this
Travel -- Photographs  Search this
Chemists -- 1880-1970  Search this
Inventors -- 1880-1970  Search this
Plastics -- 1880-1970  Search this
Chemistry  Search this
Genre/Form:
Professional papers -- 1880-1970
Clippings -- 1880-1970
Laboratory notes
Personal correspondence -- 1880-1970
Photographs -- Black-and-white negatives -- Glass -- 19th-20th century
Notebooks -- 1880-1970
Diaries -- 1880-1970
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 19th-20th century
Photographs -- Black-and-white negatives -- Nitrate -- 19th-20th century
Citation:
Leo Baekeland Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0005
See more items in:
Leo H. Baekeland Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep846e88df6-033d-4805-99e2-b308002a75f4
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0005
Online Media:

Jane Teller papers

Creator:
Teller, Jane  Search this
Names:
Albright-Knox Art Gallery  Search this
Montclair Art Museum  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
National Council on the Aging  Search this
Newark Museum  Search this
Noyes Museum  Search this
Parma Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Princeton Gallery of Fine Art  Search this
Squibb Gallery (Princeton, N.J.)  Search this
Whitney Museum of American Art  Search this
Brodsky, Judith K.  Search this
Caparn, Rhys, 1909-1997  Search this
Dehner, Dorothy, 1901-1994  Search this
Fuller, Sue, 1914-  Search this
Gatch, Lee, 1902-1968  Search this
Johnson, Margaret K. (Margaret Kennard)  Search this
Kadish, Reuben, 1913-1992  Search this
Lamis, Leroy, 1925-  Search this
Lassaw, Ibram, 1913-2003  Search this
Siskind, Aaron  Search this
Extent:
8.6 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Video recordings
Interviews
Prints
Sketchbooks
Slides (photographs)
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sketches
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Sound recordings
Date:
1911-1991
Summary:
The papers of printmaker and sculptor Jane Teller measure 8.6 linear feet and date from 1911 to 1991. The papers include biographical materials, correspondence, business records, notes, writings, three sketchbooks, sketches and prints, five scrapbooks, printed material, subject files, photographs, sound and video recordings, and motion picture film.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of printmaker and sculptor Jane Teller measure 8.6 linear feet and date from 1911 to 1991. The papers include biographical materials, correspondence, business records, notes, writings, three sketchbooks, sketches and prints, five scrapbooks, printed material, subject files, photographs, sound and video recordings, and motion picture film.

Biographical material includes a birth certificate, school work, and passports. General correspondence includes letters from several artists including Rhys Caparn, Sue Fuller and Lee Gatch, and from art galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Additional correspondence is found in the Subject Files.

Business records include an account book, lists of expenses and prices of art works, and sales records. Notes and writings include Teller's notes about art and travel, artists' statements, autobiographical writings, and a compilation of many artists' statements regarding "The Nine Bean Question."

Artwork includes three sketchbooks, 30 sketches and three prints primarily depicting nature and sculpture designs.

Five scrapbooks contain clippings, exbition announcements and catalogs. Additional printed material includes magazines, exhibition announcements and catalogs, a booklet by Teller entitled Art, Age and the River, published posthumously by her husband, and a manuscript of Poems or Poetic Expressions of Sculptors, collected by L. Lamis.

Subject files are arranged by name or subject and may contain letters, photographs, and printed material. Many of the files focus on galleries and museums, including the Montclair Art Museum, the Newark Museum, Noyes Museum, Parma Gallery, the Princeton Gallery of Fine Art and the Squibb Gallery. There are also subject files for associations, travel, projects, and colleagues including Margaret K. Johnson, Reuben Kadish, Ibram Lassaw, Aaron Siskind and Dorothy Dehner.

Photographs and slides depict Teller, her friends, works, gallery installations, and travels. Also included are photographs of trees, bark, and other natural formations used by Teller in her work.

The audio-visual materials include several sound recordings, videocassettes and 16 mm motion picture films. The videocassettes include television programs in which Teller, printmaker Judith Brodsky and actor Harry Hamlin are interviewed, a retrospective at Skidmore College and a film featuring Teller speaking for the National Council on Aging. Sound recordings include two interviews and a "Talk on Malta" by Teller and Joan Needham. The 16 mm films are black and white footage of Teller's first Parma Gallery show.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 11 series. Records are generally arranged by material type and chronologically thereafter.

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1911-1985 (Box 1; 4 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1956-1991 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 3: Business Records, 1961-1990 (Box 1; 5 folders)

Series 4: Notes, 1960-1987 (Box 1; 13 folders)

Series 5: Writings, 1960-1989 (Boxes 1 and 9; 5 folders)

Series 6: Artwork, circa 1950s (Boxes 1 and 9; 6 folders)

Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1948-1990 (Boxes 1-2; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1957-1991 (Boxes 2-3 and 9; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 9: Subject Files, 1951-1990 (Boxes 3-5; 2.5 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographs, 1934-1985 (Boxes 5-9; 2.5 linear feet)

Series 11: Audio-Visual Materials, 1961-1989 (Box 8, FC 10-12; 0.6 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Jane Teller (1911-1990) worked as a printmaker and sculptor primarily in New Jersey. She specialized in working with wood and studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Skidmore College, and Barnard College. She also attended Federal Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) classes in New York City, studying sculpture with Aaron J. Goodelman and wood carving with Karl Nielson. She later studied welding in the studio of Ibram Lassaw. She was also a lifelong friend of photographer Aaron Siskind. In 1960, she was awarded the Mary and Gustave Kellner Prize at the National Association of Women Artists Annual Exhibition at the National Academy of Design in New York, and in 1966 the Sculpture Prize at the Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition, Philadelphia Art Alliance in Philadelphia. She exhibited mainly in New York and New Jersey and was married to author and editor Walter Teller.
Provenance:
The Jane Teller papers were donated by Jane Teller in 1990 and in 1991 by Walter Teller, widower of Jane Teller.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Printmakers -- New Jersey  Search this
Sculptors -- New Jersey  Search this
Topic:
Printmakers -- New Jersey  Search this
Sculpture, Modern -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women sculptors  Search this
Women printmakers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Interviews
Prints
Sketchbooks
Slides (photographs)
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sketches
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Sound recordings
Citation:
Jane Teller papers, 1911-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.telljane
See more items in:
Jane Teller papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw95c6d3902-ef80-4ea1-ba58-b2abe402072c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-telljane

Frank A. Robinson Farm Account Book

Author:
Robinson, Frank A., 1883-1970  Search this
Collector:
Robinson, Franklin A., Jr., 1959- (actor, writer)  Search this
Donor:
Robinson, Franklin A., Jr., 1959- (actor, writer)  Search this
Collection Collector:
Robinson, Franklin A., Jr., 1959- (actor)  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Ink on paper., 9.4" x 14.6".)
Container:
Box 1, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Biographies
Diaries
Holographs
Place:
Maryland -- 20th century
Date:
1916-1921
January 1, 1917 to January 1, 1918
Scope and Contents:
January 1, 1917 / to January 1, 1918. Ragged label pasted on cover with Robinson's name and the dates of the hournal. .The journal details Frank A. Robinson's family farm business. He writes of the daily business expenses of their south Maryland farm. It sheds light on the basic farm business in the Chesapeake and Maryland area.
Local Numbers:
AC0475-0000268.tif (AC scan)
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but negatives and audiovisuial materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to the donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Agriculture -- Maryland -- 20th century  Search this
Farming  Search this
Family -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Biographies
Diaries -- 20th century
Holographs -- 20th century
Collection Citation:
The Robinson and Via Family Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Robinson and Via Family Papers
Robinson and Via Family Papers / Series 1: Ferndale Farm (Potomac Landing), Prince George's County, Maryland / 1.1: Farm papers, income and expense, ephemera, publications
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep83ae6c2a3-d929-4133-a6d7-0f40f8361583
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0475-ref25

William D. Stone General Store Ledger Book and Papers

Creator:
Stone, William Dickinson, 1836-1908  Search this
Donor:
Perdue, Crispin  Search this
Extent:
0.3 Cubic feet (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Financial records
Ledgers (account books)
Place:
Novelty (Va.)
Virginia -- 19th century
Date:
1865-2003
bulk 1865-1885
Summary:
A general store ledger and business papers from the William D. Stone General Store located in Franklin County, Virginia and a Stone and Parker family history.
Scope and Contents:
The William D. Stone General Store Ledger and Papers consists of a ledger book from a general store in Franklin County, Virginia, containing account information about products purchased, by whom, and the prices paid for a two year period, 1865-1867. The ledger is comparable to other general store ledgers of the time in what it documents and records. There is one folder of assorted business papers containing legal papers, correspondence, promissory notes, and lists. There is also a folder containing a Stone and Parker family history written in 2003. The bulk of the materials covers the time period, 1865-1885.
Arrangement:
The collection is organized in one series.

Series 1: General Store Ledger and Papers, 1865-2003, undated
Biographical / Historical:
William Dickinson Stone (1836-1908) was the son of Edmond and Nancy Stone. He was born in Pittsylvania County, Viriginia. He joined the Confederate Army at Chatham, Pittsylvania County in May 1861. He served in Company F, 6th Virginia Cavalry for the duration of the war. He reportedly returned home from the war to find his land confiscated. He and his brother opened a country store at Novelty, Franklin County, Virginia, which he operated from 1865 until he married Mary Rosabelle Parker in 1867. He purchased a farm in Franklin County. They raised a family and left many descendants. Stone died in October 1908 and was buried in the Stone family cemetery, at Rocky Mount, Franklin County, Virginia.

What is commonly known as the general store grew out of farm store, or plantation store, culture. This was a store where landowners could sell goods and food stuffs produced on their own land while also speculating and selling goods imported from elsewhere. This later grew into the general store being independent of a particular farm and standing on its own as a mercantile establishment solely dependent on its own success as a store for survival. During the 19th century general stores were a common feature of many towns and rural by-ways. The stores carred general merchandise, a variety of goods and staples needed by the surrounding community. These general stores may also have functioned as post offices, trading centers, and local banks. Items often were bartered when ready cash was not available. General stores were not unique to any one region of the United States and while they may have been called by a different name in different parts of the country, they were a staple of the rural agarian lifestyle of the United States well into the early 20th century.
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, by Crispin Perdue in 2015.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Merchants -- 1860-1870  Search this
General stores -- 1860-1870  Search this
Civil War, 1861-1865  Search this
Commerce -- 1860-1870  Search this
Storekeepers -- 1860-1870  Search this
Genre/Form:
Financial records -- 1860-1870
Ledgers (account books) -- 1860-1870
Citation:
William D. Stone General Store Ledger Book, 1865-1867, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1358
See more items in:
William D. Stone General Store Ledger Book and Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep897dc5742-650f-4854-90de-6c14683a2259
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1358
Online Media:

W. Atlee Burpee & Company Records - Accretion 2

Creator:
W. Atlee Burpee Company  Search this
Burpee, W. Atlee (Washington Atlee), 1858-1915  Search this
Burpee, David, 1893-1980  Search this
Wm. Henry Maule (Firm)  Search this
James Vick's Sons (Rochester, N.Y.).  Search this
Extent:
200 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Trade catalogs
Business records
Commercial correspondence
Instructional materials
Ledgers (account books)
Date:
circa 1873-1980
Summary:
The W. Atlee Burpee & Company records, dated circa 1873-1986, document the firm's business activities developing plant varieties, working with contract seedsmen, and marketing and selling seeds. They include seed trial records, seed contracts, sales and acccounting records, inventories, office correspondence, seed catalogs, promotional and instructional materials, advertisements and advertising reports, contest letters, daybooks, photographs, reference materials, and other items relating to the company and some of its competitors. The collection also includes Burpee family papers.
Content Description:
This collection documents W. Atlee Burpee & Co., a mail-order seed company based in Philadelphia, from its early beginnings in 1876 when its founder, W. Atlee Burpee, started in the agricultural business, to the 1970s when his son, David Burpee, sold the firm. The collection also includes personal papers of the Burpee family dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.

Business-related content in the collection consists of crop propagation and management records; company correspondence; administrative and personnel records; advertising files; legal papers; property records and plans; reports, studies, and technical data; notes and drafts; files on professional outreach activities and events; trade literature (published by both the Burpee company and a number of its competitors); and awards and certificates received by the company. Significant topics documented in these files include the development of notable flower and vegetable varieties introduced by the company; the impact of World Wars I and II on gardening and the global seed trade; advertising strategies, technology, and innovation; and David Burpee's advocacy of the marigold as the national floral emblem of the United States.

The Burpee family papers consist of personal files unrelated to the company's business operations. These include records generated by W. Atlee's father (David Burpee, 1827-1882) and grandfather (Washington L. Atlee, 1808-1878), as well as W. Atlee's wife, Blanche (1863-1948); David Burpee (1893-1980) and his wife, Lois (1912-1984); and W. Atlee Burpee II (1894-1966). There are genealogical surveys conducted on both the Atlee and Burpee families as well as clippings about family members. W. Atlee and David Burpee's series are the most extensive, and cover their involvement with numerous social and philanthropic clubs and organizations. The series include personal correspondence; financial, accounting, and tax records; travel-related files; reference material; and will and estate papers.

The Burpee collection also has a large number of images related to the Burpee business and family in a variety of formats including photographs, film and glass plate negatives, and advertisement mock-ups. Other formats include architectural and site plans, original artwork for advertisements, films, cassettes, audio tapes, and ephemera.
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into six series:

Series 1: Plant/Farm Related Material Series 2: Business Records Series 3: Material Published About the Burpee Company Series 4: Awards and Certificates Series 5: Photographic and A/V Materials Series 6: Burpee Family Papers

The collection's original order was maintained wherever possible, though many records were found scattered throughout the collection and artificial files were necessarily created for them.

Most files are arranged chronologically or alphabetically by person or topic.

Various photographs interspersed in correspondence files were kept where they were originally found. All other photographic and audio/visual materials found on their own were grouped in Series 5 Photographic and A/V Material which documents aspects of both the Burpee company and Burpee family.
Biographical / Historical:
Washington Atlee Burpee (1858-1915) began a mail-order poultry and livestock business in 1876 in Philadelphia, which he soon expanded to include corn seed for chicken feed. In 1878, he founded W. Atlee Burpee & Co. to sell livestock and vegetable, fruit, and flower seeds through the mail. His company went on to become one of the most notable seed distributors in the world.

In 1888, W. Atlee bought a tract of land named Fordhook Farms in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. It was initially established as an experimental farm to test and evaluate new varieties of vegetables and flowers and to produce seeds for the mail-order market. Burpee spent many summers traveling throughout the United States and Europe visiting farms and searching for the best flowers and vegetables. Certain plants he found were shipped back to the firm for testing and propagation; other seeds were obtained through contracts with growers throughout the U.S., a practice common in the seed industry at that time. Promising varieties were bred with healthier specimens to produce hardier hybrids that were more resistant to disease. Other Burpee trial grounds were later established at Sunnybrook Farm near Swedesboro, New Jersey, and at Floradale Farms in Lompoc, California (1909/1910). The company went on to purchase more land for farming in California, and established sales branch headquarters in Sanford, Florida (circa 1930s), Clinton, Iowa (1942), and Riverside, California (1949).

W. Atlee Burpee married Blanche Simons (1863-1948) in 1892. They had three sons: David (1893-1980); W. Atlee Jr. ("Junior") (1894-1966); and Stuart Alexander (1901-1934). Both David and Junior attended the Blight School in Philadelphia for elementary school and Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana for preparatory school. While they both attended Cornell University as undergraduates, they left before graduating due to W. Atlee's poor health. Junior married Jeanetta Lee (1893-1981) in November, 1916, and they had two children: W. Atlee III (1917-1971) and Jeanette (1919-2002). David married Lois Torrance (1912-1984) in 1938, and they had two children: Johnathan (b. 1941) and Blanche (b. 1943). Stuart Alexander was apparently born with a disability; according to census records he worked on farms during his lifetime.

David Burpee took over the family business upon his father's death in 1915; W. Atlee Burpee, Jr. served as treasurer of the firm once he returned from serving in the military. At that time, the Burpee company had 300 employees and was the largest mail-order seed company in the world. It distributed over one million catalogs a year and received on average 10,000 orders a day. Under David's tutelage, the company adapted to contemporaneous shifts in business and advertising methods, advancements in plant science, ever-changing consumer demands, and two World Wars. In response to food shortages experienced during World War I, the Burpee company helped promote a "war gardens" campaign that evolved into a "victory gardens" campaign during World War II.

Both W. Atlee and David used their position as head of a major seed house to lobby congressional debates in regard to two topics: postage rates (W. Atlee) and the designation of a national floral emblem for the United States (David). Both men belonged to The Union League of Philadelphia and The Canadian Society of Philadelphia (which W. Atlee helped found), and served on the boards of directors for hospitals and other charitable organizations. Both father and son were politically aligned with the Republican Party.

The firm reorganized its governing structure in 1917 at which time it changed its name from W. Atlee Burpee & Co. to W. Atlee Burpee Co. Burpee's acquired three seed companies between 1878 and 1970: Luther Burbank Seed Company, James Vick's Seeds, Inc., and the William Henry Maule Company. David Burpee sold the company to the General Foods Corporation in 1970 and served as a consultant for the business until 1973. The Burpee brand was bought by its current owner, George J. Ball, Inc., in 1991.
General:
The project to process the W. Atlee Burpee & Co. Records received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
Related Materials:
Burpee seed catalogs donated to the Smithsonian in 1982 by the W. Atlee Burpee Co. can be found in the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History.

The Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division includes a series of images of Burpee company operations taken in 1943.

The Black Gold Cooperative Library System's Asian/Pacific - Americans on the Central Coast Collection includes images dated 1933-1939 of Japanese employees of the Burpee Co. working at Floradale Farms in Lompoc, California.
Restrictions:
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Topic:
Seed industry and trade  Search this
Mail-order business -- Catalogs  Search this
Gardens -- United States  Search this
Horticulture  Search this
Vegetables  Search this
Trial gardens  Search this
Victory gardens  Search this
Prize contests in advertising  Search this
Advertising, Newspaper -- 20th century  Search this
Advertising, magazine -- 20th century  Search this
Flower shows  Search this
Genre/Form:
Trade catalogs
Business records
Commercial correspondence
Instructional materials
Ledgers (account books)
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, W. Atlee Burpee & Company Records
Identifier:
AAG.BUR2
See more items in:
W. Atlee Burpee & Company Records - Accretion 2
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kb697bb6243-1e96-416d-b552-0925a2866fbc
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aag-bur2
Online Media:

Ledger from the Wayman Chapel A.M.E. Church in Lyles Station

Printed by:
Boorum & Pease Company, American, 1842 - 1985  Search this
Used by:
Wayman Chapel A.M.E. Church, American, founded 1887  Search this
Medium:
ink on paper
Dimensions:
H x W x D: 12 1/16 × 7 3/8 × 9/16 in. (30.7 × 18.7 × 1.5 cm)
H x W x D (closed): 12 1/8 × 7 1/2 × 5/8 in. (30.8 × 19.1 × 1.6 cm)
Type:
ledgers (account books)
Place used:
Lyles Station, Gibson County, Indiana, United states, North and Central America
Date:
late 19th - early 20th century
Topic:
African American  Search this
African Methodist Episcopal  Search this
Communities  Search this
Methodist  Search this
Religion  Search this
Rural life  Search this
The Black Church  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation
Object number:
2012.155.16
Restrictions & Rights:
No Known Copyright Restrictions
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification:
Documents and Published Materials-Business and Legal Documents
Exhibition:
Power of Place
On View:
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Community/Third Floor, 3 051
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/fd50ee50c8f-c269-444f-88a9-63af33261418
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmaahc_2012.155.16
Online Media:

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Lumber Industry and Trade

Creator:
Warshaw, Isadore, 1900-1969  Search this
Extent:
4.58 Cubic feet (consisting of 10 boxes, 1 folder, 3 oversize folders.)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Technical reports
Business cards
Business letters
Manufacturers' catalogs
Advertisements
Business ephemera
Advertising cards
Receipts
Invoices
Printed material
Sales letters
Commercial catalogs
Trade cards
Technical manuals
Publications
Legal documents
Trade catalogs
Printed ephemera
Trade literature
Sales catalogs
Manuals
Printed materials
Catalogues
Advertising mail
Print advertising
Catalogs
Correspondence
Ephemera
Reports
Advertising
Business records
Sales records
Illustrations
Letterheads
Advertising fliers
Date:
1790-1965
bulk 1840-1945
Summary:
A New York bookseller, Warshaw assembled this collection over nearly fifty years. The Warshaw Collection of Business Americana: Accounting and Bookkeeping forms part of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Subseries 1.1: Subject Categories. The Subject Categories subseries is divided into 470 subject categories based on those created by Mr. Warshaw. These subject categories include topical subjects, types or forms of material, people, organizations, historical events, and other categories. An overview to the entire Warshaw collection is available here: Warshaw Collection of Business Americana
Scope and Contents:
Materials in this category document the commercial lumber trade of both raw and finished material by producers, dealers, and wholesalers. The application of lumber in residential and commercial building is well-represented, as well as other uses such as infrastructure use in railroad ties, telephones, and marine building.

Documents include receipts and invoices, correspondence, a lumber account book, advertisements, association documents, business cards, caricature, images, import/ export documents, legal documents, patents, preservation, price lists, product samples, publications, shipping and receiving documents, and trade literature.

No extensive runs or complete records exist for any single company or brand, and there is no detailed information for any single subtopic though some publications may provide general and historical overviews of a person, company, or facet of industry.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into three subseries.

Series 1: Business Records and Marketing Material, 1790-1930

Series 2: Genre, 1848-1952

Series 3: Subject, 1876-1965

Business Records and Marketing Material

Genre

Subject
Partial List of Company Names:
Alcott, C.W. & Son Lumber Dealers, New York

Allen, Gillingham & Company, Lumber Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Allen & Knight Lumber Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Allston

American Hard Wood Manufacturing Association

American Hoist and Derrick Company, Saint Paul, Minnesota

American Lumber & Manufacturing Company

American Tie & Timber Company Incorporated

American Vulcanizing Wood & Lumber Company

American Wood Carbolizing Company , New York

Anderson & Ailing

Archibald Lumber & Tie Company

Arlington Lumber Company , Condon, Oregon

Armsby, Morse & Company , Lumber Dealers, Millbury, MA

Arnold, Folsom & Company , Commission Lumber Dealers, Albany, New York

Atlantic Lumber Company, Buffalo, NY

Atwater, W.H.

Atwood & Company, J.B.

Auger & Son, Quebec

Ayers, Dr. A.B.,

Backus & Brother, Lumber Manufacturers & Whole Dealers, Detroit, MI

Barlett Brothers Mfg. Company, Roby's Corner, NH

Barnes, Lawrence Lumber Company , Burlington, Vermont

Baxter, G.S. & Company, Lumber Manufacturers and Shipping, Jacksonville, Florida

Baxter, George S.

Bearden, R.B., St. Louis, MO

Beecher & Sillimand, Albann, NH

Bell brothers Timber Dealers, NY

Bender, Wendell

Bennet & Company , Wholesale Lumber

Bennet, Ray H. Lumber Company, North Tonawanda, NY

Bennet & Dimon, Manufacturers and Wholesale Dealers in Lumber, Niles Valley, PA

Bigler & Son's Saw Mills, Timber and Lumber Dealers, New York, NY

Bingham, Herbert S., Wholesale Lumber, Scranton, PA

Binkley & Nielson Timber Company, Niagara Falls, NY

Birch, S.M., Wholesale Lumber Merchant

Blakeslee, Charles L. Lumber Mfg. Co., Albany, NY

C.L. Blakeslee & Son Mfg. Co., Albany, New York

Blakeslee Lumber Co., Albany, NY

Bliss, J.A., Mfg. & Dealer in Lumber, Tonawanda, NY

Boyd, Herbert A., Huntington, West Va.

Brown, Bowman & Bledsoe, Lumber, Baltimore, MD

Buell, Guy I., Spring Hope, NC

Burgoyne, C.R., Pensacola, Florida

Burton, B.P., Wholesale Lumber Commission Merchant, Philadelphia, PA

Butler, J.H. & Brother Inc., Yonkers, NY

Cameron & Hawn, General Lumber Dealers, Albany, New York

Carolina Lumber Mfg. Co., Greenville, SC

Carr Lumber Company, Pisgah Forest, NC

Cate, L.G., Manufacturer of Lumber, Jacksonville, Florida

Chicago Car Lumber Co., Manufacturers and Wholesalers of Lumber, Chicago, IL

Chicago House Wrecking Co. (Harris Brothers Co.), Chicago, IL

Clark & Smith Saw Mill, Boston, MA

Clifford, S.L., Lumber Manufacturers, North Haverhill, N.H.

Clark & Sumner, Wholesale Lumber Merchants, Albany, New York

Consolidated Lumber Co., Savannah, Georgia

Converse, A. Place Lumber Company, Manufacturers, Wholesale, and Retail Dealers in Lumber, Dover, NH

Coolbaugh, C.C. & Son Co., Philadelphia, PA

Cornplanter Lumber Company, The, Buffalo, New York

Crane, W.B. and Co., Hardwood Lumber, Timber, and ties, Chicago, IL

Crane, Dr. H.A., Lumber & Timber Dealer

Curtis Moldings and Trim, Clinton, Iowa

Cutter, H. & Co., Mahogany & Fancy Wood Dealers

Cutting, Frank A., Hemlock Bark Dealer, Boston, MA

Cypress Lumber Co., The, Boston, MA

Dalton & Kibber, Dealers in All Kinds of Lumber, Albany, NY

Dart & Brothers, Rough and Dressed Lumber, Buffalo, NY

Deacon, H.R., Wholesale and Retail Lumber Yard, Philadelphia, PA

Deep River Lumber Corporation, Norfolk, VA

Deering, Rufus & Co., Lumber Dealers, Portland, Oregon

Deimel, H.A. Lumber Dealer, Herkimer, NY

Demeritt & Burnham, Wood and Lumber Dealers

Dexter & Noble, Manufacturers of Lumber, Elk Rapids, MI

Dickinson Bros., Ridgway, Pa

Dodd, C.H., DeRidder, LA

Dodge & Bliss Company, Manufacturers and Dealers in Lumber, Jersey City, NJ

Douglass, John & Sons, Wholesale Lumber Merchants, Albany, NY

Douglass, Saxe & Co., Wholesale Lumber Commission, Albany, NY

Downer & Kellogg, Dr., Dealers in Rough and Dressed Lumber, Utica, NY

Duker, Otto & Co., Steam Planning Mills & Lumber Yards

Dunham, Greene & Co., Commission Lumber Merchants, Albany, NY

Eagle Square Manufacturing Co., South Shaftsbury, Vermont

Earle, T. & O.K., Building and Finishing Lumber, Worchester, MA

Easton, C.P., Wholesale dealer in Lumber, Albany, NY

Eccleston Lumber Co. Manufacturers, New York, NY

Elias, G. & Bros., Timber and Lumber, Buffalo, NY

Eschenbach, John N., Lumber Company, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Este, Charles, Lumber Merchant, Philadelphia, PA

Etter, Siple & Carmany's, Steam Saw Mills, Dauphin, PA

Fee, Frank F., Dermott, Arkansas

Fogg, Ezra D., Lumber Commission Merchant, Providence, RI

Forest Lumber Co., Pittsburgh ~ Philadelphia, PA

Gage, Dr. C. & J.C., Manufacturers and Dealers in Wood and Lumber, Fisherville, NH

Ganahl, John J. Lumber Co., St. Louis, MO

Garret and Edward Green, New York

Garrison, S.B., Steam Mill and Lumber Yard, Camden, NJ

Gaskill, J.W. & Sons, Lumber commission Merchants, Philadelphia, PA

Gibsons' Albany Steam Planning and Saw Mills, Albany, New York

Gratwick, William H. & Co., Wholesale Lumber Merchants, Albany, NY

Grayson & Cain, All Kinds Hardwood Lumber, Washington, DC

Green, Charles S., Manufacturers of Hemlock and Hard Wood Lumber, Roaring Branch, PA

Grieme, H.C. Co., Lumber Brick and Building Material, Amsterdam, NY

Griffin Lumber Company, Wholesale Lumber and Retail, Sandy Hill, NY

Hallam Lumber Company, Wholesale Georgia Long Leaf Pine, Macon, Georgia

Hamm, C.H. & Co., Manufacturers of and Dealers in all kinds of Long and Short Lumber, Boston, MA

Hanna, C.W. & Co., Dover, Kentucky

Harbert, Russell & Co., Lumber Merchants, Philadelphia, PA

Harriman, Abel H. and Co., Manufacturers of Hogshead Shooks, Bridgton, Maine

Harrisburg Car Company's Saw Mill and Lumber Yards, Harrisburg, PA

Harrington, F.C., Dealer in Lumber, Philadelphia, PA

Harrod & Fernald, Boston, MA

Hartmann-Sanders Co., Chicago & New York

Hartough, P.C. & Co., Timber Dealers, New York, NY

Hawley, F.B., Albany, New York

Hawley, F.B., Albany, New York

Hawley, H.Q. & Co., Dr., Albany, New York

Headlam, Wm. & Sons, Albany, New York

Heinemann, B. Lumber Co., Wausau, Wisconsin

Henry & Carter, Commission Lumber Merchants, Albany, NY

Higbie, Douglas & co., Commission Lumber Dealers, Albany, NY

Hiram Hill, Hard wood Lumber Dealer, Providence, RI

Hines, Edward Lumber Co., Chicago, IL

Hoagland, George A., Wholesale Lumber Dealers, Omaha, NE

Houtz, D.K. & Co., Wholesale and Retail Lumber Merchants, Philadelphia, PA

Hughes Bros. & Co., Pine Lumber & Shingles, Lapeen, MI

Hunsicker, Henry A., Lumber Merchant, Philadelphia, PA

Hunter, Dexter, Lumber Merchant, Albany, NY

Hunter, Gilbert & Son, Lumber Merchants, Albany, NY

Hutton & Bourbonnais Co., Manufacturers of Lumber, Hickory, NC

Hutton, William, Dr., Lumber Dealer, Rondent, NY

Insuliter, The, Minneapolis, Minnesota

International Lumber and Development, Philadelphia, PA

Kraetzer-Cured Lumber Co., Moorehead, Mississippi

Kramer, H. & Bro., Lumber, Shingles, Flooring, Maria Stein, Ohio

Jones, R.T. Lumber Co., North Tonawanda, NY

Jackson, J.C. & Co., Lumber and Timber, Lockport, NY

Janney, Samuel S., Lumber Merchant, Philadelphia, PA

Johnson & Sons, Lumber Commission Merchants, Baltimore, MD

Jones, R.T. Lumber Co., North Tonawanda, NY

Joslin, John H., Eastern and Western Lumber, Providence, RI

Lesh & Matthews, Warsaw, Indiana

Levering, W.A. Lumber Commission Merchant, Philadelphia, PA

Lieberman, Loveman & O'Brien, Manufacturers of Rough and Dressed Lumber, Nashville, Tennessee

Lloyd, William m. & Co., Lumber dealers, Philadelphia, PA

Long Bell Lumber Co., Kansas City, MO

Loud's, H.M. Sons Co., North Tonawanda, NY

Loyal Lovejoy & Co., Lumber Dealers, Boston, MA

Lumber-Trade-Journal, New Orleans, LA

Lumbermen's Rail and Equipment Bureau, Chicago, IL

Luther, T.C., Forest Products and Wholesalers

Lyons Lumber Company, Lyons, Iowa

Marquette-Bailey lumber Company, Lumber Manufacturers, Lock Haven, PA

Maule & Brothers, Dr., Lumber Merchants, Philadelphia, PA

Maule & Donohue, Dr., Lumber Dealers, Philadelphia, PA

McClave Brothers, Lumber Dealers, New York, NY

McClave, E.W. & Co., Dealers in Yellow Pine, New York, NY

McCullough & bro., Dealers in Lumber, Coal and Lime, Hills Landing

McKee, W.I. Lumber Co., Manufacturers and Wholesalers, Quincy, IL

McLean, John S., New York, NY

Mead, Dunham & Co., Commission Lumber Merchants, Albany, NY

Menzies, William Timber Dealer, New York

Menzies, Viele & MAther, New York

Merchants Mutual Building Material Assn., New York

Millard Lumber Co., New York

Millard's, W. Sons Wholesale Lumber Dealers, New Hamburgh, NY

Millener, J.H. & Co., Manufacturer & Dealer of Building Timber, Tonawanda, NY

Modoc Lumber Co., Chiloqin, Oregon

Montgomery & Co. Lumber Manufacuters, Grand Rapids, MI

Moore, David Com. Lumber Merchants & Co., Newburgh, NY

Moore & McClung Retail and Wholesale Dealers, Newburgh, NY

Moore, R.H. & Zimmerman Lumber Dealers, Albany, NY

Morse and Company Wholesale and Manufacturers, Bangor, Maine

Morse, Wm. B. & Co., Pine and Hemlock Lumber, Rochester, NY

Morton, Black & Bro., Coal and Lumber Merchants, Chester Dock, PA

Mueller, Charles of Lumber, Lath, Davenport, Iowa

Munson, J.L. Lumber Dealer, Chapinville, NY

New England Baled Shavings Co., Albany, NY

Niedermeyer-Martin Lumber Co., Portland, Oregon

Northwestern Compo-Board Co., Minneapolis, Minn.

Park & Nelson Wholesale and Manufacturing, Redwing, Minn.

Patterson, J.E. & Co. Lumber dealers, Pittston, PA

Pease Co., The, Cincinnati, Ohio

Peckham, Wolf & Co., Wholesale and Retail Manufacturers, Schenectady, NY

Potter, James A. Retail Dealer, Providence, RI

Rathbun, Joshua & Co., Albany, NY

Reeves, Ward S. Lumber Dealer, Astoria, LA City

Remsdells & Co., Lumber Dealers, Savannah, NY

Riley, Thomas R., Dr., Lumber dealer, Washington, D.C.

Ruggles White Pine Co., Inc., Boston, MA

Salisbury & Co., Commision Wholesale Merchants, Albany, New York

Scott, Alexander & Son, Lumber Dealer, Concordville, PA

Shepard, Dave & Co. Whalesale Lumber Dealers, Burlington, Vermont

Shryock, Thom Wholesale Lumber, Baltimore, MD

Simons & Griswold Lumber retail & Wholesale Dealers, Albany, NY

Skillings, D.N. & Co., Lumber Dealers, Boston, MA

Skillings, Whitney Bros. & Barnes, Boston, MA & Albany, NY

Slocum, H.W., Lumber Retail Dealer, Providence, RI

Slocum, J.L. , Lumber Dealers, Providence, RI

Snoqualmie Falls, Lumber Co., Snoqualmie Falls, Washington

Southern Cyress, Jacksonville, Fla.

Steam Saw Mills, Winsted, Wisconsin

Stetson & Pope Timber Dealers, Boston, MA

Stetson & Post Lumber Co., Seattle, WA

Streight, A.D. Wholesale Dealer and Manufacturers of Lumber, Indianapolis, Ind.

Sullivan, C.F. Pacific Coast Lumber, Buffalo, NY

Sumner & Hascy , Commission Lumber Merchant, Albany, NY

Taylor & Mendenhall

Taylor, William Lumber Dealers, Troy, NY

Taylor & Crate Lumber Dealers, Buffalo, NY

Titcomb, F.W. Wholesale Manufacturer, Houlton, Maine

Thomas & Hyatt Commission Lumber Merchants, Albany, NY

Thompson, Benj. & Co., Wholesale Dealers, Charlestown

Thomson, L. & Co., Wholesale Lumber Dealers, Albany, NY

Timber Engineering Company

Timber Structure Inc.

Towner, B.A. & Son, Wholesale Lumber Dealers, Albany, NY

Upson Company

Towner, J.O. & Co., Wholesale Lumber Dealers, Albany, NY

Trask & Clark Wholesale Dealers, Woonsocket

Tucker & Kelly , Wholesale Lumber Dealers, Albany, NY

Turck, William Wholesale & Retail Lumber Co.

Uhler, Peter Timber Manufacturer, Easton, PA

United States Gypsum Company

United States Plywood Co.

Vandemark, S. & Sons

Vanderbilt & Hopkins, Dealers and Manufacturers of Lumber

Vanderbeek & Sons

Vandenburg, H.L. & Co.

Valley Tie & Timber Co.

Veneer Assn.

Virginia Tie & Lumber Co., Virginia

Vose, Rodney, Lumber Merchant & Forwarder

Ward, J.C. & Son

West Coast Lumberman's Assn., Seattle, Washington

Weyerhaeuser Forest Products

White, John T. & Son, Philadelphia, PA

White, Loveland, & Co.

Whitney, Baxter D. & Son, Inc., Wichendon, MA

White Pine

Whitney, C.D. Jr. & Co., Wholesale Lumber Dealers, Albany, NY

Williams, C.P. & Co., Wholesale Lumber Dealers, Albany, NY

Williams, J.J. & F.H., Lumber Merchants, Philadelphia, PA

Williams, R.D. & J.J. , Lumber Merchants, Philadelphia, PA

Williamsport & Philade Lumber Co., Philadelphia, PA

Williamstown and Redfield, Railroad & Forest Co.

Wisconsin Valley Lumbermen's Association

Wood, Joshua Lumber Co., New York

Wood Preserving Co., New York

Yellow Pine Commission Lumber De3alers, Brooklyn, NY

Yellow Pine Manufacturers' Association, St. Louis, MO

Young, A., & P.B. Wholesalers and Retail Dealers, Hiram, Maine

Young, B.E. & Co. Lumber Dealers, Annandale, NJ

Youngs & Corley Lumber Dealers & Box Makers, New York

Zellerbach Corp.
Forms Part Of:
Forms part of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana.

Series 1: Business Ephemera

Series 2: Other Collection Divisions

Series 3: Isadore Warshaw Personal Papers

Series 4: Photographic Reference Material
Provenance:
Lumber Trade and Industry is a portion of the Business Ephemera Series of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Accession AC0060 purchased from Isadore Warshaw in 1967. Warshaw continued to accumulate similar material until his death, which was donated in 1971 by his widow, Augusta. For a period after acquisition, related materials from other sources (of mixed provenance) were added to the collection so there may be content produced or published after Warshaw's death in 1969. This practice has since ceased.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Some items may be restricted due to fragile condition.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Sales promotion  Search this
Patents  Search this
Wood  Search this
Periodicals  Search this
Sawmills  Search this
Lumber trade -- 19th century  Search this
Logging  Search this
Manufacturing  Search this
Consumer goods -- Catalogs  Search this
Genre/Form:
Technical reports
Business cards
Business letters
Manufacturers' catalogs
Advertisements
Business ephemera
Advertising cards
Receipts
Invoices
Printed material
Sales letters
Commercial catalogs
Trade cards
Technical manuals -- 20th century
Publications
Legal documents
Trade catalogs
Printed ephemera
Trade literature
Sales catalogs
Manuals
Printed materials
Catalogues
Advertising mail
Print advertising
Catalogs
Correspondence
Publications -- Business
Ephemera
Reports
Advertising
Business records
Sales records
Illustrations
Letterheads
Advertising fliers
Citation:
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Lumber Trade and Industry, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0060.S01.01.Lumber
See more items in:
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Lumber Industry and Trade
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8a8a7cc07-6fc0-4a2c-8432-79a4ab6aab3a
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0060-s01-01-lumber

Henson Family Papers

Creator:
Henson family  Search this
Names:
Henson family  Search this
Henson, Tobias  Search this
Extent:
0.18 Linear feet (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Leaflets
Correspondence
Financial records
Newsletters
Account books
Receipts
Legal documents
Place:
Washington (D.C.)
Anacostia (Washington, D.C.)
Date:
1818-1943
bulk 1830-1900
Summary:
The Henson Family papers, which date from 1818 to 1943 and measure 0.18 linear feet, document the activities of Tobias Henson and his descendants. The papers are comprised of booklets, correspondence, legal documents, and receipts.
Scope and Contents:
This collection documents the activities of Tobias Henson and his descendants between 1818 and 1943. It contains materials related to the Hensons' financial and legal activities. Included in the collection are booklets, correspondence, deeds and titles, legal documents, and receipts.

Arrangement The papers are organized into four series. The content of each series is arranged alphabetically. The series are arranged as follows:

Series I: Financial Records Series II: Legal Records Series III: Printed Materials Series IV: Miscellaneous
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged by series: 1) Financial Records, 2) Legal Records, 3) Printed Materials, 4) Miscellaneous.
Biographical/Historical note:
The history of the Hensons begins with the family's patriarch, Tobias Henson. Mr. Henson was a slave in the Washington, DC area during the 18th and 19th centuries and, given his family's history, it is apparent that he was a man with an ambitious mission: to attain the American dream. He had two tasks to accomplish if he were to see his dream realized. First he had to gain freedom for himself and his family. Second he had to purchase property upon which he could build a home, and from which he could earn a living.

He took the first step in 1813 when he purchased himself from his slave master, thus gaining his freedom. Next he purchased his wife, Elizabeth. In April of 1832 Mr. Henson purchased his daughter Matlinda Smith and her three children. In May of the following year he purchased his second daughter Mary Anderson.

With these purchases, Tobias Henson became a slaveholder, with his wife and children his slaves. Ever resourceful, Mr. Henson used this to his advantage; he rented out his daughters for income and used them as collateral for loans. With the income he generated, he purchased the freedom of his other family members. In fact, he used his daughters, Matlinda and Mary, as collateral for a loan he acquired to purchase Mary's freedom.

In addition to purchasing his freedom in 1813, Tobias Henson entered into an agreement to buy land in the Anacostia section of Washington, DC. The land, named the Ridge, consisted of twenty-four acres located in the Congress Heights section of Anacostia. He made payments on the Ridge until 1826, at which time he made the final payment and became the legal owner. Initially Mr. Henson farmed the land, but as his family grew he subdivided the acreage so that the members of his family could experience their own American dream.

Over the subsequent decades members of the Henson family continued to purchase land in the area surrounding the Ridge; at one point they were one of the largest landowners in the Anacostia section of Washington, DC. The family maintained residence on various parts of the land from the time of its purchase until the middle of the 20th century. Title records filed with the District of Columbia show that, in 1931, the portion of the Ridge that Tobias Henson gave to his grandson, Richard Smith, was still in possession of his descendants. But that was the exception. Most of the Henson family's real estate was either sold or "taken" by the government under the auspices of eminent domain. Just a decade after this title was filed, the federal government made plans to take what remained of the Ridge.

The family did all they could to save the legacy of Tobias Henson. They contacted local and federal government officials in an attempt to stave off what would amount to the destruction of an important piece of black history dating from antebellum Washington, DC. When they had exhausted all of the possibilities, they made a last ditch appeal to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. In a 1943 letter they pleaded,

At the present there are some thirteen or fourteen families living on this land, which is still designated as the Ridge, and with only one or two exceptions, these families are the direct descendants of Tobian [sic] Henson…we do not feel that taking our homes will aid in the War Effort or in the Ideals of Democracy.

Unfortunately, their plea went unanswered; the land was taken by the government and the houses thereon where razed.
Related Materials:
Anacostia Historical Society Records.
Restrictions:
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
Topic:
Slavery -- United States  Search this
African American military personnel  Search this
Free blacks  Search this
African Education Society  Search this
American Colonization Society  Search this
Public housing  Search this
Eminent domain  Search this
African American neighborhoods  Search this
Freedmen  Search this
African American families  Search this
Genre/Form:
Leaflets
Correspondence
Financial records
Newsletters
Account books
Receipts
Legal documents
Citation:
Henson family papers, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Dr. Myrtle Henson.
Identifier:
ACMA.06-030
See more items in:
Henson Family Papers
Archival Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/qa7097e977b-a52f-4705-be73-b4e5e4c62659
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-acma-06-030
Online Media:

W. Atlee Burpee & Company records

Creator:
W. Atlee Burpee Company  Search this
Burpee, W. Atlee (Washington Atlee), 1858-1915  Search this
Burpee, David, 1893-1980  Search this
James Vick's Sons (Rochester, N.Y.).  Search this
Wm. Henry Maule (Firm)  Search this
Extent:
201 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Advertising
Business records
Correspondence
Account books
Pamphlets
Trade catalogs
Date:
circa 1873-1986
bulk 1890-1930
Summary:
The W. Atlee Burpee & Company records, dated circa 1873-1986, document the firm's business activities developing plant varieties and marketing and selling seeds. They include accounting records, seed trial records, seed contracts, sales records, inventories, office correspondence, seed catalogs, promotional and instructional materials, advertisements and advertising reports, contest letters, daybooks, photographs, reference materials, and other items relating to the company and some of its competitors.
Scope and Contents:
This collection documents W. Atlee Burpee & Co., a mail-order seed company based in Philadelphia, from its early beginnings in 1876 when its founder, W. Atlee Burpee, started in the agricultural business, to the 1970s when his son, David Burpee, sold the family's then-global company. The collection also includes personal papers of the Burpee family dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.

Business-related content in the collection consists of crop propagation and management records; company correspondence; administrative and personnel records; advertising files; legal papers; property records and plans; reports, studies, and technical data; notes and drafts; files on professional outreach activities and events; trade literature (published by both the Burpee company and a number of its competitors); and awards and certificates received by the company. Significant topics documented in these files include the development of notable flower and vegetable novelties introduced by the company; the impact of World Wars I and II on gardening and the global seed trade; advertising strategies, technology, and innovation; and David Burpee's involvement in the national floral emblem congressional debate.

The Burpee family papers consist of personal files unrelated to the company's business operations. This includes records generated by W. Atlee's father (David Burpee, 1827-1882) and grandfather (Washington L. Atlee, 1808-1878), as well as W. Atlee's wife, Blanche (1863-1948); David Burpee (1893-1980) and his wife, Lois (1912-1984); and W. Atlee Burpee II (1894-1966). There are genealogical surveys conducted on both the Atlee and Burpee families as well as clippings about family members. W. Atlee and David Burpee's series are the most extensive and cover their involvement with numerous clubs and societies such as the Canadian Society of Philadelphia, the Union League of Philadelphia, and, for David Burpee, his involvement with Pearl S. Buck's Welcome House charity. The series include personal correspondence; financial, accounting, and tax records; files generated during vacations; reference material; and will and estate papers.

The Burpee collection also has a large number of images related to the Burpee business and family in a variety of formats including photographs, film and glass plate negatives, and advertisement mock-ups. Other formats include architectural and site plans, original artwork for advertisements, films, cassettes, audio tapes, and ephemera.
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into six series:

Series 1: Plant/Farm Related Material

Series 2: Business Records

Series 3: Material Published About the Burpee Company

Series 4: Awards and Certificates

Series 5: Photographic and A/V Materials

Series 6: Burpee Family Papers
Biographical / Historical:
Washington Atlee Burpee (1858-1915) began a mail-order poultry and livestock business in 1876 in Philadelpia, which he soon expanded to include corn seed for chicken feed. In 1878, he founded W. Atlee Burpee & Co., the primary focus of which was to sell vegetable, fruit, and flower seeds through the mail. This company would go on to become one of the most notable seed distributors in the United States.

By 1888, Burpee's family home, Fordhook Farms, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, was established as an experimental farm to test and evaluate new varieties of vegetables and flowers, and to produce seeds. Burpee spent many summers traveling throughout the United States and Europe, visiting farms and searching for the best flowers and vegetables; certain plants he found were shipped to Fordhook Farms for testing. Plants that survived were bred with healthier specimens to produce heartier hybrids that were more resistant to disease. Other Burpee trial gardens were established in Lompoc, California and near Swedesboro, New Jersey.

Burpee's son David took over the family business upon his father's death in 1915. At that time, the Burpee Company had 300 employees and was the largest mail order seed company in the world. It distributed over one million catalogs a year and received as many as 10,000 orders a day. In response to food shortages caused by World War I, the Burpee Company helped promote a "war gardens" campaign that evolved into a "victory gardens" campaign during World War II. Both were aimed at city dwellers and instructed them on how to grow vegetables for their own consumption to aid in the war effort.

Sometime in the 1930s, the Burpee Company entered into a business relationship with the James Vick's Company of Rochester, New York. In 1947, Burpee purchased the assets of and rights to the use of the name of the Wm. Henry Maule Co. In 1970, Burpee was sold to General Foods; the corporate headquarters moved from Philadelphia to Warminster, Pennsylvania in 1974. David Burpee remained a consultant for the company until his death in 1981. In 1991, the Burpee Company was acquired by George J. Ball, Inc.
Related Materials:
Burpee seed catalogs donated to the Smithsonian in 1982 by the W. Atlee Burpee Co. can be found in the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History.

The Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division includes a series of images of Burpee company operations taken in 1943.

The Black Gold Cooperative Library System's Asian/Pacific - Americans on the Central Coast Collection includes images dated 1933-1939 of Japanese employees of the Burpee Co. working at Floradale Farms in Lompoc, California.
Restrictions:
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Topic:
Seed industry and trade  Search this
Mail-order business  Search this
Gardens -- United States  Search this
Business  Search this
Agriculture  Search this
Horticulture  Search this
Vegetables  Search this
Flowers  Search this
Trial gardens  Search this
Victory gardens  Search this
Contests  Search this
Genre/Form:
Advertising
Business records
Correspondence
Account books -- 19th century
Account books -- 20th century
Pamphlets
Trade catalogs
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, W. Atlee Burpee & Company Records.
Identifier:
AAG.BUR
See more items in:
W. Atlee Burpee & Company records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kb61614fe59-fe73-49f7-a297-a129d1ef0c0a
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aag-bur
Online Media:

Don Raymond David and Andrée Golbin papers, 1930-1980

Creator:
David, Don Raymond, 1906 or 10-  Search this
Golbin, Andrée, 1923-2006  Search this
Subject:
Donneson, Seena  Search this
Konzal, Joseph  Search this
Lippard, Lucy R.  Search this
Lockspeiser, Eleanore  Search this
Rosenberg, Harold  Search this
Sleigh, Sylvia  Search this
Stefanotti, Robert  Search this
Vogel, Dorothy  Search this
Vogel, Herbert  Search this
Type:
Drawings
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Don Raymond David and Andrée Golbin papers, 1930-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)7356
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)209510
AAA_collcode_davidon
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_209510

Charles Paul Gruppe papers, 1903-1940

Creator:
Gruppe, Charles Paul, 1860-1940  Search this
Citation:
Charles Paul Gruppe papers, 1903-1940. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Painting, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Theme:
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8292
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210463
AAA_collcode_grupchap
Theme:
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210463

Morris Kantor papers, 1905-1977

Creator:
Kantor, Morris, 1896-1974  Search this
Subject:
Hattorf, Alvin F.  Search this
Hattorf, Helen King  Search this
Hubbard, John E.  Search this
Koepf, Werner  Search this
Kootz, Samuel Melvin  Search this
Lund, David  Search this
McCoy, Garnett  Search this
Pach, Walter  Search this
Patterson, Charles Allen  Search this
Reif, Rubin  Search this
Ross, Alvin  Search this
Sekula, Sonja  Search this
Vytlacil, Vaclav  Search this
Watkins, Franklin Chenault  Search this
Andrews, Sperry  Search this
Benno, Benjamin  Search this
Brodsky, Edith  Search this
Forman, Alice  Search this
Grosz, George  Search this
Hatofsky, Anita  Search this
Type:
Scrapbooks
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Morris Kantor papers, 1905-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9112
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211306
AAA_collcode_kantmorr
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211306

Vose Galleries of Boston records, circa 1876-1996, bulk 1920-1940

Creator:
Vose Galleries of Boston  Search this
Subject:
Vose, Robert Churchill  Search this
Hassam, Childe  Search this
Hoffman, Malvina  Search this
Jonniaux, Alfred  Search this
Ladd, Anna Coleman (sculptor)  Search this
Thayer, Abbott Handerson  Search this
Norton, William E.  Search this
Sargent, John Singer  Search this
Vose, Robert C. (Robert Churchill)  Search this
Arthur U. Newton Galleries  Search this
Ehrich Galleries (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Howard Young Galleries (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Jill Newhouse (Gallery)  Search this
M. Knoedler & Co.  Search this
Macbeth Gallery  Search this
Milch Galleries  Search this
Norton Gallery and School of Art  Search this
R.C. & N.M. Vose (Firm)  Search this
Robert C. Vose Galleries  Search this
Centennial Exhibition (1876 : Philadelphia, Pa.)  Search this
Type:
Video recordings
Manuscript
Citation:
Vose Galleries of Boston records, circa 1876-1996, bulk 1920-1940. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Artists -- United States -- Photographs  Search this
Picture frame industry -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Picture frames and framing  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Art, Modern -- 19th century -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Theme:
Art Gallery Records  Search this
Art Market  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9272
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211467
AAA_collcode_vosegall
Theme:
Art Gallery Records
Art Market
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211467
Online Media:

Clay Spohn papers, circa 1862-1985, bulk 1890-1985

Creator:
Spohn, Clay Edgar, 1898-1977  Search this
Subject:
Rothko, Mark  Search this
Corbett, Rosamond Walling Tirana  Search this
Fryworth, Teressa  Search this
Corbett, Edward  Search this
Calder, Alexander  Search this
Sievan, Maurice  Search this
Sihvonen, Oli  Search this
Reynal, Jeanne  Search this
Ribak, Louis  Search this
McChesney, Mary Fuller  Search this
Neininger, Urban  Search this
Still, Clyfford  Search this
University of California, San Francisco. School of Fine Arts  Search this
School of Visual Arts (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Type:
Drawings
Sketchbooks
Account books
Ambrotypes
Photographs
Citation:
Clay Spohn papers, circa 1862-1985, bulk 1890-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painting, Abstract -- France -- Paris  Search this
Theme:
Diaries  Search this
Sketches & Sketchbooks  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9468
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211666
AAA_collcode_spohclay
Theme:
Diaries
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211666
Online Media:

Parrish family papers, 1915-1953

Creator:
Parrish fam, Parrish family  Search this
Subject:
Parrish, Maxfield  Search this
Parrish, Stephen  Search this
Citation:
Parrish family papers, 1915-1953. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- New Mexico -- Santa Fe  Search this
Theme:
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)10446
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213851
AAA_collcode_parrparr
Theme:
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_213851

John D. Graham notebook and sketchbook, 1944-1946

Creator:
Graham, John D. (John Dabrowsky), ca. 1887-1961  Search this
Subject:
Stein, Gertrude  Search this
Type:
Sketchbooks
Citation:
John D. Graham notebook and sketchbook, 1944-1946. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Avant-garde (Aesthetics) -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Cubism  Search this
Expatriate painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Surrealism  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6628
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215939
AAA_collcode_grahjohd
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_215939

Fendrick Gallery records, 1952-2001

Creator:
Fendrick Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Cottingham, Robert  Search this
Castle, Wendell  Search this
Dusenbery, Walter  Search this
Brush, Daniel  Search this
Dreyfuss, John  Search this
Benes, Barton Lidic  Search this
Drake, James  Search this
KaskeyRaymond J.  Search this
Johns, Jasper  Search this
Bailey, William  Search this
Arneson, Robert  Search this
Maria da Conceição  Search this
Lalanne, François Xavier  Search this
Lalanne, Claude  Search this
Tenneson, Joyce  Search this
Summer, Carol  Search this
Raffael, Joseph  Search this
Paley, Albert  Search this
Woodyard, William  Search this
Gilliam, Sam  Search this
Frankenthaler, Helen  Search this
Barbara Fendrick Gallery  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Account books
Photographs
Citation:
Fendrick Gallery records, 1952-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Art -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Furniture designers  Search this
Artists -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Sculptors  Search this
Artists' books  Search this
Printmakers  Search this
Metal-workers  Search this
Theme:
Art Gallery Records  Search this
Craft  Search this
Art Market  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6271
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)216614
AAA_collcode_fendgall
Theme:
Art Gallery Records
Craft
Art Market
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_216614
Online Media:

Sohmer & Co. Records

Author:
Falcone Custom Grand Pianos  Search this
Donor:
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Creator:
Sohmer & Company  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Musical Instruments  Search this
Names:
Sohmer & Company  Search this
Kuder, Joseph  Search this
Sohmer, Harry J.  Search this
Sohmer, Harry J., Jr.  Search this
Sohmer, Hugo  Search this
Sohmer, William  Search this
Extent:
43 Cubic feet (82 boxes and 11 map-folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Sales catalogs
Photographic prints
Advertisements
Scrapbooks
Clippings
Journals (accounts)
Ledgers (account books)
Place:
Ivoryton (Conn.)
New York (N.Y.) -- Musical instruments industry
Date:
1872-1989
Scope and Contents:
The records of Sohmer & Co., date from 1872 through 1989. They fall into fourteen series based primarily on function. Legal, financial, inventory & appraisal, manufacturing, marketing, advertising, and sales are the major series. Photographs, awards, family papers, publications about Sohmer, general publications, "miscellaneous" and correspondence are the remaining series. The records are especially strong in the areas of advertising, finances, and marketing. The collection does not contain corporate records, articles of incorporation, executive records, minutes, annual reports, or personnel records such as payrolls or job descriptions.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into 14 series.

Series 1: Stock and Legal Records, 1882-1985

Series 2: Financial Records, 1887-1962

Series 3: Inventory & Appraisal Records, 1891-1980

Series 4: Manufacturing Records, 1872-1967

Series 5: Marketing, 1901-1989

Series 6: Advertising Records, 1880-1983

Series 7: Sales Records, 1923-1982

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1920-1964

Series 9: Awards, 1876-1976

Serioes 10: Sohmer Family Papers, 1945-1970

Series 11: Publications about Sohmer, 1883-1986

Series 12: General Publications, 1912-1985

Series 13: Miscellaneous Records, 1894-1983

Series 14: Correspondence, 1892-1987
Historical:
When Sohmer & Co. was founded in 1872 by Hugo Sohmer and his partner Joseph Kuder, it became one of 171 piano manufacturers in New York City. Over the next 110 years, Sohmer & Co. was one of the few active and successful family-owned and operated piano-making ventures in the United States. Nationally known for tonal quality and fine craftmanship, the firm's product, in the music trade, came to be referred to as "The Piano-Maker's Piano."
Biographical:
Born to an eminent physician in Dunningen, Wurtemberg, Germany on November 11, 1846, Hugo Sohmer enjoyed a first class education. Riding the last major wave of German immigration, which had brought piano makers such as Albert Weber, George Steck, John and Charles Fischer, and Henry E. Steinway to America, Hugo arrived in New York City in 1862. He became an apprentice in the piano making house of Schuetze & Ludolf. To learn more about European piano making, Hugo returned to Germany in 1868 and travelled extensively throughout Europe. In 1870 he returned to New York and by 1872 the 26 year old Sohmer and his partner, Josef Kuder, began manufacturing pianos in the 149 East 14th Street factory previously utilized by J.H. Boernhoeft and most recently by Marschall & Mittauer.

Josef Kuder, originally from Bohemia, Austria Hungary, learned piano making in Vienna between 1847 and 1854. Kuder arrived in New York in 1854 and became a pianomaker with Steinway & Sons which had been founded in 1853. In 1861 he returned to Vienna; he worked there until returning to New York in 1864, where he worked for Marschall & Mittauer until joining Sohmer.

Concentrating on tonal quality and response, Sohmer & Co. began producing pianos which were recognized in 1876 by an award from the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. In the waning years of the nineteenth century Sohmer & Co. received other awards including a diploma from the Exposition Provinciale in Montreal, Quebec in 1881, the gold medal at the Great New England Fair in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1889, and an award from the World's Columbian Commission in 1893 in Chicago.

By 1883 additional factory space, located on East 23rd Street and formerly used by Carhart & Needham, was occupied to accomodate increased production. In three years this space proved inadequate and forced the renting of an extension to the original factory. The main office and salesrooms were located at 31 West 57th Street in New York City. Meanwhile, in 1884 Sohmer invented the first five foot "baby" grand piano which was applauded for its musical brilliance and depth of tone. In the early 1900's Sohmer produced grand pianos in four sizes: Concert, Parlor, Baby & Cupid.

Limited space and increased production soon became issues again, and in 1887 the company moved its factory and special machinery to Astoria, Long Island. This factory, located at 31st Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, remained in continuous operation until 1982, when the Adirondack Chair Co. bought the building and Pratt Read acquired the company.

During the 1880s a number of letters patent were granted to Sohmer for such piano improvements as the agraffe bar for tone augmentation, and the aliquot string, which were auxiliary strings "arranged in conjunction with the regular strings for the purpose of giving forth reverberatory or sympathetic waves of sound, thus augmenting the general tone results of each unison." (Spillane, History, 256.)

In 1894 Hugo Sohmer took competitor Sebastian Sommer to court for stenciling the name "Sommer" on the fallboard of his pianos. Sohmer declared that "Sohmer" was a trademark used as an emblem to distinguish the piano from others, especially the Sommer piano which he considered inferior. The court in this equity case dismissed the case on the grounds that Sohmer had not proven damages accruing from the advertising and sale of the Sommer piano.

By 1907 Sohmer & Co. was producing 2,000 pianos per year. Additionally, with Farrand & Co. of Detroit, Sohmer was making the Sohmer Cecilian player piano. On June 8, 1913 Hugo Sohmer died in Scarsdale, N.Y.; 20 days later, Josef Kuder died as well. Hugo was survived by his wife, Elizabeth; a daughter, Adelaide S. Weber; and a son, Harry J. Sohmer, born in 1886. Company leadership was assumed by Harry J. Sohmer after Hugo's death.

During the 1920s Sohmer began a special department in its plant for the manufacture of period pianos. According to Harry Sohmer, the 1930s were difficult. He recalled that, once only one piano in 29 days was shipped. The number of American piano manufacturers dropped from 140 to 22 during this time. It was during this time that Harry's cousins, Frank and Paul Sohmer joined the company as consultants. However, through its pioneering efforts in the introduction of a console vertical piano known as a "Spinet," Sohmer revitalized the industry. (Taylor, "Piano Family.") This console vertical piano has been called "The Musicians' Console.

Primarily because of its concentration on the console vertical pianos Sohmer & Co. never cultivated famous performers in the way that Steinway and Baldwin did. While publicly acknowledging that it never entered into the competition for artistic endorsement (an acknowledgement which perhaps worked to its favor), Sohmer & Co. relied upon a most comprehensive and innovative advertising strategy stressing integrity, quality and craftsmanship in the pursuit of the ideal tone and touch.

In 1940 Harry incorporated the company as Sohmer & Co. and led it, with his sons Harry J. Sohmer, Jr., (born 1917) as production manager and Robert H. Sohmer (born 1920), as process engineer. By 1969 Harry Jr. was vice president in charge of production and Robert was production engineer/ treasurer. In 1971 Harry Sr. died and Harry Jr. became president.

In 1982 Pratt Read Corporation, a long established manufacturer of piano keyboards, acquired Sohmer & Co. for an undisclosed amount, and moved the operations to its Ivoryton, Connecticut factory, while retaining the Sohmer name. The Sohmer brothers retained their positions in the company. At the time of its purchase Sohmer & Co. employed 120 people, produced 2500 pianos yearly, and grossed $5 million in sales. Harry J. Sohmer, Jr., grandson of the founder, in expressing his feelings about the move and the Sohmer piano, compared his piano to old New York beers saying that "they were strictly New York products and in a way so were we." He concluded by saying, "We were always identified with this city. Sohmer was a New York piano." (Prial, "Sohmer Piano.")

By July 1983 under Pratt Read's management Sohmer was producing 6 pianos per day, only 50% of the expected capacity according to H.B. Comstock, president of Pratt Read. In 1986 the Ivoryton factory was sold to a group of investors organized as Sohmer Holding Co., who continued to make pianos there until a lack of skilled workers and financial losses forced its closing in December 1988. In an effort to fill the backlog of orders, Sohmer president Tom Bradshaw opened a new facility in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. A retail showroom was maintained in Ivoryton. In 1989, the Sohmer company was sold to the Falcone Custom Grand Piano Company of Haverhill, Massachusetts.

References

Cox, Erin. "Labor Woes a Main Factor in Sohmer Closing," The Pictorial Gazette West, 3 (December 8, 1988), 1, 22.

Dolge, Alfred. Piano and their Makers. 1911; rpt. New York: Dover Publications, 1973.

Loesser, Arthur. Men, Women and Pianos: A Social History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1954.

Musical Merchandise Review. "Sohmer Pianos Underway at Conn. Pratt Read," July 1983, 91.

The Music Trades. "Pratt, Read Acquires Sohmer & Co. Piano Maker,"August 1982, 18.

Piano and Organ Purchaser's Guide, 1907, 1930. Prial, Frank J. "Sohmer Piano, and 110 Years of Craft, will leave Astoria," New York Times, August 13, 1982, B1, B4.

Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries. 1956, New York: The Music Trades, 1956, 58 60.

Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte: Its Technical Development, and the Trade. 1890; rpt. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969.

Taylor, Carol. "Piano Family Stays in Tune," New York World Telegram & Sun, August 15, 1958.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Pratt Read Corp. Records (AC0320)

Chickering & Sons Records (AC0264)

Steinway Piano Co. Collection (AC0178)
Provenance:
Collection donated by Pratt Read Corporation, August 11, 1989.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Musical instrument manufacturing  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
advertising -- History  Search this
Keyboard instruments  Search this
Piano  Search this
advertising  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 20th century
Sales catalogs
Photographic prints
Advertisements
Photographs -- 1850-1900
Scrapbooks
Clippings
Journals (accounts)
Ledgers (account books)
Citation:
Sohmer & Co. Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0349
See more items in:
Sohmer & Co. Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep835d3556b-26b5-4ae0-90bc-8c018159dbb3
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0349
Online Media:

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