A collection of diverse archival materials on the subject of watches and clocks assembled by James Arthur (1842-1912).
Scope and Contents note:
These records contain material on the Arthur collection of clocks and watches. Includes publications, inventories, manuscripts, reports, photographs, advertisements, catalogues, newspaper clippings, patents, and business records; correspondence files of NYU curators concerning the administration of the collection; a watch record book of sales of Ezekiel Jones, carried on bookkeeping, 1822 and 1825; and a copy of the Smithsonian-NYU permanent loan agreement, 1964.
The collection is divided into 10 series.
Series 1, Correspondence, 1937-1964 (bulk 1950-1957)
Series 2, Subject Files
Series 3, Organizations
Series 4, The Arthur Collection at New York University, 1930-1968
Series 5, Patent Specification (Unprocessed)
Series 6, Horological Pamphlets and Articles, 1743-1947 (Unprocessed)
Series 7, Miscellaneous, 1825-1966 (Unprocessed)
Series 8, Clock Makers Directory, 15 volumes (Unprocessed)
Series 9, Press Clippings about watches and clocks (Unprocessed)
Series 10, Photographs (Unprocessed)
James Arthur owned and operated a New York machine shop for patent models. He came to the United States from Scotland in 1871. Fourteen years later he established Arthur Machine Works in New York City for the construction of original and special machinery. He was a skillful, ingenious, highly trained mechanic. While not technically a clockmaker or a watchmaker, he was especially interested in horology and timekeeping devices. From boyhood, clocks and watches were his hobby and he was a discriminating collector.
For more than forty years, he collected watches and clocks from many countries and periods. Arthur was quick to recognize any features of a clock or watch that gave it a distinctive character. His fondness for the fine points of the machinery did not blind him to distinctions of form and beauty in the cases, to originality in the maker, or to the historical significance of the work. He was devoted to the science no less than to the art of timekeeping. Arthur's collection contained some 1,200 watches, 300 clocks, and numerous accessories.
Collection donated by New York University, 1964.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
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.