Paper company based in Holyoke, Massachusetts that at one time controlled 75% of the total United States fine paper output. Records include board of directors' minutes, by-laws, blueprints, land transactions, merger agreements, and publications. Labor files (1936-1960) comprise the bulk of the collection and include contracts, correspondence, grievances, and negotiations.
The collection is open for research.
Background on American Writing Paper Company
The American Writing Paper Company in Holyoke, Massachusetts incorporated and began operations in 1899. Sixteen of its mills were in Holyoke, comprising over half of the mills owned and operated by the newly-formed trust. At the time of its incorporation, the trust controlled 75% of the total United States fine paper output. During its history, the American Writing Paper Company twice declared bankruptcy, experienced labor strikes, and reorganized. In 1962, it was re-named the Holyoke Shares Incorporated and, in 1970, was completely liquidated.
Mills began appearing along the banks of the Connecticut River after the Holyoke dam and canal system implementation in 1848. The first paper mill was established in Holyoke in 1853. In 1873, 15 paper mills operated with capacity of 48.5 tons per day and by 1897, 26 mills operated with increased capacity of 320 tons per day. Holyoke became known as the "Paper City of the World." The paper making industry flourished in Holyoke due to several factors, including a steady and plentiful water supply for powering the mills, access to water that did not require chemical treatment to be used in the manufacturing process, and the presence of textile mills nearby providing regular supplies of rags necessary for the manufacture of rag content papers.
Records in this collection pertain primarily to the corporate history, operations, business transactions, labor concerns, and organizational structure of the American Writing Paper Company Records include board of directors' minutes, by-laws, blueprints, land transactions, merger agreements, and printed material, with the bulk of the collection comprised of labor files (1920-1966) including contracts, correspondence, grievances, and negotiations. The principle strengths of the collection are in areas of labor relations and collective bargaining. Absent in this collection are labor records from the first twenty years of American Writing Paper Company during which several strikes occurred.
This collection is organized into four series:
Official documents. legal papers, certificates, property descriptions and locations, board of directors votes and minutes, executive and advisory minutes, correspondence, and reincorporation minutes comprise this series.
Series 2 is comprised of annual reports, legal and property records, official documents, legal papers, correspondence, real estate transfers, foreclosures, blueprints, and insurance forms. Notable in this series are the drawings and diagrams of dandy rolls and property blueprints.
Divided into Master Labor files chronologically arranged and Labor Subject files, Series 3 comprises newspaper clippings, correspondence, labor agreements, contracts, and grievances. Material related to labor relations, union negotiation, and collective bargaining is notable in this series.
Pamphlets, publications, sales catalogs, and a postage stamp comprise Series 4. Of note are the "Eagle A" pamphlets that contain names, photographs, company history, and social events, and black and white photographs of paper mills and machinery.
Acquired from Bill Casamo, 1985.
Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, 1986.
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Cite as: American Writing Paper Company Records (MS 62). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.