Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Business & industry (137 collections)
SCUA

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Rankin, Joseph

Joseph Rankin Papers, 1842-1866.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 147

A craftsman and store-owner in Erving, Massachusetts during the mid-1800s, Joseph Rankin was unusually well-connected. He ordered salt from Boston, groceries from Hartford, and sold chairs in New York City and Chicago. Rankin’s store supplied the essentials: produce, hardware, news, and gossip. This collection contains receipts and correspondence. Receipts relate the character of business in small towns, while personal correspondence relays the affairs and activities of the individuals who make up these towns.

Subjects
  • Erving (Mass.)--History
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Erving

Rodney Hunt Company

Rodney Hunt Company Records, ca.1850-1987 (Bulk: 1862-1943).
316 boxes, 150 vols. (158 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 105

The Rodney Hunt Company Records document the operation of one of the region’s major producers of textile machinery, water wheels, turbines, and other specialty industrial products. Founded in Orange, Massachusetts, in 1840, the company was incorporated in 1873. Still an active concern, it continues to sell its products in international markets.

Due to a fire in 1882, and several floods, relatively few early records of the Rodney Hunt Company survive, but from the time of its incorporation in 1873, documentation improves, with nearly complete coverage from the period 1883–1914. The collection provides an excellent introduction to the history of technology and industry in 19th- and 20th-century Massachusetts. Of particular note is the incoming correspondence from 1876 to 1903, which is nearly complete. Other materials include company histories, correspondence, board minutes, blueprints, installation drawings, sketchbook drawings, patents, payroll ledgers, account books, price lists, sales books, brochures, catalogs, newsletters, subject files and photographs.

Subjects
  • Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Turbines--Design and construction
  • Waterwheels
Contributors
  • Rodney Hunt Company
Types of material
  • Account books

Rundlett, Samuel H.

Samuel H. Rundlett Daybooks, 1873-1879.
3 vols. (0.2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 214 bd

Teamster from Newburyport, Massachusetts. Three daybooks document his work for local businesses (hauling bales of raw cotton and finished cloth, delivering coal, produce, fertilizer, and goods), prices paid for freight handling, and forms of payment (cash, credit at a store, and produce from a local farmer). Of note is Rundlett’s delivery of goods to the Newburyport branch of the Sovereigns of Industry, a workingmen’s cooperative association.

Subjects
  • Newburyport (Mass.)--History
  • Sovereigns of Industry
  • Teamsters--Massachusetts--Newburyport
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Sagendorph Woolen Co.

Sagendorph Woolen Company Daybook, 1885-1887.
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 430

Daybook contains daily transactions between the Sagendorph Woolen Company of East Brookfield, Massachusetts and other businesses, local residents, and the company’s labor force. These detailed entries present a dynamic picture of the company’s manufacturing operations ranging from the purchase of raw materials to the sales of finished products.

Subjects
  • Carding (textiles)
  • East Brookfield (Mass.)--History
  • Textile construction processes and techniques
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts--History
  • Textile manufacturers--Massachusetts
  • Textile materials
  • Yarn-making processes and techniques
Contributors
  • Sagendorph Woolen Company
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Sampson Perkins & Co.

Sampson Perkins & Co. Account Book, 1866-1873.
1 vol. (0.15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 232 bd

Iron foundry in Taunton, Massachusetts that produced stoves for individuals and several large local companies. Includes monthly labor payments to workforce of thirteen, as well as monthly accounts of sales, merchandise on hand, and rent. Also documents the company’s worth, annual profits, and the worth of company partners in 1870.

Subjects
  • Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
  • Iron foundries--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
  • Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
  • Taunton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Wages--Iron and steel workers--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
  • Wages--Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
Contributors
  • Perkins, Sampson, b. 1806
  • Sampson Perkins & Co
Types of material
  • Account books

Sears, Roebuck and Company

Sears, Roebuck and Company Catalog Collection, 1929-1980.
104 vols. (19.5 linear feet).
Call no.: RB

Sears, Roebuck and Company were pioneers in the concept of the mail order catalog. Beginning in 1894, company founder Richard Sears began sending thick catalogs offering a wild profusion of consumer goods, ranging from clothing and kitchen goods to toys, bicycles, furniture, and even homes themselves. With an affordable price tag, the catalogs became a staple in many homes, particularly in rural settings and locations with limited access to stores. Changes in the retail market and the country’s demographics led Sears to end publication of its “big book” catalogs in 1993, although the company continues to issue specialty and seasonal catalogs.

This collection contains over one hundred seasonal catalogs issued by Sears from its stores in Boston between 1929 and 1990.

Subjects
  • Department stores
  • Mail-order business
Types of material
  • Mail order catalogs

Shearer, James

James Shearer Daybook, 1836-1838.
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 418 bd

During the late 1830s, James Shearer operated a general store near Palmer, Massachusetts, trading in the gamut of dry goods and commodities that made up the country trade in Massachusetts, from dried fish, butter, rum, and brandy, to soap, nails, chalk, cloth, sugar, molasses, spices, coffee, and tea. Although some customers paid their accounts in cash, most appear bartered goods (e.g, with butter) or services (carting).

The Shearer daybook contains detailed records the transactions of a general store located in or near Palmer, Mass., during the years surrounding the financial panic of 1837. The volume is attributed to Shearer based on a single signature on the last page of the volume, closing out a lengthy account with J. Sedgwick. Although Shearer cannot be identified with certainty, it appears likely that he was a member of the prolific Shearer family of Palmer in Hampden County.

Subjects
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Palmer
  • Palmer (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Shearer, James
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Shreve and Earl

Shreve and Earl Account Book, 1807-1809.
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 625 bd

In the first decade of the nineteenth century, the firm of Shreve and Earl operated in Burlington County, New Jersey, trading in a range of sundries from molasses, sugar, and butter to fabrics and spices. They also sold large quantities of liquor, suggesting that they may have operated as wholesalers of whiskey and spirits.

Kept in standard double column format, the Shreve and Earl account book documents two years of a fairly extensive retail operation, probably located in Burlington County, N.J. The principals in the business are possibly Alexander Shreve (1769-1854), husband of Mary H. Earl, and his son Joshua, along with Alexander’s brothers-in-law Thomas and Caleb Earl. Several accounts are notable for the relatively large quantities of alcohol recorded: of 33 entries for Reuben Gauntt, for example, 29 are for either whiskey or spirits and one for molasses and coffee.

Subjects
  • General stores--New Jersey
  • Liquor industry--New Jersey
  • New Hanover (N.J.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Shreve and Earl
  • Shreve, Alexander, 1769-1854
Types of material
  • Account books

Smith and Wesson Company

Smith & Wesson Records, 1920-1973.
30 boxes (15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 267

World famous handgun and handcuff-manufacturing company founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in the 1850s.

The Smith and Wesson records are comprised of incoming sales and service correspondence with some outgoing correspondence and administrative and financial/legal subject files, including categories such as ads and advertising, American Railway Express, audits, counselors at law, debtors, insurance, legal actions, newsletters, patents and trademarks, personnel, photos, sample parts, sideline ventures, stocks and bonds awards, and Western Union Telegrams. Includes correspondence with the National Rifle Association, Small Arms Industry Advisory Committee, and the United States Revolver Association.

Subjects
  • Pistols--Design and construction
Contributors
  • National Rifle Association
  • Small Arms Industry Advisory Committee
  • Smith and Wesson
  • United States Revolver Association

Smith Family

Smith Family Papers, 1802-1825.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 500

Legal and financial documents of the Smith family of West Springfield, Massachusetts, including personal accounts, notes on road planning and construction, wills, deeds, and indentures.

Subjects
  • Smith family
  • West Springfield (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Accounts
  • Deeds
  • Indentures
  • Wills

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