I researched the business entries made in the 122-year-old Denison scrapbook in the hopes this excercise shed light upon the ledger's original owner. As explained in A Fine Boy: Announcement to Mary Denison, the scrapbook began as a ledger which became a stamp collection, ledger, and scrapbook combination. The original owner is in question as the scrapbook holds various letters and invoices belonging to members of the Denison and Miner families of Groton, Connecticut.
As it turns out, research of the companies in the ledger did not aid in my quest for ownership. Of course, the Denison or Miner family members might be able to figure out the record keeper's identity, for a common theme was unveiled. Most of the companies represented were related to the colorant, paint, and related industries. Even though the research did not identify the original owner, I did not want the information to go to waste, so here is a compendium of the companies. I've included birth and death dates of owners and partners only if they could be readily found.
One of the most common entries was for the F.O. Pierce and Company. Located in New York City, the F.O. Pierce and Company produced paints and varnishes. The business was started by William Anderson in 1847. Although F.O. Pierce probably joined the company sometime before 1862, it was not until then that his name became part of the business and Anderson & Pierce was born. In 1873, after more name changes and physical moves, the company became F.O. Pierce & Company. It incorporated in 1897 with Pierce serving as its president and S.D. Pierce acting as its vice-president. Although Anderson is credited with beginning the business, it was Pierce who receives credit for making it a company.1
John W. Masury & Son was another paint manufacturing firm. John Wesley Masury (1820-1895) was born in Salem, Mass. He moved to Brooklyn, New York where he served as a clerk in a paint store owned by John D. Prince. Masury suggested they manufacture dry, ground colors. Once they did, the business flourished. In 1870, Masury became the sole owner until his son-in-law Lieutenant Frederick L. Miller joined the company. It then became John W. Masury & Son,2 which is how the company is entered in the ledger.
Campbell & Thayer was a linseed oil company but beyond that information about the company and its namesakes is scarce--save one bit of information. The company may have been quite successful for when Arnold Thayer's will was offered for probate, his property in New York was valued at $1,363,935.00. The announcement is undated, but it appeared in Paint, Oil and Chemical Review, Volume 19, 1895. (and, if anyone cares, I am currently rethinking my career choice).3
The John A. Casey Company of New York changes things up a bit for they were a naval supply company.4 According to the Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter the company put in bids for government contracts in 1916.5 Otherwise, not much information was readily found about the John A. Casey Company.
The A. W. Dodd & Company is fun because of their pride in their product. Located in Gloucester, Massachusetts, they sold cod liver oil. Oil of George's Bank and Grand Bank cod-fish, in fact. The company claimed,
"Personal attention and the most scrupulous care is exercised, both in the selection of livers from which this oil is made and in the actual process of manufacture." 6
I get a vision of people carefully separating and selecting fish livers and the thought gives me a silly grin. Recently, cod-liver oil has again surged in popularity among nutritionists, homeopaths, etc. so under "External Sources," (see below) I've included a link to an article which discusses the merits of cod-liver oil for interested parties (the site does not try to sell you anything). A.W. Dodd & Company also manufactured oil from pogie or menhaden which was used for currying leather, rope making, and various other applications, including use as paint-oil.
W.H. Magoffin's ads appeared throughout the Paint, Oil and Chemical Review, Volume 16 in 1893. Operating out of Philadelphia, Magoffin was looking for dealers to sell Kalon Oil whose "superiority to all others has been well proved." According to Magoffin, it was the perfect companion for linseed oil.7 An insurance map housed at the Free Library of Philadelphia shows the location of the Oil Dryer Factory of W.H. Magoffin & Strain. The map was created between 1893 and 1895, dates which obviously coincide with those in the ledger.8
Throughout the late 1800's the Holbrook Brothers supplied plate, window and car glass. They were located at 85, 87, and 89 Beekman Street in New York. They were mentioned in a 1911 government publication, the Annual Report of the Public Printer, so obviously were around at that time.9
Of the companies found in the ledger, the Whitall Tatum & Company is probably the oldest. Its beginnings trace back to James Lee's cylinder window-glass house in Millville, New Jersey in 1806. The company incorporated in 1901 and in 1938 was bought out by the Armstrong Cork Company.10 Although they began with window pane manufacture, the company expanded into all sorts of glassware including bottles, laboratory ware, perfume bottles, and more.
The Hanlon & Goodman Company were New York based brush manufacturers. OCLC Worldcat indicates the Minnesota Historical Society Library has a January 1, 1884 Price list and Catalogue of Brushes manufactured by the company. Furthermore, an ebay listing for a billhead shows they were still in business in 1921. In 1890, the company was listed in Seeger and Gurensey's Cyclopaedia of the Manufactures and Products of the United States.11 In 1908, Hanlon & Goodman Company was incorporated with Ernest Wright serving as the first president.12 The Charles E. Green Company of Newark, New Jersey began selling wire ferrules for brush companies in 1871. Their company records indicate they did business with Hanlon & Goodman in those early years. The Charles E. Green Company appears to have adapted well to emerging competitions as they are still operational. Can Hanlon & Goodman say the same? A Hanlon & Goodman are listed as brush manufacturers in Philadelphia. Whether or not they are part of the original company remains to be determined.
Barder, Adamson & Company of Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston were manufacturers of glue and related products. The American Civil War Museum shows a piece of sandpaper which bears the imprint Baeder, Adamson, & Company.13 Indeed, the spelling of Barder/Bader/Baeder has variable spelling in trades magazines and on their products.14 I suspect, however, it is all the same company. In any event, the entry written by archivists at the American Civil War Museum states Barder, Adamson & Company was established in Philadelphia in 1828.
The last entry was closer to the ledger's home. Nichols & Harris were wholesale and retail druggists in New London, Connecticut. The Library Company of Philadelphia has business stationary related to the company in their collections.15 The New London County Historical Society appears to have the ledger and account books of Nichols & Harris in their collections. If I am reading the historical society holdings correctly, Nichols & Harris was a long-lived company. The account books start in 1852 and the last account book is dated 1973.
Although this was a fun excercise, I do not know if I will be able to do this level of research for each month entered in the ledger. Sussing information out about these companies took much more time than I'd anticipated. But then, who am I kidding? I'll probably catch you same time in July with the July entries. Best, Pat
1 National Painters Magazine, Volume 41. Schnell Publishing Company, 1914. Page 371
2 John W. Masury & Son by ColorantsHistory.Org. Great photos for a more in-depth look.
3 Paint, Oil and Chemical Review Volume 19. Trade Review Company. 1895 Page 14
4 Bennett, Ira E. History of the Panama Canal 1915 p 440
5 Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter volume 90, 1916. page 24
6 Bulletin of the United States National Museum, Issue 18. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1880. p 160
7 Paint, Oil and Chemical Review Volume 16. Trade Review Company, 1893. page 31.
8 Insurance Map at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Shows location of W.H. Magoffin & Strain
9 Annual Report of the Public Printer, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1911. p. 281
10 Lockhart, Bill; Serr, Carol; Whitten, David; Lindsey, Bill; Schulz, Pete. The Dating Game: Whitall Tatum & Company. Society for Historical Archaeology. Summer 2006. Pp 2-14.
11 Seeger and Gurensey's Cyclopaedia of Manufactures and Products of the United States. Seeger and Guernsey. The Seeger and Guernsey Company, New York. 1890. Pp 23-30. P. 495
12 Myers, William Starr. Prominent Families of New Jersey in Two Volumes. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2000. P. 333
13 The American Civil War Museum.
14 Paint, Oil, and Chemical Review. Trade Review Company, 1897. Pg 22
15 Stationary of Harris & Nichols at the Libary Company of Philadelphia.
Cod Liver Oil: Health Benefits, Facts, and Research by Megan Ware RDN LD
Hanlon & Goodman billhead on ebay
Hanlon & Goodman of Philadelphia
Historic New England has an A.W, Dodd Trade Card