University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

H. Rubinfine & Son

1926 - 1972


Manuscript Collection Number: 407
Accessioned: Gift of Joseph Rubinfine, July - August 2000
Extent: 1 linear ft.
Content: Photographs, bank statements and checks, ledgers, letters, memorandum, letterhead, deeds, newspaper clippings, financial papers, order book, and ephemera
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: Sally W. Donatello, April 2001

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

Table of Contents

Biographical and Historical Note

H. Rubinfine & Son was a family-owned and -operated poultry business in Atlantic County, New Jersey, that flourished between 1940 and the mid-1960s. In the 1920s, David Rubinfine, who was a painter and paperhanger, began a sideline business to sell eggs and poultry. By 1934 he leased property in McKee City, New Jersey, and in 1938 began the family poultry business. The Rubinfines moved the operation several times to increase capacity because the demand for their product was growing. By the 1950s their poultry business was one of the largest in New Jersey. At that time they had met one of their goals: to grow 60,000 broilers. Unfortunately, the poultry business began to decline in New Jersey around the beginning of 1960, and by the middle of that decade the Rubinfines were no longer poultry farmers.

David Rubinfine’s brother Louis (1919-1981), son Hyman (“Harry,” 1901-1972), and daughter-in-law Mary (Mamie) Sutler (1904-1987) were involved in the family business. In 1940 Harry and Mamie Rubinfine began a lifelong dedication to poultry farming that included all aspects of the business, from egg production to the dressed bird. Their son Joseph R. was involved from an early age in the family enterprise.

In the late 1940s Harry Rubinfine shifted the operation from retail to wholesale. Rubinfine, who had developed a strong relationship with the Ralston Purina Company, focused his operation on the growing of broilers. At the same time they expanded the physical operations to accommodate this change. The Rubinfines purchased additional properties including the McKee Estate, which they acquired from the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. By the mid-1960s poultry farming was no longer a viable enterprise in New Jersey. Rubinfine became a Purina feed dealer, and the poultry farm was no longer in operation.


Symonds, Bruce K. “An Experienced Outsider Spots Troubles Easier,” in “No. 13 in a Series of Visits to Prominent Eastern Broiler Growers,” [Ralston Purina, 1952]. (F7)

Historical and biographical information obtained from this collection.

Scope and Content Note

The H. Rubinfine & Son Archive, spanning 1926-1972, documents a family-owned poultry business in Southern New Jersey. It consists of one linear foot of photographs, cancelled checks, bank statements, check stubs, ledgers, letters, memorandum, letterhead, deeds, newspaper clippings, financial papers, and an order book-business, financial, and visual materials that provide a quick history of the company. The archive is small, but a valuable source of information about an important regional industry that thrived from the 1930s through the 1950s in New Jersey.

The collection is arranged in the following way: a collection note, photographs, newspaper clippings, papers related to the Ralston Purina Company, deeds, financial documents, and the specifications for a commercial motor scale. The printed materials and the images give insight into the development of a family-owned poultry farm from its inception in the 1930s to its demise in the 1960s.

Joseph Rubinfine wrote in his description of the family business, “At the peak of his activity, my father, Harry Rubinfine (1901-1972), owned the largest poultry raising operation in New Jersey, with capacity for 100,000 meat chickens” (F1). Rubinfine said that his father “gravitated to Delaware, admired the Delmarva farmers, and received a great deal of help from the poultry pathology laboratory at the University of Delaware in fighting the virulent diseases that meant calamity and possible ruin for all poultry farmers.”

Four files contain photographs that provide a brief visual history of the Rubinfines’ life, which was dedicated to their business (F2-F5). Photographs include portraits of Harry; pictures of Joseph by himself and with his father; images of the Rubinfines’ home, the coops, related pictures of their poultry farm, and photographs of Harry attending Ralston Purina business events.

There are three newspaper clippings from New Jersey papers showing Harry and Joseph Rubinfine. The pictures highlight Harry and Joseph as a father-son team celebrating Father’s Day, Harry shown with two 4-H club members, and a county agricultural agent pictured with “poultry expert” Harry (F6). Nine items from the Ralston Purina Company with the famous checkerboard logo are included in this collection. The documents include correspondence, company bulletin, and an advertisement (F7).

The bulk of this small collection is financial documents about the company, which includes two deeds, an order book, tax returns, three ledger books, three groups of loose ledger papers, a balance sheet, check stubs, and cancelled checks (F8-F20). Some of the checks have a chicken logo printed on them. The final document is a specification for a 20-ton commercial motor scale (F21

Contents List

Folder -- Contents

F1   Joseph Rubinfine, 8 Aug. 2000 (3 items)
     Summary of family business, signed memorandum, and
     business card

F2   Photographs of Harry Rubinfine (8 items)
     Black-and-white and color

F3   Photographs, various dates (6 items)
     Harry and Joseph Rubinfine

F4   Photographs (23 items)
     Exterior and interior of the chicken coops and some
     show the Rubinfines’ home
F5   Purina Ralston events, (9 items), 1950s-1960s
     Included is a large panorama of a dealer banquet held
     at the Ambassador Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
F6   Newspaper clippings (3 items)

F7   Ralston Purina Company, 1950s-1970s (9 items)

F8   Memorandum, Rubinfine & Son Broiler farms,
     Pleasantville, New Jersey, n.d.
     Deposit of $250 on sale of property to Henry Schaja,
     Jamaica, New York
F9   Deeds, Township of Egg Harbor, County of Atlantic, in
     New Jersey (2 items)
     1948 Jul 22    Jennie L. Givney to Harry Rubinfine
     1948 Jul 27    M. Melanie Hanzo to Harry Rubinfine

F10  David Rubinfine’s Order Book, 1926-1927
     Sales of eggs, dressed birds, ducks, and pullet
     chickens, mostly to the Davis Hotel

F11  Ledger, 1947-1948 (8 items)
     Expenses and income; inserted were Rubinfines' 1947-
     1948 U.S. Individual Tax Returns, a Broiler Growing
     Record, three sales receipts to Lehmann Bros.
     Poultry, Vineland, New Jersey, and a blank broiler
     growing record chart

F12  Ledger, 1950-1970
     Expenses and income, included names of workers

F13  Ledger pages, 1953-1957
     Inserted were adding machine tapes

F14  Ledger pages, 1958-1959
     Inserted were two toll receipts from New Jersey Highway
     Authority and a receipt from an Esso Servicenter in
     Glassboro, New Jersey
F15  Statement of Account to Harvey & Jennie Nye, 21 August

F16  Ledger, 1958-1963
     Expenses and income

F17  Ledger, 1960-1962
     Expenses and income

F18  Bank statements and cancelled checks, 1950, 1953, 1954,

F19  Check stubs, 1956-1957

F20  Check stubs, 1957-1958

F21  Specifications for a 20-Ton Commercial Motor Scale

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