Special Collections Department
Alexander Wilson Papers
Manuscript Collection Number: 388
Extent: 2 linear feet.
Content: Letters, envelopes, brochures, checks, receipts, trade cards, ephemera.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: May 1999 by Anne E. Krulikowski.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
The bulk of this collection contains correspondence and documents related to the conduct of Alexander Wilson's manufacturing business. The correspondence concerns customer inquiries about the equipment that Wilson manufactured and responses to Wilson's own inquiries and orders from other manufacturers and retailers of parts and supplies. Most letters are very brief: acknowledging orders, requesting clarification of orders, and stating transportation arrangements with railroad companies, especially the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad, whose tracks lay not far from Wilson's plant.
Wilson was married and had a son named William. In the early 1870s, William attended Newark Academy while Edward S. Porter was Principal. Porter was also a professor of engineering and agriculture, which he later taught at Newark College. This collection contains illustrated letterhead from Newark Academy, an 1869-70 circular for the Academy, and a letter from Porter.
Wilson had a sister named Annie E. Wilson and a brother named Wiliam T. Wilson; letters addressed to Alexander from both siblings are included in this collection. Annie appears to have been single or widowed and spent much of her time on extended visits to relatives in Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania, as well as in Delaware and Maryland. William was a college student near Pittsburgh in the early 1860s. An April 1865 letter from William notes the reaction in Pittsburgh to news of the fall of Richmond, an important event near the end of the Civil War. Later, William married, but he and his family did not live in New Castle County.
The strength of this collection lays in the advertising information presented on brochures, trade cards, and envelopes, which offer detailed information about agricultural machines, engines, parts, and tools, and often specify prices, sizes, and provide diagrams. Company letterhead often presents a fairly detailed description of a business and is often illustrated with equipment or a view of the plant, mill, or works.
Another strength of this collection lays in its record of a network of interdependent manufacturing concerns in the East and midwest, each producing goods necessary to the operation of the others. This exchange of goods was made possible by the railroad, which also figures prominently in the correspondence and receipts.
Many documents in this collection are in poor to very poor condition. Many papers were corroded by some type of acid and others have suffered silverfish damage.
Source:Beers, D. G. Atlas of the State of Delaware. Philadelphia, PA: Pomeroy and Beers. 1868.
Series II contains the bulk of this collection -- the correspondence and information sent by various companies and businessmen to Alexander Wilson. A group of advertising trade cards is also included in this series.
I. Personal Papers And Business Documents 1. Personal Papers 2. Business Documents 3. Checks II. Correspondence Received From Other Companies 1. Company Correspondence 2. Company Envelopes 3. Advertising and Trade Cards
1 Series I. Personal Papers and Business Documents, 1852-1888. Personal papers include correspondence relating to Wilson's involvement in New Castle County, information about Newark Academy, funeral invitations, and the letters written by Annie and William T. Wilson. Business documents include notes written by Wilson, tax and legal documents. Wilson's checks, drawn on the National Bank of Newark, are included at the end of this series. Series I.1. Personal Papers F1 New Castle County Trustee of the Poor, 1873-1877 Includes ALS, Nov. 14, 1876, from John Janvier Black F2 New Castle County School District, 1868, 1875 F3 Newark Academy, 1869-1871 F4 Funeral Invitations, 1861, 1870-1871 Includes notices for Newark residents Joseph Dean, Mrs. Martha Ram[?], Samuel Scott, and Mrs. Mary J. Gillespie. F5 Correspondence from Anne E. Wilson, ca. 1874-1876 F6 Correspondence from William T. Wilson, ca. 1865-1874 F7 Miscellaneous Documents (2 Items) Includes card noting Democratic party candidates standing for election in 1884 to national, state, and local offices. Also includes "Report of School/Lettie Groves" (n.d.) that lists William Wilson as a student. Series I.2 Business Documents F8 Notes Written By Alexander Wilson F9 Licenses/Legal Documents F10 Tax Documents Series I.3 Checks F11 1852-1865 F12 1866-1870 F13 1871-1873 F14 1874-1875 F15 1876 F16 1877 F17 1878-1879 F18 1880-1882 F19 1883 F20 1884-1888 F21 Unknown Dates F22 Fragments of Checks 1 Series II. Correspondence Received From Other Companies, 1855-1900. This series includes correspondence and advertising that was sent to Alexander Wilson. These companies were either Wilson's customers or were manufacturers from whom Wilson purchased goods or services. The bulk of this correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name of company; some of this correspondence is accompanied by envelopes. Company names and known locations are noted for companies contained in each folder. Some correspondence was written on blank stationery or on letterhead which can no longer be read. This miscellaneous correspondence is arranged by the writer's last name. The folder labelled "Unidentified" at the end of this series contains fragments of letters that do not contain the writer's name or in which the writer's name is illegible. Following the correspondence is a collection of envelopes. Some are arranged alphabetically by company name; most are placed in miscellaneous files because the company name cannot be identified. A small collection of advertising trade cards is placed at the end of this series. One exception to alphabetical listings by company name follows Garrett & Son, which became Garrett, Kent & Co., which then became D. H. Kent & Co. This company also owned Kent Iron & Hardware, Co. Since these various names represent the same business enterprise at various stages in its history, the folders for all these company names have been grouped consecutively. F23 Alexander & Co. (Elkton, Md.) American Iron Works (Pittsburgh, Pa.) F24 Baker Lime Co. (Avondale, Pa.) Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company Baltimore Weekly Sun (Baltimore, Md.) Bank of Hanover (Goldsboro, N.C.) Bank of Portsmouth (Va.) F25 Wm. E. Bird (New York, N.Y.) R. M. Black (Lagrange near Glasgow, Del.) F26 C. W. Blandy & Bro. (Newark, Del.) Bower's Complete Manure (Baltimore, Md.) A.S. Brownell & Co. (Boston, Mass.) F27 George W. Bush & Sons (Wilmington, Del.) E. Mortimer Bye (Wilmington, Del.) Miscellaneous "B" F28 Casho Machine Co. (Newark, Del.) Wm. C. L. Carnagy (Kirkwood, Del.) Cranston & Newbold (Newport, Del.) Citizens' National Bank (Middletown, Del.) Crew, Moore & Levick (Philadelphia, Pa.) F29 Miscellaneous "C" F30 Davis, Keys, & Co. (Elkton, Md.) Joseph Dean & Son (Newark, Del.) The Delaware Gazette (Wilmington, Del.) F31 George G. Evans (Newark, Del.) Excelsior Saw Works (Philadelphia, Pa.) Miscellaneous "E" F32 Faircloth & Grainger (Goldsboro, N.C.) Ferris & Garrett (Wilmington, Del.) F. L. Franks (Wilmington, Del.) F33 B. Fritch (Wilmington, Del.) Miscellaneous "F" F34 Garrett & Son (Wilmington, Del.), 1851-1865 F35 Garrett, Kent & Co. (Wilmington, Del.), 1865-1866 F36 Garrett, Kent & Co., 1867 F37 Garrett, Kent & Co., 1868 F38 Garrett, Kent & Co., 1869 F39 Garrett, Kent & Co., 1870 1 Series II. Correspondence Received From Other Companies (Cont'd) Series II.1 Company Correspondence (Cont'd) F40 Garrett, Kent & Co., 1871 F41 Garrett, Kent & Co., 1872 F42 Garrett, Kent & Co., 1873 & n.d. F43 D.H. Kent & Co. (Wilmington, Del.), 1873 F44 D.H. Kent & Co., 1874 F45 D.H. Kent & Co., 1875 & n.d. F46 Kent Iron & Hardware, Co. (Wilmington, Del.), 1883-1885 F47 Kent Iron & Hardware, Co., 1886-1887 & n.d. F48 W. R. & H. Gause (Wilmington, Del.) F49 Gawthrop & Bro. (Wilmington, Del.) H. Gawthrop & Co. (Philadelphia, Pa.) Geiser Manufacturing Co. (Waynesboro, Pa.) F50 B. Gill & Son (Trenton, N.J.) Graham, Emlen, & Passmore (Philadelphia, Pa.) Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Miscellaneous "G" F51 Harbert & Raymond (Philadelphia, Pa.) Hilles & Jones (Wilmington, Del.) D. P. Holloway & Co. (Washington, Del.) E. F. Houghton & Co. (Philadelphia, Pa.) F52 Hoopes & Townsend (Philadelphia, Pa.) F53 Miscellaneous "H" F54 Miscellaneous "J" F55 Keystone Steam Engine and Agricultural Works (Lancaster, Pa.) Keystone Varnish and Japan Works (Philadelphia, Pa.) Miscellaneous "K" F56 L. H. Lee & Brother (Baltimore, Md.) F57 Longcope, Campbell & Co. (Baltimore, Md.) J. L. Lovett (New London, Pa.) Miscellaneous "L" F58 McConaughey Bros. F59 J. Marshall & Co. (Newport, Del.) James Morrow (Wilmington, Del.) Miscellaneous "M" F60 National Bank of Newark (Del.) Newark Iron Foundry (Del.) F61 New Jersey Agricultural Works (Trenton, N.J.) New Jersey Steel and Iron Co. (Trenton, N.J.) F62 A. Patterson (Wilmington, Del.) Pennington Bros. (Middletown, Del.) Pennsylvania Agriculture Works (York, Pa.) Philadelphia Machinery Agency (Philadelphia, Pa.) F63 Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad, Newark Station (Del.) F64 Phoenix Iron Co. (Philadelphia, Pa.) F65 Pusey, Jones & Co (Wilmington, Del.) Contains Adams Express Company, Wilmington Branch, receipts. F66 Miscellaneous "P" F67 A. M. Quinby & Co (Wilmington & Del.) (Formerly Quinby & Kent) 1 Series II. Correspondence Received From Other Companies (Cont'd) Series II.1 Company Correspondence (Cont'd) F68 H. A. Ramsay & Son (Baltimore, Md.) F69 Reynolds & Co (Wilmington, Del.) F70 Wm. C. Robinson & Son (Baltimore, Md.) Includes sample cards of rosin-sized sheeting. 2 F71 Miscellaneous "R" F72 S. G. Simmons & Bros. (Wilmington, Del.) Walter Smith & Co. (Sharon Hill, Pa.) Springer, Morley & Gause (Wilmington, Del.) F73 Charles Stewart (Wilmington, Del.) F74 George W. Stone (Wilmington, Del.) F75 E. C. Stotsenburg & Son (Wilmington, Del.) F76 Miscellaneous "S" F77 Geo. G. Tyler (Baltimore, Md.) F78 Thos. Whann & Son (Strickersville, Pa.) F79 Geo. P. Whitaker (Pincipio Furnace, Md.) F80 Whiteley, Fassler & Kelly (Springfield, Ohio) F81 John A. Wilson (Wilmington, Del.) (Also called Diamond State Agricultural Warehouse) F82 S. Y. Wilson (Newark, Del.) F83 Wright & Son (Newark, Del.) F84 Miscellaneous "W" F85 Nathan Zigler (Newark, Del.) 3 Series II. Correspondence Received From Other Companies (Cont'd) Series II.1 Company Correspondence (Cont'd) F86 Unidentified F87 Fragments Series II.2 Company Envelopes F88 Garrett, Kent & Co. Envelopes F89 D. H. Kent & Co. Envelopes 4 F90 L. H. Lee & Bro. Envelopes F91 Miscellaneous Envelopes F92 Miscellaneous Envelopes F93 Miscellaneous Envelopes F94 Miscellaneous Envelopes F95 Miscellaneous Envelopes Series II.3 Advertising Trade Cards F96 Advertising Trade Cards
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