University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

J.K. Wright Printing Ink Company

1852 - 1923


Manuscript Collection Number: 411
Accessioned: Gift of Ethyl Sparks Sikes, 1991 and 1993
Extent: .5 linear feet
Content: Prints, letterhead, minutes, ledger, and magazines
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: Sally W. Donatello, May 2001

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

Table of Contents

Introductory Note

J.K. Wright Printing Ink Company, located in center- city Philadelphia, was originally incorporated in 1902 in Camden, New Jersey. Its purpose was “to manufacture printers and lithographers inks, varnishes, plate oils, pigments, paints and oils, and kindred products and to buy, sell, trade, deal in and with the same.” The principals of the company were John K. Wright, Henry J. Kingsbury, and W.L. Wier. Wright held the majority stock of eight shares, while the other principals each had one share. Officers elected at the first board meeting were J.K. Wright, president; Henry A. Ingram, secretary; and, William Shuman, treasurer.

John K. Wright had owned a business at 26th and Aspen Street in Philadelphia, and he sold his equipment to the newly-formed business at 26th Street above Pennsylvania Avenue. The sign on the building, as depicted on prints and letterhead in the collection, read “J.K. Wright & Co. and Fairmount Printing Ink Works.” After Wright died in the summer of 1904, George W. Wright was unanimously elected president. Other officers were secretary Wallace L. Wright and treasurer M. Josephine Wright.


Introductory note obtained from the collection.

Scope and Content Note

The J.K. Wright Printing Ink Company Records, spanning the dates 1852-1923, consists of .5 linear feet of prints, letterhead, minutes, ledger, and magazines. This small collection documents an ink business at the beginning of the twentieth century in Philadelphia. The majority of the records consists of minutes from the company’s first three years and a ledger with formulas to make inks. The ink- stained ledger lists formulas for job batches such as “Portrait Black Ink,” “Black Peate Ink,” and “Dull Finish Stamping Ink.” There are two documents about shareholders and their stock holdings. Additionally, there are prints showing the façade of the company’s building and sheets of company letterhead. Issues of magazines relating to the printing industry published in the 1920s include Yours Truly, A Magazine about Letters and Letter Writing (1922) and The Blue Pencil (1922-1923).

Related Collections:

Ms 408 Sparks Family Papers
F2 Photographs—for a photograph of Grace Wright, who was related to the Sparks family.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

1    F1   Print, n.d.
          An Asher & Adams’s black-and-white image of the
          printing company
          5 3/8 “ x 7”

     F2   Letterhead (10 items)
          Company logo in black and white; includes address
          at 243 S. 10th Street, Philadelphia
     F3   Minutes, 1902-1905
          Company minutes from incorporation to a year after
          the death of the first owner, John K. Wright

     F4   Ledger, 23 Jan 1909-19 Nov 1912 (3 items)
          Seventy-six pages of formulas for inks; verso of
          cover has a label with the following:  James
          Arnold Blank Book Manufacturer, No. 518 Minor St,
          Philadelphia; laid in the ledger were two prints
          of the company’s building, printed in yellow ink,
          on the verso are formulas for inks

     F5   Financial documents, 1906 (2 items)
          Stockholders’ information

     F6   Magazines, 1922-1923 (8 items)
          Copies of The Blue Pencil

     F7   Magazines, 1922 (2 items)
          Copies of Truly Yours, A Magazine of Letters and
          Letter Writing

     F8   Certificate, 1885
          Attendance, conduct & lessons record for George
          Wright from the N.W. Boys’Gram [mar] School

2         Contents of F4

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