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Author Topic:   Reed & Barton Archives
21Kimball

Posts: 34
Registered: Apr 2007

iconnumber posted 06-05-2007 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 21Kimball     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I became interested in researching Reed & Barton just over a year ago I contacted them by e mail concerning their records. S. MacKenzie of their archives replied that they had little from the 19th century, the records perhaps lost in a flood.

I made a quick trip yesterday to the Boston Public Library's Fine Arts Dept. to check Renee Garrelick's 1998 book on Read & Barton, Sterling Seasons to check her sources in photo captions, etc., and read as much of her text as possible to verify sources for R&B archival material.

I did this because over the weekend I stumbled over something that contradicts what R&B told me: Baker Online Catalog (Click through under Reed & Barton) (Harvard).

Evidently R&B gave the Harvard Business School Library their records in 1940-43, likely under the aegis of Sinclair Weeks, then forgot about it. The contents include "Daybooks, journals, ledgers, cashbooks, accounts, trial balances, notes and bills receivable, inventories, time books, payrolls, 12 boxes of unbound papers, including a brief typewritten history of the company, and inventories of the New York, San Francisco and Chicago offices, 1902-1918. In addition there are some 200 illustrated catalogs and 17 scrapbooks."

Since it appears that neither R&B nor Garrelick know about this collection, which however was the basis of the 1943 book The Whitesmiths of Taunton, I hope the readers here can forgive my enthusiasm over this find. I feel rather like I've just unearthed a Comstock Lode of information.

Unfortunately, researching at Baker Library, Harvard require $50/day outside researcher fees.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 06-08-2007 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I realize most members of the SSF like to remain private or anonymous so I am not asking anyone to post a reply in this thread.

You may email me at info@SMPub.com Please make sure the subject line of your email starts with Baker Research Project or your message may be lost to SPAM bucket. Also please include your SSF handle (user name). Thanks.

I want to explore whether we have members in close proximity of Soldiers Field, Boston, MA who may have the time to research these archives and to scholarly prepare the material to share with us all.

If there are those of you with the time/experience to commit to such a project then I will see what might be secured for a grant/sponsorship to underwrite the library fees.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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21Kimball

Posts: 34
Registered: Apr 2007

iconnumber posted 06-10-2007 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 21Kimball     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As it turns out R&B was well aware of the Baker Library resources as well as some Sinclair Weeks records at Dartmouth College:
The Papers of Sinclair Weeks at Dartmouth College (Box 69)

I contacted R&B on this and heard back from Joyce Wolowski. She believed, though, that the late Renee Garrelick did not consult either of these archival sources for Sterling Seasons. Both Garrelick and the Gibb volume of 1943 concentrate on the firm's history as a whole, in fact Gibb has a Library of Congress classification under "HD" meaning history, though Garrelick is classed under fine arts. It would seem neither cover R&B from a design point of view, leaving open a thorough examination of the Baker Library papers.

[This message has been edited by 21Kimball (edited 06-10-2007).]

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 07-09-2007 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With 21kimbal we started exploring a sponsored research effort.

And after a promising start with an interested sponsor and some preliminary dialog with the Baker Library at Harvard Business School, things have come to an unexplained halt.

To get things started, the Baker Library at Harvard Business School requested some additional info. Both 21kimbal & the SSF provided the info. After a few weeks of not hearing anything, we tried again. It has been another couple of weeks and still no reply. We don't know why they aren't replying?

Do we have any members who are Harvard Business School grads that might assist us in getting a reply?

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FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 07-09-2007 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It may or may not account for it, but the summer is the busy season in pretty much all archives - university-based scholars descend in droves to make the best use of their "free" time away from teaching. Since people physically present have to take priority over correspondence, the delay in summer is often longer than at other times of year. It may just be that.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 07-18-2007 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They replied. And it was a "catch 22".... I'll skip the details. Basically we need someone from Harvard or with some influence at Harvard/Baker Library to open a door for serious discussion. Right now they are treating our request as lacking merit and have presented us with "catch 22's" to change their opinion.

Please help if you can.

Thanks

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