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Northampton Cutlery Company Records, 1869-1987
113 boxes (55.75 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 58

Abstract:
Cutlery company located in Northampton, Massachusetts until its closing in 1987. Records document company operations and technology used in the cutlery manufacturing process, as well as details about employment of immigrant and working class families in the region. Includes administrative, legal, and financial records; correspondence; personnel and labor relations files; and production schedules and specifications.

Terms of Access and Use:

The collection is open for research.

Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Historical Note

The Northampton Cutlery Company was incorporated in 1871 with Judge Samuel L. Hinckley, its largest stockholder, as its first President. The property was purchased from J. H. Lyman and located along the Mill River in Northampton, Massachusetts on a site in which previous manufacturing plants had operated, beginning with Northampton Papermills (1836-1848), and subsequently Hampshire Flax & Hemp Company (1848-1850), Bay State Tool Manufacturing Company (1854-1858), Bay State Hardware Company (1858-1870), and Riverside Cutlery Company (1870-1871). Cutlery production began as a sideline venture for Bay State Tool during the Civil War, a time when 81% of cutlery produced in the United States was made in plants in Massachusetts and Connecticut. In 1885, a Knights of Labor Assembly of knife grinders was established in Northampton, considered by the Northampton Tercentenary Commission to be the first union of"real significance" in the town. The company closed in 1987.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Records document company operations and technology used in the cutlery manufacturing process, as well as details about employment of immigrant and working class families in the region. Records include: company histories; by-laws; deeds; board of directors meeting minutes; stockholders' certificates and meeting minutes; correspondence; ledgers, cashbooks, price lists, and product catalogs; auditor's reports, annual operating statements and tax reports and returns; job surveys, reports, plans, and a wage study; payroll ledgers, lists of employees, employees' census sheets and factory notices; production schedules; records that document labor relations including negotiations, unemployment cases, and union communications and greivances; and machinery specifications, plot and sewer plans, a scrapbook, photographs, and samples.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Northampton Cutlery Company Records (MS 58). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Harvey Finison, 1985-1986. Accretion acquired from Mrs. Harvey Finison, 03/96, accession # 96-016.

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf (December 1987) and and Mike Milewski (summer 1996).


Additional Information
Contact Information
Special Collections and University Archives
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9275

Phone: (413) 545-2780
Fax: (413) 577-1399
Language
English.