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Butler, Mills, Smith, and Barker Daybook, 1837-1845
1 volume
Collection number: MS 183

Partners who owned a small wool manufacturing mill in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Includes mixed personal and business expenses, information about employees and production in the two woolen mills in town, and information concerning the cost of commodities, labor, and boarding workers in the town.

Terms of Access and Use:

The collection is open for research.

Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Scope and contents of the collection

This daybook lists transactions made by a small woolen manufactory in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The two most active partners were Henry Mills (b. 1810 in Williamstown) and Silas Butler (d. 1841); Asa Barker and Ebenezer Smith also appear to have been involved, although the accounts do not make clear to what extent. Toward the rear of the volume, there are memoranda of wool purchases by two different combinations of partners-Butler, Mills and Barker, and Butler, Smith, and Mills. The first fifty pages reflect principally the expenses incurred by the partners. Among the expenses were charges for freight, soap, oil, wool, repairs on a regulator, potash, boarding for weavers, use of horses and wagons, labor, glue, and wood, as well as foodstuffs. Although it is not clear that personal and business expenses were kept separately, the accounts provide much information concerning the cost of commodities, labor, and boarding in the town.

Unlike the neighboring towns of Adams and North Adams, Williamstown never became a manufacturing center. In 1837, the town had two woolen mills (presumably one of which was that of Butler and Mills) employing 22 workers and producing 43,370 yards of cloth. By 1845, after the Butler, Mills, Smith and Barker partnership had dissolved, the town had only one woolen mill employing 10 and producing but 16,000 yards of satinet. However, the daybook does demonstrate the impact of even a small manufacturer on the local economy. A number of local residents added to their income by selling soap, oil, and wool to the mill, by boarding its workers, by taking in weaving, or by hauling freight for the business.

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

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Butler, Smith, and Barker Daybook (MS 183). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1986.

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf.

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
Link to SCUA
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Barker, Asa.
  • Butler, Mills, Smith, and Barker.
  • Butler, Silas, d. 1841.
  • Mills, Henry, b. 1810.
  • Smith, Ebenezer.
  • Williamstown (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century--Sources.
  • Woolen and worsted manufacture--Massachusetts--Williamstown--History--Sources.

Genre terms
  • Account books.

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