Held at: Newtown Historic Association [Contact Us]Centre Avenue and Court Street, Newtown, Pennsylvania
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Newtown Historic Association. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Discontented with the quality and price of retail feed, fertilizer, seeds, and equipment, the farmers of Newtown (Bucks County, Pennsylvania) began meeting in the Newtown Post Office. They formed the Newtown Cooperative Association in 1922, led by Lewis Satterthwaite along with Joseph Briggs, George Balderston, William Newbold, and Charles Rowe. The main purpose of the group was to buy farming supplies in bulk at a discount. Farmers could join for a $5 membership plus $100 for collateral to buy stocks.
In its early years, the main products purchased by the Co-op were cottonseed, corn, and cake meal for mixing feed. Members could purchase supplies at a discounted rate, for a savings of two-thirds of the Co-op's profits. The remaining one-third of profits was used for development. The Newtown Co-op purchased its first permanent space, a brick warehouse on Penn Street, in the early 1930s. In 1955, a steel warehouse addition was completed.
The Newtown Cooperative Association was part of a nation-wide movement to increase farmers' purchasing power. In 1927, the Newton Co-op joined the Eastern State Farmers Exchange. 1948 was the peak year for the Newtown Co-op, with over one million dollars in sales. However, increased suburban development in Bucks County, especially with the advent of nearby Levittown, saw a decline in the number of farmers and thus Co-op customers. In 1968, the Newtown Co-op was absorbed by Eastern State Farmers Exchange. After a merger with Grange League Federation, the new corporate cooperative was named Agway.
"Bill Satterthwaite: A Lifetime to Dedication to a Farm Cooperative." The Advance of Bucks County, June 24, 1976.
This collection consists of about 30 volumes of financial ledgers and two minute books from the Newtown Cooperative Association. The financial ledgers include account books, payroll registers, trial balance books, and sales and disbursement books, 1932-1960. There is no index; however, most volumes cover a period of one year or less with a summary of activity at the end of each month. The two minute books cover 1922-1962, nearly the entire span of the Co-op's existence, and include member lists.
This collection gives insight into changes in agriculture and agricultural practice in the Newtown area before, during, and after World War II. The ledgers contain names of many Newtown farmers and businessmen who had transactions with the Co-op, as well as local and state enterprises, financial institutions, railroads, and farm expenditures.
An item-level inventory for this collection is available in a database on-site.
Gift of Karl Kotanchik, 2003 (accession #2003.0024).
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
Detailed, computerized inventories of all of the items in this collection are available on site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Newtown Historic Association directly for more information.
- Newtown Historic Association
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Employee records including tax and Social Security information may be restricted to researchers for a period of time. Contact Newtown Historic Association for information about accessing this collection.