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John E. Searles letterpress copybook


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Searles was born to John E. Searles, a minister and Mary A. Dibble in Bedford, New York on October 15, 1840. He was educated at the New York Conference Seminary of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Searles began his career as a bookkeeper. In 1862 he became involved with sugar trade and was employed with a West India shipping firm in New Haven, Connecicut. Searles organized the Havermeyer Sugar Refining Company in 1880 by consolidating two Havermeyer companies. In 1887 Searles became the organizing force in creating the Sugar Refineries Company commonly known as the Sugar Trust. Searles persuaded competing refinery companies in the United States to consolidate operations into a single business controling the price of sugar and labor in the United States. In 1891 the Sugar Trust was forced to reorganize into a corporation named the American Sugar Refining Company. He was secretary, treasurer, and chief executive officer of the company and resigned 1898. Searles was involved in many other endeavors such as the formation of the American Cotton Company in 1896. Searles married Caroline A. Pettit in 1862. They had five chidren: Clara, Florence, Grace, Lillian, and John Foster.

This oversize, black leather and cloth bound volume is a letterpress copybook containing the outgoing correspondence of John E. Searles, Jr., who was responsible for the formation of the Sugar Refineries Company known as the Sugar Trust. The spine is stamped "Letters, No. 8, J.E.S.,Jr." along with a label that reads S.R. Co. The correspondence sent by Searles documents the corporate history for the formation of the Sugar Trust spanning three months from October 1887 to January 1888. The volume has 500 numbered leaves of correspondence with each leaf comprising one or more letters. A bulk of the correspondence is addressed to executives of over twenty-one competitive sugar refineries located in Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New York. Presented in the correspondence are financial proposals to purchase or take over each company. Discussed in the letters are stock prices, production, manufacturing, equipment, inventories, and sugar. The copybook presents the persuasive business tactics used by Searles to create the Sugar Trust. Some companies resisted the takeover for instance the Bay State Sugar Refinery in Boston. There is also correspondence with banks and lawyers concerning stock transfers and mergers. The new company was organized in November 1887. There are some letters in shorthand and some telegrams pasted in at the end of the volume. The beginning of the volume has an alphabetical tabbed index arranged by last name or company. The index has numbers written in red ink above page numbers referring to the month the letter was written. Some leaves are torn.

Two labels on inside front cover: L. H. Biglow & Co. Stationers, New York.

Stamp on endpaper: Arden's double index patented July 28, 1871.

Sold by Matthew Lorber (Burtonsville, Maryland), 2017 (eBay).

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Donna Brandolisio
Finding Aid Date
May 2017
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John E. Searles letterpress copybook, 1887-1888.
Volume 1

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