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
Abel Price Dillont (generally called Price or A. Price) was born in 1871, the son of Colonel John Francis "Frank" and Mahala Ames Dillont. He attended public school in Brooklyn, New York, and followed his father in a printing career, working, beginning in 1891, for a variety of paper companies, including Perkins, Goodwin & Co., Perkins & Squier Company, Wanaque River Paper Company as advertising manager, Von Olker-Nell Paper Co. of Boston, the American Writing Paper Company, Merriam Paper Co., Bulkley, Dunton & Co., and Whiting Paper Company. His work appears to have been largely in sales and advertising. Although not mentioned in newspaper clippings, he appears to have owned Hotchkiss & Dillont (plain and artistic mercantile printing and engraving and also philatelic publishers) with his friend, Thomas Hotchkiss, in Brooklyn.
He was also a member of the Advertising Men's League and the Rotary Club, and attended conferences of the American Pulp and Paper Association, the New York Printers' Supply Salesmen's Guild, the New York Master Printers' Association, the National Order of the Pica, and the National Association of Steel and Copper Plate Engravers.
A. Price Dillont appears to have been influential in the paper and printing industry and is mentioned in a number of news articles and industry publications. Based upon the papers in the collection, it seems that he was most active from around 1908 to 1923. He died in 1933.
His father, Frank Dillont, was born in England in 1840 and immigrated to New York City in 1851. He married Mahala Ames Price (1839-1874?) the daughter of Abel Theodore and Sarah Harriot Price. They had four children, Frederick Irving Dillont (1866-1905), Sarah "Sadie" Harriot Dillont (1867-1930), Abel Price Dillont (1871-1933), and Mahala Price Dillont (1872-1873). Definite death dates for Mahalah Ames Price Dillont are difficult to ascertain, but she was certainly alive in 1874 for her tenth wedding anniversary. Frank Dillont remarried in 1881; but he and Elizabeth Evans (1847-1927) did not have any children. Elizabeth seems, however, to have been very much adopted by the family and signs letters as "Mother."
Frank Dillont was a Lieutenant Colonel of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn during the Civil War and was active in the printing business from the 1860s until his retirement in 1912. Over the years, he worked with Erastus Brooks, the proprietor of The Express and Mail and Express; Hamilton, Johnson and Farrelly; the N.Y. Transcript; the Standard Press Co. (which he owned); the Brooklyn Daily Eagle as superintendent of the mechanical department; McDonald Bros. and Dillont (which he co-owned with Willis McDonald); the New York Independent as superintendent of the mechanical department; and Methodist Book Concern. He died in 1915.
This collection documents the life, career, and family of A. Price Dillont, a printer from New York and New Jersey, who was professionally active from 1891 until his death in 1933. The collection is arranged in three series: Series 1. Correspondence; Series II. Papers and materials relating to the Dillonts' printing careers, and Series III. Family material. The bulk of Series I. Correspondence consists of letters to and from A. Price Dillont and his family, friends, and business colleagues. A. Price Dillont's main correspondent in the collection is his friend and, at one time, business partner, Thomas F. Hotchkiss (1868-1947), who worked for the Phoenix Horse Shoe Company of Poughkeepsie, New York, and later, Joliet, Illinois. The letters between the two are friendly and discuss news, work, and occasionally, financial concerns. During the time of correspondence, it does not appear that Dillont and Hotchkiss were working together at Hotchkiss & Dillont. Dillont also corresponded with his grandmother, father, stepmother, aunt, sister, wife, and daughter. These letters are loving and full of news, and provide a glimpse into A. Price Dillont's role within the family. There are also a few letters to and from friends and/or business colleagues. This series also contains a number of family letters not addressed to or written by A. Price. Correspondents include Elizabeth Evans Dillont, second wife of John Francis "Frank" Dillont; Frank Dillont; Mahala Dillont, first wife of Frank Dillont who died probably in 1874; Maude Nathalie Throckmorton Dillont, wife of A. Price Dillont; Nathalie Dillont, daughter of A. Price and Maude Dillont; and Sarah "Sadie" Harriot Dillont, sister of A. Price Dillont. There are a few letters to unidentified people. By and large, the correspondence documents warm relationships between family members. The letters are arranged in alphabetical order by the family member who was the recipient of the material.
Series II. Papers and materials relating to the Dillonts' printing careers documents the work of both A. Price Dillont (active from 1891 to at least 1926) and his father, John Francis "Frank" Dillont (active from 1862 until his retirement in 1912), who worked in New York City. Much of the material, particularly the samples, are undated and therefore, it is difficult to ascertain who created or collected the material; but the majority is presumed to have been created and collected by A. Price Dillont. This series is arranged first by known creator and then alphabetized by topic thereafter. A. Price Dillont's career is documented through his artistic work and personal design for advertising, newspaper and magazine articles regarding him, notebooks and accounts, patent documents, and scrapbooks. Through his scrapbooks, which contain clippings, event and conference photographs and ephemera, and some of his own writings, it is possible to follow his career. The years best documented in his scrapbooks are 1914 through 1922. One scrapbook contains examples of his work and specifications and prices which may have been used like a portfolio. To a lesser extent, this series documents the work of John Francis "Frank" Dillont with an advertisement for the sale of type and printing machinery from his business with Willis MacDonald, a photograph of him with MacDonald, and stationary from his work with Prospect Heights Quarterly. Clippings about his retirement in 1912 and his death in 1915 can be found in A. Price Dillont's scrapbooks. This series also contains conference ephemera, mock-ups for printing jobs, paper price lists and specifications, photographs of colleagues in the print industry and print shops, examples of blotters, and samples of blotting paper, felt, and paper. There are a few publications about the print industry, including The Upholstery Dealer and Decorative Furnisher, The Printing Art, and Printing found within the collection. This collection not only documents the careers of the two Dillonts, it also provides a glimpse into the paper and print industry in New York during the last half of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th century.
Series III. Family material is arranged in two subseries: A. Papers and ephemera and B. Photographs. As is the case with the rest of the collection, A. Price Dillont is the figure best documented in A. Papers and ephemera. This subseries includes school records, limited financial records, ephemera related to his involvement in organizations and official documents relating to the military and jury. Of particular interest may be the evidence of his very sentimental connection to his wife, Maude, including affectionate notes about her and a flower saved. There are financial records for Frank and Elizabeth Dillont and Maude Dillont; as well as school records for John and Nathalie, A. Price and Maude Dillont's children. There are also a number of records relating to the death and funerals of Dillont family members.
Members of the Dillont family appear to have been enthusiastic photographers, experimenting with and collecting photographs. Subseries B. Photographs contains more than 700 images in the form of tintypes, cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, cyanotypes, snapshot prints, glass negatives, and film negatives. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these images are unidentified, and therefore, have been grouped into general topics such as children, groups, men, women, etc. The subseries is arranged first with identified images, followed by those that are unidentified. There are three photograph albums, two of which appear to largely document family. Many of the photographs in the albums can also be found in the loose images. There is one album that contains a number of tintypes of boys who are identified by surnames and were possibly schoolmates. The photographs are a mixture of portraits and candid photographs, and the bulk of these photographs are probably family members. In addition, there are a number of photographs of homes, including one in Flatbush, New York, one in Tarrytown, New York, and one in Maplewood, New Jersey, as well as a number of unidentified buildings and street scenes. There are photographs of vacations and travels, pets, and groups of people, painting a vivid picture of the life this family lived.
Sold by Michael Brown Rare Books, 2018.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Holly Mengel
- Finding Aid Date
- 2018 November 26
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.