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
P. Whitin and Sons, later renamed P. W. Dudley and Co., manufactured textiles and machinery in Massachusetts during the nineteenth century. The company was associated with the company town of Whitinsville, in which the company owned approximately half the houses and rented to employees. The company operated a company store in the town, where items listed on the receipts in this collection would have been sold to employees and other residents of the town and surrounding area.
Work Cited: Hixon, Meg. "Finding Aid for P. Whitin and Sons Receipts, 1843-1869." William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan: 2012. (https://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/clementsmss/umich-wcl-M-4522pwh?view=text). Accessed 2 October 2019.
The bulk of this collection contains billheads and receipts from roughly forty retail establishments and dealers for items purchased by P. Whitin and Sons as well as a limited number of receipts addressed to Paul Whitin Dudley, Theodore Wyman, and Uxbridge Cotton Mills from between 1836 and 1869. These items include a number of chemicals used for health and hygiene in the nineteenth century as well as other household goods, such as lamp fuel. The collection also contains correspondence addressed to P. Whitin and Sons from 1849 to 1865 from various merchants in Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island.
The billheads and receipts are arranged in alphabetical order by company name and then in chronological order when multiple receipts from a single company exist. For the most part, there is only one or two receipts for a company, however, the collection contains several billheads and receipts from the following companies: A. F. Adie; B. O. and G. C. Wilson; B. F. Brown and Co.; Chamber and Calder; Seth W. Fowle; and Weeks and Potter. Items listed on receipts include, but are not limited to: aqua ammonia, alum, blue vitriol, camphine, camphor, castile soap, castor oil, elm bark, indigo, lavender, pain killer, pulmonary balsam, Russia salve, sage, sal soda, sarsaparilla, and white vitriol.
The collection also contains correspondence from various merchants to P. Whitin and Sons. Several of the letters appear to have accompanied the delivery of sample goods that might have been ordered by P. Whitin and Sons in larger quantities. Others letters contain explanations for changed orders or delivery times.
This collection will be of value to researchers interested in historical pricing of chemicals, drugs, and household items in the nineteenth century. The collection may also be of value to researchers interested in commercial communication presented in receipts and business correspondence.
Gift of Daniel Albert, 2014
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Hector Kilgoe
- Finding Aid Date
- 2019 October 3
- 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.