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MS008: Woodbury and Company Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MS008

Scope and Contents

The materials consist primarily of printing samples, wood block and photogravure engraving proofs, and sky camera photographs. Also included are company records, photographs, scrapbooks, newsletters, memorabilia, and miscellaneous company artifacts. Most notable is a set of large bird-eyes hand-drawn renderings of factories and commercial buildings. The collection dates roughly from 1882 to 2001, with additonal notes by Kimball Woodbury through 2009.

Series 1 contains Woodbury and Company history, including correspondence, company records, recollections of employees, paper memorabilia, and many photographs of employees at work and at company-related social activities. It also contains a complete set of "Eagle's Eyes" the company newsletter, from 1951-2001. The company records are extensive, and this series includes the manuscript of Harold Woodbury's "History of Woodbury and Company". Series 2 is comprised of prints of wood engravings, photogravure and sky camera photographs, and industrial plant drawings. The wood engravings are at the beginning of boxes in which they are found; generally organization is by size and alphabetically by company name. In some of the larger boxes other materials are also present because of size considerations. Most of these prints are undated, but many, perhaps most, were made between about 1915 and the 1950s. Series 3 is made up of the 60 original drawings and two photogravures which are part of the collection. Most of these are very large and are stored separately from the other materials. They have received conservation evaluation and treatment.

Series 4 includes letterhead samples, and other products which Woodbury and Company produced besides industrial plant drawings and photographs. There are art prints, first day stamps, portraits, and decal samples in this series. Series 5 includes engraving plates, two cameras, a roller, and a watercolor painting done by Albert Nelson, long-time director of the art department at Woodbury and Company.

Dates

  • 1882-2001

Conditions Governing Access

Permission of Archivist

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply

Biographical / Historical

Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Woodbury and Company was established in the 1879 by John C. Woodbury, a member of the WPI class of 1876. In the early years, Woodbury was in partnerships with classmate John Kyes (Kyes and Woodbury and then Herbert Carlton (Woodbury-Carlton Company). Woodbury and Compnay was well-known as a leader in industrial graphic logos. The company became particularly renowned for its "birds eye view" engravings of factories and commercial buildings that appeared in advertising and stationery throughout the country. The innovative use of a photogravure engraving process had much to do with the company's success. The company produced many collectible engravings such as first day covers and presidential portraits. Four generations of the Woodbury family owned and operated the company until its closure in 2001. For information about the history of Woodbury and Co. consult The Woodbury and Company Story by Harold D. Woodbury edited by Kimball Woodbury, and The History of Woodbury and Company by Harold D. Woodbury, edited by Ljungquist, Hanlan and Obien (2007); WPI Project Report: Family Matters - An examination of Woodbury and Co. and its contribution to the printing industry, by Varney, Ljungquist,and Hanlan; "John C. Woodbury," History of Worcester and its People, by Charles Nutt, volume II (Lewis Historical Publishing Company: New York, 1919); and "Triumph of the Tactile: Woodbury and Co. Inc., Worcester," by Susan Mellen, Worcester Business Journal (December 21, 1998)

Extent

28.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

This collection contains company records and products made by Woodbury and Company of Worcester, Massachusetts, which produced fine letterhead stationery from the early 20th century to the early 21st Century. Woodbury focused particularly on "bird's eye views" of factories, and the collection includes over 100 engravure prints and 60 original detailed drawings.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Woodbury Family
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the WPI Manuscript Collections Repository

Contact:
100 Institute Rd
George C. Gordon Library
Worcester MA 01609 USA