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Thomas H. Savery journals

1857-1890
 Collection
Identifier: 1936

Abstract

Thomas H. Savery (1837-1910) was president of Pusey, Jones and Company, a ship builder and manufacturer of papermaking machinery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Thomas H. Savery, Jr. (1871-1930), the second son of Savery, followed in his father's footsteps in the pulp and paper industry. The records consist of two private journals from the youth of Thomas H. Savery and his son, Thomas H. Savery, Jr.

Dates

  • 1857-1890

Creator

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Thomas H. Savery (1837-1910) was president of Pusey, Jones and Company, a ship builder and manufacturer of papermaking machinery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Savery was born on May 31, 1837 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After attending the Friends Select School and the Westtown Boarding School in Chester County, he then became apprentice machinist at William Sellers & Company of Philadelphia. After finishing this apprenticeship he was employeed as a foreman in the shops of the Columbus, Piqua & Indiana Railroad. He then became superintendent in the Pennsylvania Railroad's Altoona shops. In 1864 Savery became shop foreman for Pusey, Jones & Company, in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1874 when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy he was named general manager, chief operating officer, and vice president. He later became president.

During the 1880s and 1890s Savery became more interested in the production of paper and wood pulp. He patented several paperpmaking machines which were widely used, and Pusey & Jones became a leader in the industry. With several associates Savery bought several properties on the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in 1884, including the site of the famous armory. He first established paper mills on these sites and in the mid-1890s began building electric power generating facilities. He organized the Harpers Ferry Electric Light & Power Company.

In the 1890s, Savery invested in a new sulfite pulp mill and a paper mill near Denver, Colorado. Savery poured much of his own money into this venture, but it was unsuccessful. Around 1900, Savery helped to organize the York Haven Paper Company and the York Haven Water & Power Company on the Susquehana River. In his later years Savery held a number of corporate directorates. He was president of the Wilmington Savings Fund Society. He retired from Pusey & Jones in 1907 and died three years later.

Thomas H. Savery, Jr. (1871-1930), the second son of Thomas H. Savery and Sarah Pim Savery (1837-1928), followed in his father's footsteps in the pulp and paper industry. He graduated from Cornell in 1896 and became a consulting engineer.

Scope and Contents

The records consist of two private journals from the youth of Thomas H. Savery and his son, Thomas H. Savery, Jr.

The diary of Thomas H. Savery, Sr. (1857-1866), covers the period after the termination of his apprenticeship to William Sellers & Co., including his jobs in railroad machine shops in Columbus and Altoona, through his joining the firm of Pusey, Jones & Company. The diary describes his farm life in Chester County and his business and personal life in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware. There is evidence of the religious influence of the Society of Friends on his personal and spiritual development. The diary includes several examples of humorous poetry composed by Savery in connection with his social life.

The diary also contains Savery's accounts with the firm of Pusey, Jones & Company, and balances of his personal investments and expenses. There is a copy of a November 29, 1874, letter to Joshua Pusey and William G. Gibbons describing the impact of the depression on Pusey, Jones & Company, along with Savery's ideas for rescuing the firm.

The diary of Thomas Savery, Jr. (1887-1889), covers his student days between the ages of sixteen and eighteen and describes coming of age in a middle-class professional household in the late nineteenth century. It records domestic, scholastic and social life, along with observations on the larger events of the day, such as the execution of the Haymarket anarchists. It also shows the strong moral influence of Quaker culture.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Thomas H. Savery journals
Status:
Online
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400