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Curtis family miscellany

1835-1991
 Collection
Accession: 2105

Abstract

Members of the Curtis family were paper manufacturers at Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, and Newark, Delaware. Alfred A. Curtis (1848-1945) was president of the family paper company from 1911 to 1926. The papers consist of personal and family items collected by Alfred A. Curtis. Included in the collection is a scrapbook of photographs and newspaper clippings, a number of loose papers and clippings, and several histories of the Curtis Paper Company. The papers also contain some letters and notes of Alfred A. Curtis, many connected with genealogy and family history.

Dates

  • 1835-1991

Creator

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Members of the Curtis family were paper manufacturers at Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, and Newark, Delaware.

Solomon Curtis (1766-1818) built a paper mill at Newton Lower Falls in 1791. His sons, George B. Curtis (1810-1859), S. Minot Curtis (1818-1904), and Frederick A. Curtis (1812-1884) worked at papermaking at several sites before purchasing a derelict paper mill at Newark, Delaware, in 1848.

During the Civil War, the firm had extensive contracts for supplying paper to the government. After 1868, the business shifted to the manufacture of envelope stock, card, and fine colored paper, which was marketed in New York and Philadelphia. For many years it made all the paper for Harper & Bros., the New York publishers.

The senior partner, Frederick A. Curtis, died in 1884, and S. Minot Curtis retired in 1887. The firm was reconstituted by Alfred A. Curtis (1848-1945) and F. William Curtis (1858-1911), sons of Frederick A. Curtis, and Walter C. Curtis (1855-1922), the son of S. Minot Curtis. The old mill was demolished in 1887 and a more modern plant erected. Frederick W. Curtis died in 1911, and the firm was incorporated as Curtis & Brother, Incorporated, with Alfred Curtis as president.

The family sold the business to Herbert W. Mason (1881-1938) in 1926. It went into receivership in 1931 and was reorganized as the Curtis Paper Company in 1932. The company continued as a manufacturer of fine papers, particularly for the book trade. The company was merged into the James River Corporation as a division on January 1, 1977.

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of personal and family items collected by Alfred A. Curtis.

The collection consists of a scrapbook of photographs and newspaper clippings, a number of loose papers and clippings, and several histories of the Curtis Paper Company, including Constance J. Cooper's "The Curtis Paper Company" (Wilmington: 1991). It includes some letters and notes of Alfred A. Curtis, many connected with genealogy and family history. The oldest item is an 1835 letter from F. G. Hill to Samuel C. Meeteer, the previous owner of the Newark mill, regarding the paper business. There are also a number of letters between George B. Curtis and Frederick A. Curtis from the 1840s and 1850s, the will and probate papers of their mother, Hannah Wiswall Curtis (1838), an 1848 memorandum for the purchase of the Newark mill, and an autobiographical sketch of S. Minot Curtis.

Among the more unusual items is a piece of calico "from Revolutionary times" received from an ancestor, Sarah B. Hurd. If the date is correct, it would have to have been made by her mother, Sarah Barber Hooker (1756-1831). There is also an 1862 ten-cent scrip note of the Town of Newark, a 1914 breakfast menu for the Hamburg-American ocean liner IMPERATOR, and a copy of DeWITT'S "200 Year Calendar and Book of Horoscopes" from E.C. DeWitt & Company (circa 1920s). Alternate pages advertise the firm's line of patent medicines.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Related Materials

Curtis Paper Company records (Accession 0394), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Curtis Paper Company records (Accession 1365), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Curtis family miscellany
Status:
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Laurie Sather

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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