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Curtis Paper Company records

Creation: 1823-1942
Accession: 0394


The Curtis Paper Company was a small producer specializing in high-quality paper located in Newark, Delaware. Their records consist primarily of account books, with some organization papers, deeds, and correspondence.


  • Creation: 1823-1942



5 Linear Feet

Historical Note

The Curtis Paper Company was a small producer specializing in high-quality paper located in Newark, Delaware. The Milford Paper Mill had been established on White Clay Creek near Newark by Thomas Meeteer (1739-1812) in 1789 and remained in the Meeteer family until 1838, after which it passed to other parties, who allowed it to fall into disrepair. In 1848 the brothers S. Minot Curtis (1818-1904) and George B. Curtis (1810-1859) of Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, purchased the property, rebuilt the mill, and began the manufacture of high-quality paper under the style of Curtis & Brother. The mills were renamed the Nonantum Mills, using the Algonquian name of Newton, Massachusetts.

A third brother, Frederick Augustus Curtis (1812-1884), came to Newark in 1850 to assume the interest of his brother, George Curtis. 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 Content

The Administrative records include incorporation and partnership papers; agreements, including those for water rights dating back to 1823; and statements of accounts (1861-1866).

The account books include incomplete series for journals (1858-1866, 1923-1930); ledgers (1848-1934); cashbooks (1823-1932); bill books (1914-1929); and an invoice book (1902-1904). There are also customer orders for 1934 and 1936; cost sheets (1926); freight records (1922-1932); roll size books (1902-1915); machine record book (1928-1934); records of orders (c. 1940); and booklets of sample paper. There are also time books (1888-1896, 1925-1928).

Correspondence files include a volume of letters regarding orders and freight rates (1917-1919); a sample of inbound letters (1868); letters pertaining to a Federal Reserve loan (1932-1935); and the general correspondence for the year 1929, arranged alphabetically.

Access restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Language of Materials


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Curtis Paper Company records
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA