University of Pennsylvania Finding Aids

Navigation Aids

University of Pennsylvania Finding Aids
Search Finding Aids
 

Main Content

John E. Searles letterpress copybook

Ms. Codex 1820

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Creator:
Searles, John E., Jr., (John Ennis), 1840-1908
Creator:
Sugar Refineries Company.
Title:
John E. Searles letterpress copybook
Date [inclusive]:
1887-1888
Call Number:
Ms. Codex 1820
Extent:
1 volume
Language:
English
Abstract:
A letterpress copybook containing 500 leaves of outgoing correspondence sent by John E. Searles, Jr., who was responsible for the formation of the Sugar Trust. The correspondence sent by Searles documents the corporate history of the formation of the Sugar Trust spanning three months from October 1887 to Januanry 1888.
Cite as:
John E. Searles letterpress copybook, 1887-1888, Oversize Ms. Codex 1820, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

Return to Top »

Biography/History

Searles was born to John E. Searles, a minister and Mary A. Dibble in Bedford, New York on October 15, 1840. He was educated at the New York Conference Seminary of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Searles began his career as a bookkeeper. In 1862 he became involved with sugar trade and was employed with a West India shipping firm in New Haven, Connecicut. Searles organized the Havermeyer Sugar Refining Company in 1880 by consolidating two Havermeyer companies. In 1887 Searles became the organizing force in creating the Sugar Refineries Company commonly known as the Sugar Trust. Searles persuaded competing refinery companies in the United States to consolidate operations into a single business controling the price of sugar and labor in the United States. In 1891 the Sugar Trust was forced to reorganize into a corporation named the American Sugar Refining Company. He was secretary, treasurer, and chief executive officer of the company and resigned 1898. Searles was involved in many other endeavors such as the formation of the American Cotton Company in 1896. Searles married Caroline A. Pettit in 1862. They had five chidren: Clara, Florence, Grace, Lillian, and John Foster.

Scope and Contents

This oversize, black leather and cloth bound volume is a letterpress copybook containing the outgoing correspondence of John E. Searles, Jr., who was responsible for the formation of the Sugar Refineries Company known as the Sugar Trust. The spine is stamped "Letters, No. 8, J.E.S.,Jr." along with a label that reads S.R. Co. The correspondence sent by Searles documents the corporate history for the formation of the Sugar Trust spanning three months from October 1887 to January 1888. The volume has 500 numbered leaves of correspondence with each leaf comprising one or more letters. A bulk of the correspondence is addressed to executives of over twenty-one competitive sugar refineries located in Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New York. Presented in the correspondence are financial proposals to purchase or take over each company. Discussed in the letters are stock prices, production, manufacturing, equipment, inventories, and sugar. The copybook presents the persuasive business tactics used by Searles to create the Sugar Trust. Some companies resisted the takeover for instance the Bay State Sugar Refinery in Boston. There is also correspondence with banks and lawyers concerning stock transfers and mergers. The new company was organized in November 1887. There are some letters in shorthand and some telegrams pasted in at the end of the volume. The beginning of the volume has an alphabetical tabbed index arranged by last name or company. The index has numbers written in red ink above page numbers referring to the month the letter was written. Some leaves are torn.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  May 2017

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Donna Brandolisio

Access Restrictions

This codex is open for research.

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.

Custodial History note

Two labels on inside front cover: L. H. Biglow & Co. Stationers, New York.

Stamp on endpaper: Arden's double index patented July 28, 1871.

Source of Acquisition

Sold by Matthew Lorber (Burtonsville, Maryland), 2017 (eBay).

Return to Top »

Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Codices (bound manuscripts)
  • Correspondence
  • Finding tabs
  • Letter books
  • Letterpress copybooks
  • Manuscripts, American--19th century
Subject(s)
  • American Sugar Refining Company--History--Sources
  • Consolidation and merger of corporations--United States--19th century
  • Sugar Refineries Company--History--Sources
  • Sugar--Manufacturing and refining--United States--19th century
  • Trusts, Industrial--United States--19th century

Return to Top »

Collection Inventory

Volume

John E. Searles letterpress copybook, 1887-1888.

1