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A. Price Dillont papers

Ms. Coll. 1376

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

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Dillont, A. Price (Abel Price), 1871-1933
A. Price Dillont papers
circa 1850s-1945
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1376
3.75 linear feet (5 boxes)
A. Price Dillont (1871-1933) was a printer who worked for paper companies in New York City and state from the 1890s through the 1920s. This collection documents his work in the paper and print industry as well as his family through correspondence; art and advertising work; patent documents; scrapbooks, sample books of blotters, felt, paper, and printing techniques; publications containing and/or relating to his work; and family papers, ephemera, and photographs.
Cite as:
A. Price Dillont papers, circa 1850s-1945, Ms. Coll. 1376, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
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Abel Price Dillont (generally called Price or A. Price) was born in 1871, the son of Colonel John Francis "Frank" and Mahala Ames Dillont. He attended public school in Brooklyn, New York, and followed his father in a printing career, working, beginning in 1891, for a variety of paper companies, including Perkins, Goodwin & Co., Perkins & Squier Company, Wanaque River Paper Company as advertising manager, Von Olker-Nell Paper Co. of Boston, the American Writing Paper Company, Merriam Paper Co., Bulkley, Dunton & Co., and Whiting Paper Company. His work appears to have been largely in sales and advertising. Although not mentioned in newspaper clippings, he appears to have owned Hotchkiss & Dillont (plain and artistic mercantile printing and engraving and also philatelic publishers) with his friend, Thomas Hotchkiss, in Brooklyn.

He was also a member of the Advertising Men's League and the Rotary Club, and attended conferences of the American Pulp and Paper Association, the New York Printers' Supply Salesmen's Guild, the New York Master Printers' Association, the National Order of the Pica, and the National Association of Steel and Copper Plate Engravers.

A. Price Dillont appears to have been influential in the paper and printing industry and is mentioned in a number of news articles and industry publications. Based upon the papers in the collection, it seems that he was most active from around 1908 to 1923. He died in 1933.

His father, Frank Dillont, was born in England in 1840 and immigrated to New York City in 1851. He married Mahala Ames Price (1839-1874?) the daughter of Abel Theodore and Sarah Harriot Price. They had four children, Frederick Irving Dillont (1866-1905), Sarah "Sadie" Harriot Dillont (1867-1930), Abel Price Dillont (1871-1933), and Mahala Price Dillont (1872-1873). Definite death dates for Mahalah Ames Price Dillont are difficult to ascertain, but she was certainly alive in 1874 for her tenth wedding anniversary. Frank Dillont remarried in 1881; but he and Elizabeth Evans (1847-1927) did not have any children. Elizabeth seems, however, to have been very much adopted by the family and signs letters as "Mother."

Frank Dillont was a Lieutenant Colonel of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn during the Civil War and was active in the printing business from the 1860s until his retirement in 1912. Over the years, he worked with Erastus Brooks, the proprietor of The Express and  Mail and Express; Hamilton, Johnson and Farrelly; the  N.Y. Transcript; the Standard Press Co. (which he owned); the  Brooklyn Daily Eagle as superintendent of the mechanical department; McDonald Bros. and Dillont (which he co-owned with Willis McDonald); the  New York Independent as superintendent of the mechanical department; and Methodist Book Concern. He died in 1915.

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the life, career, and family of A. Price Dillont, a printer from New York and New Jersey, who was professionally active from 1891 until his death in 1933. The collection is arranged in three series: Series 1. Correspondence; Series II. Papers and materials relating to the Dillonts' printing careers, and Series III. Family material. The bulk of Series I. Correspondence consists of letters to and from A. Price Dillont and his family, friends, and business colleagues. A. Price Dillont's main correspondent in the collection is his friend and, at one time, business partner, Thomas F. Hotchkiss (1868-1947), who worked for the Phoenix Horse Shoe Company of Poughkeepsie, New York, and later, Joliet, Illinois. The letters between the two are friendly and discuss news, work, and occasionally, financial concerns. During the time of correspondence, it does not appear that Dillont and Hotchkiss were working together at Hotchkiss & Dillont. Dillont also corresponded with his grandmother, father, stepmother, aunt, sister, wife, and daughter. These letters are loving and full of news, and provide a glimpse into A. Price Dillont's role within the family. There are also a few letters to and from friends and/or business colleagues. This series also contains a number of family letters not addressed to or written by A. Price. Correspondents include Elizabeth Evans Dillont, second wife of John Francis "Frank" Dillont; Frank Dillont; Mahala Dillont, first wife of Frank Dillont who died probably in 1874; Maude Nathalie Throckmorton Dillont, wife of A. Price Dillont; Nathalie Dillont, daughter of A. Price and Maude Dillont; and Sarah "Sadie" Harriot Dillont, sister of A. Price Dillont. There are a few letters to unidentified people. By and large, the correspondence documents warm relationships between family members. The letters are arranged in alphabetical order by the family member who was the recipient of the material.

Series II. Papers and materials relating to the Dillonts' printing careers documents the work of both A. Price Dillont (active from 1891 to at least 1926) and his father, John Francis "Frank" Dillont (active from 1862 until his retirement in 1912), who worked in New York City. Much of the material, particularly the samples, are undated and therefore, it is difficult to ascertain who created or collected the material; but the majority is presumed to have been created and collected by A. Price Dillont. This series is arranged first by known creator and then alphabetized by topic thereafter. A. Price Dillont's career is documented through his artistic work and personal design for advertising, newspaper and magazine articles regarding him, notebooks and accounts, patent documents, and scrapbooks. Through his scrapbooks, which contain clippings, event and conference photographs and ephemera, and some of his own writings, it is possible to follow his career. The years best documented in his scrapbooks are 1914 through 1922. One scrapbook contains examples of his work and specifications and prices which may have been used like a portfolio. To a lesser extent, this series documents the work of John Francis "Frank" Dillont with an advertisement for the sale of type and printing machinery from his business with Willis MacDonald, a photograph of him with MacDonald, and stationary from his work with Prospect Heights Quarterly. Clippings about his retirement in 1912 and his death in 1915 can be found in A. Price Dillont's scrapbooks. This series also contains conference ephemera, mock-ups for printing jobs, paper price lists and specifications, photographs of colleagues in the print industry and print shops, examples of blotters, and samples of blotting paper, felt, and paper. There are a few publications about the print industry, including  The Upholstery Dealer and Decorative Furnisher, The  Printing Art, and  Printing found within the collection. This collection not only documents the careers of the two Dillonts, it also provides a glimpse into the paper and print industry in New York during the last half of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th century.

Series III. Family material is arranged in two subseries: A. Papers and ephemera and B. Photographs. As is the case with the rest of the collection, A. Price Dillont is the figure best documented in A. Papers and ephemera. This subseries includes school records, limited financial records, ephemera related to his involvement in organizations and official documents relating to the military and jury. Of particular interest may be the evidence of his very sentimental connection to his wife, Maude, including affectionate notes about her and a flower saved. There are financial records for Frank and Elizabeth Dillont and Maude Dillont; as well as school records for John and Nathalie, A. Price and Maude Dillont's children. There are also a number of records relating to the death and funerals of Dillont family members.

Members of the Dillont family appear to have been enthusiastic photographers, experimenting with and collecting photographs. Subseries B. Photographs contains more than 700 images in the form of tintypes, cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, cyanotypes, snapshot prints, glass negatives, and film negatives. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these images are unidentified, and therefore, have been grouped into general topics such as children, groups, men, women, etc. The subseries is arranged first with identified images, followed by those that are unidentified. There are three photograph albums, two of which appear to largely document family. Many of the photographs in the albums can also be found in the loose images. There is one album that contains a number of tintypes of boys who are identified by surnames and were possibly schoolmates. The photographs are a mixture of portraits and candid photographs, and the bulk of these photographs are probably family members. In addition, there are a number of photographs of homes, including one in Flatbush, New York, one in Tarrytown, New York, and one in Maplewood, New Jersey, as well as a number of unidentified buildings and street scenes. There are photographs of vacations and travels, pets, and groups of people, painting a vivid picture of the life this family lived.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2018 November 26

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Holly Mengel

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

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.

Source of Acquisition

Sold by Michael Brown Rare Books, 2018.

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Controlled Access Headings

Family Name(s)
  • Dillont family
  • Cabinet photographs
  • Correspondence
  • Cyanotypes (photographic prints)
  • Family papers
  • Glass plate negatives
  • Memorabilia
  • Negatives (photographic)
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
  • Printed ephemera
  • Sample books
  • Scrapbooks
  • Tintypes (prints)
Personal Name(s)
  • Dillont, John Francis, 1840-1915
  • Business
  • Families
  • Paper industry
  • Paper making and trade
  • Printing industry

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Correspondence.

Box Folder

Dillont, A. Price, letters to him from business colleagues and friends, 1878-1931.

1 1-2

Dillont, A. Price, letters to him from his father, J. "Frank" Dillont, and stepmother, Elizabeth Evans Dillont, 1900, 1913-1921.

1 3

Dillont, A. Price, letter to him from his aunt, Mary, 1905 June 5.

1 4

Dillont, A. Price and Maude, letter from their daughter, Nathalie, 1928 September 22.

1 5

Dillont, A. Price, letters from his sister, Sally "Sadie" Dillont (some letters addressed also to his wife, Maude, and children, John "Jack", and Nathalie), 1894, 1900-1926.

1 6

Dillont, A. Price, letters from Essick (first name unknown), 1887-1892.

1 7

Dillont, A. Price, letters from his friend and, at one time, business partner, Thomas Hotchkiss, 1886-1900.

1 8-10

Dillont, A. Price, letters to his friend and, at one time, business partner, Thomas Hotchkiss (largely retained copies), 1888-1889.

1 11

Dillont, A. Price, letters to and from his grandmother, Sarah Harriot Price, 1878 July 27-August 1.

1 12

Dillont, A. Price, letters from his business colleague, E.V. Reed, 1896.

1 13

Dillont, A. Price, letters regarding him, 1907-1908, 1914.

1 14

Dillont, Elizabeth Evans, letters from her husband, John Francis "Frank" Dillont, 1880, 1884.

1 15

Dillont, Elizabeth Evans, Christmas cards from stepson, A. Price Dillont, undated.

1 16

[Dillont, Elizabeth], letter from Frank Egolf addressed to "Cousin Elizabeth", 1925 July 21.

1 25

Dillont, Colonel John Francis "Frank," letters from son, A. Price Dillont, 1893-1914.

1 17

Dillont, Colonel John Francis "Frank," letters from organizations, 1908-1909, 1919.

1 18

Dillont, Colonel John Francis "Frank" and Elizabeth Evans Dillont, letters from daughter/stepdaughter, Sarah "Sadie" Dillont, 1907, undated.

1 19

Dillont, Mahala Price, letter from her husband, John Francis "Frank" Dillont (on tenth anniversary), 1874 February 4.

1 20

Dillont, Maude Nathalie Throckmorton, letters from her husband, A. Price Dillont, 1913, 1923.

1 21

Dillont, Maude Nathalie Throckmorton, letters from mother-in-law, Elizabeth Evans Dillont, 1918-1925.

1 22

Dillont, Maude Nathalie Throckmorton, letters from friends, 1915-1947.

1 23

Dillont, Maude Nathalie Throckmorton, Christmas card to unidentified recipient, undated.

1 25

Dillont, Nathalie, letters from Jack (probably her brother) and unidentified Valentines, 1928, undated.

1 24

Dillont, Sarah Harriot, letter to Castello, Edward T., Commander of Company 7 regarding William H. Price, with manuscript response on same page, 1925 March 10.

1 25

Unidentified correspondents and recipients, undated.

1 25

Series II. Papers and materials relating to the Dillonts' printing careers.

Box Folder

Dillont, A. Price, advertisements, business cards, and letterhead, circa 1888-1933.

1 26

Dillont, A. Price, artwork, circa 1888-1933.

1 27

Dillont, A. Price, artwork, "Personal design, Advertising", circa 1888-1933.

1 28

Dillont, A. Price, newspaper and magazine articles regarding, 1889-1929.

1 29

Dillont, A. Price, notebooks and accounts, circa 1888-1933.

1 30

Dillont, A. Price, patent documents for "Advertising booklet, lampshade support combined", 1907.

1 31

Dillont, A. Price, scrapbook, 1884-1885, 1905-1914.

1 32-33

Dillont, A. Price, scrapbook, 1905-1916.

1 34

Dillont, A. Price, scrapbook containing examples of work, specifications, and pricing, undated.

5 3

Dillont, John Francis "Frank," advertisement for sale of type and printing machinery from the firm of MacDonald, Dillont, and Co., 1875.

5 5

Dillont, John Francis "Frank," stationary for Prospect Heights Quarterly (J.F. Dillont, publisher), circa 1880s.

1 35

Mock-ups for printing jobs, circa 1890s-1930s.

1 37

Paper and print associations' event invitations, 1906-1907, undated.

1 38

Paper price lists and specifications, circa 1890s-1930s.

1 39

Photographs of colleagues in the print and paper industry (possibly used in publications), circa 1905-1933.

2 9

Photographs of colleagues in the print industry, John Francis "Frank" Dillont and group (possibly fellow printers), printing offices, and large groups (possibly conventions), circa 1880s-1920s.

5 1

Photographs of conventions in Ohio and in Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas; a group of workers; and Dillont's exhibit board, "The Manufacture of Newspaper", 1914, undated.

2 10-11

Printed advertisements, possibly used as examples or inspiration, circa 1890s-1930s.

1 40

Printing company advertisements, circa 1890s-1930s.

1 41

Printing organizations ephemera, 1911-1926.

2 1

Publications relating to the history of papermaking and printing, 1914-1915, undated.

2 2

Publications regarding printing (probably including work by Dillont), 1904-1911.

5 2

Publications regarding printing (not including references to the Dillont family), 1915, undated.

2 3

Sample blotters (with advertisements), 1912-1921, undated.

2 4

Sample books for blotter paper, undated.

2 5

Sample felt swatches, undated.

2 6

Sample paper swatches and books, 1925-1926, undated.

2 7-8

Speeches and writings (some by A. Price Dillont), 1914, undated.

1 36

Series III. Family material.

A. Papers and ephemera.

Box Folder

Dillont, A. Price, civic activities (military census and jury summons), 1916.

2 12

Dillont, A. Price, memorabilia regarding his wife, Maude, 1922, undated.

2 13

Dillont, A. Price, notes regarding reading, circa 1880s.

2 14

Dillont, A. Price, organizations, 1885-1926.

2 15

Dillont, A. Price, Public School No. 1, rewards of merit, 1876-1881.

2 16

Dillont, A. Price, receipts for furs, jewelry, etc. and accounts, 1892-1900, 1917.

2 17

Dillont, A. Price, train passes and travelers' insurance card, 1927-1928.

2 14

Dillont, A. Price and Maude, receipts for household expenses, 1896, 1909-1945.

2 18

Dillont, John Francis "Frank," military papers including invitation to Hop at United States Military Academy, and veteran and pension records, 1874-1875, 1902.

2 19

Dillont, John Francis "Frank" and Elizabeth, receipts and invitations, 1890-1895, undated.

2 20

Dillont, John Throckmorton, commencement program, 1911.

2 21

Dillont, Maude Nathalie Throckmorton, receipts, 1942-1943.

2 22

Dillont, Maude Nathalie Throckmorton, will, poem, and event cards, 1901-1926.

2 23

Dillont, Nathalie Throckmorton, scrapbook of advertisements and church concert program, 1932, undated.

2 24

Dillont, Nathalie Throckmorton, Vassar College grades and scholarship information, 1927-1930.

2 25

Dillont family funeral bills, death certificates and memorial card (Frederick Irving Dillont, 1905; John Francis "Frank" Dillont, 1915; Hester Deborah C. Evans, 1888; and Almira French, 1926), 1888-1926.

2 26

Dillont family, local event invitations and programs, 1883-1925.

2 27

B. Photographs.

Box Folder

Albums of family photographs (three), circa 1850s-1910.

2 28-29

Dillont, A. Price, portraits and photographs used in publications, circa 1880s-1933.

3 1

Dillont, A. Price, with others, candid photographs, circa 1900-1933.

3 2

Dillont, A. Price, with others, tintypes, circa 1870s-1890s.

3 4

Dillont, A. Price, with children, probably John and Nathalie, circa 1890s-1933.

3 3

Dillont, A. Price and Frederick Irving, tintypes, 1871, circa 1890s.

3 5

Dillont, Edna Clara Gunwoldt (wife of John Throckmorton Dillont), candid photograph, 1925.

3 6

Dillont, Elizabeth Evans (wife of John Francis "Frank" Dillont), portrait, 1865.

3 7

Dillont, John Francis "Frank" and Elizabeth, candid and portrait photographs, circa 1907-1915.

3 8

Dillont, John Francis "Frank," candid and portrait photographs, circa 1860s-1915.

3 9

Dillont, Frederick Irving, portraits, circa 1880s-1905.

3 10

Dillont, Frederick, Sarah, and A. Price, portraits, circa 1870s.

3 11

Dillont, John Throckmorton, candid photograph, 1898 April.

3 12

Dillont, Maude Nathalie, portrait, circa 1870.

3 13

Dillont, Nathalie, portraits, circa 1930s.

3 14

Garvin, Eddie and Chauncey (and Garvin house), candid photographs, undated.

3 15

Unidentified children, formal portraits and tintypes, 1850s-1945.

3 17-18

Unidentified children with adults, candid and formal portraits, 1860s-1920s.

3 19

Unidentified couples, candid and formal portraits, 1860s-1900s.

3 20

Unidentified event (parade with flowers), circa 1870s-1890s.

3 21

Unidentified groups (possibly NOT family), circa 1896-1920s.

3 22

Unidentified groups (probably family), 1884-1933.

3 23

Unidentified men, candid, formal portraits, and tintype photographs, 1850s-1930s.

3 24-27

Unidentified people in automobiles, circa 1890s-1930s.

3 28

Unidentified people with bicycles, circa 1900-1920s.

3 29

Unidentified people with horse and carriages or horses, circa 1870s-1920s.

3 30

Unidentified people with pets and/or pets alone, circa 1900-1930s.

3 31

Unidentified travels, vacations and landscapes,, circa 1860s-1930s.

3 32-34

Unidentified women, candid photographs, circa 1870s-1920s.

3 35

Unidentified women, formal portraits and tintype photographs, 1850s-1930s.

4 1-2

Residence at 629 Ocean Avenue, Flatbush, New York, 1870, undated.

4 3

Residence in Maplewood, New Jersey, 1909-1915, undated.

4 4

Residence at 8 Fairview Avenue, Tarrytown, New York, 1915-1916.

4 5

Unidentified streets and buildings, circa 1890s-1930s.

4 6-7

Unidentified streets and buildings, circa 1900-1930s.

5 4

Glass negatives (Flatbush, New York; woman on a bicycle; men on bicycle; and unidentified group), circa 1870s-1930.

4 8

Negatives (film) and original envelopes (with text or information), circa 1888-1930s.

4 9-10