Miller Center

Hagley Museum & Library - Manuscripts and Archives

CPC Catalog > Organization: Hagley Museum & Library - Manuscripts and Archives

Location [ map ]

298 Buck Road
Wilmington, Delaware


Hagley's Manuscripts and Archives Department has more than 2,500 separate collections, ranging in size from a single item to 3,000 linear feet. They cover the full spectrum of American business and technology from the mercantile houses of the late eighteenth century to the multinational corporations of the twenty-first, including also the personal and family papers of the entrepreneurs, inventors, designers, and managers who helped build them.

The business records of the DuPont Company and du Pont family papers constitute one of the library's great assets. The history of northeastern railroads and of iron, steel, coal, and oil production are well represented, along with a myriad of smaller collections on industrial, commercial, and mercantile activities in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. While much of this documentation concerns business activities in the Mid-Atlantic region, firm records such as those of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Sun Oil (Sunoco), and DuPont cover national and often international operations.

The scope of manuscript and archival materials has expanded steadily to include wide-ranging areas of business activity. Firms with innovative technological practices― ranging from leading military contractors such as Sperry Gyroscope (and the personal papers of Elmer Sperry) to the MCI records that detail many aspects of the computer and communications revolution―have deposited their records at Hagley. Records and photographs of Sperry–UNIVAC, the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, Engineering Research Associates, and the IBM antitrust suit trace the early history of the computer and aeronautics industries. The records of the RCA Corporation include thousands of technical reports that document the development of a wide array of consumer and military electronics products.

The development of American consumer culture and business' central role in this process is a major collecting emphasis. Consumer-oriented companies such as Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Avon Products, and the Strawbridge & Clothier department-store chain offer rich insights into the relationships between such firms and the consumer marketplace. The Irving Koons collection provides invaluable information on mass marketing, advertising, market research, and packaging, and Ernest Dichter's papers contain rich research studies on consumer motivation. Product designs are well represented in the papers of industrial designers Raymond Loewy, Thomas Lamb, Marc Harrison, Richard Hollerith, and Marshall Johnson. The papers of interior designers such as William Pahlmann and Ken White illustrate the changes in corporate, residential, and retail spaces throughout the second half of the twentieth century.

Hagley's unique holdings of business- and trade-association archives offer national perspectives on business attitudes towards government policy and corporate strategy. Hagley holds the records of America's four major national business associations: the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, the National Industrial Conference Board, and the National Foreign Trade Council. These extensive collections offer almost limitless research opportunities on national and international business practices. Perspectives on particular business sectors can be gained through the archives of industry-wide associations such as the American Iron and Steel Institute and the International Housewares Association.

Personal papers form an important component of Hagley's collections. The papers of individual business people frequently contain evidence of family and social life, including correspondence of their spouses and children, opening windows into the changing lifestyles and mentalities of the middle and upper classes. Personal papers of du Pont and Pew family members and of John J. Raskob, for example, document the role of business leaders in party politics and civic affairs.

Hagley's collections contain significant information about many of the commercial and industrial structures that defined modern America, such as the skyscraper, the industrial plant, the department store, the office building, and the railroad station. In addition to vernacular structures, Hagley's collections document several iconic buildings, including the Seagram Building, the PSFS (the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society) headquarters, and New York City's Pennsylvania Station.


Charles Lukens Huston Papers, 1806-1951
Salem Howe Wales Papers, 1837-1908

Note that this is an incomplete collections list. Please contact the organization directly for the most current information about their holdings.

Charles Lukens Huston Papers, 1806-1951

Huston, Charles Lukens, 1856-1951. Charles L. Huston entered the family business as a bookkeeper in 1875. He was put in charge of the puddling mill in 1879, the plate mills in 1882 and the Open Hearth Department in 1891. He became a partner in 1879, and the firm was restyled Charles Huston & Sons in 1881. Upon incorporation as the Lukens Iron & Steel Company in 1890, C.L. Huston became second vice president. At his father's death, his brother Abram Francis Huston (1852-1930) became president and C.L. Huston vice president and works manager. Both brothers retired in 1925. Charles L. Huston took an active part in religious and civic affairs. He was Director of the Poor for Chester County from 1907 to 1940, in which capacity he was greatly involved in the work of the Chester County Home and Hospital for the Insane. He was involved for most of his life in the Young Men's Christian Association and in the organization of the Presbyterian Church. He was a member of the National Association of Evangelicals, vice president of the World's Christian Fundamentals Association (1920-46) and a strong supporter of the Church's foreign missionary work and the Prohibition movement. He died at Coatesville, Pa. on March 14, 1951. 

Charles L. Huston was a public figure of some prominence and his correspondence includes letters of Calvin Coolidge (1923-25) re Near East Relief, the World Court and the Ex-Servicemen Bonus Bill; Warren G. Harding (1922) re deporting Armenians; Herbert Hoover (1940) re Finland relief; Gifford Pinchot, Pennsylvania Governor (1923-27 and 1931-35); Franklin D. Roosevelt (1943) re "bombarding" the air to produce rain; Theodore Roosevelt (1917) re Huston's prohibition work; and Adm. Richard E. Byrd concerning his expedition (1931-34). The Charles L. Huston Papers consists of Huston's personal papers and some fragmentary Lukens Steel business records.

53 linear feet

Presidential content includes:

- Calvin Coolidge

- Theodore Roosevelt

- Warren G. Harding

- Herbert Hoover

- Franklin D. Roosevelt

[ TOP ↑ ]

Salem Howe Wales Papers, 1837-1908

Wales, Salem Howe, 1825-1902. Salem Howe Wales was a journalist, politician, and philanthropist. Born in Wales, Mass. on Ocotber 4, 1825, he attended the Academy of Attica in New York. In 1846, Wales began his career as a clerk in a New York importing house. From 1848 to 1871 he served as managing editor of Scientific American. Wales was a commissioner to the Paris Exposition (1855), a member of the executive committee of the Christian Commission during the Civil War era, and a member of the Union League Club. In 1873 he became President of the New York City Department of Parks and in 1874 ran as the Republican candidate for mayor of the city. From 1874 to 1876, Wales served as President of the Department of Docks; he was the New York City Park Commissioner from 1880 to 1885. Wales was a founder and trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Director of the National Bank of North America. He married Frances Elizabeth Johnson on February 12, 1851 and they had two chidlren; he was the grandfather of Mrs. Henry Francis du Pont.

Consists of correspondence, corporate records, manuscripts, a scrapbook, a guest book, travel diaries, and photographs that reflect Wales' career in journalism and his interests in business, politics, civic and social affairs, urban reform, park development, and philanthropy. Correspondents include Chester A. Arthur, P.T. Barnum, Henry Ward Beecher, Andrew Carnegie, Schuyler Colfax, Roscoe Conkling, Cyrus W. Field, Hamilton Fish, Horace Greeley, William McKinley, Frederick Law Olmstead, Josiah Quincy, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Root, William H. Seward, and Cornelius Vanderbilt. In addition, he corresponded with California King Gold Mines Company, Fifth Avenue Bank of New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Bank of North America, New England Society, New York State Bar Association, South Yuba Water Company, Union League Club, and the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery.

7 boxes

Presidential content includes:

- Chester A. Arthur

- William McKinley

- Theodore Roosevelt

[ TOP ↑ ]