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Mss:680 1871-1896 A425

Allen, Edward Charles, 1849-1891. E.C. Allen Business Records, 1871-1896: A Finding Aid

Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University


Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Mss:680 1871-1896 A425
Repository: Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Title: E.C. Allen business records
Date(s): 1871-1896
Quantity: 127 linear feet (468 volumes, 60 boxes, 6 cartons, 6 folders)
Language of materials: English

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The E.C. Allen business records were received by Baker Library Special Collections as a donation from Edward A. Whitney, 1950.

Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open for research. Some materials may be stored offsite; access requires advance notice. Contact specialcollectionsref@hbs.edu for more information.

Preferred Citation:

Cite As: E. C. Allen Business Records. Baker Library, Harvard Business School.

Biographical / Historical

Maine businessman, publisher of farm and family periodicals and books, and owner of an extensive mail order business. Allen established E. C. Allen and Company in Augusta, Maine and subsequently acquired control of the publishing firms of True and Company of Augusta and George Stinson and Company of Portland, Maine. His first periodical was The People's Literary Companion, founded in 1869. Other periodicals published included Daughters of America, Golden Moments, Illustrated Family Herald, Sunshine for Youth, and Thrifty Farmer. Allen was less interested in the literary quality of these publications than in using the subscription lists and the low postage rates for periodicals as a means to carry on his mail order business. After Allen's death in 1891, his family operated the business. In 1895 it was sold to S. W. Lane and Company, and the firm's stock was sold to R. W. Soule.

Scope and Contents

Ledger accounts for agents, cash books, letter books, records of subscriptions and mailings, and unbound papers. There are extensive files of copyright entries and of advertising circulars. Also included are papers relating to Allen's other business interests, particularly the Kennebec Steamboat Company. The collection is an important resource for a study of the beginnings of both the mail order business and mass advertising. There is very little material on the editorial side of the business.

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