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Mss:776 1837-1920 H846

Hovey, Charles Fox. C.F. Hovey Company Records, 1837-1920: A Finding Aid

Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University

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Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Mss:776 1837-1920 H846
Repository: Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Creator: C.F. Hovey Company
Title: C. F. Hovey Company records
Date(s): 1837-1922
Quantity: 3 linear feet (12 volumes, 1 box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: C. F. Hovey and Company became an innovator in department store merchandising. The collection consists of department sales books, a cash book, statements, receipts, and calculations.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Gifts of Walter M. Stone, 1927 [director of company]; C.F. Hovey Company; Jordan Marsh Company, 1947.

Processing Information:

Processed: November 2017 By: Baker Library Special Collections Staff

Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is open for research. Materials stored offsite. Please contact specialcollectionsref@hbs.edu for more information.

Preferred Citation:

C.F. Hovey Company Records. Baker Library, Harvard Business School.

Biographical / Historical

In 1841, Charles Fox Hovey entered into a partnership with Washington Williams and James H. Bryden. Calling themselves Hovey, Williams and Company, the three men worked as importers and wholesale dealers in dry goods, with offices located at 65 Water Street, Boston. Hovey, however, developed an interest in the retail side of the business, and in 1846, Hovey, Williams and Company joined Richard C. Greenleaf and John Chander, who already owned a retail dry goods store on Washington Street. Within a short time, the establishment moved to 13 Winter Street, the first commercial firm to locate in the area. Eventually the company settled on Summer Street. In 1848 the company was renamed C. F. Hovey and Company.
C. F. Hovey and Company became an innovator in department store merchandising. Plainly marked goods with a one-price system, the adoption of early closing hours, profit-sharing for employees, and a credit system, utilizing monthly bills, were just some of the now-standard practices first appearing in Hovey's. In addition to the store in Boston, the company maintained offices in New York and Paris.
After Hovey's death in April 1859, the store continued to bear his name. C. F. Hovey and Company was noted for the quality of its merchandise as well as for the longevity of its management and partners. William Endicott, Jr., Henry Woods and Samuel Johnson, hired in 1846, became partners in 1851. Woods and Johnson remained with Hovey's until their respective deaths in 1902 and 1899; Endicott retired in 1910 after a remarkable sixty-four years in the business. Jordan Marsh took over the company in 1947.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of department sales books, a cash book, statements, receipts, and calculations. Department sales volumes contain names of the salesmen; daily, weekly and monthly sales for both individuals and departments. Remark columns include comments on weather, political and civic events, and personnel news. Cash book contains monthly sales volumes. Statements show accounts payable and receivable for C. F. Hovey on a monthly basis. Box 13, folders 9-16 contain material removed from volumes and original location is noted on folder. Index to the ledger/account book in folder 17 does not appear to be related to any of the volumes in this collection.

Container List


bak00369