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MS AmW 106

Swift, Lindsay, 1856-1921. Lindsay Swift papers concerning the New England and Clifton Copper Company of Arizona, 1875-1909: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MS AmW 106
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Swift, Lindsay, 1856-1921.
Title: Lindsay Swift papers concerning the New England and Clifton Copper Company of Arizona,
Date(s): 1875-1909.
Quantity: 1 collection (6 boxes (3 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are primarily in English; a few in French.
Abstract: Papers and records kept by investor Lindsay Swift (Harvard AB 1877) concerning the New England and Clifton Copper Company of Arizona. Also concerns another investor, Edward Henry Strobel (Harvard AB 1877).

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Gift of Lindsay Swift, of Boston; received: 1916 September 20.
Forms part of the collection of Western Americana manuscripts at Houghton Library, collected under the auspices of the Harvard Commission on Western History.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Lindsay Swift Papers Concerning the New England and Clifton Copper Company of Arizona, 1875-1909 (MS AmW 106). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

Records of this company from 1900-1913 are held by the Special Collections of the University of Arizona Libraries, Tucson (AZ 285).

Biographical / Historical

Lindsay Swift (1856-1921) was a librarian, editor and author. He received his AB from Harvard College in 1877. He worked in the Catalogue Department of the Boston Public Library (1878-1896) and then served as editor of library publications (1896-1921). Swift was a close friend of Edward Henry Strobel (a Harvard classmate) and the two were business partners in a copper mining venture. Swift was listed as President of the copper company.
Edward Henry Strobel (1855-1908) was a United States diplomat and a scholar in international law. He earned his Harvard AB 1877, a Harvard LLB 1882, and LLD 1906. He was Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School from 1898 to 1906. He served as general advisor to the King of Siam from 1903 to 1908.
A company was formed as a result of a merger in 1903 of the New England Copper Company and the Clifton Consolidated Copper Mines of Arizona. The new company was called the New England and Clifton Copper Company of Arizona. Property belonging to this company included the New England, Clifton, Antietam and Copper King mines located 5 miles northwest of Clifton on the north side of the San Francisco River. Today, this would be considered Greenlee County, which came into existence in 1911. The various mines of the company showed considerable ore ranging from very high grade to low grade. From 1906 to 1909, production averaged about 1 million pounds of copper, 12,000 ounces of silver and 60 ounces gold per year. (Copper Handbook, 1910, p.1284-85).
Harvard Librarian George Parker Winship offers a summary of the history of this company (see item (6) below): Lindsay Swift was offered the opportunity of certain wealth in this copper mining venture and also offered it to his friends. None of them possessed wealth or financial experience. They all took their savings and contributed all that they could raise toward the development of the property. When the venture reached the point to realize a return on the investment, they found they possessed a large amount of perfectly good copper, but that "there was no way to move it off the mine property except over a railway that belonged to the Guggenheim interests, which would only accept shipments consigned to a Guggenheim smelter. It also developed that the cost of shipment plus the smelter charges very nearly equaled the selling price of the copper, so that there was not enough left over to pay the cost of mining the metal." By 1912, the company was bankrupt and the property was sold at a sheriff's sale to John K. Erksine who in turn sold the property to Phelps Dodge. (Copper Handbook, 1912, p.648).
Some persons associated with the New England Copper Company of Arizona were: Edward H. Strobel, lessee; Arthur P. Ayling, president and manager; Alexander E. Elliott, treasurer; and Jens L Westengard, counsel.
Persons associated with the merged company were: Edmund Bristol, Vice President and Managing Director; Lindsay Swift, president from 1903 to 1906; Burger & Siebert, consulting engineers, C. C. Burger, chief engineer; and Jacob King, superintendent.


Organized into the following four series:

Scope and Contents

Chiefly correspondence and documents concerning the development of, and investment in, copper mines in Clifton, Arizona. Lindsay Swift, of the Boston Public Library, was president of the company, but the mastermind behind the investment was Edward H. Strobel, Swift's Harvard classmate, who had a varied career in diplomacy and served as adviser to the King of Siam. The collection also includes photographs of the mine, clippings, a few mine drawings and mine financial and legal records, some correspondence of Strobel and Swift unrelated to the mine, and a few letters and papers about the collection itself. Also includes letters sent to Swift concerning Strobel's death in 1908.

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