Hagley Museum and Library

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Contents

Address and Contact Info

Address: P.O. Box 3630, 298 Buck Rd. E., Wilmington, DE 19807

Phone: (302) 658-2400

Fax: (302) 658-3188

E-mail: mmoeller@hagley.org

Web page: http://www.hagley.org

Online Catalog: http://38.115.62.80/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First

Director: Geoffrey Halfpenny

Archive Access: Researchers wishing to use Hagley's manuscripts and archives collections are encouraged to discuss their research projects with a Manuscripts and Archives Department staff member prior to visiting Hagley. For more detailed information on individual collections and terms of access, please contact Marjorie McNinch, Reference Archivist, at (302) 658-2400, ext. 330; fax (302) 658-0545; e-mail mmcninch@hagley.org. The Imprints Department houses published materials available to researchers upon request. For further information on Imprints Department holdings, please contact the Linda Gross, Reference Librarian, at (302) 658-2400 ext. 227; fax (302) 658-3690; email lgross@hagley.org. For more detailed information on individual holdings of the Pictorial Collections Department, please contact Ben Blake, Archivist, at (302) 658-2400, ext. 277; fax (302) 658-3690; e-mail bblake@hagley.org.

Hours and usage restrictions

The Library and Soda House are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except certain national holidays. The library building is also open on the second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Collection Summary

The Hagley Museum and Library is a nonprofit educational institution dedicated to America’s economic and technological heritage. It houses an important collection of manuscripts, photographs, books, and artifacts documenting the history of America’s business and technology. Hagley’s main strength is in the Middle Atlantic region and the Brandywine Valley, but in recent years the scope of collecting has broadened to include records of and works about business organizations and companies with national impact.

The imprints collection consists of approximately 225,000 volumes and 12,500 microforms. Included are books, serials, pamphlets, maps and atlases, city directories, trade catalogs, theses, and government documents. Business history and biography comprise more than one-third of the imprints collections. Included are works on economics and economic history, labor, transportation and communication, commerce, consumerism, industrial design, commercial architecture, advertising, finance, and corporate history. Company annual reports, stockholder and employee magazines, advertising literature, and public relations pieces complement archival collections.

Hagley possesses a distinguished collection for the study of the history of technology. The 25,000 trade catalogs, most of which were published between 1880 and 1920, are important resources for the study of America’s commercial, technological, and industrial development. The catalogs are also useful for historic restorations, artifact identification, and race and gender studies. The trade catalog collection has been described in a separate collections guide.

Hagley’s collection of guidebooks and catalogs for the great international expositions trace international technology transfer and the introduction of manufactured goods to the public. The American fairs at Philadelphia (1876), Chicago (1893), and St. Louis (1904) are well represented in Hagley’s collection, as is the London Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851.

The European roots of American business and technological development are documented in the rare book and pamphlet collections, which include works on 18th-century French history and economic theory, with a particular emphasis on physiocracy.

The Guttman Collection of pyrotechnics consists of some 800 books and many pamphlets on explosives and military subjects; it is particularly strong in books about fireworks published between 1500 and 1900.

Hagley’s 29,000 linear feet of manuscripts collections contain the records of more than 1,000 firms as well as the personal papers of the entrepreneurs who helped build them. The library is also the repository for the records of national business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Iron and Steel Institute.

The companies represented range from the mercantile houses of the late 18th century, through the artisan workshops of the 19th, to the multinational corporations of the 20th century. The collections illustrate the impact of the business system on American society—its economic, technological, political, and labor history.

The business and personal papers of the DuPont Company and family were the core collections around which the library developed. The papers of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739–1817) are an important resource for students of 18th-century French history. Those of his son, E. I. du Pont and other family members document the 1802 founding and subsequent operation of the DuPont Company’s powder mills. Twentieth-century records describe the transformation of the company into a modern corporation.

The history of the northeastern railways is well represented in Hagley’s collections, which include the records of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad and significant parts of the Pennsylvania Railroad archives. Records and photographs documenting the history of energy development and use can be found in the archives of the Sun Company, the Westmoreland Coal Company, the Penn Virginia Corporation, and St. Clair Coal Company. The archives of the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company trace the development of the electric industry in eastern Pennsylvania. Similarly, the history of the iron and steel industry can be traced through the records of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Lukens Steel Company, Alan Wood Steel Company, and Phoenix Steel Corporation.

Many collections chronicle the progress of high technology in the 20th century. The Elmer Sperry papers and the papers and photographs of the Sperry Gyroscope Company (1909–65) document the history of pioneering scientific and technical firms that became important military contractors. Records and photographs of Sperry-UNIVAC, the Eckert-Mauchly Company, Engineering Research Associates, and the IBM antitrust suit trace the early history of the computer and aeronautics industries. Hagley also has major collections on the history of atomic energy from the Manhattan Project onward. Records of the MCI Communications Corporation detail many aspects of the computer and communications revolution, the development of electronic mail, and the evolution of national telecommunications policies.

In recent years, Hagley has begun to document the history of America’s consumer culture. The records of Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Company and Avon Products provide invaluable information on mass marketing, advertising, and market research. Product and package design are well represented in the papers of industrial designers Raymond Loewy, Thomas Lamb, and Marc Harrison.

The Pictorial Collections and Audiovisual Services Department provide visual and aural documentation within the scope of Hagley’s research areas. Many of the collections, which vary in size from one image to more than 100,000, are directly related to holdings in the Manuscripts and Archives Department. The collections consist primarily of 20th-century black-and-white still photography. Other formats found throughout the holdings range from daguerreotypes to Polaroid prints, lithographs and engravings, motion pictures, videotapes, and sound recordings. Hagley’s pictorial archives are organized by individual collections; finding aids to specific collections contain entries for the major subjects covered. The artifact collections of the Hagley Museum number approximately 250,000 objects. They range from historic architecture and landscape to decorative and fine arts to scientific instruments, hand tools, and industrial machinery. Noteworthy is the decorative arts collection assembled by Louise duPont Crowninshield, which is particularly strong in hooked rugs, English ceramics, and American and English textiles. Hagley has an important collection of patent models, small-scale versions of inventions submitted along with patent applications to the Commissioner of Patents. During the past 30 years, Hagley’s collections have formed the basis of many classic studies in economic, business, and technological history. More recently, younger scholars working on broad interdisciplinary projects that transcend the boundaries between business, technological, labor, social, and cultural history, have begun to make use of the library. These scholars have sought to understand the ways in which advertising documents, social and cultural attitudes, the process of “getting work,” the dynamics of class formation, and how labor market segmentation has affected women and racial and ethnic minorities.


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