Slater family business records
- 1793-1926 (inclusive)
Conditions Governing Access
Extent246 linear feet (1153 volumes, 85 boxes, 1 carton)
The collection consists of bound volumes and boxes of unbound material.
After arriving in New York, Samuel Slater soon came in contact with members of the Brown family of Providence, Rhode Island. The Browns, a wealthy and influential merchant family, began a small textile manufacturing operation in Rhode Island in 1788. However, due to its small scale and outdated equipment, the venture proved unsuccessful. Samuel Slater was advised to contact Moses Brown, and upon meeting, the men agreed to a partnership. In April 1790, Samuel Slater entered into an agreement with the mercantile firm of Almy & Brown (Moses Brown's son-in-law, William Almy, and cousin, Smith Brown.) Slater would design and build the equipment necessary to establish an operating cotton mill. The partnership would be known as Almy, Brown & Slater.
Slater set about building new carding engines, roving frames, and spinning machines. By December 1790, Almy, Brown & Slater was ready to begin manufacturing operations, producing cotton yarn. By 1793, the partnership built a mill at Pawtucket Falls on the Blackstone River in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, beginning the development of the factory system of manufacturing in the United States.
The relationship between Slater and the Browns was occasionally fractious, but it endured until 1829. Samuel Slater also considerably expanded his own investment in mill operations, often partnering with family members or former employees. In 1800, he joined with his father-in-law and two brothers-in-law to build and operate the "White Mill," a spinning factory on the Pawtucket River at Rehobeth, Mass. In 1806, Samuel Slater, William Almy, Smith Brown, and Slater's younger brother, John, built a factory in northern Rhode Island at what would become the town of Slatersville. In 1812, he entered a partnership with Bela Tiffany, an employee, to build a mill at Oxford (now Webster), Mass. This factory became Slater & Tiffany. During the 1810s, 1820, and 1830s, Slater ands his partners built, bought, or acquired interest in factories in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
Samuel Slater's three sons, George Slater, John Slater II, and Horatio Nelson Slater, became increasingly involved in the operations of the family business. In 1829, the same year that Slater ended his business relationship with Almy and Brown, he formed a family partnership called S. Slater & Sons. Samuel Slater died in 1835. His sons continued to run the businesses that Slater founded through the rest of nineteenth century.
- Series A:Slater and Howard, 1815-1828
- Series B: Dudley Manufacturing Company, 1827-1841
- Series C: Webster Woolen Mills, 1830-1869
- Series D: Slater Woolen Company, Webster, Massachusetts, 1866-1903
- Series E:Slater Woolen Company, Providence Office, 1876-1878
- Series F: Slater Woolen Company, New York Office, 1866-1880
- Series G: Almy, Brown and Slater, North Providence, Rhode Island, 1793-1833
- Series H:Slater & Tiffany, Oxford, Massachusetts, 1812-1843
- Series I: Slater & Kimball, South Oxford, Massachusetts, 1827-1839
- Series J: Phoenix Thread Mill, Webster, Massachusetts, 1834-1860
- Series K:Union Mills, Webster, Massachusetts, 1827-1884
- Series L: Webster Cotton Company, 1869-1879
- Series M: H. N. Slater Manufacturing Company, Webster, Massachusetts, 1871-1890
- Series N:H. N. Slater Mills, Webster, Massachusetts, 1870-1915
- Series O: Webster Mills, Webster, Massachusetts, 1876-1884
- Series P: Sutton Manufacturing Company, Wilkinsonville, Massachusetts, 1830-1896
- Series Q:Providence Iron Foundry, 1817-1835
- Series R: Steam Cotton Manufacturing Company, Providence, Rhode Island, 1824-1839
- Series S: Slater, Wardwell and Company, Providence, R.I., 1827-1837
- Series T:S. and J. Slater, Providence, Rhode Island, 1834-1867
- Series U: Slatersville Manufacturing Company, 1833
- Series V:Samuel Slater and Sons, Providence, Rhode Island, 1829-1900
- Series W: S. Slater & Sons, Inc., Webster, Massachusetts, 1878-1926
- Series X: Crompton Print Works, Warwick, Rhode Island, 1860-1864
- Series Y: Samuel Slater & Sons, New York Office, 1863-1880
- Series Z: Slater & Robinson, Webster, Massachusetts, 1852-1864
- Series AA: John & William Slater, Slatersville, Rhode Island, 1854-1900
Existence and Location of Copies
Vol. G3 Almy, Brown and Slater daybook, February 1799-January 1815 is available as a digital surrogate.
Vol. I3 Slater & Kimball—Agreements with help, 1827-1839; includes prices of help, account of stock as of April 1,1827, is available on microfilm (1 reel, 35 mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no. 71-7459.
Vol. K30 Union Mills petty ledger, 1840-1843 (village accounts, rents, etc.) and Vol. K87 Union Mills rent book, 1849-1861 (partial) are available on microfilm (1 reel, 35 mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no. 71-0899.
Vol. H60 Slater & Tiffany Invoices and stock on hand—1834-1838 (1812-1843) is available on microfilm (1 reel, 35 mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no. 71-2923.
By: Kristy Sharpe, Laura Morris, and Tim Mahoney
The Slater family collection was first arranged for research use in 1930. The processors chose to list the family's woolen manufacturing operations first (Series A to F); followed by the cotton manufacturing concerns (Series G to AA.) The records for each mill are then arranged chronologically. However, it should be noted that the records of Samuel Slater's earliest endeavors can be found in Series G: Almy, Brown and Slater.
The collection was reprocessed during 2007 to 2009. The original 1930s series arrangement was retained, but each series was assigned a unique letter. This is intended to help prevent confusion when collection materials are ordered and retrieved, and later when they are cited for publication. During the reprocessing project, unbound manuscripts were rehoused in appropriate acid-free folders and boxes. Oversized materials were removed and placed in flat boxes; separation sheets were placed to indicate the new location.
During the reprocessing, several volumes were identified as missing. The collection records first note the absence of these volumes in 1975. The missing volumes are Webster Woolen Mills C76, Slater Woolen Company D15 and D25, Slater & Tiffany H8, H10, H73, H74, H78, H79, H81, H83, H86, H92, H93, and H94. Slater & Kimball I3 is also missing, but a microfilm version is available. The inventory below contains further information about each of these volumes.
- Account books.
- Cotton manufacture—Massachusetts.
- Cotton manufacture—Rhode Island.
- Dudley Manufacturing Company
- General stores—Rhode Island.
- Industries—Rhode Island.
- Industries—Rhode Island—Providence.
- Iron industry and trade—Rhode Island.
- Manufactures—Massachusetts—South Oxford.
- Manufactures—Rhode Island—North Providence.
- Manufactures—Rhode Island—Slatersville.
- Manufactures—Rhode Island—Smithfield (Town).
- Manufactures—Rhode Island—Warwick.
- New York (N.Y.)—Commerce.
- S. & J. Slater
- S. Slater & Sons
- Textile industry—New England.
- Textile workers.
- Wool industry—Massachusetts.
- Wool industry—Rhode Island.
- Slater Family. Slater Family Business Records, 1793-1926 (inclusive): A Finding Aid
- Baker Library
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository
Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.
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