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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:680 1871-1896 A425

E.C. Allen business records

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.


  • 1871-1896

Conditions Governing Access

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


127 linear feet (468 volumes, 60 boxes, 6 cartons, 6 folders)

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.

Physical Location


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.
Allen, Edward Charles, 1849-1891. E.C. Allen Business Records, 1871-1896: A Finding Aid
Baker Library Special Collections Staff
September 2017
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

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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