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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:446 1865-1935 W791

Winthrop Mills records

The Winthrop Mills records collects material from a woolen manufacturing company based in Winthrop, Maine that specialized in the manufacture of blankets. The records include administrative, financial, and production recors as well as records related to acquisition of other companies, and the liquidation of Winthrop Mills in the 1930s.


  • 1865-1935

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored offsite; access requires advance notice. Contact for more information.


16 linear feet (50 volumes, 14 boxes)

The Winthrop Mills records contains material related to operating a woolen manufacturing firm in Maine from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. The collection is an incomplete one; there are minute books to 1913, and considerable material for the period immediately preceding the liquidation in 1932 and 1933, but there are no payroll books and few letter books. The collection includes papers of F. H. Cabot and Company (selling agents), the Cabot Manufacturing Company, and the Fisher Manufacturing Company, Grafton, Massachusetts. Letters include those of treasurers, Frederick P. Cabot (1921), Walter H. Bradley (1929), and agents, R. Crawford McIlroy and Herman Wilson (1926).

Biographical / Historical

The Winthrop Mills were established in Winthrop, Maine in 1866 by a group of investors from Boston. The Winthrop Mills complex included five buildings, a power canal, and a dam on Maranacook Stream, between the Maranacook and Anabessacook Lakes. In 1913 they acquired the Annabessacook Mill in North Monmouth, Maine and reorganized as a Massachusetts corporation. They liquidated in 1932 and 1933.

The mills specialized in the manufacture of wool and part-wool blankets and grew to become the nation's largest manufacturer of woolen blankets. Cabots (especially F.H. Cabot), Adams's (especially Manley U. Adams), and McElroys were active in the management. The Winthrop Mills Company seems to have had a controlling interest in F.H. Cabot & Co., Inc., which liquidated at the same time. They also had interests in the Fisher Manufacturing Co. of Grafton, Massachusetts. F.H. Cabot & Co. acted as selling agents for Winthrop, Annabessacook, Orr, Gibboney, Susquehanna and other makes of blankets. Competition from makers of cheaper blankets with less wool content was the reason for liquidation.

The assets of the Winthrop Mills Company were purchased by the Wilton Woolen Company in 1938 and continued to operate under the Winthrop Milss name until 1954. The Carleton Woolen Company purchased the mills and operated them unitl closing in 2002. The mill complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.


The Winthrop Mills records are maintained in their original order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Winthrop Mills records were received by Baker Library Special Collections as a donation from Maurice H. Wildes on November 30, 1935.

Processing Information

Processed: September 1951 By: R.M. Lovett
Link to catalog
Winthrop Mills. Winthrop Mills Records, 1865-1935: A Finding Aid
Baker Library
Description rules

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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