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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:641 1922-1976(1911)

Melville Corporation-J.F. McElwain Company papers

Records document the relationship between J. F. McElwain Company and Melville Corporation.


  • 1918-1973

Conditions Governing Access

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


.75 linear feet (2 boxes)

This collection consists of top management files gathered together to document the relationship between, and subsequent merger of, shoe manufacturing concern J.F. McElwain (JFM) Company and shoe retailer Melville Shoe Corporation (MSC). Files from the period 1922-1953 are operating files which made up a subject file for company reference. Documents from 1953 onward primarily record company efforts to research and publish company history in various ways. Printed materials such as selected issues of company magazines and other articles about the companies and their founders supplement the manuscript materials.

The collection does not document the ongoing operations of JFM Co., MSC, or the JFM division of MSC. Its primary informational value lies in the documentation of the mergers of 1939 and 1954, and attitudes of the company officers both before and after the mergers which are revealed therein. The primary evidential value lies in the care for the company past shown by the collection of these files and the preservation of printed materials about company founders.

Biographical / Historical

J. F. McElwain Co. was a division of the Melville Corporation of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. McElwain was founded as an independent shoe manufacturing company in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1922. The company was created to supply shoes for the Melville Corporation's Thom McAn line, which were sold through its growing chain of retail stores. J. F. McElwain Co. became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Melville Corporation in 1939, and a division in 1954.


The collection is organized into three series: Series I. JFM Subject Files, Series II. JFM and MSC Historical Files, and Series III. Miscellany.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Francis H. Gleason, Chairman JFM Co. and Vice President, Melville Corporation. Through Lawrence Fouraker, 1981.

Processing Information

Processed: April 2018 By: Baker Library Special Collections Staff
Link to catalog
Melville Corporation. Melville Corporation-J.F. McElwain Company records, 1922-1976: 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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