Business Archive of F.F. Marcy, Lumber Dealer and Builder of Palmer, Massachusetts


The business archive of F.F. Marcy, Lumber Dealer and Builder of Palmer, Massachusetts, comprises a significant collection of letters, invoices, and other business papers, including the company’s outgoing letterbook from August 1887 to October 1888.


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The archive includes incoming letters and invoices (approx. 130 items) to F.F. Marcy from lumber mills and wholesale dealers in Michigan, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. The incoming lumber related letters and invoices include significant groups from the Connecticut River Lumber Co., Austin L. Peck, Rice & Griffin Mfg. Co., Skillings, Whitneys & Barnes, and J.R. Booth.

The F.F. Marcy company letterbook –alone– contains over 1500 outgoing letters, most copied two per leaf.


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The principals of the company were Frank F. Marcy and, later, H.P. Marcy, manager. The F.F. Marcy company were wholesale dealers in lumber, shingles, clapboards, doors, windows, blinds, and mouldings. In addition to these architectural elements their services also included drawing house builders’ specifications and selling to carpenters. The company’s lumber yard was located at the back of the Tockwotton Hotel in Palmer. H.P. Marcy was also the owner of the Palmer Planing Mill, established in 1873.¹


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Among the items being purchased by the company from their vendors are dressed lumber; spruce, pine, and cedar star shingles; “matched boards;” lath boards; doors; moulding; glass; variously sized boards (2×4, 4×4, 2×6, etc.); cherry flooring; “Good Whitewood;” windows; blinds; “stair nosing;” wood and hood brackets; cellar sash; rabeted sheathing cap.; thresholds; “Scotia;” bead [board]; spruce clapboards; clear bevel siding; and fir trimmings. One invoice, from hardware dealers C.J. Blackstone of Springfield, Massachusetts, includes what appears to be a long list of parts for making doors and windows.

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Other interesting items found here include an 1879 Article of Agreement between F.F. Marcy and the Useful Novelty Works, giving Marcy the right to sell machines “…for making Beaded Point Pickets…” (plus receipt for same); receipts and bills of lading for shipping windows, lumber, and shingles from such railroads as the Boston & Albany Rail Road, Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore Railroad, Flint & Pere Marquette Railway, and the Lake George and Muskegon River Rail Road; and a number of illustrated letterheads and billheads.

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The well-indexed company letterbook contains copies of approx. 1500 letters sent by F.F. and H.P Marcy to their vendors and customers over a 14-month period, 1887–1888. The letters concern lumber orders (including by the rail car load), invoices, accounts, etc. Orders sometimes contain detailed lists of specific cuts of wood including lengths and quantities.


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On a few occasions the letters include a small drawing or cross-section, say for a bracket or moulding for example. Correspondents are mainly located throughout New England, with a few from Michigan and Tennessee.


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A substantial group of archival material with many interesting veins of discovery to be explored.


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