Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

R. Hoe and Company Records, 1824-1953

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection contains records of the American printing machine manufacturing company R. Hoe and Company, in operation from circa 1805 until 1969. The records were salvaged from the vacant offices of the R. Hoe and Company factory in the Bronx, New York, shortly before its demolition.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0599
Bib ID 4078901 View CLIO record
Creator(s) R. Hoe & Company
Title R. Hoe and Company Records, 1824-1953
Physical Description 20 Linear Feet (45 boxes and 1 map case drawer)
Language(s) English .
Access

Boxes 20-45 are located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in five series. Selected materials cataloged; remainder listed and arranged.

Description

Scope and Contents

This collection contains records of the American printing machine manufacturing company R. Hoe and Company, which was in operation from circa 1805 until 1969. The records were salvaged from the vacant offices of the R. Hoe and Company factory in the Bronx, New York, shortly before its demolition. As such, there are many gaps.

  • Series I: Cataloged correspondence and documents

    Series I contains cataloged correspondence and other cataloged materials. Cataloged correspondence consists of a small group of letters sent to Richard March Hoe, who was head of R. Hoe and Company from 1833 until his death in 1886. The other cataloged documents include two unidentified printed items, a photograph of Laura Hoe, and two company history manuscripts by Stephen D. Tucker.

  • Series II: Incoming letters and accounts, 1833-1901

    The bulk of the collection is in Series II. This series is composed of incoming letter files, many with name indexes, dating from 1937 to 1879 and 1901. The collection also contains many of the firm's letterpress books dating from between 1833 and 1878. These are composed of letters, accounts, and estimates for printing offices, newspaper offices, job presses, binderies, type foundries, saw mills, lithography shops, and stereotype foundries in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe.

  • Series III: Contract files, 1894-1912

    Series III contains a small group of contract files with related correspondence dating from 1894 and 1910-1912, but chiefly for the year 1911.

  • Series IV: Patents, 1824-1908, 1949-1953

    Series IV contains some miscellaneous patents dating from 1949 to 1953. There are also miscellaneous manuscript patent files for printing presses, with diagrams and blueprints, as follows: American patents, circa 1850-1900, French patents, 1824-1906, and German patents, 1893-1908.

  • Series V: Scrapbooks and photographs

    Series V contains a small subject file of technical data for printing, binding, and other Hoe equipment. It also includes scrapbooks with photographs of Hoe machinery and ten oversize photographs of Hoe presses, 1872-1950. The photograph of Laura Hoe was cataloged and is in Subseries I.2: Cataloged documents.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

Boxes 20-45 are located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); R. Hoe and Company Records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Related Materials

R. Hoe & Company records, 1831-1948 (bulk 1855-1870): a collection of Hoe family letters and business records. At the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.

R. Hoe & Company records, 1858-1878: primarily composed of incoming letters from customers for the company's extensive line of printing presses and associated equipment. It derives from a series of three or more letter books for 1858, 1873 and 1877-1878. At the Newberry Library, Chicago.

Ownership and Custodial History

Just before the wrecking balls were due to swirl, Roger Campbell, curator of the Bowne and Co. printing museum at the South Street Seaport, and Stephen O. Saxe, a trustee of the American Printing History Association, learned of the plans. They "hurried uptown and were allowed to look through the cavernous old building for historic material. The heat [had] already been turned off and the building was cold and bleak. At first they found little, outside of some company correspondence dating back to the early years of the twentieth century. They were almost ready to give up when the caretaker offered to open the company vault for them. It was there they found treasures that made them forget they were tired and cold and hungry. There were boxes of photographs, with many showing installations of Hoe presses in various locations around the country. There were two original portraits of Richard and Robert Hoe, circa 1887. That day they carried away as much as they could manage...What other things were lost they hate to contemplate. The junk dealers had been there before them" (American Printing History Association Letter No. 14 [November-December 1976], pp. 1-2). The items had been piled into a weak-springed station wagon and driven from 138th Street in the Bronx down to South Street, where they were heaped in the little "office" in the back of the second floor of the Bowne and Co. museum.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 07/--/89.

Materials were intellectually arranged into series and subseries at the same time the finding aid was converted to EAD. Nothing in the collection was physically rearranged.

The archivist who originally processed portions of the collection in 1977, Andrea Tucher, arranged the contract files in Boxes 37 and 38 in chronological order. She then created a geographical index for locating materials from each company which had ordered Hoe printing presses between 1894 and 1919. Tucher also wrote the collection's historical note and custodial history.

This collection was formerly called the Richard M. Hoe and Company Records. Its title was changed in May 2020 to reflect the fact that, while Richard March Hoe was perhaps the company's most notable owner, it was never named after him.

Revision Description

2020-05-19 PDF finding aid converted to EAD and collection title changed by CLB.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Patents (licenses) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographic prints Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
American Printing History Association Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bookbinding industry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hoe, Richard March, 1812-1886 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lithographic workshops Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Newspaper presses Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Printing machinery industry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Printing plants Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Printing presses -- Patents Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sawmills Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Saxe, Stephen O. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scrapbooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Tucker, Stephen D. (Stephen Davis), 1818-1902 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical note

R. Hoe and Company, which operated from circa 1805 until 1969, was an American firm of printing machine manufacturers located in the Bronx, New York, whose rotary press became important in the field of newspaper printing. Richard March Hoe (1812-1886) took over the firm in 1833 and was especially interested in experimental and manufacturing phases of the business.

The R. Hoe Company was, for 164 years, one of the country's leading manufacturers of printing presses and similar equipment, and in the nineteenth century in particular there was scarcely any innovation in the printing processes that did not originate from, or at least stand considerable improvement by, the company. In 1969, however, financial troubles forced the plant to close, and some of its business records were rescued in a last-minute raid before the building was demolished.

In 1805 Robert Hoe, a recent emigrant from Leistershire, England, formed a partnership with his brothers-in-law Peter and Matthew Smith to manufacture printing presses under the name Smith, Hoe & Co. At that point, very little progress or improvement in the printing processes had been made since Gutenberg's time. Hoe and the Smiths, however, set to work, and through a combination of their own mechanical ingenuity and their talent for recognizing marketable ideas of others, they developed a number of important improvements. A patent purchased from Samuel Rust was the basis of the Washington Hand Press, a landmark press that utilized a more efficient toggle-joint instead of a platen screw, which was first produced in 1827. In 1832 the company (by now renamed, after the death of both Smith brothers, R. Hoe and Co.) produced the first cylinder press in America, a marked improvement over the European model by Napier.

Richard March Hoe, Robert's son, assumed the presidency of the company on his father's death in 1833, and under his leadership a number of significant changes in the newspaper press were made. There appeared in 1846 the Type Revolving Machine, a forerunner of the modern rotary press, and in 1871 the first web press; but perhaps the flashiest accomplishments of the company were its continual increases in the size of its presses. In 1887 the first quadruple press was marketed, capable of printing 48,000 eight-page papers in one hour. Four years later, Hoe produced a sextuple press that could print 72,000 papers in an hour. Four years after that, the octuple press was developed, which printed sixty-four pages in a single manoeuvre. In 1901 the imaginatively-named double sextuple press was perfected. And in 1907, the company dazzled the industry with a double octuple press.

By the early years of the twentieth century, however, the era of great accomplishments seemed to be waning. The second Robert Hoe, nephew of Richard March and a prominent figure in the elite world of the great book collectors, died in 1909, and from then on the company seemed important more for its large size than its innovativeness. It continued to manufacture presses throughout the twentieth century until 1969, when to the great surprise of most observers, the firm was sued by two stockholders on the grounds that it had issued false financial reports. In July the firm filed for bankruptcy, claiming that its "failure to land new orders in significant volume had left it unable to meet current obligations" and citing its closing market average at 13 ¾ a share, as compared to the year's high of 57 ⅜. In June of 1970 the newspaper and press division was bought by Hood Industries of New Jersey. The plant in the Bronx stood empty for several years before it was demolished.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only CU affiliates may view materials on-site. YOU MUST REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT BEFORE PLACING REQUESTS. Email rbml@library.columbia.edu to request an appointment. You may submit a request for materials once your appointment is confirmed. Affiliates will login with their uni and password, and need to register the first time they make a request.


Series I: Cataloged correspondence and documents

Series I contains cataloged correspondence and other cataloged materials. Cataloged correspondence consists of a small group of letters sent to Richard March Hoe, who was head of R. Hoe and Company from 1833 until his death in 1886. The other cataloged documents include two unidentified printed items, a photograph of Laura Hoe, and two company history manuscripts by Stephen D. Tucker.


Subseries I.1: Cataloged correspondence



Box 1 Bryant, William Cullen


Box 1 Craig, Daniel H.


Box 1 Crane, Thomas G.


Box 1 Dodd, Moses Woodruff


Box 1 Felley, S.R.


Box 1 Franklin, William Buel


Box 1 Harper, Joseph W.


Box 1 Harper, J. Henry


Box 1 Hoe, Rachel


Box 1 Hoe, Theodora


Box 1 Hurd, Mrs. F. M.


Box 1 Johnstone, James


Box 1 Lossing, Benson J.


Box 1 Reed, Thomas C.


Box 1 Reid, Whitelaw


Box 1 Tiffany, H.D.


Box 1 Van Benthuysen, Charles


Box 1 Van Vechten, A.M.


Box 1 Vyse, Thomas A.


Subseries I.2: Cataloged documents


Box 1 Two printed items


Box 1 Photograph of Miss Laura Hoe


Box 1 History of R. Hoe and Company by Stephen D. Tucker, 1 Volumes


Box 1 R. Hoe and Company's Progress, 1884-1888 by Stephen D. Tucker, 1 Volumes

Series II: Incoming letters and accounts, 1833-1901

The bulk of the collection is in Series II. This series is composed of incoming letter files, many with name indexes, dating from 1937 to 1879 and 1901. The collection also contains many of the firm's letterpress books dating from between 1833 and 1878. These are composed of letters, accounts, and estimates for printing offices, newspaper offices, job presses, binderies, type foundries, saw mills, lithography shops, and stereotype foundries in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe.


Subseries II.1: Incoming letter files, 1837, 1851-1901



Box 2 1837 February 17-19


Box 2 1837 October


Box 2 1851 January

Includes index.


Box 2 1851 February


Box 2 1853 June

Includes index.


Box 2 1853 July

Includes index.


Box 2 1853 August


Box 2 1853 October



Box 3 1854 January

Includes index.


Box 3 Index, 1855


Box 3 1855 March 1-7


Box 3 1855 March 8-15


Box 3 1855 March 16-22


Box 3 1855 March 23-31


Box 3 1855 April


Box 3 1856 May

Includes index.


Box 3 1856 May 1-6


Box 3 1856 May 7-13


Box 3 1856 May 14-20


Box 3 1856 May 21-27


Box 3 1856 October


Box 3 1857 September


Box 3 1857 October

Includes index.


Box 3 1857 October 1-8


Box 3 1857 October 9-15


Box 3 1857 October 16-23


Box 3 1857 October 24-31


Box 3 1857 November



Box 4 1858 January


Box 4 Index, 1858 February


Box 4 1858 February 1-5


Box 4 1858 February 6-10


Box 4 1858 February 11-15


Box 4 1858 February 16-20


Box 4 1858 February 21-25


Box 4 1858 March



Box 5 1858 April


Box 5 1858 April 1-5


Box 5 1858 April 6-10


Box 5 1858 April 11-15


Box 5 1858 April 16-20


Box 5 1858 April 21-25


Box 5 1858 April 26-28


Box 5 1858 April 29-30


Box 5 1858 May


Box 5 Index, 1858 June


Box 5 1858 June 1-5


Box 5 1858 June 6-10


Box 5 1858 June 11-15


Box 5 1858 June 16-20


Box 5 1858 June 21-25


Box 5 1858 June 26-30


Box 5 1858 July


Box 5 1862 June



Box 6 1862 June 1-30


Box 6 1862 August

Includes index.


Box 6 1862 August 1-6


Box 6 1862 August 7-13


Box 6 1862 August 14-20


Box 6 1862 August 21-30


Box 6 1863 January 1-31

Includes index.



Box 7 1863 January 1-31


Box 7 1864 December


Box 7 Index, 1865 January


Box 7 1865 January 1-4


Box 7 1865 January 5-8


Box 7 1865 January 9-12


Box 7 1865 January 13-16


Box 7 1865 January 17-20


Box 7 1865 January 21-24


Box 7 1865 January 25-28


Box 7 1865 January 29-31


Box 7 1865 February


Box 7 1868 May 28-31



Box 8 1872 January


Box 8 1872 February


Box 8 1872 March


Box 8 1872 July


Box 8 1872 August


Box 8 1872 September


Box 8 1872 October


Box 8 Index, 1872 November


Box 8 1872 November 1


Box 8 1872 November 2-3


Box 8 1872 November 4


Box 8 1872 November 6


Box 8 1872 November 7


Box 8 1872 November 8


Box 8 1872 November 9


Box 8 1872 November 10


Box 8 1872 November 11


Box 8 1872 November 12


Box 8 1872 November 13


Box 8 1872 November 14


Box 8 1872 November 15



Box 9 1872 November 16


Box 9 1872 November 17


Box 9 1872 November 18


Box 9 1872 November 19


Box 9 1872 November 20


Box 9 1872 November 21


Box 9 1872 November 22


Box 9 1872 November 23


Box 9 1872 November 24


Box 9 1872 November 25


Box 9 1872 November 26


Box 9 1872 November 27


Box 9 1872 November 28


Box 9 1872 November 29


Box 9 1872 November 30



Box 10 1873 February 3


Box 10 1873 August 9


Box 10 1874 January


Box 10 Index, 1874 February


Box 10 1874 February 1


Box 10 1874 February 2


Box 10 1874 February 3


Box 10 1874 February 4


Box 10 1874 February 5


Box 10 1874 February 6


Box 10 1874 February 7


Box 10 1874 February 8


Box 10 1874 February 9


Box 10 1874 February 10


Box 10 1874 February 11


Box 10 1874 February 12


Box 10 1874 February 13


Box 10 1874 February 14


Box 10 1874 February 15



Box 11 1874 February 16


Box 11 1874 February 17


Box 11 1874 February 18


Box 11 1874 February 19


Box 11 1874 February 20


Box 11 1874 February 21


Box 11 1874 February 22


Box 11 1874 February 23


Box 11 1874 February 24


Box 11 1874 February 25


Box 11 1874 February 26


Box 11 1874 February 27


Box 11 1874 February 28


Box 11 1874 March


Box 11 Index, 1874 March 26-June 1


Box 11 1874 April


Box 11 1874 June


Box 11 1874 May 1-10


Box 11 1874 May 11


Box 11 1874 May 12-15


Box 11 1874 May 16-17


Box 11 1874 May 18


Box 11 1874 May 19



Box 12 1874 May 20-25


Box 12 1874 May 26 - 31


Box 12 Index, 1874 September 26-October 26


Box 12 1874 September 17-26


Box 12 1874 October 1


Box 12 1874 October 2


Box 12 1874 October 3-4


Box 12 1874 October 5


Box 12 1874 October 6


Box 12 1874 October 7-8


Box 12 1874 October 9


Box 12 1874 October 10-17


Box 12 1874 October 24-30



Box 13 1875 February 1


Box 13 1875 March 9


Box 13 1875 April 6-30


Box 13 1875 June 10


Box 13 Index, 1875 May 1-22


Box 13 1875 May 1


Box 13 1875 May 3


Box 13 1875 May 4


Box 13 1875 May 5


Box 13 1875 May 6


Box 13 1875 May 7


Box 13 1875 May 8


Box 13 1875 May 9-10


Box 13 1875 May 11


Box 13 1875 May 12


Box 13 1875 May 13


Box 13 1875 May 14


Box 13 1875 May 15


Box 13 1875 May 16-19


Box 13 1875 May 20-22


Box 13 Index, 1875 May 18-31


Box 13 1875 May 1-19


Box 13 1875 May 20-31, 2 folders


Box 13 1875 June 10


Box 13 1875 July


Box 13 1875 October



Box 14 1876 October


Box 14 1876 November


Box 14 Index, 1877 January 27-March 19


Box 14 1877 January 27


Box 14 1877 February 10-19


Box 14 1877 February 21


Box 14 1877 February 22-25


Box 14 1877 February 26


Box 14 1877 February 27


Box 14 1877 February 28


Box 14 1877 March 1


Box 14 1877 March 2


Box 14 1877 March 3


Box 14 1877 March 4-5


Box 14 1877 March 6


Box 14 1877 March 7


Box 14 1877 March 8


Box 14 1877 March 9-10


Box 14 1877 March 11-19


Box 14 1877 June 19, 26



Box 15 1877 July 1-31


Box 15 Index, 1877 July 31-August 20


Box 15 1877 August 1-11, 2 folders


Box 15 1877 August 12-20


Box 15 1877 August 30-December 19


Box 15 1877 August 30


Box 15 1877 October 1-31


Box 15 Index, 1877 November 1-15


Box 15 1877 November 1-19, 3 folders



Box 16 1877 October 12-29


Box 16 1877 November 15-30, 3 folders

Includes index.


Box 16 1877 November 13-16


Box 16 1877 December 7-31


Box 16 Index, 1877 December 31-1878 January 12


Box 16 1878 January 1-14, 3 folders



Box 17 1877 November 14-30


Box 17 1877 December 1-9


Box 17 1877 December 10-19


Box 17 1878 February 25


Box 17 1878 May 27


Box 17 1878 June 1-30


Box 17 Index, 1878 July 12-22


Box 17 1878 July 1-9


Box 17 1878 July 10-22, 2 folders



Box 18 1878 January 2


Box 18 1878 March 26-29


Box 18 1878 April 5-9


Box 18 1878 April 12-20


Box 18 Index, 1878 April 27-May 9


Box 18 1878 May 1-9


Box 18 1878 June 1-17


Box 18 1878 July 9-17


Box 18 1878 July 22-31


Box 18 Index, 1878 August 5-19


Box 18 1878 August 1-10


Box 18 1878 August 11 - 19


Box 18 1879 January-March


Box 18 1879 February



Box 19 B, 1901 June-November


Box 19 C, 1901 June-November


Box 19 D, 1901 June-November


Box 19 G, 1901 June-November


Box 19 H, 1901 June-November


Box 19 I-J, 1901 June-November


Box 19 K, 1901 June-November


Box 19 L-M, 1901 June-November


Box 19 N-P, 1901 June-November


Box 19 S, 1901 June-November


Box 19 T, 1901 June-November


Box 19 undated, 1 folders


Subseries II.2: Letterpress books, 1833-1889



Box 20 1833 March 18-1834 February 10


Box 20 1834 September-1835 April 15



Box 36 Letter-press book, 1834-1858



Box 20 1837 March 27-November 6


Box 20 1839 December 11-1841 February 15



Box 21 1842 December 15-1846 April 15


Box 21 1850 February 25-September 19



Box 22 1859 January 25-May 9



Box 23 1859 May 3-August 3


Box 23 1859 August 4-November 9



Box 24 1862 February 3-July 9



Box 27 Steel order book, 1862 April 15-1869 April 7



Box 24 1863 May 9-September 30



Box 25 1865 May 21-Sept 29


Box 25 1866 January 19-March 21


Box 25 1866 December 10-1867 January 24



Box 26 1868 June-August


Box 26 1868 December 20-1869 March 6



Box 27 1868 March 6-April 12


Box 27 1870 March 15-April 29



Box 28 1870 June 2-August 5



Box 29 1873 April 8-May 31



Box 30 1873 October 21-December 12


Box 30 1874 May 20-July 1



Box 31 1874 July 1-August


Box 31 1874 November 24-1875 January 5



Box 32 1876 January 18-March


Box 32 1876 May 2-July 10



Box 33 1876 October 5- November 26


Box 33 1876 November 21-1877 January 23



Box 34 1877 March 12-April 27



Box 35 1878 April 8-May 20


Box 35 Chicago office: orders sent, 1887 December 28-1889 April 13

Series III: Contract files, 1894-1912

Series III contains a small group of contract files with related correspondence dating from 1894 and 1910-1912, but chiefly for the year 1911.

See PDF Summary Guide to the R. Hoe Orders and Contracts File, 1911, for a list of individual firms ordering materials from R. Hoe and company in 1911.



Box 37 1894 January-1911 July



Box 38 1911 August-January 1912

Series IV: Patents, 1824-1908, 1949-1953

Series IV contains some miscellaneous patents dating from 1949 to 1953. There are also miscellaneous manuscript patent files for printing presses, with diagrams and blueprints, as follows: American patents, circa 1850-1900, French patents, 1824-1906, and German patents, 1893-1908.



Box 39 1949 November 8


Box 39 1950 February 14


Box 39 1950 April 4


Box 39 1950 May 2


Box 39 1950 May 23


Box 39 1950 August 8


Box 39 1950 August 15

Gift of Susan O. Thompson, 1982


Box 39 1952 December 9


Box 39 1952 December 16


Box 39 1952 December 23


Box 39 1952 December 30

Gift of Susan O. Thompson, 1982


Box 39 1953 January 6


Box 39 1953 February 3


Box 39 1953 March 10


Box 39 1953 March 17


Box 39 1953 April 7


Box 39 1953 May 26


Box 39 1953 June 9


Box 39 1953 June 16



Box 40 American patents, A-Hoe, circa 1850-1900

Gift of Emilia Kazimiroff, 1983



Box 41 American patents, L-W, circa 1850-1900

Gift of Emilia Kazimiroff, 1983



Box 42 French patents, 1824-1894, undated

Gift of Emilia Kazimiroff, 1983



Box 43 French patents, 1898-1906

Gift of Emilia Kazimiroff, 1983


Box 43 German patents, 1893-1908

Gift of Emilia Kazimiroff, 1983

Series V: Scrapbooks and photographs

Series V contains a small subject file of technical data for printing, binding, and other Hoe equipment. It also includes scrapbooks with photographs of Hoe machinery and ten oversize photographs of Hoe presses, 1872-1950. The photograph of Laura Hoe was cataloged and is in Subseries I.2: Cataloged documents.



Box 39 Manuscript register of printing equipment used by newspapers with titles N-Z, undated



Box 44 Scrapbooks of Photographs of Hoe Equipment, undated

Gift of Emilia Kazimiroff, 1983



Box 45 Subject File of Technical Data, B-W, undated

Gift of Emilia Kazimiroff, 1983



Mapcase 14-M-07 Photographs of Hoe presses, 1872-1950, 10 items

Gift of Emilia Kazimiroff, 1983