|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
Selected materials cataloged; remainder arranged. Cataloged correspondence, A-Z. (Boxes 1-3); Cataloged documents, A-Z. (Boxes 4-5); Miscellaneous materials. (Box 5).
Correspondence, account books, invoices, insurance policies, ledgers, payroll and wage records, receipts, and galley proofs. The records concern his cotton spinning mills in Stockport and Mellor. There are letters from merchants, tradesmen, manufacturers, and others relating to textile manufacturing and its mechanization in England during the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Included among the correspondents are: Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the spinning jenny; his son, Richard Arkwright; Henry Norris; Samuel Oldknow; Thomas Oldknow; Richard and Susannah Pennant (Baron and Baroness Penrhyn); Samuel Salte; and William Salte. Also included are the galley proofs for those letters published in George Unwin: SAMUEL OLDKNOW AND THE ARKWRIGHTS (London, 1924)
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located on-site.
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Samuel Oldknow papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Related material can be found in the Samuel Oldknow Collection at the Johns Hopkins University Library. Also, the Manchester Reference Library, and the John Rylands Library (Ms. Nos. 751-840), Manchester, England
Ownership and Custodial History
Provenance: Edwin R.A. Seligman purchased a selection of the Oldknow papers offered to him in 1926 by Arthur Hulme, a contributing author of SAMUEL OLDKNOW AND THE ARKWRIGHTS. Those letters not purchased by Seligman were acquired by the John Rylands Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers Entered in AMC HR 02/--/91.
This original call number for this collection was MS Arkwright/Oldknow. The collection is labelled and shelved as Arkwright/Oldknow in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
2020-04-02 EAD finding aid created by CCR.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Samuel Oldknow was an English industrialist, the first successful maker of British muslin. He was born in Anderton, Lancashire in 1756. After serving an apprenticeship, he set up as manufacturer of cotton goods and fustians in Anderton. In 1781, as the cotton industry became mechanized, Oldknow began producing muslin products. In 1784, he erected a factory at Stockport and became recognized as the foremost muslin manufacturer in Great Britain. In 1790, Oldknow built a mill at Mellor and acquired land for his personal estate. He used the latest technology in his cotton spinning factories at Stockport and Mellor, including the Arkwright spinning jenny and the Watt steam engine. His enterprises resulted in the growth of the community in Derbyshire. He became a scientific and experimental agriculturist and planned for roads, bridges, and canals.