Recently, along with researcher and writer Jim Kane, had the opportunity to spend 2 more days at the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum looking through many of Stickley’s business papers located in the Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts & Printed Ephemera collection. It was a fascinating and productive trip – we learned several new details, and more importantly, were able to corroborate, several other findings.
The bulk of what we discovered on this trip came from one of two sources. The first source was what the collection’s index called a “locked personal journal.” This was an ominous, hard-bound leather ledger with a robust lock securing its content from curious eyes. Thankfully they also had the key! The second source was various folders of correspondences that contained what I’ll call “DRAFT” letters – meaning the majority of them are not signed. They are simply typed documents. And not being familiar with early 20th century office administrative processes, I can only speculate that as draft letters they were eventually signed and forwarded to their addressee. So from a research and fact-finding perspective, they do not provide conclusive proof of anything, but merely allow us to reasonably speculate that IF they were signed, we could than evaluate their content as valuable to our Stickley Store Project effort.
Another valuable source was a check book containing canceled checks drawn on the National Metropolitan Bank of Washington, D.C. for the time period of September 1914 through March 1915.
From these three sources, here’s what we discovered:
- Salary information for the store from May 1914 through March 1915
- The sales categories tracked in Stickley’s ledgers – Furniture, Fabric, Meal, Pottery, Willow, Rugs, and Desks &????
- Total Sales figures for each retail operation –Boston, Washington, Syracuse & NYC for the time period May 1914 through March 1915
- That S. Hazel Bond may have represented the Washington store in a matter requiring legal representation with the DC Tax Office
- Prior to the re-organization of Stickley’s corporation, which took effect in January 1913, the DC store was considered a “division” of the factory
- Between JAN and MAR 1915 the company changed their fiscal year ending date twice
- Mrs. C. M. Loeffler was probably the store manager in March 1915
- Mrs. Charlotte S. Reed, may have been the store manager prior to Mrs. Loeffler. Mrs. Reed’s salary was $59.00, which was higher than the $50 salary paid to the Mr. William L. Borstleman – the store manager on opening day.
- Sales figures from May 1914 through March 1915 show the DC store averaged only 7% of the corporation’s total sales
These were all great finds that will lead to a more complete picture of Stickley's Washington, D.C. store.