Jay T. Last Collection of American Transportation: N.N. Hill Brass Company Business Correspondence: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Diann Benti.
Prints and Ephemera
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: 626-405-3473
Email: lastcollection@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2013
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: Jay T. Last Collection of American Transportation: N.N. Hill Brass Company Business Correspondence
Dates (inclusive): 1892-1919
Bulk dates: 1894-1900
Collection Number: priJLC_TRAN_Hill
Collector: Last, Jay T.
Extent: approximately 770 items in 9 binders
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Prints and Ephemera
Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: 626-405-3473
Email: lastcollection@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: The N. N. Hill Brass Company business correspondence, a subset within the Jay T. Last Collection of American Transportation, contains records of the N.N. Hill Brass Company, a bell manufacturing company in East Hampton, Connecticut, that date from the early 1890s through the 1910s. The approximately 770 pieces of incoming correspondence and related documents focus on the company's manufacture, advertisement, and sale of bicycle bells, and their involvement with the bicycle industry and related trade associations and bicycle clubs.
Language: English.
Note:
Finding aid last updated on November 12, 2014.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Preferred Citation

[Item title]. Jay T. Last Collection of American Transportation: N.N. Hill Brass Company Business Correspondence, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

This collection forms part of the Jay T. Last Collection of Lithographic and Social History, which was donated to the Huntington Library by Jay T. Last in 2005 as a gift in progress. The bulk of the transportation ephemera was transferred to the Library in 2010. The N.N. Hill Brass Company records described in this finding aid were originally acquired along with a small amount of additional business correspondence to the company. This additional material was received by the Library as part of other ephemera series within the Jay T. Last Collection and is organized according to the industry associated with the correspondent.

Background of the Jay T. Last Collection

The Jay T. Last Collection is an unparalleled archive of printed paper artifacts that documents American lithographic, social, and business history. The collection began in the early 1970s when physicist and Silicon Valley pioneer Jay Last moved to Southern California and started collecting citrus box labels he found at local flea markets and rummage sales. As his collection grew, Last realized that these labels conveyed important information about commercial printing, graphic design, and social history, and he expanded his collection to include other forms of American visual culture. Today this collection contains more than 185,000 lithographic prints, posters, and ephemera of mostly nineteenth and early twentieth century American origin and represents works by more than five hundred lithographic companies.

Access

The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please visit the Huntington's website: www.huntington.org.  

Background of the N. N. Hill Brass Company

The N. N. Hill Brass Company of East Hampton, Connecticut, manufactured bells, and later toys. Norman Newton Hill (1863-1950) founded the company in January 1889, and it operated until the early 1960s.

Scope and Content

The N. N. Hill Brass Company Business Correspondence, a subset within the Jay T. Last Collection of American Transportation, contains approximately 770 pieces of incoming correspondence, and some related documents, written to the N.N. Hill Brass Company of East Hampton, Connecticut, from the early 1890s through the 1910s that focus on the company's manufacture, advertisement, and sale of bicycle bells, and their involvement with the bicycle industry and related trade associations and bicycle clubs. The letters were received primarily from bicycle manufacturers and sellers and concern the purchase of bicycle bells including issues related to orders; shipments; invoice and payment matters; and requests for price quotes, catalogs and price lists. The collection also includes correspondence related to advertising, requests for donations of prizes by bicycle clubs, correspondence from trade associations, and bicycle shows related to exhibits and exhibit programs.
The materials include both handwritten and typed correspondence primarily on company stationery from a variety of companies across the United States and in other countries. Some of the letterhead has engraved or lithographed images of bicycles or commercial or industrial scenes.

Related materials in the Huntington Library

Related materials in other repositories

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in binders according to the general type of correspondent (such as bicycle manufacturers, parts manufacturers, bicycle retailers, other retailers etc.) and then alphabetically by company within each section.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Genres

Business records -- United States -- 19th century.
Business records -- United States -- 20th century.
Letters (Correspondence).
Letterheads.

Subjects

N.N. Hill Brass Co.
Advertising -- Bicycle industry.
Bells –- Connecticut –- East Hampton.
Bicycle industry.
Transportation equipment industry.


Collection Contents

Binder  1

Bicycle Manufacturers A-L, by company

Physical Description: approximately 100 items

Scope and Content Note

Contains business correspondence primarily with bicycle manufactures, as well as a printed 1916 N. N. Hill Brass Company price list.
Binder 2

Bicycle Manufacturers M-Z, by company

Physical Description: approximately 100 items

Scope and Content Note

Contains business correspondence primarily with bicycle manufacturers and some advertisers.
Binder 3

Bicycle Parts Manufacturers, A-Z by company

Physical Description: approximately 95 items

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence primarily with parts manufacturers.
Binder 4

Bicycle Retailers, A-G by company

Physical Description: approximately 90 items

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence primarily with retail bicycle sellers.
Binder 5

Bicycle Retailers, H-N by company

Physical Description: approximately 70 items

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence primarily with retail bicycle sellers.
Binder 6

Bicycle Retailers, O-Z by company

Physical Description: approximately 90 items

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence primarily with retail bicycle sellers.
Binder  7

Other Retailers, A-Z by company

Physical Description: approximately 80 items

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence primarily related to sales with retailers and wholesalers whosee primary business was selling products other than bicycles.
Binder 8

Bicycle Clubs, Events, Trade Associations

Physical Description: approximately 35 items

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence primarily with bicycle clubs and shows, and correspondence related to advertising in exhibit programs, etc.
Binder  9

Advertising, Foreign Correspondence

Physical Description: approximately 110 items

Scope and Content Note

Contains business correspondence primarily related to advertising with and participation in trade organizations such as the Bicycle Bell Association and the National Association of Bicycle Jobbers and business correspondence from companies outside the United States including companies in Australia, Europe, Great Britain, South America, Canada, Mexico, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Japan.