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Hickinbotham Brothers Collection
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Collection Overview
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Hickinbotham Brothers, a supplier of steel, industrial supplies, and hardware is one of Stockton, California's, oldest and most venerable businesses. The Hickinbotham Brothers Collection includes a sample of published advertising material, a history, catalogs, and lists of products that afford glimpses not only into the company's operations, but also into the kinds of products it purchased for retail and sold throughout much of the twentieth century.
Hickinbotham Brothers traces its origins to California’s Gold Rush Era and the westward movement of two brothers native to New York: Edwin Hickinbotham (1831-1891) and John Tunnicliff Hickinbotham (1829-1893). The Hickinbotham brothers had been trained as carriage makers in Richfield Springs, New York, and they sensed a need for blacksmiths, wagon makers, and harness makers soon after they arrived in California. In 1852, they settled in Stockton, formed a partnership, and became “importers and dealers in all kinds of wagon and carriage lumber.” The partnership ended in 1855 with the withdrawal of Edwin due to sickness, but the company continued under the leadership of John and other family members. Gradually, it shifted its focus from wood materials to heavy hardware. In 1931, three descendents, John Cyrus Hickinbotham (1894-1945), Leland French Hickinbotham (1897-1949), and Ralph West Hickinbotham (1897-1951), incorporated the company as Hickinbotham Brothers, Limited. During the Second World War, Hickinbotham Brothers Construction Division built landing barges, floating cranes, steel tugs and supply vessels for the U.S. government. The corporation continued to operate under family leadership until the mid-1990s, when it merged with Ferro Union, Incorporated.
2 linear feet
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Collection is open for research by appointment.