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William Palmer Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Willam Palmer Papers
    Dates: 1879-1932
    Collection Number: mssPalmerpapers
    Creator: Palmer, William Roy
    Extent: 305 items in 3 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists of documents for the United Verde Copper Company, Clarkdale, Arizona, the Columbia Graphophone Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the Tioga Mining Company, Mono County, California.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. William Palmer Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Purchased from Elliott Mittler, June 2014.

    Biographical Note

    William Roy Palmer was born in 1884 near Fairbury, Nebraska. In 1906 Palmer earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) from the University of Nebraska. He also took extension courses in law and business administration. He was a professional engineer and land surveyor who was licensed in New York. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers.
    Palmer's career began in 1906, where he was the Wire Chief at Lincoln Telephone Company in Nebraska. Two years later, he worked for General Electric as an inspector. In 1909 he was the Bridge Engineer at Patterson Bridge Company. After, he was Assistant Chief Engineer at Arkansas Valley Railway, Light and Power Company from 1910 to 1911. From 1913 to 1917, he was Assistant Chief Engineer and Chief Draughtsman at United Verde Copper Company in Clarkdale, Arizona. During World War I, Palmer became a traveling Metallurgical Engineer to coordinate war time copper production from 1917 to 1918. After the war, he was Chief Engineer and Special Projects Assistant at Columbia Graphophone Manufacturing Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut from 1919 to 1923. Later in life, Palmer was a Consulting Engineer in New York between 1927 and 1940. Around the 1930s, he was the Vice President and Chief Engineer at Tioga Mining Company in Mono County, California. In 1941, he was an Industrial Engineer at Vega Airplane Company in Burbank, California.
    He married Ethel Howe in 1912. The couple had no children.

    Scope and Content

    Box 1 (1-4) consists of miscellaneous business records pertaining to the United Verde Copper Company from 1913 to 1916. These records include accounts, blue prints, calculations, diagrams, estimates, power costs, price lists, and work orders. The majority of the correspondence from 1913 to 1918 is from T.C. Roberts, the Chief Engineer at the United Verde and Pacific Railway Company in Clarkdale, Arizona. Subjects include the water situation in Clarkdale and sidewalk construction. There are also letters from William Palmer, who provides business updates. The correspondence from 1920 to 1922 mostly concerns Palmer's time at the Columbia Graphophone Company where he was General Superintendent of Engineering. The letters include technical reports and the development of a radiophone. Folder 7 consists of miscellaneous correspondence related to investments and the construction of a professional building in New York. The correspondence from 1931 to 1932 concerns the financing of the Northern Champlain Bridge, which replaced the ferry at the northern end of Lake Champlain in Vermont. Palmer was the construction engineer for this project. The subject matter from 1933 to 1939 documents the estate of Rodolphus N. Swift. The title to the Tioga Mines in Mono County, California, originates with the Swift estate. There is one letter [undated], which advertises commercial linoleum. Box 1 also includes photostats of performance data from Westinghouse Electric & Mfg. Co., three diagrams, financial records, mining deeds related to the Swift family, and a lease.
    Box 2 also includes legal documents related to the Swift estate and several agreements. There are also maps and tracts related to the Great Sierra Consolidated Silver Company (reproduction), United Verde Copper Company, Columbia Graphophone Company, and Tioga Mining Company. Notes include the "Palmer-Messer Process," which is the extraction of mercury bearing ores or other sulphides by amalgamation, which Palmer applied to patent around 1932. There is a folder with miscellaneous notes related to Tioga Mining Company, including calculations, claim ties, and legal notes. Another folder contains notes regarding a record press. Miscellaneous plans and drawings pertaining to United Verde Copper Company, archways, building, and kitchen cabinets are also included. There is also a folder with miscellaneous prices and estimates from various manufacturers and firms, which include asphalt, brick machinery, cement, brick, electrical wiring, and lumber work. These lists were once contained in a binder and include an index.
    Box 3 includes reports related to the geology of the Comstock Lode by George F. Becker, a shellac shipment, and a summary report of matrices stopped by the Columbia Graphophone Company. There is a short story entitled "The Double Double-Cross" by Sidney Sutherland about two wise-cracking touts named the El Paso Kid and Rubber Lip. There are also two specifications, one for Dictaphone wax and the other for a revolving screen for the Canadian Copper Company. There is also an administrative survey by the Columbia Graphophone Company about the organization and methods along with a review and forecast of its financial condition. This was prepared for the President and Board of Directors by Holton, Richard and Company, Inc. The remainder of the box consists of ephemeral items such as newsletters, bulletins, and miscellaneous articles removed from periodicals. Some of these items are photostats.


    This collection is arranged chronologically by genre.
    Box 1: Business records – Legal documents
    Box 2: Legal documents – Surveys
    Box 3: Reports – Ephemera

    Indexing Terms

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

    Personal Names

    Palmer, William Roy

    Corporate Names

    Columbia Graphophone Company (U.S.)
    United Verde Copper Company


    Swift, Rodolphus N.
    Copper mines and mining--Arizona
    Mines and mineral resources--Arizona
    Mines and mineral resources--California
    Mining engineers--Correspondence

    Geographic Areas

    Bennettville (Calif.)
    Jerome (Ariz.)
    Lake Champlain Bridge (N.Y. and Vt. : 1929-2009)
    Mono County (Calif.)
    Tioga Mining District (Calif.)


    Business records
    Financial records
    Legal documents
    Letters (correspondence)
    Price lists
    Printed ephmera