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Collection Scope and Content Note


Includes accounts, correspondence, banking records, broadsides, prices current, market guides and other materials relating to the development of the essential oils industry in Lyons, Wayne County, New York, by Hiram G. Hotchkiss and his family. Records give technical details of the essential oil production in the 1860s and 1870s; information as to the prizes awarded them at various fairs and exhibitions held in London, Paris, Vienna, Philadelphia and other cities; and information concerning the organization and administration of these exhibitions, about the awarding of prizes and the effect of these awards on the firms concerned. Accounts and letters document the development of the business, while reports and letters from brokers in New York, Boston and London detail manipulations of the domestic and foreign markets. Included are letters to brokers Taft and Lee in New York City and Myer of Boston that detail financial and credit transactions and market strategies. Also, letters from London, Paris, Rome, Moscow and other European cities discuss trade practices, international prices, the gold flow, shipping information and other business matters.

In addition to oil industry records, the collection includes accounts and letters relating to flour sales (1841-1845) in Indiana and New York by the Hotchkiss agents, Dow & Cary; an agreement between Hotchkiss & Co. with Dow & Cary to build a flour mill at Seneca Falls, N.Y.; deeds, correspondence, and other material relating to lands in Niagara, Ontario and Wayne Counties, and in Michigan; correspondence (1845) relating to Hotchkiss's opposition to proposals made by the Auburn & Rochester Railroad; and correspondence (1850-1858) between Hiram G. and his cousin Calvin Hotchkiss, a banker in Lewiston, regarding the construction of a suspension bridge over the Niagara to Queensborough, the building of a plank road, the use of water power, and the consequent rise of land values; the attitude of Lockport and Buffalo toward building a ship canal around Niagara Falls, the plan for an international bridge, railroad developments, and resulting local, state and national political actions. Included also are letters (1911-1914) relating to the projected Corning, Keuka Lake and Ontario Railroad and to projected changes on the Barge Canal. Account books are primarily oil accounts (1843-1916), but also include daybooks, letter books, mill, flour and meal accounts. Also, three blue bottles used for Hotchkiss essential oils, and medals (14 bronze, 4 silver) awarded to the company at various exhibitions and meetings from 1851 to 1900.

Also, business records, 1952-1982, and files of invoices, 1925-1961, for the company's national and international accounts.

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