Guide to the A Guide to the Providence Lithograph Company Records, 1880-1975


Rhode Island Historical Society, Library
121 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906
Tel: 401-273-8107
Fax: 401-751-7930
Email: reference@rihs.org

Published in 2010

Collection Overview

Title: Providence Lithograph Company Records
Date range: 1880-1975
Creator: Providence Lithograph Company
Extent: 5 linear feet
Abstract: This collection includes correspondence, contracts, agreements, and reference files on individual artists. The bulk of the materials relate to the company’s efforts to secure rights to artwork and to printing orders generated by religious groups. Of note is a folder of correspondence with watercolor artist Newell C. Wyeth (1882-1945) regarding worked commissioned from him.
Language of materials: English
Repository: Rhode Island Historical Society, Library
Collection number: MSS 1028

Scope & content

The bulk of this collection consists of correspondence, which is mostly arranged alphabetically into files. Most of the correspondence relates to the company's efforts to secure rights to artwork, and also to printing orders generated by religious denominations. There are also some files relating to artists, including a folder of correspondence regarding work commissioned from watercolor artist Newell C. Wyeth (1882-1945), father of the famous painter Andrew Wyeth and a well-regarded artist in his own right. The folder includes seven signed letters by the elder Wyeth, dating from 1932 to 1945.

The collection also includes contracts and agreements; reference files on individual artists and companies; the company's general purchase ledger from 1911 to 1936; a few personal papers from Randolph Ode and his Gorham relatives; and other papers.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into the following series. The materials are arranged alphabetically within each series.
  • Series 1. Correspondence files
  • Series 2. Artist and publisher files
  • Series 3. Contracts and agreements
  • Series 4. Miscellaneous

Historical note

The Providence partnership of Harris & Jones entered into business as commercial lithographers in 1868, and became the Providence Lithograph Company circa 1875. In 1878, the firm began to emphasize religious lesson material for Sunday schools, and grew to become the leading printers of Sunday School lesson material in the country. Most of their work was done directly for the educational and publishing wings of the larger Protestant denominations. They also published periodicals and a small number of illustrated religious books under the imprints of Harris-Jones and the Religious Press.

The company maintained a large library of artwork, mostly of biblical subjects. It commissioned some original artwork, and also negotiated for publishing rights or commissioned reproductions of existing works. Much of the artwork was licensed for American use from British publishers such as Eyre & Spottiswoode and the Lutterworth Press. The company did not generally produce individual prints of its art, or license its art to other commercial publishers.

In 1959, the company set off a subsidiary, Federated Lithographers-Printers Inc., to handle secular printing, with road maps their particular specialty. With the decline in church attendance in the 1960s, the subsidiary grew to handle most of the company's business. Providence Lithograph was acquired by the Canadian conglomerate Quebecor Inc. in 1989. Its old Prairie Avenue plant remained in operation as Quebecor Printing Federated until its closure in late 1998, which left 144 former employees out of work.

Presidents of the company over the years included Jabez Gorham Harris (1853-1928), his son-in-law Randolph T. Ode (1877-1967) ; and Ode's son-in-law Roger K. Richardson from 1959 onward.

Access & Use

Access to the collection: There are no restrictions on access.
Use of the materials: Researchers are advised that express written permission to reproduce, quote, or otherwise publish any portion or extract from this collection must be obtained from the Brown University Library. Although Brown University has physical ownership of the collection and the materials contained therein, it does not claim literary rights. It is up to the researcher to determine the owners of the literary rights and to obtain any necessary permissions from them.
Preferred citation: Providence Lithograph Company Records, MSS 1028. Rhode Island Historical Society.
Contact information: Rhode Island Historical Society, Library
121 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906
Tel: 401-273-8107
Fax: 401-751-7930
Email: reference@rihs.org

Administrative Information

ABOUT THE COLLECTION  
Acquisition: These records were donated by Quebecor Inc. in 1998
ABOUT THE FINDING AID  
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rick Stattler.
Encoding: Finding aid encoded by Mark Chepkwony 2010 March 17
Descriptive rules: Finding aid based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)

Additional Information

Bibliography:
  • "Does Anyone Really Know What Christ Looks Like?" (story on company), Providence Evening Bulletin, November 24, 1975
  • "Helps Churches Instruct Youth," Providence Sunday Journal Business Weekly, March 17, 1957
  • Letter from Phillips Booth to the Medici Society, January 4, 1955, in box 1, folder 9.
  • "Quebecor Shutters Second R.I. Printing Plant," Providence Journal, December 17, 1998,
  • Inventory


    Series 1. Correspondence files

    Container Description Date
    Box 1, Folder 1 General
    1880-1908
    Box 1, Folder 2 General
    1921-1924
    Box 1, Folder 3 General
    1925-1929
    Box 1, Folder 4 General
    1930-1931
    Box 1, Folder 5 General
    1932-1933
    Box 1, Folder 6 General
    1934-1939
    Box 1, Folder 7 General
    1940-1944
    Box 1, Folder 8 General
    1945-1951
    Box 1, Folder 9 General
    1953-1965
    Box 1, Folder 10 Abington-Cokesbury (customer)
    1942-1943
    Box 1, Folder 11 American Baptist Publication Society (customer)
    1905
    Box 1, Folder 12 American Baptist Publication Society (customer)
    1931-1936
    Box 1, Folder 13 American Red Cross
    1926-1929
    Box 1, Folder 14 American Sunday School Union (customer)
    1931-1932
    Box 1, Folder 15 Augustana Book Concern
    1941-1952
    Box 1, Folder 16 Baptist Sunday School Board (customer)
    1931-1937
    Box 1, Folder 17 Baptist Sunday School Board (customer)
    1938-1941
    Box 1, Folder 18 Baptist Sunday School Board (customer)
    1942-1944
    Box 1, Folder 19 Baptist Sunday School Board (customer)
    1945-1946
    Box 1, Folder 20 Baptist Sunday School Board (customer)
    1947-1948
    Box 1, Folder 21 Baptist Sunday School Board (customer)
    1949-1950
    Box 1, Folder 22 A. & C. Black
    1954
    Box 1, Folder 23 Blackie & Son
    1951-1960
    Box 1, Folder 24 Boy Scouts of America
    1958-1960
    Box 1, Folder 25 Copping pictures
    1934-1942
    Box 1, Folder 26 Copyright correspondence
    1890-1900
    Box 1, Folder 27 Copyright correspondence
    1901
    Box 1, Folder 28 Copyright correspondence
    1902
    Box 1, Folder 29 Copyright correspondence
    1903
    Box 1, Folder 30 Copyright correspondence
    1904
    Box 1, Folder 31 Copyright correspondence
    1905
    Box 1, Folder 32 Copyright correspondence
    1906
    Box 1, Folder 33 Copyright correspondence
    1907
    Box 1, Folder 34 Copyright correspondence
    1908
    Box 1, Folder 35 Copyright correspondence
    1909
    Box 1, Folder 36 Copyright correspondence
    1910
    Box 1, Folder 37 Copyright correspondence
    1911
    Box 1, Folder 38 Copyright correspondence
    1912
    Box 1, Folder 39 Copyright correspondence
    1913
    Box 1, Folder 40 Copyright correspondence
    1914
    Box 1, Folder 41 Copyright correspondence
    1915
    Box 1, Folder 42 Copyright correspondence
    1916
    Box 1, Folder 43 Copyright correspondence
    1917
    Box 1, Folder 44 Copyright correspondence
    1918
    Box 1, Folder 45 Copyright correspondence
    1919
    Box 1, Folder 46 Copyright correspondence
    1920
    Box 1, Folder 47 Elder, Whitman & Weyburn
    1932-1939
    Box 1, Folder 48 Elder, Whitman & Weyburn
    1940-1943
    Box 1, Folder 49 Elder, Whitman & Weyburn
    1944-1948
    Box 1, Folder 50 Employee reference letters
    1904-1920
    Box 1, Folder 51 Evans Brothers
    1954
    Box 1, Folder 52 Eyre & Spottiswoode (customer),
    1923-1924
    Box 1, Folder 53 Eyre & Spottiswoode (customer),
    1925-1930
    Box 1, Folder 54 Eyre & Spottiswoode
    1931-1944
    Box 1, Folder 55 Eyre & Spottiswoode
    1944-1952
    Box 1, Folder 56 Eyre & Spottiswoode
    1953-1955
    Box 1, Folder 57 Eyre & Spottiswoode
    1956-1963
    Box 2, Folder 1 Forest Lawn Memorial Park
    1965-1966
    Box 2, Folder 2 General Board of Primary association, Church of Latter-Day Saints
    1952
    Box 2, Folder 3 Girls Friendly Society
    1955-1957
    Box 2, Folder 4 Gospel Trumpet Co. (customer)
    1936-1937
    Box 2, Folder 5 Gospel Trumpet Co. (customer)
    1938-1940
    Box 2, Folder 6 Gospel Trumpet Co. (customer)
    1941-1947
    Box 2, Folder 7 Gospel Trumpet Co. (customer)
    1948-1949
    Box 2, Folder 8 Gospel Trumpet Co. (customer)
    1950
    Box 2, Folder 9 Gospel Trumpet Co. (customer)
    1951
    Box 2, Folder 10 Greystone Press
    1952-1954
    Box 2, Folder 11 Guthrie Clinic
    1953-1954
    Box 2, Folder 12 Hanfstaengl
    1894-1895
    Box 2, Folder 13 Hanfstaengl (publisher)
    1923-1925
    Box 2, Folder 14 Hanfstaengl (publisher)
    1928-1929
    Box 2, Folder 15 Hanfstaengl (publisher)
    1930-1931
    Box 2, Folder 16 Hanfstaengl (publisher)
    1932-1937
    Box 2, Folder 17 Hanfstaengl (publisher)
    1954-1955
    Box 2, Folder 18 Hardy, Emily S. (artist)
    1926-1929
    Box 2, Folder 19 Harper & Brother
    1951-1965
    Box 2, Folder 20 Herrman, Erich S.
    1946-1954
    Box 2, Folder 21 Home Words Printing & Publishing
    1954-1956
    Box 2, Folder 22 International Council of Religious Education (customer)
    1937-1951
    Box 2, Folder 23 Lithographer's National Association
    1936-1938
    Box 2, Folder 24 Lithographer's National Association
    1939
    Box 2, Folder 25 Livingstone Press (customer)
    1923-1928
    Box 2, Folder 26 Lorenzo de Nevers (customer)
    1938-1942
    Box 2, Folder 27 Lutterworth Press, (formerly Religious Tract Society)
    1943-1950
    Box 2, Folder 28 Lutterworth Press
    1950-1955
    Box 2, Folder 29 Lutterworth Press
    1956-1962
    Box 2, Folder 30 Mansell & Co.,
    1924-1926
    Box 2, Folder 31 Mennonite Publishing House
    1938-1947
    Box 2, Folder 32 Methodist Book Concern
    1912, 1935-1936
    Box 2, Folder 33 Methodist Episcopal Church South
    1935-1936
    Box 2, Folder 34 Methodist Publishing House
    1938-1945
    Box 2, Folder 35 Methodist Publishing House
    1946-1951
    Box 2, Folder 36 Morehouse Gorham Publishing
    1936-1944
    Box 2, Folder 37 Morehouse Publishing Company (customer)
    1935-1936
    Box 2, Folder 38 National Baptist Publishing Board
    Contents Note: Lawsuit.

    1918-1920
    Box 2, Folder 39 National Sunday School Union
    1954-1963
    Box 2, Folder 40 Nazarene Publishing Company (customer),
    1935-1936
    Box 2, Folder 41 Nazarene Publishing Company
    1938-1951
    Box 2, Folder 42 Nelson & Son
    1922-1929
    Box 2, Folder 43 Nelson & Son
    1947-1962
    Box 2, Folder 44 Newton Photographic Services
    1952-1958
    Box 2, Folder 45 Pflaum Publishers
    1937-1938
    Box 2, Folder 46 Photography - Byron C. DeBolt,
    1943-1946
    Box 2, Folder 47 Pilgrim Press
    1937-1939
    Box 2, Folder 48 Presbyterian Board of Christian Education (customer)
    1931-1937
    Box 2, Folder 49 Presbyterian Board of Christian Education (customer)
    1939-1944
    Box 2, Folder 50 Presbyterian Board of Christian Education (customer)
    1945-1947
    Box 2, Folder 51 Presbyterian Board of Christian Education (customer)
    1948-1951
    Box 2, Folder 52 Presbyterian Committee of Publication (customer),
    1939-1946
    Box 2, Folder 53 Presbyterian Committee of Publication (customer),
    1947-1950
    Box 3, Folder 1 Religious Tract Society
    1905-1924
    Box 3, Folder 2 Religious Tract Society
    Contents Note: Re rights to Copping pictures

    1927-1946
    Box 3, Folder 3 Religious Tract Society
    1927-1928
    Box 3, Folder 4 Religious Tract Society
    1929-1930
    Box 3, Folder 5 Religious Tract Society
    1931-1934
    Box 3, Folder 6 Religious Tract Society
    1935-1936
    Box 3, Folder 7 Religious Tract Society
    1937-1938
    Box 3, Folder 8 Religious Tract Society
    Contents Note: Becomes Lutterworth Press

    1939-1942
    Box 3, Folder 9 Roberts, Cushman & Grover
    1948-1952
    Box 3, Folder 10 Roberts, Cushman & Grover
    1953-1962
    Box 3, Folder 11 Sesquicentennial International Exhibition
    1926
    Box 3, Folder 12 Shaw & Co.
    1924-1927
    Box 3, Folder 13 Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
    1949-1963
    Box 3, Folder 14 Sunday School Publications, Evangelical Church
    1944-1946
    Box 3, Folder 15 Technical matters
    1887-1910
    Box 3, Folder 16 Technical matters
    1922-1927
    Box 3, Folder 17 Technical matters
    1928-1951
    Box 3, Folder 18 Testimonial letters
    1881-1886
    Box 3, Folder 19 Union Gospel Press (customer)
    1940-1945
    Box 3, Folder 20 United Church Publishing House
    1932-1944
    Box 3, Folder 21 United Church Publishing House
    1945-1951
    Box 3, Folder 22 United Lutheran Publishing House
    1945-1949
    Box 3, Folder 23 United States Post Office
    1913-1923
    Box 3, Folder 24 W.F. & F.C. Sayles order forms
    1888
    Box 3, Folder 25 Ward, Lock & Co.,
    1953-1965
    Box 3, Folder 26 Wyeth, Newell C. (artist),
    1929-1943
    Box 3, Folder 27 Yale Divinity School (customer),
    1944-1945

    Series 2. Artist and publisher files

    Container Description Date
    Box 3, Folder 28 American artists 1
    Box 3, Folder 29 American artists 2
    Box 3, Folder 30 American artists 3
    Box 3, Folder 31 American artists 4
    Box 3, Folder 32 American artists 5 - Newell C. Wyeth
    Box 3, Folder 33 Foreign publishers 1
    Box 3, Folder 34 Foreign publishers 2
    Box 3, Folder 35 Foreign publishers 3
    Box 3, Folder 36 Foreign publishers 4
    Box 3, Folder 37 Foreign publishers 5
    Box 4, Folder 1 American photographers
    Box 4, Folder 2 American publishers
    Box 4, Folder 3 American miscellaneous
    Box 4, Folder 4 Artist file (lists paintings by artist), undated
    Box 4, Folder 5 Fine arts artist file (lists paintings by artist and by number), undated
    Box 4, Folder 6 Painting log book
    1960-1969

    Series 3. Contracts and agreements

    Container Description Date
    Box 4, Folder 7 American Baptist Publication Society
    1924-1935
    Box 4, Folder 8 American Sunday School Union
    1911-1918
    Box 4, Folder 9 Bethel Publishing Company
    1928-1936
    Box 4, Folder 10 Christian Board of Publication
    1925-1927
    Box 4, Folder 11 Christian Publishing Association
    1927-1936
    Box 4, Folder 12 Church of God Publishing House
    1928-1932
    Box 4, Folder 13 Conference Press
    1927-1935
    Box 4, Folder 14 Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House
    1924-1936
    Box 4, Folder 15 Evangelical Press
    1929-1936
    Box 4, Folder 16 Free Methodist Publishing House
    1929-1936
    Box 4, Folder 17 Gospel Advocate Company
    1930-1935
    Box 4, Folder 18 Gospel Publishing House
    1927-1934
    Box 4, Folder 19 Gospel Trumpet Company
    1928-1932
    Box 4, Folder 20 Harris & Jones (press manufacturer),
    1895-1912
    Box 4, Folder 21 Lutterworth Press, draft agreements
    1950-1961
    Box 4, Folder 22 Lutterworth Press, contract correspondence
    1950-1954
    Box 4, Folder 23 Lutterworth Press, contract correspondence
    1957-1960
    Box 4, Folder 24 Lutterworth Press, contract correspondence
    1961
    Box 4, Folder 25 Lutterworth Press, misc. contract papers
    1957-1961
    Box 4, Folder 26 Nazarene Publishing House
    1929-1936
    Box 4, Folder 27 Presbyterian Board of Christian Education
    1901-1938
    Box 4, Folder 28 Presbyterian Committee of Publication
    1910-1940
    Box 4, Folder 29 Publication and Sunday School Board of the Reformed Church
    1925-1935
    Box 4, Folder 30 Publishing House of the Pentecostal Holiness Church
    1930-1936
    Box 4, Folder 31 Religious Tract Society
    1905-1953
    Box 4, Folder 32 Ryerson Press
    1927-1934
    Box 4, Folder 33 Sunday School Publishing Board of National Baptist Convention
    1902-1936
    Box 4, Folder 34 Union Gospel Printing Co.
    1921-1936
    Box 4, Folder 35 United Brethren Publishing Establishment
    1926-1928
    Box 4, Folder 36 United Brethren Publishing House
    1894, 1927-1935
    Box 4, Folder 37 United Church Publishing House
    1930-1938
    Box 4, Folder 38 United Lutheran Publishing House
    1927-1934
    Box 4, Folder 39 Wesleyan Methodist Publishing Association
    1929-1936
    Box 4, Folder 40 Miscellaneous
    1896-1912
    Box 4, Folder 41 Miscellaneous
    1914-1928

    Series 4. Miscellaneous

    Container Description Date
    Box 4, Folder 42 Citizen's Bank - President's report
    1962
    Box 4, Folder 43 Copyright notes
    1880-1896
    Box 4, Folder 44 Copyright registrations
    1881-1901
    Box 4, Folder 45 Employee insurance plan
    1955
    Box 4, Folder 46 Employee presentation dinner (lists staff celebrating
    1954
    Box 4, Folder 47 Greeting card proposal
    1950
    Box 4, Folder 48 Hassenfeld Bros. (Hasbro) - Dun & Bradstreet report
    1964
    Box 4, Folder 49 Lithographer National Association - Roster of PLC journeymen
    1938
    Box 4, Folder 50 Lithographic Technical Foundation - Undated brochure
    Box 4, Folder 51 Marketing research memoranda
    1953
    Box 4, Folder 52 Marketing research memoranda
    1954 Jan -1954 Sep
    Box 4, Folder 43 Marketing research memoranda
    1954 Oct -1954 Dec
    Box 4, Folder 54 Marketing research memoranda
    1955
    Box 4, Folder 55 News clippings (archival copies)
    1949-1975
    Box 4, Folder 56 Ode, Randolph T. Certificate, Industrial College of the Armed Forces
    1957
    Box 4, Folder 57 Ode, Randolph T. Diary
    1947 May 01 -1947 May 23
    Box 4, Folder 58 Ode, Randolph T.
    Contents Note: Definitely 1940s - mentions Washington as 30th most populous state as per 1940 census. At a conference on May 12, "was elected to the presidency". The June 1949 edition of New England Printer mentions that Ode became president of the Lithographers National Association "last month".

    1949 May 04 -1949 Jun 06
    Box 4, Folder 59 Order book, undated (circa 1930)
    Box 4, Folder 60 Order cards
    1953-1962
    Box 4, Folder 61 Orders
    1971-1973
    Box 4, Folder 62 Re-engineering proposal by the Austin Company
    Contents Note: Circa 1950

    1950
    Box 4, Folder 63 Sales data and graph
    1917-1949
    Box 4, Folder 64 Technical data and undated
    1941
    Box 4, Folder 65 Postal regulation testimony
    1902
    Box 4, Folder 66 Gorham family papers
    Contents Note: Letter, Amy Gorham to husband Jabez (photograph)

    1819 Nov 01
    Box 4, Folder 66 Gorham family papers
    Contents Note: Letter, John Gorham to sister Amanda Harris(original)

    1873 Nov 27
    Box 4, Folder 66 Gorham family papers:
    Contents Note: Deed, John Gorham to Amanda G. Harris (original, transcription)

    1876 Dec 18
    Box 4, Folder 66 Gorham family papers:
    Contents Note: Draft of lecture, "The Gorham Manufacturing Company", unsigned, undated

    Box 4, Folder 66 Letter, Burrill Getman to Randolph Ode, re early Gorham letters.
    1967 Feb 10
    Box 5 Purchase ledger
    Contents Note: Very Large volume.

    1911-1936
    Box 5 Professor Holmgren's Worsted Test for Color Blindness"
    Contents Note: Not dated.