Guide to the Gorham Manufacturing Company records, 1892-1952, 1980


Rhode Island School of Design Archives
Fleet Library at RISD
2 College Street
Providence, RI 02903
Tel: 401-709-5922
Fax: 401-709-5932
email: risdarchives@risd.edu

Published in 2012

Collection Overview

Title: Gorham Manufacturing Company records
Date range: 1892-1952, 1980
Creator: Gorham Manufacturing Company
Extent: 1.75 linear feet
Abstract: The records include Gorham Manufacturing catalogues, books, and scrapbooks.
Language of materials: English
Repository: Rhode Island School of Design Archives
Collection number: SP4.0

Scope & content

The Collection contains promotional catalogues (Series I) of the Gorham Manufacturing Company. The series includes catalogues that list flatware, silverware, bronze memorial plates, and other silver work done by Gorham Manufacturing. The catalogues date from 1892-1952, 1980. Also in the collection are a variety of books, pamphlets, and scrapbooks originally from the Gorham Design Library (Series II).
The Collection is arranged in two Series:
  • Series I: Catalogues, 1892-1952, 1980
  • Series II: Books, 1910-1937

Arrangement

Historical note

Jabez Gorham and Henry Webster founded Gorham and Webster in 1831 at the botton of Steeple Street, Providence, RI to manufacture jewelry and coin spoons. Webster left within a decade resulting in the formation of J. Gorham and Son in 1841. John Gorham assumed leadership of the company when his father departed in 1847. He led the phenomenal growth of Gorham Manufacturing Co. as the country's premier slver design company. He lost control of the company in 1875 due to personal bankruptcy. Gorham pioneered manufacturing and sales techniques during the 1800s and early 1900s. The company remained independent until sold to Textron in 1967. Textron sold the company to Dansk International Designs in 1989. Additional mergers and acquisitions led to Brown University's acquisition of the company archives. The RISD Museum of Art acquired the company's silver collection and the Fleet Library at RISD received the Gorham Design Library.

For a detailed history of the company please see the 2019 RISD Museum of Art exhibition catalogue Gorham Silver: Designing Brilliance, 1850-1970, editor, Elizabeth A. Williams.

Access & Use

Access to the collection: The use of certain documents and collections may be restricted. Please consult the Archives staff for further details.
Use of the materials: Permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from archival materials must be obtained in writing from the Archives. The researcher assumes full responsibility for use of material and for conformity to all applicable laws, including copyright.
Preferred citation: Gorham Manufacturing Company records, Rhode Island School of Design Archives.
Contact information: Rhode Island School of Design Archives
Fleet Library at RISD
2 College Street
Providence, RI 02903
Tel: 401-709-5922
Fax: 401-709-5932
email: risdarchives@risd.edu

Administrative Information

ABOUT THE COLLECTION  
Acquisition: In August of 2005, RISD was the recipient of a significant gift from Lenox, Inc. through the parent company Brown-Forman. The historic Gorham Design Library had left Rhode Island a number of years previously as a result of corporate mergers; at this time the company decided the material did belong in Rhode Island, and they donated the books (c. 1300 volumes) to the Library, designs and presentation drawings to the RIDS Museum of Art, and the Gorham company archives to Brown University.
ABOUT THE FINDING AID  
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rachael Juskuv.
Encoding: Finding aid encoded by Rachael Juskuv 2012 July 20
Revisions:

2019 July 3

  • Revised by Douglas Doe
  • Descriptive rules: Finding aid based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)

    Additional Information

    Inventory


    Series I. Catalogues

    Container Description Date
    Box 1, Folder 1 Arretine
    1931
    Box 1, Folder 2 Beaumont Line
    1928
    Box 1, Folder 3 Black Jack Mugs and Leather Bottles
    undated
    Box 1, Folder 4 Bradford Book of Collectors Plates
    1980
    Box 1, Folder 5 Bronze Grave Markers
    1930
    Box 1, Folder 6 Bronze Memorials
    circa 1916
    Box 1, Folder 7 Bronze Tablets
    1945
    Box 1, Folder 8 Cellini Pattern (3 copies)
    1915
    Box 1, Folder 9 Chesterfield (2 copies)
    1916
    Box 1, Folder 10 Cinderella Pattern (4 copies)
    1926
    Box 1, Folder 11 Christmas Gifts (2 copies)
    1910
    Box 1, Folder 12 Clermont (3 copies)
    1915
    Box 1, Folder 13 Colfax (4 copies)
    undated
    Box 1, Folder 14 Dollar Line
    1929
    Box 1, Folder 15 Early American Silver
    undated
    Box 1, Folder 16 Etruscan (2 copies)
    1916
    Box 1, Folder 17 Few Facts about Gorham Plate
    undated
    Box 1, Folder 18 Holloware, Sterling Silver
    1949
    Box 1, Folder 19 Jefferson
    1907
    Box 1, Folder 20 Lansdowne (2 copies)
    circa 1920
    Box 1, Folder 21 La Scala
    undated
    Box 1, Folder 22 Lily of the Valley
    1950
    Box 2, Folder 23 Maintenon Dinner Service (2 copies)
    191-?
    Box 2, Folder 24 Martha Washington (2 copies)
    1908
    Box 2, Folder 25 Medici (2 copies)
    circa 1890
    Box 2, Folder 26 Old Dominion Pattern (5 copies)
    1912
    Box 2, Folder 27 Old French
    1916
    Box 2, Folder 28 Plymouth (2 copies)
    1916
    Box 2, Folder 29 Price List for Gifts Suitable for Church and Chapel Memorials
    1926
    Box 2, Folder 30 Portfolio Memorial Tablets
    1936
    Box 2, Folder 31 Rose Marie
    1933
    Box 2, Folder 32 Saxony (2 copies)
    1892
    Box 2, Folder 33 Silverware of a Moderate Cost
    1930
    Box 2, Folder 34 Sovereign
    1941
    Box 2, Folder 35 Sterling Silver Spoons and Forks
    189-?
    Box 2, Folder 36 Thread of Gold
    1952
    Box 2, Folder 37 Touraine (2 copies)
    circa 1917
    Box 2, Folder 38 Princess Patricia (3 copies)
    1927
    Box 2, Folder 39 Traymore
    circa 1914
    Box 2, Folder 40 Vanity Fair (3 copies)
    1926
    Box 2, Folder 41 Versailles (2 copies)
    undated
    Box 2, Folder 42 Wellington
    undated
    Box 2, Folder 44 Zodiac
    undated

    Series II. Books

    Container Description Date
    Box 3, Folder 45 Agua Caliente Resort
    Box 3, Folder 46 American Silversmiths and Their Marks II by Stephen G.C. Ensko
    1937
    Box 3, Folder 47 The Art of Table Setting by Lillian M. Gunn
    1929
    Box 3, Folder 48 Illustrations of Letters, Monograms, Ciphers, Forms and Crests used for Marking Silverware
    undated
    Box 3 C.A. Cutter's Three-Figure Alfabetic-Order Table with consonants except S, Vowels and S, Q, X, Y,Z
    undated
    Box 3, Folder 49 Latest Developments in Manufacturing of Silverware
    undated
    Box 3, Folder 50 Mythological Sketches
    undated
    Box 3 Old Masters Silver
    undated
    Box 3, Folder 52 Sterling Silver for Everyone by Newton A. Fuessle [reprint]
    1921
    Box 3, Folder 53 Sterling Silversmiths Guild Purchase Plan
    circa 1929
    Box 3, Folder 54 What Electricity is doing for the Arts
    circa 1910
    Box 4 Pattern Book of Silverware
    circa 1900
    Box 4 Scrapbook of Illustrations
    circa 1900