Guide to the E. Murdock and Company Records

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0268
Creators:
Murdock, E. (Woodware Manufacturing)
Dates:
1863-1954
Languages:
English
Collection materials in English.
Physical Description:
0.33 Cubic feet
4 boxes
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of correspondence from customers, catalogues, statements, and receipts from various shipping companies. Also included are price lists, bulletins, advertisements, and a census report. These papers indicate the kinds and the amounts of transactions that E. Murdock & Co. engaged in throughout most of its history.
The correspondence includes customers ranging from grocers, oil manufacturers and paper manufacturers to other woodenware manufacturers who ordered items from Murdock's companies. This series is arranged chronologically.
The monthly statements and receipts from Murdock's customers include shipment confirmations by freight companies.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is organized into four series.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1866 June-1939 January
Series 2: Statements/receipts and shipment confirmations, 1863-1914
Series 3: Price lists and Catalogs, 1890-1928
Series 4: Miscellaneous, 1884-1954

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The E. Murdock & Company was founded by Elisha Murdock in 1834. Murdock was from Winchendon, Massachusetts, a small town outside of Boston. He was the third child of Ephraim and Zibah Murdock. He was born on August 27, 1802.
Elisha Murdock's family had many industrial and educational pursuits. His father, a builder of sleighs, founded the first public high school in Winchendon, Massachusetts in 1843. Eventually his son Ephraim Murdock, Jr. established in 1887 a self-supporting high school in Winchendon named The Murdock School, was considered one of the best equipped high schools in Massachusetts and in 1961, the school became known as "The Murdock Junior High School.
Elisha worked in the manufacturing of tubs, pails, and other wood wares using machinery invented by his father. For 100 years, from 1831-1931, Winchendon was known as "The Home of Woodenware Manufacture."
In 1840, Murdock's first woodenware factory in Winchendon burned. In 1895, a second fire destroyed an even larger plant. After the 1895 fire, however, a new factory was erected and a variety of products were offered.
Murdock also established a plant in Boston, in the industrial area of Market Street. The Boston plant was listed in the city directory until 1882. In 1882, Elisha Murdock died and the company's leadership was handed over to William and Elisha Whitney.
From 1883-1929, little is recorded about E. Murdock & Company. In 1929, Murdock's Company, Keene Woodworking Company in New Hampshire and the West Swanzey plant, merged to form the New England Woodenware Corporation. However, the Winchendon unit was still supervised by Elisha and William Whitney, with 225 employees. According to Murdock's great-great-granddaughter Margaret Urquhart, the company moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire in 1958, where it became a personal holding company with no employees. In 1951, the company stopped producing wooden artifacts and began producing boxes. In 1982, the company moved from Winchendon to Gardener, Massachusetts.
The Murdock family, through marriage, was related to the Whitney family. While the Whitneys produced woodworking machines, Murdock's company manufactured woodenware products for a century. Eventually, the Whitneys managed E. Murdock and Co. for over twenty years.

Administration
Processing Information
Collection processed by Alexandra Henry, 2017.
Author
Alexandra Henry
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Margaret Urqhart, President, E. Murdock, Inc., January 15, 1987.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Preferred Citation
E. Murdock Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Series: Woodenware (AC0060)

Custodial History
Custodial History
This collection was transferred from the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana (AC0060), July 14, 1987.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Manufacturing Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Box making Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wood Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Massachusetts, Winchendon Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business letters Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Massachusetts Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Catalogs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business records Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Massachusetts, Gardener Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New Hampshire Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New England Woodenware Corporation Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Whitney, Elisha Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Whitney, William Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives