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Meriden Gravure Company records

Call Number: GEN MSS 606
Scope and Contents

The Records consist of correspondence, office files, estimates, orders, cost recapitulation forms, proofs, and other material documenting the operation of the Meriden Gravure Company, a commercial printing company that rose to prominence in the early twentieth century through specialization in high-fidelity image reproduction. The records span the dates 1895 to 1990, with the bulk of the material falling between 1900 and 1977.

The records document the work of the company, including its history, internal culture, relationships with clients, and the business of printing. Correspondence between the printing plant in Meriden and the company's New York office documents the internal workings of the company. Correspondence with clients documents specific printing projects, as well as the company's attention to customer's needs. Correspondence can be found throughout the first three series, Office Files, Correspondence, 1900-1959 (arranged largely alphabetically) and Correspondence, 1960-1981 (arranged chronologically), and in Series V. Estimates. Specific print jobs can also be tracked using an order index located in Series V. Orders; the company used an order numbering system that appears to correspond between Series V. Orders, Series VI. Estimates, and Series VII. Recapitulation Forms.

The collection contains numerous examples of the company's work, mostly in proof form, and to some extent documents the technical processes that made it such a success. Of particular interest is a volume of typescript and hand-drawn instructions titled "Collotype Printing" by Arthur Sias, found in Series VII. Financial and Business Records. A run of "Office Records," also in Series VII, is a detailed record of the daily operation of the printing presses from 1895 to 1922.

Examples of the company's detailed reproductions exist chiefly in the Printed Material series, which contains finished samples as well as proofs. Earlier examples such as silver catalogs and postcards exhibit the detail achieved through the collotype process, while later work, such as proofs for Leonard Baskin's illustrations for the Divine Comedy, showcase the company's offset work. Proofs can also be found on the verso of interoffice correspondence.

The records also document the career of E. Harold Hugo, whose personal office files, within the Office Files series, include papers relating to his sales trips for the company, but also files related to his involvement with Old Sturbridge Village and other outside concerns. Hugo's files also include examples of printed matter collected from a number of other presses.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 366-372 (personnel records): Restricted until 2055. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Box 374 (computer media): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Meriden Gravure Company Records is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Meriden-Stinehour Press, 1981-1989, and Stinehour Press, 2006; five additional boxes transferred from Arts of the Book Collection, 2005-2006.

June 2013 Acquisition: gift of Dartmouth College, 2013.


The records are organized into ten series: I. Office Files. II. Correspondence, 1900-1959. III. Correspondence, 1960-1981. IV. Orders. V. Estimates. VI. Recapitulation Forms. VII. Financial and Business Records. VIII. Printed Materials. IX. Meriden-Stinehour, Inc. Records. X. June 2013 Acquisition, 1888-1986.

1888 - 1990
Majority of material found within 1900 - 1977
403.5 Linear Feet ((374 boxes) + 1 broadside, 1 art)
Related Names
Meriden Gravure Company
Language of Materials