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Caesar R. Bannihr papers

Call Number: MS 830

Scope and Contents

Caesar R. Bannihr (1857-1943) was a tinkerer and an inventor, and by profession, an engraver and die sinker. All that we know about Bannihr is what can be found in the diaries and account books that are in the Bannihr Papers. Bannihr was twenty-six-years-old when he started recording the events of his daily life in the series of diaries found in these papers. From 1883-1891 Bannihr worked a ten-hour day at the Cheshire (Connecticut) Manufacturing Company. In his leisure time he invented a match box machine, a safety brake, and other gadgets; practiced drawing, piano, and guitar; bicycled and served as sales agent for the Columbia Bicycle Company; sold cigars as a small business venture with his father; attended the local Democratic Party caucuses; and served on the Committee of School District No. 12, Cheshire. It was while Bannihr was on the school committee that he started to court his future wife, Cynthia Tucker (1858-?), a teacher at the school. Since Cynthia Tucker Bannihr also kept a diary for the period 1890-1893, we can see this developing relationship from both sides. There is no diary of Caesar Bannihr's after he left Cheshire for New York in December 1891, but Cynthia Tucker Bannihr's diary shows us the plans for the October 1892 wedding and their first year of married life in New York City.

When Bannihr moved to New York, he presumably went into partnership with his brother Henry in the trimming business. There are two account books for his enterprise. However, Bannihr soon was working at the trade of engraving and die sinking. The account books from 1894-1942 would indicate that he was self-employed, but he also might have practiced his trade while holding a full-time job. The account books show not only the economic course of the business, but also the craftsmanship of Bannihr; they contain numerous sketches and samples of the dies and engravings.

The papers contain another series of diaries kept by Bannihr from 1934-1941 while he and his wife were living in Stratford, Connecticut. In these Bannihr recorded day-to-day happenings, the produce of his garden, and the decreasing work load of his later years.

The papers are arranged as follows:

  1. Diaries of Caesar R. Bannihr,*1883-1891; 1934-1941
  2. Diaries of Cynthia T. Bannihr,1890-1893
  3. Account Books,*1891-1942
  4. Photograph,n.d.
  5. Misc. printed material & sample dies1885-1890, n. d.

*In several places Bannihr used old account books for his diary or recorded financial matters at the end of a diary volume. Where such overlap occurs has been noted in the folder list.

The papers were purchased from M. Earle, April 17, 1944.


  • 1883-1942


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from M. Earle, 1944.


2 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers are made up almost entirely of diaries and account books that record Bannihr's business career, both as the owner of a trimming business in New York, and as an engraver and die sinker. Bannihr's early diaries (1883-1891) describe his life as a young working man in Cheshire, Connecticut, where he was active in Democratic politics and the district school committee. Included in the diaries are descriptions of his mechanical inventions. His wife also kept a diary for a portion of this period (1890-1893), which takes in the years of their courtship and early married life. Samples of Bannihr's work in the form of plaster casts, master molds, and metal dies are also in the collection.

Guide to the Caesar R. Bannihr Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Diane Kaplan
August 1978
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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