PRIVATE JAMES R. ADAMS, 13th Battalion of Infantry (Hamilton) ARCHIVE LOT OF 58 DIARIES 1888 THROUGH 1944 HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARIES OF PVT. ADAMS - HISTORY OF THE CANADIAN COLORED COTTON MILLS CO. AND TEXTILE INDUSTRY OF CANADA
Hamilton, Ontario/Montreal, Quebec 1888 Very Good Manuscript
Remarkable archive of 58 handwritten manuscript diaries covering 1888 - 1944 (1922 includes a travel diary) authored by Private James R. Adams, of the famed red-coated 13th Battalion of Infantry (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada). Beginning in 1888, age 25, James does more than detail his adult life on paper he actually writes a history of the Canadian textile industry and the Ontario Cotton Mills Company (a name that changed a number of times and eventually to the Canadian Colored Cotton Mills company), a Hamilton based company that gained fame on a number of fronts. [Biographic notes on the company at the end of the listing.] The first diary begins with only the odd financial and business note. It actually takes James a couple of years, 3 or 4, before he begins to use the diaries more fully beyond business appointments, prices of commodities, contacts made and the odd news item. As he ages he does more and writes more but he does not make it easy as he uses shorthand frequently. Most of what you learn about James is obliquely but what James does amazingly is capture the history of the textile industry in Canada. There are copious notes throughout that we are sure that for someone with knowledge of the industry terms and sizes and such could dig out a mass of historical information through this lot. We also noted that even in the 19th century diaries James worked with large numbers. He had an important job and we assume he was successful enough that he was sent to help open up the Montreal office in 1894 as evidenced by the change to his address the particulars area. Beyond the business writings there are his personal finances and family matters. In one diary we found a genealogy area but all intials and we only realized the value of the notes by the description 'Mater' and 'Pater'. A fascinating voyage of discovery awaits the new owner of this sensational historic record of one man's life and business career. BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES: The Ontario Cotton Mills Company was established in 1881 in Hamilton, Ontario, by a group of men including William Hendrie (Sr.), Edward and Charles Gurney, and C.B. Snow. The name was changed the same year to the Ontario Cotton Manufacturing Company (O.C.M.), and production began in 1882. The factory covered almost the entire block bounded by James, Simcoe, MacNab, and Ferrie Streets, except for a hotel on the west side of the property. The company manufactured such cotton products as denims, shoe linings, flour bags, and carpet yarns under the brand name "Kingcot". By 1886, the mill's 400 employees (mostly women and girls) were producing 2.5 million yards - over 14,000 miles - of cloth per year. However, two years later, the company "met with a financial reverse" (according to the Hamilton Spectator) and was purchased by a Hamilton syndicate of businessmen, comprising mostly the same businessmen who established the O.C.M. in 1881. In 1892, it was reorganized again as the Ontario Cottons (O.C.) subsidiary of the Canadian Colored Cotton Mills Company Limited (C.C.C.), headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. C.C.C. controlled about a dozen mills throughout the Dominion, including three in Cornwall, Ontario, and three in New Brunswick. The company was also noted in 1898 as being the first company in Hamilton to switch from steam power to hydroelectric power.