TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Collection

History

Scope and Content

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Series I: Administrative Records, 1888-1956

Series II: General Accounts, 1853-1926

Series III: Purchasing Records, 1896-1926

Series IV: Sales Records, 1880-1935

Series V: Labor Records, 1884-1916

Series VI: London Records, 1885-1929






J. B. Williams Company Records



Finding aid prepared by Leith Johnson and Aldo E. Salerno.






Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
405 Babbidge Road, Unit 1205
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-1205



© 2004 University of Connecticut



Overview of the Collection

Repository: Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
Creator: J. B. Williams Company.
Title: J. B. Williams Company Records.
Dates: 1853-1956.
Quantity: 85 linear feet.
Identification: MSS19670001
Language: English.
Abstract: Started as Williams' Genuine Yankee Soap around 1840; moved to Glastonbury, Connecticut in 1847 and gained its current name in 1848; acquired Conti Products Corporation in 1950; acquired R. B. Selmer, Inc. in 1952; was acquired by Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 1957 and moved to Cranford, New Jersey but keeping the same name; was eventually sold to Nabisco in 1971.

History

James Baker Williams was born in 1818 in Lebanon, Connecticut. He was educated in Manchester, Connecticut, and, in 1834, began employment with F. and H.C. Woodbridge, a general store located in Manchester. Williams was offered half-interest in the store in 1838, after which its name was changed to Keeny and Williams. Two years later, Williams sold his interest in the store, but retained his share in the drug department. He began experimenting with various soaps to determine which were best for shaving, and eventually developed Williams' Genuine Yankee Soap, the first manufactured soap for use in shaving mugs.

In 1847, Williams moved his enterprise to a rented gristmill on William Street in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where he continued to manufacture shaving soap and a few other products. His brother, William S. Williams, joined the firm around 1848, and it was at this time that the firm's name was changed to the James B. Williams and Company.

William's shaving soaps were sold throughout the United States and Canada, and as a result of rising demand, the facilities were expanded several times in the late 1800s. In 1885, a joint stock company under the name of J. B. Williams Company was formed under the laws of the state of Connecticut. James Williams supervised many aspects of the company until shortly before his death in 1907 at the age of eighty-eight. The Williams family continued to manage the company until it was sold in 1957.

By the early 1900s, the company was known throughout the world. In addition to its line of shaving creams, the firm produced talcum powder, toilet soaps, and other toilet preparations, eventually developing such as Aqua Velva, Lectric Shave, and Skol. In 1950, the company merged with Conti Products Corporation of Brooklyn, New York, and took over its entire line of products, including Conti Castile Soap. A 1952 merger with R.B. Selmer, Inc. added Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo to the company's list of products.

In 1957, a New York based conglomerate, Pharmaceuticals, Inc., acquired the J.B. Williams Company. The new owner, maker of Geritol, Serutan and Sominex, moved the Williams Company to Cranford, New Jersey in 1960, adopting the name J.B. Williams Company.

The J.B. Williams' plant in Connecticut was taken over by ten former Williams' employees who wanted to preserve the old soap-making process, and became Glastonbury Toiletries. The firm made shaving soaps, bathroom soaps, castile soap, aerosol shaving creams, body lotions, and shampoos. Its largest contract was with the J.B. Williams Company.

In 1971, the J.B. Williams Company was sold to Nabisco, and in 1977, Glastonbury Toiletries closed. The original 1847 factory is still standing, and, in 1979, was converted into a condominium complex. I In 1983 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Scope and Content

The records of the J.B. Williams Company provide information on a company known for its manufacture of fine men's toiletries. The records also provide some bibliographical information on the company's founder, James Baker Williams (1818-1907), and his family.

The bulk of the records are from the period 1850 to 1930 when the company was still a family owned and operated enterprise. Records pertaining to the post-1930 period, during which the company expanded and was eventually sold, are limited. The majority of the records are bound volumes which record the general business of the company such as accounting records, purchasing records, sales records, and overseas sales records.

A small amount of administrative records give a more intimate view of the company's history. In addition, the records contain scrapbooks and advertisements which give an excellent example of the types of promotional campaigns popular in the United States at that time. Many of these advertisements contain drawings or photographs from the 1930s and 1940s of important athletes from a variety of sports including baseball, football, boxing, and track and field. There is, however, only a small amount of personal and biographical information and correspondence concerning James B. Williams and his family.

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Arrangement

Series I: Administrative Records (1888-1956) contains a small amount of records concerning the administrative and financial running of the company. These records include correspondence, annual reports, company newsletters, photographs, and the company history. The series contains numerous proofs for advertisements which appeared in many prominent newspapers and magazines.

Series II: General Accounts (1853-1926)) contains the general accounting records of the company. All the records in this series are in bound volumes. The series contains five groups of records: Day Books, Cash Books, Journals, Check Registers, and Ledgers.

Series III: Purchasing Records (1896-1926) contains the purchasing records of the company, all of which are in bound volumes. The series includes Expenditure Journals, Purchase Ledgers, and Purchase Sheets.

Series IV: Sales Records (1880-1935) contains the company sales records, all of which are in bound volumes. The records are organized in eight categories: Invoices, Sales Cash Books, Sales Journals, Sales Credits and Rebates, Sales Ledgers, Accounts Receivable, Customers by State, and Scrapbooks.

Series V: Labor Records (1884-1916) contains the company's labor records, all of which are in bound volumes. This series contains three types of records: Time Books, Payroll, and Medical Records.

Series VI: London Records (1885-1929) contains various records of the London, England division, all of which are in bound volumes. There are seven types of records: Cash Books, Ledgers and Sheets, Account Books, Discounts and Allowances, Sales and Stocks, Cash Sales Ledgers, and Sales Ledgers.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.

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Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials concerning Connecticut businesses. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the reference desk.

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Family Names:

Williams family.

Subjects:

Connecticut--Business, industries, and trade--Soap.
Connecticut--Business, industries, and trades--Toiletries.
Cranford (N.J.)--Business, industries, and trades--Toiletries.
Glastonbury (Conn.)--Business, industries, and trades--Toiletries.
Great Britain--Business, industries, and trades--Toiletries.
London (England)--Business, industries, and trades--Toiletries.
London (England)--Commerce.
Men's toiletries.
New Jersey--Business, industries, and trades--Toiletries.
Soap trade--Connecticut.
Toilet preparations industry--Connecticut.

Document Types:

Administrative Records.
Advertisements.
Blueprints.
Correspondence.
Financial Records.
Fliers. [printed matter]
Notebooks.
Notes.
Photocopies.
Photographs.
Press releases.
Publications.

Occupations:

Manufacturer.

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

The J.B. Williams Company donated the records to the Historical Society of Glastonbury when the company closed its Connecticut facilities in 1960. The Historical Society of Glastonbury donated the records to the University of Connecticut in May 1967.

Preferred Citation

[Item description, #:#], J.B. Williams Company Records. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Acquisition Information

The J.B. Williams Company Records were donated to the University of Connecticut in May 1967.

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Detailed Description

Series I: Administrative Records, 1888-1956
1:1 Advertisements: correspondence, endorsements, and magazine samples, 1888-1898
1:2-5 Advertisements: proofs, 1936-1937
1:3 Annual reports, 1954-1956
1:4 Annual sales meeting newsletter: Swampscott News and Glastonbury Bugle, 1949-1952
Correspondence
1:5 Census reports, 1900-1920
1:6 Chamber of Commerce of the U.S., 1918
1:7 Committee of Industrial Preparedness, 1914-1917
1:8 CT Commission of Public Welfare, 1918
1:9 CT Department of Labor, 1918
1:10 CT State Council of Defense, 1918
2:11 Federal Trade Commission, 1916-1928
2:12 Industrial inventory for Army and Navy, 1916
2:13 Manufacturers' organizations, 1918-1928
2:14 New England Fuel Administration, 1918
2:15 U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1917-1918
2:16 U.S. Department of Commerce, 1919-1928
2:17 U.S. Department of the Interior, 1918
2:18 U.S. Employment Services, 1918
2:19 U.S. Food Administration, 1917-1918
2:20 U.S. Fuel Administration, 1918-1919
2:21 U.S. Geological Survey, 1918
2:22 U.S. War Department, 1918-1919
2:23 U.S. War Industries Board, 1918
2:24 U.S. War Trade Board, 1918
2:25 History: J.B. Williams Company, 1818-1960
2:26 History: J.B. Williams family genealogy, 1638-1938
2:27 Merger proposal: McKesson plan, 1928
3:28 Publicity items, building dimensions, computations, others, 1907-1925
3:29 Monthly newsletter: Shavings, 1943-1952
3:30 Photographs: buildings, staff, products, 1928-1948
3:31 Scrapbook, 1876-1950
Series II: General Accounts, 1853-1926
Day Books
4:32 1875 January - 1878 April
5:33 1878 April - 1881 January
6:34 1881 January - 1883 August
7:35 1883 August - 1889 February
Cash Books
8:36 1853 February - 1860 February
9:37 1860 February - 1867 February
10:38 1867 February - 1874 January
11:39 1874 January - 1881 December
12:40 1881 January - 1889 February
13:41 1885 January - 1888 August
14:42 1888 September - 1891 August
15:43 1891 August - 1893 October
16:44 1893 November - 1895 September
17:45 1895 September - 1895 December
18:46 1896 January - 1899 December
19:47 1899 December - 1902 November
20:48 Daily Cash Balance, 1903 May - 1906 Jun
21:49 Cash Book, 1906 June - 1909 May
22:50 General Cash, 1910 July - 1913 July
23:51 Cash Book, 1920 July - 1921 November
Journals
24:52 1850 May - 1853 March
25:53 1853 March - 1856 May
26:54 1856 February - 1859 December
27:55 1859 December - 1863 October
28:56 1863 October - 1867 August
29:57 1867 August - 1870 March
30:58 1871 February - 1874 July
31:59 1885 January - 1887 December
32:60 1887 December - 1890 December
33:61 1890 August - 1892 December
34:62 1892 December - 1894 August
35:63 1894 August - 1898 December
36:64 1896 January - 1898 April
37:65 1898 May - 1899 December
38:66 1900 January - 1902 September
39:67 1902 October - 1904 July
40:68 1904 July - 1906 January
41:69 1906 January - 1907 July
Check registers
42:70 1902 December - 1904 March
43:71 1904 March - 1905 November
44:72 1905 November - 1907 July
45:73 1907 July - 1909 January
46:74 1909 January - 1910 May
47:75 1910 May - 1911 August
48:76 1911 August - 1919 December
49:77 1919 December - 1926 January
50:78 1926 June - 1926 November
Ledgers
51:79 1846 October - 1851
52:80 1851 April - 1856 January
53:81 1856-1864
54:82 1864-1868
55:83 1869-1880
56:84 1881-1885
57:85 1885-1888
58:86 1887-1888
59:87 1887-1888
60:88 1889-1892
61:89 1893-1895
62:90 1903
63:91 Trial Balance Ledger, 1886-1887
64:92 Index to ledger, n.d.
Series III: Purchasing Records, 1896-1926
Expenditure journals
65:93 1921-1924
66:94 1925 - 1926
Purchase ledgers
67:95 Index, 1896 - 1899
68:96 1896-1899
69:97 1900-1901
70:98 1904-1909
Purchase sheets
71:99 1915 January - 1924 December
72:100 1925 January - 1926 December
Series IV: Sales Records, 1880-1935
Invoices
73:101 1880 February - 1885 January
74:102 1886 October - 1887 May
75:103 1887 May - 1887 December
76:104 1887 December - 1888 July
77:105 1888 July - 1889 February
78:106 1889 February - 1889 August
79:107 1889 August - 1890 June
80:108 1890 January - 1890 April
81:109 1890 April - 1890 August
82:110 1890 August - 1890 November
83:111 1890 November - 1891 March
84:112 1891 March - 1891 July
85:113 1891 July
Sales cash books
86:114 1896 January - 1899 January
87:115 1899 January - 1899 December
88:116 1900 January - 1902 April
89:117 1902 April - 1904 April
90:118 1904 April - 1905 April
91:119 1905 December - 1907 January
92:120 1907 January - 1908 September
93:121 1908 September - 1909 April
94:122 1919 May - 1910 May
95:123 1910 May - 1910 December
Sales Journals
96:124 1885 January - 1888 April
97:125 1888 May - 1891 July
98:126 1891 August - 1891 October
99:127 1891 October - 1892 February
100:128 1892 February - 1892 May
101:129 1892 May - 1892 August
102:130 1892 August - 1892 November
103:131 1892 November - 1893 January
104:132 1893 January - 1893 April
105:133 1893 April - 1893 July
106:134 1893 July - 1893 October
107:135 1893 October - 1894 January
108:136 1894 January - 1894 March
109:137 1894 March - 1894 June
110:138 1894 June - 1894 August
111:139 1894 August - 1894 October
112:140 1894 October - 1895 January
113:141 1895 January - 1895 April
114:142 1895 April - 1895 June
115:143 1895 June - 1895 September
116:144 1895 September - 1895 November
117:145 1895 November - 1896 February
118:146 1896 February - 1896 April
119:147 1896 April - 1896 July
120:148 1896 July - 1896 October
121:148 1896 October - 1896 December
122:150 1896 December - 1897 February
123:151 1897 February - 1897 May
124:152 1897 May - 1897 July
125:153 1897 July - 1897 September
126:154 1897 September - 1897 November
127:155 1897 November - 1898 February
128:156 1898 February - 1898 April
129:157 1898 April - 1898 July
130:158 1898 July - 1898 September
131:159 1898 September - 1898 November
132:160 1898 November - 1899 February
133:161 1899 February - 1899 April
134:162 1899 April - 1899 June
135:163 1899 June - 1899 August
136:164 1899 August - 1899 October
137:165 1899 October - 1899 December
138:166 1899 December - 1900 March
139:167 1900 March - 1900 June
140:168 1900 June - 1900 August
141:169 1900 August - 1900 November
142:170 1900 November - 1901 February
143:171 1901 February - 1901 May
144:172 1901 May - 1901 July
145:173 1901 July - 1901 October
146:174 1901 October - 1901 December
147:175 1901 December - 1902 March
148:176 1902 March - 1902 May
149:177 1902 May - 1902 July
150:178 1902 July - 1902 October
151:179 1902 October - 1902 Noveber
152:180 1900 January - 1900 August
153:181 1900 August - 1901 March
154:182 1901 March - 1901 September
155:183 1901 September - 1902 March
156:184 1902 March - 1902 October
157:185 1903 December - 1912 September
Sales Credits and Rebates
158:186 1899 October - 1903 January
159:187 1893
160:188 1894
161:189 1895
162:190 1896
163:191 1897
164:192 1898
Sales Ledgers
165:193 1896
166:194 1897
167:195 1896
168:196 1897
169:197 1898
170:198 1899
171:199 1899 December - 1902 March
172:200 1899 December - 1903 June
173:201 1900 August - 1902 December
174:202 1902 December - 1904 December
175:203 1902-1904
176:204 1904
177:205 1911-1918
178:206 1909-1919
179:207 1909-1919
180:208 1909-1919
181:209 1909-1919
182:210 1912-1919
183:211 1913 April - 1914 March
184:212 1914-1919
185:213 1914-1919
186:214 1916-1918
187:215 1909-1920
188:216 1909-1919
189:217 1909-1919
190:218 1909-1919
191:219 1909-1919
192:220 1909-1919
193:221 1909-1919
Accounts Receivable
194:222 1906-1908
Customers by State
195:223 1900-1909
Scrapbooks
196:224 1897 May - 1904 August
197:225 1904 September - 1908 September
198:226 1926-1936
Series V: Labor Records, 1884-1916
Time Books
199:226 1885 January - 1887 June
200:227 1887 July - 1889 June
201:228 1889 July - 1891 March
202:229 1891 April - 1901 February
203:230 1901-1903
Payroll
204:231 1901 March - 1903 October
205:232 1904 January - 1904 September
206:233 1912-1913
207:234 1914 January - 1916 August
Medical Journals
208:235 Dr. Kingsbury's Ledger, 1884-1893
Series VI: London Records, 1885-1929
Cash Books
209:236 1909 April - 1911 April
210:237 1911 May - 1913 May
Ledger and Sheets
211:238 1885-1887
212:239 1893-1900
213:240 1901-1904
214:241 1904-1908
215:242 1908-1909
216:243 1910 January - 1911 December
217:244 1923-1926
218:245 1926 July - 1926 December
219:246 1926 December - 1927 June
220:247 1927 June - 1927 December
221:248 1928 January - 1928 July
222:249 1928 July - 1928 November
223:250 1928 December - 1929 October
Account Books
224:251 A - K, 1920-1923
225:252 L - Z, 1920-1923
Discounts and Allowances
226:253 A - B, 1920-1928
227:254 C - E, 1923-1929
228:255 F - G, 1923-1929
229:256 H - M, 1923-1928
230:257 N - Q, 1923-1928
231:258 R - T, 1923-1928
232:259 W - Y, 1923-1928
233:260 Y - Z and foreign customers, 1923-1929
234:261 Sales and Stock
Cash Sales Ledgers
235:262 1902 December - 1910 March
Sales Ledgers
236:263 1902-1905
237:264 1926 July - 1927 March
237:265 1927 April - 1929 March
237:266 1927 April - 1929 March
238:267 1926 July - 1929 March
238:268 1926 July - 1929 March
239:269 1926 July - 1929 March
240:270 1926 July - 1927 March
241:271 1928 January - 1929 March
1928 December - 1929 March
Miscellaneous sheets 1927-1928