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C. W. Briggs Company Records

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Repository: Richard and Ronay Menschel Library, George Eastman Museum
Creator: C. W. Briggs Company (1850-1930)
Source - col: Sipley, Louis Walton, 1897-1968
Source: 3M Foundation
Creator - own: Briggs, Caspar Warren, 1847-1942
Title: C. W. Briggs Company records, Louis Walton Sipley/American Museum of Photography collection
Date [inclusive]: 1871-1951, undated
Date [bulk]: 1915-1938
Physical Description: 23 Linear Feet 35 boxes
Physical Description: The majority of the documents were covered in coal dust. The archivist cleaned some of the worst with a dry sponge; however, the rest of the collection -- particularly the lantern slide art series -- should be addressed to prevent degradation of the material.
Language of the Material: English

Abstract: This collection consists of the records of the Philadelphia-based C. W. Briggs Company, one of the leading producers of lantern slides in the United States. The materials date from 1871 to 1951, with the bulk dating between 1915 and 1938. The records comprise legal and financial documents, lantern slide catalogs, artwork, photographic materials, and lantern slide lecture scripts.

Scope & Contents: This collection comprises business records, legal documents, correspondence, artwork, and product information dating from 1871-1951. Also included are lantern slide labels, visual education scripts, and notes and sketches by artist Joseph Boggs Beale.

The business records do not constitute an extensive collection. From Sipley’s description of the C. W. Briggs Co., it would seem the size of this collection would have been quite large, and indeed the collection of lantern slides housed in the museum’s photograph collection numbers over 5,000. However, the business records, especially records documenting the earlier era of Caspar W. Briggs’ direction, did not arrive at the museum with the Sipley materials and in fact, the bulk of the material dates from the twentieth century. It is unknown whether other Briggs Co. records have survived elsewhere or were disposed of long ago.

Creation of this finding aid was made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant #MA-30-15-0019-15.