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Special Collections: Guide to the Black & Brothers Records

Collection title: Black & Brothers Records
Collection number: MS 55
Dates of collection: 1839-1916 (inclusive); 1839-1859 (bulk)
Size of collection: 1 record carton + 9 ledgers
Restrictions on access and use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.


Black & Brothers, also known as Black & Company and Black & Sons, was a dry goods store in Ellsworth, Maine, owned by John Black and his sons William H. Black and Alexander B. Black. The Black brothers were born in 1811 and 1816 respectively. The Black family was prominent in Ellsworth, with John Black serving as agent for landowner William Bingham as well as owning the store and a lumber business. His sons were involved with him in the businesses and assumed control of them after his death in 1856.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains business records of Black & Brothers of Ellsworth, Maine. Primarily the records of Alexander B. Black, one of the brothers involved in the Black family businesses, they include bills, receipts, account books, orders, etc., for the family dry goods business. Also included are a few records of the lumber business in which the family was involved as well as receipts, ships' papers and correspondence for the schooner Ariel. Otis M. Candage and Oliver L. Candage were among those serving as captains; letters from them to Alexander Black are included in the vessel's records. A few bills and receipts of Mary J. Black, Alexander Black's wife, are also found in the collection.

The user of this collection may also want to consult the Black Papers (Microfilm B5665), filmed in the 1970s by the Maine State Archives; the microfilm is available at Fogler Library.

Box List

Box 1


1-10 Memo books, Alexander B. Black, 1844-1847, 1850, 1855-1858, undated

11 Bills settled for 1857 & 1858

12 Boston bills settled, 1857

13 Receipts, lists of good and men, 1857-1858

14 Bills of men unsettled, 1857-1858

15 Receipts, 1859

16 Bills settled, 1859

17 Boston bills, spring of 1859

18 Checks of Veazie bank, 1859

Lumber business

19 Sundry bills of sawing, 1857

20 Papers relating to Woodward's lumber, 1857

21 Papers relating to log driving, 1858

22 Account sales, lumber, etc., 1858


23-24 Receipts, letters, etc., Schooner Ariel, 1850s-1880s

25 Bills and receipts, 1868-1881: Mary J. Black

26 Prospectus: West Orange, New Jersey, Water Company, 1916, from office of H.M. Payson & Co., bankers, Portland, Maine

Ledgers [oversized]

Account book, Aug. 17 [1839?]; Alex B. Black & Co. inscribed opposite title page

Account books, June 1, 1840 [2 vols.]

Account book, Jan. 1, 1841; Alex B. Black & Co. inscribed on p. 3

Account book, Dec. 15, [1853?]; This book belongs to Black & Brothers of Ellsworth inscribed on p. 1

Account book, June 10, 1857; Messrs. Black & Brothers inscribed on p. 1

Account book, May 1, 1858

Account book, Nov. 22, 1858

Account book, June 10, 1859


Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/17/2015
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University of Maine
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The University of Maine
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