Aladdin Company Records Collection Addition, 1906-1989, and undated
Using These Materials
- Aladdin Company Collection Addition is open for research.
- Aladdin Company.
- The collection consists mostly of personal Sovereign family materials rather than Aladdin company records. Formats include paper, photographs, negatives, slides, films, oversized scrapbooks, blueprints, homework, some business records, and court and legal documents. MOLD/ALLERGY ALERT: Please note that the collection was treated in spring 2012 for mildew and mold and then deacidified. Some of the materials retain an unpleasant odor. Researchers with allergies should be careful when using the collection.
- 29 boxes, 6 Oversized volumes, 11 film containers, 7 Oversized folders (approximately 18 cubic ft.)
- A. Howard, M. Prindiville, Marian Matyn
- Scope and Content:
MOLD/ALLERGY ALERT: Please note that the collection was treated in spring 2012 for mildew and mold and then deacidified. Some of the materials retain an unpleasant odor. Researchers with allergies should be careful when using the collection.
Aladdin Company is organized by size and then into the following sub-series, which are organized alphabetically and chronologically:
Aladdin Advertising, 1920-1969, and undated, in 1 box, 1 Oversized folder (.25 cubic ft.). This is advertising about Aladdin products. Oversized items include a Dog and house drawing with text,“I, too own an Aladdin…”, undated, and “Good houses never grow old”, undated.
Aladdin Business Dealing, which includes business agreements, correspondence, reports, employee records and photographs, 1918-1980, and undated, in 2 boxes, 1 Oversized folder (1 cubic ft.).
Aladdin-Founders of Aladdin, 1911-1975, undated, which consists mostly of Will J. Sovereign’s journals, 1927-1963, a few of these are Will F. Sovereign’s diaries. The series also includes photographs, legal correspondence, accounts, death information, stock certificates, and other certificates and information about the founders, in 4 boxes (3.25 cubic ft.). There is correspondence from “Nig” (Nigel) a friend in Box 6. Of special interest is “Transcript to Lewis, Edmond, and Watkins vs. United States, Filed February 1923,” a transcript to a court case regarding the theft of founder of the Aladdin Company, Will J. Sovereign’s yacht, the “Aladdin,” by rum runners from Canada during Prohibition.
Aladdin Housing, 1911-1983, undated, which documents some of the houses Aladdin sold, customer communications, and 1826 McKinley House, in a variety of formats including memorabilia (a tool belt and Aladdin lamp), various photographic materials, articles in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.).
Aladdin Miscellaneous, 1921-1989, undated, with manuals, articles, and reports from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Bay City, Michigan, Portland, Oregon, and Wilmington, North Carolina in 2 boxes (.75).
Aladdin Oil [business interests], 1927-1972, and undated in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.) including photographic materials, advertising, legal records, information on the Roscommon Well and Pere Marquette Railway Company.
The Divorce Case, 1951-1970, and undated in 3 boxes (2.25 cubic ft.). The series, documenting the very long, acrimonious divorce case between Mary and Will F. Sovereign which resulted in Michigan’s No Fault Divorce Law, is notable for the amount and types of information. This series contains a vast amount of spy and detective information in regards to the two parties involved in the case, transcripts from the detectives’ notes and from recorded phone calls, photographs, lawyer correspondence and memoirs, and court documents.
Family papers are organized by size and subdivided by names of the creator, and include:
Billy Sovereign Papers, consists of Awards and Certificates and photographic materials, 1955-1958, and undated, in 1 box (.5 cubic ft.). Of interest here is “Billy’s College Career, 1966, 1971,” which includes notes and homework from Central Michigan University. See Sovereign Youth/Academic and Divorce Case series for more information on Billy.
Jeanette Lempke Sovereign Papers, 1916-1980, and undated, in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.). Her papers include photographs, articles, awards and various certificates about her career, material documenting her marriage, crash, death [not from the crash], and estate.
Sally Sovereign Papers, 1928-1970, and undated, in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.). Her papers include correspondence to/from Sally, photographs, and miscellaneous.
Will F. Sovereign Papers, 1922-1981, and undated, in 1 box (.5 cubic ft.) include business and personal correspondence, including personal correspondence from someone named “Tiny”, 1972-1976, accounts, awards and certificates, and photographs.
Will F. Sovereign War/Military Papers, 1941-1947, and 1957, and undated, in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.) include a diary, correspondence, photographic material, government and military documents, propaganda, and a diary, 1942-1943. Will tried several times to enlist and eventually served in 553rd Army Air Force Base unit from July 15, 1944 to January 24, 1946.
Sovereign Youth/ Academic, 1906-1971 (scattered), and undated, in 2 boxes (.75 cubic ft.) includes homework, certificates, degrees, birthday information, childhood letters and memorabilia, awards, and information on the academic careers of Billy, Sally, and Will F.
There are seven Oversized folders, the contents of Advertising, Business Dealing, and Family papers are described in the series description above.
The last three Oversized folders include various types of architectural records. See the Box and Folder Listing for more detail. Folder #5 is Miscellaneous, 1909-1952 (scattered) and undated, and includes company charts, plans for furniture and Aladdin home parts, and various properties. Folders 6 and 7 consist mostly of blue-line prints of houses, notably Residence for Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Sovereign, Bay City, the yacht “Aladdin”, and land plots in Bay City, Midland, and Saginaw, Michigan.
Oversized volumes. Four of these oversized volumes are acidic scrapbooks about the company and family, three are dated 1929, and one is dated 1929-1932. The two others oversized volumes include a lovely, published, undated volume entitled Industrial Housing in a velvet cover (in box), and a business volume entitled Cars Forwarded which documents the shipping of Aladdin products in railroad cars, 1937-1941.
Other formats include films and slides. There are eleven films, #1 is of Aladdin ranch homes being built, undated; #2 is of a St. Patrick's day parade in Bay City, 1959; and #3-11 are of an air show at James Clements Airport, Bay City, 1972. Also, there is a slide box of slides on Aladdin finished products, a mill building, church construction, and family, mostly Billy Sovereign (See Box Listing for more detail.)
- Biographical / Historical:
Aladdin Company was founded by brothers William J. and Otto E. Sovereign in 1906. The company manufactured readi-cut homes sold through mail-order catalogs. It was second only to Sears in the U.S. Based in Bay City, Michigan, Aladdin stopped manufacturing houses in 1982 and was legally dissolved in 1987. For more information see the finding aid or catalog record for the separate Aladdin Company Collection, 1907, 1989, and undated, 259 boxes (350 cubic ft.) which is mostly business and architectural records of the company.
Billy, William J. Sovereign, born January 1, 1948, was the son of Mary and Will F. Sovereign. Will F. was the son of William J. Sovereign. Mary and Will’s was so long and bitter it resulted in Michigan’s No Fault Divorce Law.
Jeannette Lempke-Sovereign (January 19, 1899-July 14, 1966), the daughter of Charles and Eva B., was the second wife of Will J. Sovereign, was known as a pilot for the Aladdin Refining Company, advertising for Sovereign Oil. She was also a competitive flyer for national air races and was a part of the Ninety-Nines, an all-female pilot organization, for which she was later elected International President.
Sally was Will J. Sovereign’s daughter, who later married John Clark.
Rachel Sovereign was Will J. Sovereign’s Mother (She is mentioned in Box 6 as the first American woman to use the telephone.)
- Acquisition Information:
The collection is organized by size and then into the following sub-series, which are organized alphabetically and chronologically. The series include: Aladdin Company, the Divorce Case, and Family Papers.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Architecture--United States--History--20th century.
Industrial housing--United States.
No fault divorce--Michigan.
Women air pilots.
World War, 1939-1945--Economic aspects--United States.
Pere Marquette Railway.
Central Michigan University--Students.
Bay City Yacht Club.
Sovereign, Otto E.
Sovereign, William J.
Sovereign, William J., 1948-
Sovereign, William F.
Bay City (Mich.)--History.
Using These Materials
Aladdin Company Collection Addition is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright is unknown.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
Aladdin Company Collection addition, Folder #, Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University