80 cubic ft. (in 143 boxes, 42 folders, 131 Volumes)
Scope and Contents Note: Volumes:
This collection consists mostly of Business Records of C.S. Bliss and Co. (131 volumes). Among the correspondence are letters to other members of the Bliss family, such as his son Ralph, but even these are business related a majority of the time. All aspects of C.S. Bliss and company included lumber, timber, wood delivery, lumber camps, railroads, real estate, farming, ranching and milling. He also donated frequently to charity and purchased stocks and raffle tickets. On a darker note, there were a lot of injury reports in several of the Impression Books, mostly by young men who had only been with the company for a few days or months. Unfortunately, there are no extant volumes conveying vessels. The Business Correspondence in this collection is a series of 35 Letter Books spanning the years 1879-1927.The Volumes vary greatly in size and are divided by function and then chronologically. For the sake of convenience they are housed together. Items are listed in chronological order but may be shelved according to size, with large or very heavy volumes on the bottom shelves. The volumes are mostly financial Account Books but there are Non-Financial Volumes in the collection as well.
The Non-Financial Volumes include:  Letter Books, 1879- 1927, Records and statistics:  Newspaper Scrapbook and Farm Statistics (articles torn out), 1911  Railroad Car Record, 1904-1905  Cattle and Sheep Record, 1906-1908  Record from Hicksville, Ohio, 1879-1880  Ranch Statistics, 1909-1910 The Financial Volumes include:  Ledgers 1879-1906)  One empty Ledger  Journals, 1887-1916  Cash Books, 1887-1906, undated  Check Stubs, 1905-1906 Miscellaneous Financial  Trial Balance Book (1885?)  Journal, Inventory and Log Record, 1899-1900  Inventory, 1903  Log and Timber Tally, 1910-1911
*Special Notes on Non-Financial Sources: -Letter Books- contain copies of correspondence that have been transferred to thin paper. This format presents issues with bleeding ink and fragile pages and are quite difficult to read through much of the time. Correspondence, receipts and the occasional accident report are among the things copied into these impression books. • Tucked into Volume 13 is a one page obituary about a woman named Mrs. Isabella J. Boyce. Isabella was the second wife of lumber baron Jonathon Boyce. (Volume 13) • Volume 30 is one that contains several accident reports all among employees who had been with the company for a matter of days (page 734, 738, 740). Volume 34 contains a long letter between Charles Bliss and his son Ralph and one of the things discussed is a hand injury that Bliss himself received (page 272). • Evidence of deforestation presents itself in Volume 35; Bliss urges a Mr. Wallace to plant “any kind of growth of timber, even raspberries…” to prevent the land from drying up.
- The volumes containing records and statistics are disappointing in the realm of knowledge to be reaped. Very few pages are used in these volumes and pages that are utilized are incomplete or irrelevant to the apparent purpose of the volume. Volume 36, contained many articles that were ripped out; Volume 38 contains the words “cattle record” but no such record exists in the volume. Still, the idea behind such records is to help ensure your business continues to profit as you take on more challenges; it offers some predictability based on the current years yields.
*Special Notes on Financial Volumes: -Ledgers- allow researchers to catch a glimpse as to what lumbermen saw fit to invest their money. Common items include, clothing items, food, rent or board, tobacco, tools, supplies, etc.
• Volume 44 held a copy of a Weather forecast from an unknown source. The author says, “The critic in the east who does not understand or who wishes to misrepresent us…mock at our prediction of warm weather…The next Vulcan Storm period is central on the 24th.” Considering the fact that Vulcan is the name of the ancient Roman god of fire; often depicted with a blacksmith’s hammer in his hands, referencing him could not only be a metaphor for severe weather, but may have caused Bliss to save the article as it hearkens back to his time as a blacksmith in Ohio. Possibly ironic is the fact that on page 76 there are lyrics to a song about “Sunny Tennessee” is written. • Volume 47 marked a significant increase in the amount of chewing tobacco, smoking tobacco and cigars that was being purchased. Perhaps this was a particularly stressful time for Bliss; Or maybe it was a time of profit where he could afford to splurge. • Volume 89 is an empty Ledger and is retained solely to demonstrate that information in that series and year was not recorded by Bliss.
-Journals and Cash Books- contain information strictly having to do with balancing financial accounts with credits and debits. Specifically represented are the terms Bills Receivable, Bills Payable, Expenses, Insurance and taxes, Interest, Labor and Loss and Gain.
• Through processing the journals in this collection, one is able to discover the names or even locations of some of the lumber camps Bliss owned and operated including: Beaverton Camp, Gladwin Camp, McMullin’s Camp, Murphey’s camp, Coleman Camp, McReavey’s Camp and Brown’s camp (Volume 99, pages 27-155). • On the inside cover of Volume 120 are the words “Steal not this book my honest friend. For fear the gallows will be your end.” The importance of the information contained in such a volume is apparent in the tenor of the opening statement.
-Check stubs are tangible proof that money changed hands and that business was carried out. The problem with the volumes containing the check stubs is that the materials used and the treatment of its pages during use (with pieces of paper being pinned on top of each other and then left to be mouse-eaten) make the material difficult to work with.
• Volume 122 is nearly impossible to open without breaking the binding of the book or tearing its pages; check stub books in their construction are difficult to use over the passage of time.
-Miscellaneous Financial contains volumes that do not fit cleanly into any given category. The overlap in content in the different types of volumes makes it difficult to place some volumes under a specific heading. However, it also helps ensure that information is not lost because researchers would not readily pick up an uncategorized volume when most of the others are well organized.
Scope and Content Note: Papers:
The collection consists of business and personal records. Among them are lumber company business records such as correspondence, bills, banking and shipping records, inventories, disputes, insurance correspondence, requests for price quotes, property purchase records and lists of Michigan land with unpaid taxes which Bliss would send an agent to review and then, if there was timber on it, purchase and harvest the timber; lumbering and lumber camp reports, labor reports and related information, statistics, pay records, accidents reported in letters, a few letters relating to the hiring of women as business office clericals and cooks. The small lumber camp pay orders are very interesting because it documents what each person, mostly men, was paid as an hourly or daily or weekly wage, whether they worked for someone as a contract crew, who paid them, and which camp or unit in which they worked, and usually if they were or were not literate. In some cases, crews, family relations and spouses are documented. In a few cases wives or other relatives were given a man’s pay. Beginning in 1905 the collection includes documentation of renters and rental properties in Michigan and Arkansas, the purchase and sale of various timber lands in Michigan and other states, and other property, and petroleum interests. Beginning in 1921 Bliss further diversified his investments by purchasing foreign bonds in stocks from Brazil during a period of economic recession. (See Scope note specific to Spring 2018 class for more information.) Personal family materials, especially letters and receipts for personal items such as clothing, cigars, cars, food, materials to build, decorate and furnish a home; letters and records related to his farm, its care and supervision, and the supervision of his farm animals, including especially dogs and sheep; the Bliss family’s business and social groups, political connections, charitable giving, and Bliss’ involvement with two Michigan baseball teams. There are also letters and records related to his children, and documentation of the process of adopting his daughter beginning in December 1928. For more detail see the Summaries below.
The collection is mostly organized by size and then chronological and alphabetical order within the collection and the boxes. All the boxes are .5 cubic ft. letter-size boxes unless otherwise specified.
Scope and Contents Notes and Box and Folder Listings, as well as occasional biographical information, are separately described by each student processor for their final class project with some editing provided by Marian.
Each student in Archivist Marian Matyn’s HST 583 Archives Administration class, processed 1 box each of the C. S. Bliss collection to learn hands on processing skills. Each student received a .5-cubic ft. box full of materials. As much as possible these were processed in the rough alpha-chrono order in which they were originally housed in the Clarke. Each student retained and withdrew some of the collection and then created a mini finding aid with Scope and Contents Note and Box and Folder listing for their box. Sometimes during processing one box became two. This finding aid documents their work. Individual student processing remained as systematic as possible due to Marian’s teaching, direction, supervision and because students followed a standard template and instructions. Some students had materials in their boxes which shed new light on C.S. Bliss, his family, employees or relatives which was added to the biographical section. Occasionally research on a particularly interesting person or topic in ta box was described and cited by a student in their Scope Notes. This finding aid merges all the finding aids together with additional notation and context from Marian.
Summaries of each HST 583 Class’ Scope and Contents Note
HST 583 Spring 2013
During the Spring 2013 term, 15 students in my HST 583 Archives Administration class processed 10.75 cubic ft. in 25 boxes, 1 folder, including records dated 1887-July 1895. In this section of records, Arthur Seeley, one of Bliss’ agents, wrote often to Bliss Company headquarters and his correspondence is throughout the processed Bliss collection. A number of companies were unhappy with him and Bliss products. Two of Bliss lumber camp employees who wrote for supplies often were Alonzo Barcume and G. N. Brown, 1892 (see Box 9). The smallest part of the collection includes personal correspondence from various family members and a good friend, M. Readman (see Box 9). Bliss family members mentioned in the correspondence include A.T. Bliss (see section processed by Brian Page); Mrs. L.W. Bliss (see Boxes 17-18); Bliss’ father (see Boxes 4-7); E. Stanton Bliss (see Boxes 11-12); and Edward Bliss, Joseph Bliss, Eli S. Bliss, C.N. Bliss, Mrs. Tyler, Mrs. Irish, and Mrs. E.S. Bliss, all in conjunction with Edward’s will of December 1893 (see Boxes 17-18). There are also a few letters to Mrs. Bliss (see Box 15) as well as letters from daughter, Jeanie, to her Papa in1893 (see Boxes 17-18).
The first year of processing, the contents of 3.5 cubic ft. boxes, which were densely packed, were distributed in .5 cubic ft. boxes to each student. During processing, these boxes expanded into 10.75 cubic feet. At the beginning of the project students were asked to error on the side of retaining materials because we were unsure how often the class would be taught and wanted to have a nice collection of materials for researchers.
Boxes 1-2 (.75 cubic ft.), 1887-1889 processed by L. Sullivan. The Bliss Lumber Company Papers consist of general business correspondence, lumber camp correspondence, supplies lists from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, personal correspondence, and receipts. Overall, the material is grouped alphabetically. The general business correspondence contains business relations and deals between the Bliss Lumber Company and the companies involved with them, from about 1887 to1889. The lumber camp correspondence from January 1888 to December 1889 were sent from traveling Bliss Lumber Camps, where men would stay, live, and would send letters asking for supplies. The supplies lists from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan from about January to December 1889 contains lists of materials that were needed from the Bliss Lumber Company. The personal correspondences are from various people requesting money from the Bliss Lumber Company from about January to December 1889. The receipts are from three companies and or businesses (Bush, S.C. Randall and Company, and The Michigan Salt Association) that had significant purchases with the Bliss Lumber Company, between 1888 to1889.
Box 3, .5 cubic ft., processed by Brian Page, contains business correspondences, general receipts, and personal correspondences from the Bliss Lumber Company, 1889- 1890, one document dating from 1892. The majority of the documents are directly related to lumber sales and orders from companies within the state of Michigan and includes correspondences with large coal, railway, and steel industries. Important to note in this collection are the personal correspondences between Charles S. Bliss and Aaron T. Bliss, his uncle, dating from January 1890 to late August 1890. Aaron Thomas Bliss had served as a member of the Michigan Senate from 1882-1888, before getting elected to serve as a Representative of Michigan in the U.S House of Representatives from 1888-1891. During his time as a U.S Representative, Aaron T. Bliss introduced a bill that appropriated $25,000 for the Mount Pleasant Indian Boarding School. Later, Aaron T. Bliss would go on to serve two terms as the Governor of Michigan from 1900-1904. Charles joined the A.T Bliss and Brother Lumber Company in 1881, which would then become the C.S. Bliss and Company Lumber Company. Included in this collection’s personal correspondences between Charles and Aaron are discussions of family, money, and illness.
Boxes 4-7, 1.75 cubic feet, processed by N. Dominick, September 1890-July 1891 include business correspondence, personal correspondence, lumber reports, food reports, lumber camp wages, and log reports. Some major topics of interest include letters to C. S. Bliss and Company from September to October 1890 concerning an injury of an employee (found in box # 1 folder insurance injury reports sent by A. N. Parsons), letters to C.S. Bliss and Company from September to November 1890 concerning cancelation of insurance contract (found in box # 1 folder Insurance Correspondence sent by Mutual Fire Insurance Company), letters for C.S. Bliss and Company from November 1890 showing a map of Saginaw (found in box # 1 folder E- H sent by C.G. Fowler), letters to C.S. Bliss from January to February 1891 concerning diphtheria in the camp (found in box # 4 folder Michigan State Board of Health), letters to C.S. Bliss and Company from January to April 1891 concerning claims against the company (found in box # 4 folder Minneapolis Mutual Fire Insurance Company), and a letter to C.S. Bliss and Company concerning family horse with inflamed lungs sent by C.S. Bliss’s father (found in Personal Correspondence February to March 1891). This collection is organized by size, alphabetically, and chronologically. Boxes 1, 3-4 are letter-size and Box 2 is legal-size.
Box 8, .5 cubic ft., processed by A. Gress, includes mostly Business Correspondence, 1891, A-Y, Legal Documents and Correspondence, Business Receipts, Time Records, daily Business Correspondence and 1 folder of personal correspondence.
Box 9, .5 cubic ft., processed by Caity Sweet, consist of mostly business correspondence, January-April 1892, related to the C.S. Bliss and Company lumber company of Saginaw, Michigan. The majority is correspondence from other lumber companies or affiliated professions related to sales and purchases made by C.S. Bliss and Company. Documents in this collection range from January to April 1892. The box is organized alphabetically by senders’ last names and chronologically within senders’ papers if there is more than one from a sender. Receipts for business purchases are integrated throughout business correspondence, as well as letters from companies wishing to sell items to Bliss. There is an abundant amount of letters requesting overdue payments as well as customers unhappy with lumber they purchased from Bliss. For example, Peek and Jackson Lumber Dealers wrote numerous times about an order they placed and had not received, then finally cancelled their order (see letters in Business Correspondence, N-Q, January-April 1892 folder).
Included in the business correspondence are some particularly interesting pieces to note. Marinette Iron Works Co. out of Marinette, Wisconsin, has a detailed map of Michigan railroads on the back of their stationary (See letter dated January 13, 1892 in Business Correspondence, M, January-April 1892 folder). Montague Iron Works has an illustration of a “Fore and Aft Compound Marine Engine” on the back of their letters (See letter dated January 5, 1892 in Business Correspondence, M, January-April 1892 folder). On a letter dated February 1, 1892, Bliss was invited to the Michigan Retail Lumber Dealers Association Third Annual Conference, held February 17, 1892 in Albion, Michigan (See letter in Business Correspondence, M, January-April 1892 folder). D.H. Trombley, a lumber shipper and dealer, wrote Bliss numerous times; one of his letters gives precise instructions on how to properly saw hard maple logs, with a small drawing to exhibit his instructions (See letter dated January 13, 1892 in Business Correspondence, T-V, January-April 1892 folder).
This box also contains camp reports dated from December 1891to March 1892 that state information such as: # logs cut, # logs skidded in feet, #logs hauled in feet, # men working, # men laid in, # teams skidding, # teams hauling, # teams toting, and # teams laid in. These are weekly reports, and every week is accounted for from December 26, 1891 to March 11, 1892. (See Business, Camp Reports, December 1891-March 1892 folder). Payroll reports for December 1891 and January 1892 are present that state men’s hours worked and their van bills. Sixty seven men were paid in December and forty one men were paid in January. According to George Austin Woodward’s article “Life in a Lumber Camp”, ‘van’ is another name for the office, which the scaler typically ran. The van held supplies the lumbermen would need such as boots, medicines, tobacco, along with many other things. As supplied were needed they could charge them, then have the total amount they owed deducted from their pay check (Woodward, George Austin. "Life In A Lumber Camp." Editorial. Muney's Magazine Sept. 1894: 604-10. Life In A Lumber Camp. University of Northern Iowa, 2003. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.). (See example in Business, Payroll Reports, December 1891 and January 1892 folder).
There are correspondences from two men who are employees of Bliss’s at a lumber camp. G.N. Brown appears to be a type of foreman who sent numerous letters to Bliss with shipment, purchase and other camp updates dated January 3, 1892 to April 11, 1892. Brown is listed on the payroll reports but not hourly, like the other men (See Brown’s letters in Business Correspondence, Brown, G.N., January-April 1892 folder). Alonzo Barcume is another camp employee who consistently wrote Bliss, mostly regarding the status of supplies and workers at the camp. Bliss also received one letter from Mrs. Barcume. Letters from Barcume are dated throughout April 1892 (See examples in Business Correspondence, Barcume, Alonzoand wife, April 1892 folder). Bliss also had at least one traveling sales agent working for him; Arthur Seeley wrote Bliss a few times a week from different towns around Michigan updating him on lumber sales. Letters from Seeley date from February-April 1892 (See examples in Business Correspondence, Seeley, Arthur, February-April 1892 folder).
Crane and Crane Attorneys and Counselors wrote Bliss a six page letter with information about a law that Bliss had inquired about, the Material Man’s Lien Law (see letter dated April 28, 1892 in Business Correspondence, Legal Advice, April 1892 folder). There are several letters from Geo. F. Gillam, assignor to the estate of Henry A. Cogswell, who owed debts to Bliss. These letters discuss how Bliss will receive the money that is owed to him (See letters in Business Correspondence, Recovery of Debt, January-April 1892 folder).
There is one personal letter to Bliss from M. Readman, dated March 8, 1892. He appears to be a close friend of Bliss’s; he apologizes for leaving and discusses a tense situation with his wife, but there is no detail about who Readman is or if his wife has any relation to Bliss (See letter in Personal Correspondence, Readman, M., March 8, 1892 folder). There is also correspondence from Michigan Mutual Life Insurance Company discussing Bliss’s life insurance policy (See Michigan Mutual Life Insurance Company, February-March 1892 folder).
Box 10, .5 cubic ft. processed by Shelby Barlow, contains the papers of the Bliss Lumber Company of business correspondence, May-September 1892, in the form of letters, postcards, and telegrams, as well as a few legal documents and a small collection of bank statements. By analyzing the contents of this collection it is easy to see a pattern of problems within the company relating to either their inability to pay bills as well as a struggle to receive bill payments. There is also a history of untimely deliveries. Of note, one may be particularly interested in a legal conflict with the Cairo Lumber Company (in the folder Bliss Business Correspondence, A, May – September 1892). Another piece of particular interest would be a particularly sassy letter written by J.L. Torrey (he seems particularly upset with the way Bliss does business) on September 3rd of 1892 (found in folder Bliss Business Correspondence, T, May-September 1892). No specific information on Arthur Seeley could be tracked down, but he wrote a lot from an array of locations, and was either written to or about in some cases, so he is assumed to be some kind of traveling agent for Bliss and was given his own folder.
Boxes 11-12, .75 cubic ft., processed by Vito Patrico, is composed mainly of Business Correspondence between Bliss Lumber Company and its business partners, October-December 1892. Most of the correspondence pertain to log, shingle and lath orders. Many of the correspondence contain settlement agreements for late, incorrect or poor-quality shipments. There is a fair amount of correspondence between Bliss and Justices of the Peace to collect settlement money. Also included is a large number of postcards. Items of interest include: correspondence between attorneys over purchase of land; the Lumber Dealers of Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan; correspondence between Bliss and the Michigan Railroad Company correspondence, and the Arthur Seeley correspondence, which contains valuable information about the Morley Company and its competition with Bliss. The collection contains correspondence of individuals regarding private purchase of lumber from Bliss as well as individuals informing the Bliss Company of land with valuable timber on it. Also of interest are a Certificate of Inspection (copy and original), November 17, 1892 and a Mill Report (copy and originals), 1892 (see Box 12).
There are two personal letters, December 1892, one from E. Stanton and the other from Joseph Bliss, both to C.S. Bliss. E. Stanton wrote from Grand Rapids and mentioned a Jerome (see the personal correspondence folders, Box 12).
Boxes 13-14, .75 cubic ft., processed by Jared Allen, contains in Box 13 business correspondence between various people and businesses, January-March 1893, and a yard price list for lumber for Bliss along with possibly two other companies, undated. This box also contains some business correspondence, October 1890-1892, in the first folder. Box 14 (legal-size) contains an Inventory for Bliss, 1893, and correspondence with the Michigan Central Railroad, undated.
Box 15, .5 cubic ft., processed by Samantha Minnis, consist primarily of business correspondence related to the Bliss Lumber Company from March and April 1893 (except for the box labeled not from March-April 1893, which has letters from various dates). This correspondence contains orders for lumber, discussion of payment for orders, and labor concerns. Of particular interest, Mount Pleasant is mentioned several times: in the M folder, there is correspondence from the Mount Pleasant Lumber Company. In the S folder, there are letters from a Mr. Sheldon which mention Mount Pleasant. There are two insurance claim letters: in the N-O folder there is insurance information from the National Accident Society and in the S folder there is a letter regarding an insurance claim from the Saginaw Valley Claim Service. Also there are several examples of illustrated hotel stationary throughout the collection with particularly colorful illustrations in the H folder. There is one personal letter addressed to Mrs. Bliss from a Mrs. Olds which discusses family life and landownership. As noted, some of the folders contain a large number of receipts related to the lumber company, but there are receipts throughout the collection.
Box 16, .5 cubic ft., processed by Katie Van Duinen, contains business correspondence dictated between the Bliss Lumber Company and its patrons in the year 1893. Folders are labeled alphabetically by creator and are then sorted chronologically. On documents that were illegible, the printed business headings were used to designate a creator. Examples of business correspondence formats interspersed throughout the box include postcards, letters, notes, checks, and receipts. One folder contains only telegrams.
Researchers should note that in the folder “Bliss Business Correspondence, M,” there are documents created by a “J.D. Merrill.” He could possibly be a relative of the late Dr. Merrill, who was the head of Central Michigan University’s Physics and Chemistry Department from 1921 to 1953. There is also a residence hall named after Dr. Merrill (Information obtained from: “Merrill Hall,” http://www.cmich.edu/about/locations_maps/CampusMap/WestCampus/Pages/Merrill_Hall.aspx, Accessed April 27, 2013.).
Boxes 17-18, .75 cubic ft., processed by Abigail Diaz consists mostly of general business correspondence with a smattering of personal and familial letters, May-December of 1893. The collection includes: handwritten and typed documents, receipts, legal papers, injury reports, employment requests, letters from lumber agents, payment requests and letters from family members.
Items of Special Interest and Notable Documents include: Personal correspondence with daughter, Jeanie (See Bliss Personal/Family Correspondence, July-December 1893); Accident reports from Fidelity and Casualty Company of New York (See Bliss Business Correspondence, E-G, August-December 1893); Letters regarding estate of Edward Bliss from Lyman and Hitchcock. Document also concerns Mr. Joseph Bliss, Mr. Eli S. Bliss, Mrs. Tyler, Mrs. Irish, Mrs. ES Bliss and Mr. CN Bliss (See Bliss Business Correspondence, L, June-December 1893); Dues receipt for the Saginaw Builders Exchange (See Bliss Business Correspondence, S, August-November 1893) ; Business correspondence from the Michigan Asylum for the Insane dated September 29, 1893 (See Bliss Business Correspondence, M, August-December 1893); Two personal letters from the Bliss Deaconess, Hospital and Home from Mrs. LW Bliss to “Charlie” regarding Dr. Bliss (See Bliss Personal/Family Correspondence, July-December 1893); Folders regarding lumber agents Arthur Seeley and J.D. Mitchell. They both were reporting back to Bliss regarding the competition, lumber prices and product requests (See Bliss Business Correspondence and Expense Reports, Mitchell, J.D., August-December 1893 and Bliss Business Correspondence, Seeley, Arthur, August-November 1893); and Letter heading from the Hotel Normandie is especially pretty and worth noting (See ‘Bliss Business Correspondence, Seeley, Arthur, August-November 1893).
Boxes 19-20, .75 cubic ft., processed by M. Jarvis, include general business correspondence, December 1893-April 1894, both handwritten and typed, lumber camp correspondence, supplies lists and order forms from various businesses, personal correspondence, receipts, legal papers related to injury and mortgage/loans, advertisements from businesses and business-related telegrams. The material is grouped alphabetically into three categories per letter: business correspondence, handwritten business correspondence, postcards, notes and other business-related material and telegrams. Business correspondence contains official letter-headed notes between the Bliss Lumber Company and various businesses. The material covered is (but not limited to) order forms for supplies, notes on service and receipts for sales. Handwritten correspondence materials cover mostly business-related notes about supplies, service and sales between the Bliss Lumber Company and the several entities and individuals he encountered while in business. In notes, postcards and other business-related materials, smaller business receipts, correspondence through small post cards and telegrams related to business are kept. All of these materials are mostly dated throughout January to April 1894; there are few materials from 1893 which are noted clearly on the folder containing them.
Special Interest and Notable Items include: Price List Postcard with a US Postage Blue Once Cent Stamp (See Bliss, Postcards, Notes and other Business, L, January-March 1894, Box 19); Letter from WA Paterson to Bliss, explaining a factory fire which causes delay in services (See Bliss, Business Correspondence, P, January-March 1894, Box 20); Letter from F.H. Wolfe with Illustrated Picture of “Studebaker Patent Little Gem Sprinkler, NO. 414”, in color (See Bliss, Business Correspondence, W, January-March 1894, Box 20); Advertisement from J.C. Koch of Saginaw printed on linen paper, with printed color advertisements. Letterhead is striking and beautiful (Se Bliss, Business Correspondence, K, January-March 1894, Box 19); Letters from Lumber Dealers of Saginaw regarding establishment of a professional organization (See Bliss, Business Correspondence, L, January-March 1894, Box 19); Letter from the Evening Leader, dated March 11th, 1894 (See Bliss, Business Correspondence, C, January-March 1894, Box 19); Letter from W.D Soper, Dealer in Italian Queens, Full Bee Colonies, Bee Feeders and Farm and Garden Seeds with interesting letterhead regarding business (See Bliss, Business Correspondence, S, January-March 1894,. Box 20); Letter from the Larkin Soap Factory regarding the delivery of “Sweet Home” soap, with interesting letterhead (See Bliss, Business Correspondence, B, January-March 1894, Box 19); Letter from the Fidelity and Causality Company of New York, regarding a report of accident on December 11th, 1893 regarding the “face breaking and shattering of lower jaw bone” of an employee (See: Bliss, Business Correspondence, A, January-March 1894, Box 19); Notice from the Michigan Central Railroad Company of Bay City, MI, dated May 31st, 1894 regarding the furnishing of a train to a Mr. Lewis one mile south of Frederic on June 1st (See Bliss, Small Postcards, Notes and Other Business, E, February-March 1894, Box 19.)
Box 21, .5 cubic ft., processed by Sandra Standish, contains business correspondence, January-September 1894, undated. Correspondences included are receipts, estimates, and order requests related to the daily operations of the lumber business. Other documents included are legal correspondences, state and local government correspondence, and matters related to civic activities of C.S. (see Business Correspondence, B). The legal documents mainly concern debtors to the company, and how those debts were handled by lawyers, of which the R.G. Dunn and Company (see Business Correspondence, D) was heavily used. In regards to government transactions there are a number of documents from the State of Michigan Auditor’s General concerning Michigan taxes and the business (see Business Correspondence, T), and a City of Saginaw Health Officers Notice for a ‘foul privy.’ C.S. Bliss’s civic engagements are also mentioned in a number of documents. The Builder’s Exchange sent a notice about an upcoming Labor Day Social that they were holding (see Business Correspondence, L), and there is also a request from the Exchange for dues owed. A letter was sent to C.S. Bliss notifying him that he had been elected Vice President of the Civic Club (see Business Correspondence, M), and in another correspondence the Masonic Ancient Landmark Lodge sent a letter describing a lambskin apron that C.S. was to receive (see Business Correspondence, P). Two correspondences are on particularly bright and interesting letterhead, J.C. Koch (see Business Correspondence, K) and a Jus H. Rogers which has a gold embossed letterhead (see Business Correspondence, R).
Boxes 22-23, .75 cubic ft., processed by Jennifer K. Bentley, consists mostly of business correspondence with manufacturers, other lumber company, and individuals, April 1894-January 1896. The range of the correspondence deals mainly in inquiries about types of lumber in stock and estimates needed for various projects or supply. Interestingly, most of the correspondence is about the broad range in the types of businesses that required regular supplies of ‘cords’ of wood from places as diverse as the Michigan State Prison, Buffalo Spring Company, Saginaw Railroad Company, and various other smaller business owners and private individuals. While the collection is organized by date and in alphabetical order, care was taken to further show the different formats of business communication, representative of the options available in the 1890s by separating traditional business letters from postcards and telegrams. Most of the correspondence is hand-written on letterhead, but there are documents throughout that show the use of typewriters and the variety of ink colors available, where green and purple seemed to be preferred over black.
To facilitate quick communication, postcards and telegrams were used daily by Bliss. Delivery still took up to three days. Ranges of letterhead designs and details with embossed lettering, various ink colors, and types of stationary papers show the wide variety of correspondence options. The most striking is the watermarked stationary example of November 21, 1894 (Folder 4 Box 22), which if held to light, reveals a wood grain design throughout the paper, fitting for a correspondence from one lumber company to another. A surviving undated Bliss Lumber Company business card (Folder 1, Box 22), also contained within this collection, shows a Clydesdale horse-drawn lumber cart and the motto: “Size up Our Load of Wood”. Lumber camp records (Folder 14, Box 23), 1894-1896, also housed within the collection, were sent directly from lumber camps throughout Michigan (Saginaw Area) to Bliss Headquarters. The lumber camp records show details of lumber inventories (cut and uncut), supplies for the men at the camp, and other various estimates for transport by rail and barge as indicated by the noting of “F.O.B.”, which means “Freight on Board” (the cost of shipping was paid by the customer).
Boxes 24-25, .75 cubic ft., processed by Jessica Axe, consists mostly of business correspondence, April-July 1895, in both written and typed, letter, telegram and postcard formats. However, the collection also includes bills or receipts, and employee accident reports. There are several pages of correspondence between Bliss and The Fidelity and Casualty Company of New York concerning an accident involving a live roller band saw (see E-G folder). This type of band saw has rollers that are constantly moving the wooden slabs away from the saw blades after they have been cut. There was also correspondence between Bliss and Stewart and Holmes Drug Company where Bliss is requesting permission to use the hands logo that the drug company uses in their advertisement (S folder).
HST 583 Spring 2014
During Spring 2014 my HST 583 class of 10 processed 6 cubic ft. in 14 boxes, 3 folders, including records dated April 1895-August 1897. These records again consists mostly of business records, with materials documenting many of Bliss' subsidiary businesses as well as a New York company that was involved in a motor cycle sales scheme (see Boxes 27-28) and other companies including: Michelson and Hanson Lumber Company (see Boxes 29-30), and a wood chip painted to resist fire from the Cold Water Paint Company (Detroit, Mich.) (see Box 36). Other companies including F. Raniville Lumber of Grand Rapids and Akron Betting Company (see Box 37). There is also letter about a devastating forest fire and Lumbermen’s Credit Association material (see Boxes 38-39). Also, there is a lot of correspondence from two men who were Bliss agents, George N. Brown and Samuel T. McReavy (the writing/spelling of his name is often very difficult to read) (see Boxes 34-35, 38-39). There are also a few notes between Bliss relatives, mostly of a business nature. A few records document Bliss court cases against the Michigan Head Lining Hoop Company (See Boxes 27-28) and against A. W. Slayton Company (see Box 31).
The second year of processing, the contents of 2.5 densely packed cubic ft. boxes were distributed in .5 cubic ft. boxes to each student. During processing, these boxes expanded into six cubic feet. This pattern continued for several years.
Box 26 and 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by David William consists mostly of business correspondence with manufacturers, other lumber companies, and individuals, from April to May 1895. The range of the correspondence deals mainly in inquiries about types of lumber in stock and estimates needed for various projects or supply, but also includes general aspects of running a business. The correspondence varies from small, locally owned businesses to large, insurance companies of the day. The collection is organized by month and then alphabetically. Special care was given to show different types of correspondence including postcards and receipts. Materials too large to fit into the box were put into a separate, legal-size folder.
The correspondence is mostly handwritten, but some of the documents are typewritten with black, green, and purple ink used. To facilitate quicker correspondence, postcards and telegrams were used frequently by the Bliss Lumber Company and their correspondences. Also included in the collection of note are two personal letters between C.S. Bliss and his brother, L.A. Bliss. The correspondence does not go into any personal details about the brothers, but seemed interesting to note.
Boxes 27-28, .75 cubic ft., processed by K. Mason consists mostly of the company’s business correspondence and personal correspondence of Bliss family members. Correspondence dates from June to December 1895. The correspondence includes letters, postcards, and telegrams to and from other lumber companies, associated industries, lumberjack camps, and individuals seeking to buy or sell timber and lumber products.
Highlights of the box include:
Records of business activity between C.S. Bliss Lumber Company and other family businesses such as A.T. Bliss Company of Carrollton, Michigan (Folder 1), Bliss and Powlus Shingle Company of Sanford, Michigan (Folder 2) and Bliss and VanAuken Company of Saginaw, Michigan (Folder 2).
A series of letters (Folder 4) from The Fidelity and Casualty Company of New York, New York regarding insurance claims made after work related accidents. There are three accidents discussed in this series; the workers names are Frank Lapinskie, Law Leland, and L. Huffman or L. Hoffman.
A folder of correspondence (Folder 17) between lumber camps and the Bliss Company. Two foremen, George N. Brown (Geo N. Brown) and S.F. McReury, sent progress updates and requests for supplies, such as ‘dry heavy socks’ and ‘cheap chewing tobacco’. The location of the camps were not identified directly, however there are hand-drawn maps of sites and mention in a November 27, 1895 letter of sending a team to Mount Pleasant.
An half page advertisement (Folder 20) from the Home Supply Association, New York, New York, a company that appears to be a 19th century member-only catalog shopping club in large cities like New York and Chicago, Illinois (https://archive.org/details/abbreviatedcatal00home). The advertisement is marketing the Victoria Motor Cycle, a four wheel, four engine vehicle that ‘will carry two or three grown people and a child’, on behalf of the Hitchcock Manufacturing Company of Cortland, New York. A quick internet search discovered newspaper articles (http://fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2021/Cortland%20NY%20Standard/Cortland%20NY%20Standard%201895/Cortland%20NY%20Standard%201895%20-%200028.pdf) and amateur historian writings (http://www.earlyamericanautomobiles.com/pennington.htm) about the Victoria and its creator Edward Joel Pennington, who apparently was something of a con artist who sold and resold exclusive rights to build his vehicle. The Victoria Motor Cycle does appear to be an early example of American motorcycles.
The collection is arranged alphabetically then chronologically keeping the materials as they were ordered when found; the original box contained an accordion style file separating contents A through Z. Some materials originally were filed by the company name while others were filed by the last name of the sender; these choices are preserved in the current order of the collection. Postcards and telegrams have been separated from letter sized business correspondence (Folders 14-16).
Boxes 29-30, .75 cubic ft., processed by David W. Hansen II consists primarily of business correspondence, January-February of 1896. The correspondence includes letters, telegrams, and postcards from individuals and companies inquiring about products, as well as receipts of payments and bills. The collection is organized chronologically, with the business correspondence being further organized alphabetically as well. Interesting items include a letter from the U.S. Circuit Court about a lawsuit against the Michigan Head Lining Hoop Co. (Box 2, Folder 2) and a price list from the Michelson and Hanson Lumber Co., a competitor of C.S. Bliss Lumber Company (Box 1, Folder 1).
Box 31 and 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by A. Howard consists of lumber orders and inquiries, advertisements, legal documents, financial records, and railroad camp correspondence, January 1896 and March 1897, mostly 1897. The box is arranged chronologically and then alphabetically within each year, which follows original order. Within each folder of Personal Orders and Correspondence and Railroad Camp letters, the items are chronologically organized. Within each Legal and Professional Orders folder, the items are in alphabetical order by company name. Items of interest include an advertisement newspaper from a company in Adrian, Michigan (Box 2, Coiled Spring Hustler folder) and the Bliss Company records from a lawsuit with the A.W. Slayton Company (Box 1, Legal and Official Correspondence, February 1897 folder and Legal Correspondence, March 1897 folder).
Boxes 32-33, .75 cubic ft., processed by Rachel Taddiken, consists mainly of business correspondence, receipts, and postcards from March to May of 1896. These were sent and received from companies inquiring about orders, asking for money, and receipts of orders made. There were a few interesting pieces set aside in the Personal / Miscellaneous folder which included a letter from a cousin inquiring about the health of C.S. Bliss from February 1896. In addition to these, the camp letters were placed in this folder as well. These letters were personal and they were from men who worked in the logging camps. Also included in this collection were legal documents primarily concerning land purchases as well as solicitations from lawyers wishing to be employed by C.S. Bliss.
Box 34, .5 cubic ft., processed by M. Werner April-August 1896 consists mostly of business correspondence, April-August 1896. The collection is organized by month and then alphabetically with multiple folders to over overstuffed folders. The correspondence is mostly handwritten, but some are typewritten. The collection includes bank statements, business correspondence, legal and personal correspondence, postcards, and railroad camp correspondence from S. J. McReavy, who is likely Bliss’ agent.
Box 35 and 1 legal-size folder. 5 cubic ft., processed by Mark Prindiville, consists mostly of Bliss Business Correspondence, September 1st, 1896 to January 21st, 1897. It is the daily correspondence Bliss received or sent, including correspondence from customers wishing to purchase lumber, those who sent him checks, those who wished he would pay them, and a fair amount of junk mail/ advertisements. The one legal-size folder contains lumber shipment information. The majority of the collection consists of business correspondence. This is primarily a business box, excluding the one or two letters from cousin Bliss.
Four folders, Aaron T. Bliss, S. T. McReavy, Correspondence from Bliss, and Post Cards, are the only correspondence folders that had their own sub-series. The other non-correspondence sub-series involved the First National Bank, Receipts/ Statements/ Meetings/ and Reports, and the legal-size box’s Lumber Statement. There is one personal correspondence from a cousin of Bliss, but there is much talk about business amongst them that it seemed only fair to let the letter join the other business correspondence.
Box 36, processed by Brian K. Taylor, consists of business correspondence with other lumber companies as well various manufacturers, hotels, and individuals, March-April 1897. The majority of the correspondence deals with lumber billing as well as inquiries about the different types of lumber offered, and lumber in stock, or estimates needed for various projects and plans. The Bliss Lumber Company provided services to a diverse number of companies including but not limited to the Pere Marquette Railroad, Buffalo Spring Company, Saginaw Railroad Company, various hotels including some out of state, other lumber companies, and a number of small Michigan businesses and cities.
Communication was varied in 1897 as most communication took place via postcards, telegrams, scribbled notes on paper, and the like. Examples of written communication are contained within these folders, and it is important to note that written and typed communication to and from the Bliss Lumber Company were extensive. Various colored inks were used to facilitate this communication including blue, green, and black. Paper stock at the time came in all shapes and sizes including delicate transparent paper and ornate designs and letterhead were common. Postcards as well as written correspondence took anywhere from 3-5 days on average to reach the Bliss Lumber Company. The collection contains a large number of financial documentation as well mostly pertaining to the sale of lumber. The listings and prices of Lumber supplied by the Bliss Lumber Company are quite extensive. These ledgers record whether or not lumber inventories were cut or uncut, and how they were shipped via barge, rail, or by wagon pulled by horse. Located in the Miscellaneous Solicitation folder is a wood chip from the Cold Water Paint Company (Detroit, Mich.). The wood chip was coated with a fireproof paint marketed to lumber companies of the era. Printing on the wood chip states, “Burn It,” and there is initial burn marks located on the wood chip indicating that the wood chip did not catch fire. It is interesting to note that the Cold Water Paint Company sold a powdered paint that became useable only after cold water was added to the powder and mixed.
Box 37, .5 cubic ft., processed by Zuri Alexander consists of business correspondence. This business correspondence includes letters, orders, postcards and billing information all pertaining to the company, March-August 1897, mostly June and August of 1897. Although this collection includes some personal letters, a majority of this collection consists of business correspondence pertaining to operations. The collection is divided into five major categories. Those include letters, orders, billings, postcards and telegrams. Within each category lies information about how the company ran on the day-to-day basis. The letters folder held information about the company’s operations. The orders folders usually contained information about quotes. There were lists of types of lumber needed along with the lengths and widths needed. The billings folder contained cover letters pertaining to money and paying for the orders received. There were many postcard and a few telegrams in this collection, which included either long, detailed letters or just short excerpts of information. The Bliss Lumbar Company associated themselves with many companies across the country including: F. Raniville Lumber (Grand Rapids, Mich.) or The Akron Betting Co. and railroads such as Michigan Central Railroad Co., all worked with the Bliss lumber company.
Boxes 38-39, .75 cubic ft., processed by Nicole Infante consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies during September and October 1897. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams and postcards and have been organized chronologically as well as alphabetically. Some pieces of interest include letters from The Law and Collection Department of Lumbermen’s Credit Association concerning a case between C.S. Bliss Lumber Company and Fox and Company (Box 1, Folder 1 and Box 2, Folder 2). C.S. Bliss received a letter from America Foust dated October 10th 1897, which gives details about a devastating forest fire in Michigan (Box 1, Folder 5). In 1897 the Michigan Retail Lumber Dealer’s Association had a few complaints about C.S. Bliss Lumber Company’s business practices (Box 1, Folder 8). Several business solicitation letters have also been kept in order to demonstrate the other kinds of business that C.S. Bliss Lumber Company would have been involved in during 1897. (Box 1, Folder 10). There is also a collection of letters from S.J.M. Remy, who was responsible for updating C.S. Bliss Lumber Company on the progress at the R.R. Lumber Camp (Box 1, Folder 12).
HST 583 Spring 2015
During the Spring term 2015, my class of 19 students processed 9.75 cubic ft. in 22 boxes, 3 folders, including records dated 1897-1900. In this section there is information and topics similar to that found in the first two sections and more Bliss agents are documented including O. Miner, Al Lawrence and Sam Flock. There is correspondence between Bliss and his agent, Samuel T. McReavy, in almost every box. There are a number of court cases at least partially documented. Bliss bought pedigree dogs from a dealer in Kalamazoo. He also bought animals for his farm located outside Saginaw. There is reference to a devastating forest fire of 1897 and more information about lumber camps, especially one in or near Vanderbilt called Vanderbilt. There is comment about the outcome and impact of the Spanish-American War. There are examples of political correspondence with politicians and committees, including William D. Gordon, Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, 1895-1898, from Midland, and Joseph W. Fordney, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Saginaw, 1899-1923. There are two mentions of a "car famine," meaning a lack of available railroad cars to ship lumber due to an overabundance of agricultural crops requiring the cars. There are more advertisements and correspondence about equipment and the emergence of typewriters and office positions, as well as several examples of lovely or interesting illustrations.
Boxes 40-41, .75 cubic ft., processed by Rachel Groters consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and manufacturers, customers, and other lumber companies, September 1897- February 1898. The various forms of correspondence range between letters, telegrams, and postcards that have been organized alphabetically in chronological order. Some pieces of interest include both business and personal affairs. In a letter dated December 25, 1897, the Mileage Ticket Bureau of the Central Passenger Association sent C.S. Bliss a refund notice for business travel (Box 40, Folder 4). C.S. Bliss received a letter from the Western Mutual Life Association on November 18, 1897 asking C.S. Bliss for names of local physicians in good standing that were “under, rather than past middle age” that he would recommend (Box 41, Folder 7). Additionally, there are some legal dispute letters (Box 41, Folder 4), personal correspondence (Box 41, Folder 7), and extensive letters from Bliss’ agent, McReavy, about the business (Box 40, Folder 6 and Box 41, Folder 2). Several business solicitation and personal request letters have also been kept in order to demonstrate what kind of business C.S. Bliss Lumber Company was involved with during these years.
Box 42, .5 cubic ft., processed by Eric Blankenship, mostly consists of business correspondence, February-May 1898. It is organized alphabetically. This collection features a series of letters between Mr. Biliss and the Michigan Treasury Department. Many of the letters are regarding his tax forms and state that he is being audited by the state. This collection also features letters between Mr. Bliss and his legal department concerning the lawsuit being brought against the company by a Mr. Fox, and between Mr. Bliss and his agent, Samuel T. McReavy. There is one letter in German from Lusman Brussau, 1898.
Box 43, .5 cubic ft., processed by Gwyn Richard, consists mainly of business correspondence between Charles S. Bliss and customers, company agents, manufacturers and other lumber suppliers, April- July 1898. Items of interest include the following:
Folder 1. Several advertisements or mentions of ads placed by Bliss Co. are included. The early 1900s are when our modern concept of advertising really began and companies began putting efforts into reaching their customers in such ways.
Folder 3. Receipts for a typewriter and a letter from a stenographer answering a job posting are included. Typewriters gained commercial use in the 1870s and continued in popularity through the early twentieth century. The need for a stenographer indicates the growth of demands on the Bliss business, even though a majority of correspondence was still done through handwritten letters.
Folder 5. Included is an interesting business proposal and advertisement from Chicago Wrecking Co.
Folder 6. Included is a letter from E. J. Demorset, a lawyer, regarding the dissolution of a partnership between Bliss Co. and “the Colonel.”
Folder 7. Included is a significant volume of correspondence with N.W. Mann, Michigan Manufacturing and Lumber Co, and O. Miner. Other individuals of significance are filed under separate subsequent folders, alphabetically.
Folder 10. Samuel T. McReavy was an agent with the company, who travelled extensively for Bliss and wrote a considerable number of letters.
Folder 12. Letter from the Northwest Lumberman regarding how the Spanish American War will affect businesses.
Folder 16. Included is a note from B.H. Whitney stating that a Local Association meeting had been cancelled due to the Spanish American War. Also included is a volume of correspondence with Win. E. Barret and Co.
Folder 17. Consists of a significant amount of correspondence between Charles S. Bliss and W.C. Anderson regarding a poor horse deal.
Folder 18. Included are two letters written in German from a Mr. Brisson. There is also a personal letter from Charles Bliss’ cousin, Jessie B.M. There is a letter to a Mrs. Grace B. Bliss from her insurance company.
Box 44, .5 cubic ft., processed by Andrea Meyes, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies, April- September 1898. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams and postcards and have been organized alphabetically as well as chronologically. Some pieces of interest include a letter from The Pungs – Anderson Manufacturing Company dated June 21st 1898, describing a black mare named Lady Pittman for sale (Folder 10). The O-AT-KA Chemical Company letterhead is stunningly gorgeous with a bird and two flags on it (Folder 10). Due to a small amount of acidic damage, the O-AT-KA Chemical Company letter has been placed between two non-acidic pieces of paper for protection. There is business correspondence between C.S. Bliss Lumber Company and Mr. C.S. Bliss’ brother, A.T. Bliss, regarding lumber bills (Folder 16). C.S. Bliss received a letter from The Weber Gas and Gasoline Engine Company dated August 6th 1898, which includes a cyanotype photograph of the #10, 50 Actual, 65 Indicated H. P. Engine (Folder 16). The C.S. Bliss Lumber Company business card soliciting sidewalk planks, which was used as a postcard, is in the front of the folder (Folder 18). On August 10th 1898, the Office of Barrett Manufacturing Company sent C.S. Bliss and Company a letter on future orders that mentions the outcome of the end of the Spanish – American War (Folder 20). Mr. C.S. Bliss also received a solicitation letter from The Rural New Yorker, dated September 29th 1898, that includes import and export statistics for the United States in 1897 (Folder 20). Another interesting letter sent to C.S. Bliss was from the Bluff City Lumber Company, undated, mentions a lack of available railroad cars to move lumber, referred to as “a car famine,” due to a large grain and cotton harvest that year which required additional railroad cars for shipping (Folder 20). There is also a collection of letters from Agent S.J.M. Remy, who was responsible for updating C.S. Bliss Lumber Company on the progress at the Railroad Lumber Camps (Box 1, Folder 21). On September 19th 1898, a woman named J.J. Bierlein sent C.S. Bliss a letter inquiring about a job position as a bookkeeper or a stenographer (Folder 22). The collection also includes several personal letters from C. S. Bliss’ family including one from his daughter, Jeanie, “Skippie”, dated August 2nd 1898 and a letter dated September 17th 1898 from E. Stanton Bliss (Folder 25).
Box 45, .5 cubic ft., processed by Logan M. Lake, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers, and other lumber companies, August-November of 1898. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams, and postcards, and are organized alphabetically as well as chronologically. Throughout the box, there are pieces of interest about C.S. Bliss Lumber Company. The collection of papers from Samuel McReavy, an agent used by the lumber company, reveals the process by which C.S. Bliss finds timber to log and potential customers to sell too (Folder 7). In response to the use of McReavy, Eddy, Avery, and Eddy Lumber Company used a Mr. Young as their agent. In a letter Eddy, Avery, and Eddy sent to Mr. Bliss, the lumber companies seem to rely upon each other’s agents for information (Folder 3). In C.S. Bliss’s business correspondence, Bliss’s farm operations were often paired with lumber as letters depict livestock and lumber being discussed together (Folder 12). Insurance and lawsuit claims from The Law and Collection Department of Lumbermen’s Credit Association against Fox and Company detail the outcome of the case that had been going on for over a year (Folder 13). Throughout 1898, the C.S. Bliss Lumber Company had correspondence with various newspapers and journals, The Chicago Droves Journal and Michigan Farmer and State Journal of Agriculture, to promote his lumber and/or job openings (Folder 14). In 1898, Mr. Bliss received an invitation to the Saginaw County Republican Committee to take a seat on the platform (Folder 15). In addition, C.S. Bliss Lumber Company records saved two pieces of cultural history, decorated and colored envelopes from the Carnival of Fun in Grand Rapids, Michigan depicting Uncle Sam and peoples from around the world (Folder 17).
Two interesting additions to Bliss Business Correspondence was the use of McReavy and C.S. Bliss's farm interests. Bliss used McReavy to scout potential areas to log, the competition's prices and future customers (Folder 7). Bliss had interest in the prosperity of his farm outside of Saginaw. He used the connections of other lumber barons to acquire dogs, pigs, and horses for his farm. The personal life for Bliss had a business connection in the correspondence (Folder 12).
Box 46, .5 cubic ft., processed by Sean Scally, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S Bliss and customers, manufacturers, and other lumber companies, September-December 1898. The various forms of correspondence within this collection include letters, telegrams, and postcards. All correspondence is organized alphabetically as well as chronologically. Items of interest include a number of correspondence materials between C.S Bliss and a company agent, Samuel McReavy, most of which details the progress of a Bliss business endeavor in Gladwin, Michigan (Folder 10). Also of interest are letters from the Fidelity and Casualty Company of New York, which details a workplace accident lawsuit (Folder 15). Correspondence from the Law and Collection Department of the Lumbermen’s Credit Association of Chicago, Illinois, details a lawsuit C.S Bliss brought against Mr. Samuel Fox in October of 1898 (Folder 15). Lastly there is a letter from W. G Gage of the Republican Congressional Committee of Saginaw, Michigan, which asks C.S Bliss to encourage voter registration (Folder 16).
Box 47, .5 cubic ft., processed by Travis Farrington, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufactures and other lumber companies between October 1898 and February 1899. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams, and postcards and have been organized alphabetically and chronologically within each letter of the alphabet. Items of interest within the collection include a number of references to Bliss advertisements in the Michigan Farmer. One customer with the last name of Cole saw a Bliss ad in Farm and Home (Box 1, Folder C). Another customer named Bowers notes in his letter to Bliss that he heard Bliss will sell direct to customers (Box 1, Folder B). Other items of note include a letter on office stationery from the Michigan state Speaker of the House of Representatives, William Gordon (Box 1, Folder G), and a note that a man named Thomas Jackson placed an order by telephone on the morning on January 10, 1899 (Box 1, Folder J). One other area of interest regarding the collection is a postcard advertisement for an English setter breeder and a letter from the same breeder to Bliss (Box 1, Folder K).
Portions of the collection which were withdrawn included banks, miscellaneous notes, peripheral materials, and illegible materials were withdrawn during processing. Approximately five items which were heavily acid-stained were withdrawn and no materials were photocopied.
Box 48, .5 cubic ft., processed by Brandon Moskun, consists mostly of business correspondence between individual customers, other lumber companies, as well as other corporations that were either interested in Bliss lumber, or supplied Bliss with the means to run a successful lumber company, December 1898-March 1899, and undated. Items in the box are mostly handwritten or typed correspondence, but also include postcards and generic advertisements. Interesting documents are scattered throughout the folders. The Clio Collection Agency was in correspondence with Bliss over money owed to them by a Howell family (Folder 12). A letter sent to Bliss by the Saginaw Lumber Dealers’ Association specified issues for discussion at an upcoming meeting (Folder 10). Letters from Bliss’s sister, Della (Folder 13). This Box also contains a number of letters from Agent Samuel McReavy who wrote to Bliss almost daily concerning the lumber camps (Folder 9). There is also a folder of letters from the lumber camps to Bliss concerning the types of lumber harvested, as well as how much was being sawed at a given time (Folder 14).
Box 49, .5 cubic ft., processed by Ethan Reardon, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies from February 1899 to April 1899. The folders have been organized alphabetically and chronologically. Documents have been placed in folders based on the last name of the sender or by company name. There is little of anything notable in the box. Most of it is letters asking for pricing and item inventory. There are a few notes from a logging camp talking about what they had or needed. The rest was a standard please find included money notes.
Box 50, .5 cubic ft., processed by Mary Frank, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies, March-July 1900. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams, and postcards and have been organized chronologically as well as alphabetically. Some pieces of interest include letters from The Law and Collection Department of Lumbermen’s Credit Association concerning a case between C.S. Bliss Lumber Company and Fox and Company (Folders 11-12). C.S. Bliss received a letter from America First dated October 10th 1897, which gives details about a devastating forest fire in Michigan (Folder 5). In 1897 the Michigan Retail Lumber Dealer’s Association had a few complaints about C.S. Bliss Lumber Company’s business practices (Folder 12). Several business solicitation letters have also been kept in order to demonstrate the other kinds of business that C.S. Bliss Lumber Company would have been involved in during 1897. (Folder 10). There is also a collection of letters from Bliss’ Agent S. McReavy who was responsible for updating C.S. Bliss Lumber Company on the progress at the R.R. Lumber Camp (Folder 20).
Box #51, .5 cubic ft., processed by Michael G. Cyrus, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and his customers, competing lumber companies, manufacturers of tools and legal entities, April-June 1899. The collection consists of mainly letters and postcards, which have been organized alphabetically, as it was originally organized, with the addition of each name being organized chronologically. Some pieces of interest from this collection include a back and forth between a customer, F.C. Drake and Mr. Bliss (Folder 13) in which the customer becomes rather upset with the shipping delays. Another point of interest is letters from one of Bliss’s insurance companies, Fidelity and Casualty (Folder 14) concerning boiler inspections and an accident that occurred in a letter received, May 5th not long after an inspection of the boiler. The box also contains numerous letters from a Bliss agent, McReavy (Folder 16) from multiple locations across the state. There is also one letter from another agent, O. Minor (Folder 4) There are other O. Minor letters throughout the other Bliss collections.
Box #52, .25 cubic ft., processed by Brad Collins, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies, May-July 1899. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams and postcards and have been organized alphabetically as well as chronologically. Some pieces of interest include two letters from E. Staunton Bliss, cousin of C.S., in which he inquires about an office position with the company (see letters dated June 12, 1899 and June 19, 1899 on Sterling Furniture Co. letterhead in Folder 1.) There is a collection of letters, advertisements, and price guides for the Cyclone Stump Puller from the Snow Manufacturing Co. of Geneva Illinois (Folder 8.) In June of 1899 C.S. Bliss agreed to sell a piece of land to Janette and Joseph Ronk that was previously sold to H.Q. Totten (see letter dated June 1, 1899 in Folder 4.) Bliss also sent a letter to Totten explaining to him that he would be losing this land since he had not been completing his side of the agreement (see letter dated June 9, 1899 in Folder 4.) A letter from Geo. W. Hopkins to the Michigan Hemlock Association’s secretary J.M. Russell talks about controlling the prices of Hemlock (see letter dated May 4, 1899 on Michigan Hemlock Association Letterhead Folder 3.)
Box # 53 and 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by Leah Buhagiar, is comprised of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss, customers, manufacturers, other lumber companies, and agents of the C.S Bliss Lumber Company, May- October 1899 and also includes advertisements from other lumber companies during this time period. The correspondence consists of letters, postcards and advertisements that have been organized alphabetically and chronologically within each folder. Some pieces of interest include letters from one of Bliss’ agents, McReavy, who was stationed at the lumber camp (Folder 5). There is a letter from another notable local company, the Dow Chemical Company discussing a purchase (Folder 2). A letter from MC Emanuel announces his resignation from the Bliss Company (Folder 2). There is a series of letters and documents relating to Bliss’ purchase of land from Eugene Foster and family in Gladwin County, MI (Legal-size Folder).
Boxes 54-55, 1 legal-size folder, .75 cubic ft., processed by Caitlin Campbell, consists primarily business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and his agents at the Lumber Camps (specifically Samuel McReevey and O. Miner), as well as letters and telegrams with prospective/current customers and his competitors, June-November of 1899. The one set of personal documents pertains to Bliss’ interest in purchasing a dog from Illinois (legal size Personal Correspondence folder). All documents are either typed or handwritten. The documents were not in any discernable order so I decided to catalog them chronologically, then by author. Bliss also kept many documents pertaining to advertising and pricing. These documents included his own advertising and that of his competitors. Those have been separated from the others, along with solicitation letters from other businesses. The correspondence from the Lumber Camps all came from either Samuel McReavey or a Mr. O. Miner. These letters detailed the recovery from a fire and the needs of the workers at the camp. Both of these authors have been separated into their own folder in chronological order. One other folder of note is the Russell August-September 1899 folder. Within this folder is correspondence from a Mr. J. Russell regarding the pricing of Hemlock. Bliss was a member of the Michigan Hemlock Manufactures. These letters from Russell outlined the planned pricing for the coming year in the hopes of beating prices in Wisconsin and other states. All of Russell’s letters are reports from Board of Director Meetings for the Hemlock Manufacturers. Several letters within the collections are drafts of letters Bliss later sent requesting money, or asking fellow business owners about a particular client’s creditworthiness.
An interesting document to note: a letter from Congressman J.W. Fordney (Letter dated October 31st in Business Correspondence, October 15-31 1899) regarding a measure to widen the Saginaw River; he asks Bliss’ opinion of this measure and if he has had any trouble with ferrying lumber across the river. Before being elected to congress, Fordney was involved in the lumber industry himself and supported multiple measures to help the industry as a congressman (http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=F000271).
There is also a letter from the Grand Trunk Railway Company (dated November 10, 1899 in Business Correspondence, November 1-14 1899) that responds to Bliss’ questions about the trustworthiness / reliability of a potential customer. While there are plenty of letters like this in the collection, this one is especially interesting because my family (father, grandfather, etc) have worked for the Grand Trunk Railway for over 150 years. A Grand Trunk train yard is still operational in Battle Creek, MI.
Box 56, processed by S.K. Haase consists mostly of correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers, suppliers and other lumber companies, September-December 1899. The various forms of correspondence range among letters, telegrams and postcards. These have been organized alphabetically first by company and sender, then chronologically among the missives sent by the same institution or person.
Items of interest include various documents that describe the process of railroad transportation from the different railroads, including the Jackson, Lansing and Saginaw Railroad Company and the Michigan Central Railroad Company, among others. A few original railroad tickets, schedules and receipts have been kept for use as examples. A family letter from Jessie B. Marston is also something of interest, offering insight into the filial ties of the extended family members (Folder “M”). Business solicitation letters from suppliers, both hopeful and those with established contracts, have been kept to help the researcher see the scope of the business and for examples of very fine stationary. There is also a number of letters involving professional “Associations” and discussions of how choices are made across the lumber industry and the Midwest region. Aside from the personal letter, all others are multiples and thus dispersed through the collection according to alphabetical organization. Finally, there is a single folder dedicated to Mr. McReavy. This gentleman was Agent for Mr. C.S. Bliss. His communications are general, discussing a number of subjects and locations.
Boxes 57-58, .75 cubic ft., processed by Samantha Sullivan, consists mainly of Business Correspondences with Bliss agents, other lumber companies, businesses, and individuals who had an interest in the company (i.e. those building houses or barns, etc.), January-March 1900. There is a small portion of Personal letters from Bliss’s cousin, E.E. Bliss, about business. The collection is organized alphabetically by subject/company name and then chronologically.
There are multiple correspondences between Bliss and several of his lumber agents included in the collection. Lumber agents would either be stationed at a lumber camp or travel to one, where they would record how well the camp was working, the health of the camp’s horses, supplies that were needed, and the quality and quantity of the timber. They were also the ones who would record how much timber was being shipped out and approximately when it would reach buyers. Sam Flock was stationed at the Vanderbilt camp and kept detailed records of how many logs and cars were loaded and shipped, as well as how many men worked each day and how many logs were averaged per day (Box 57, Folder 2). Al Lawrence’s letters record his journey from the Gladwin camp to the Vanderbilt one, and the poor conditions of the roads. He also has records similar to Flock’s concerning camp productivity (Box 57, Folder 1).
S.J. McReavy was Bliss’s scaler. His letters document weights and bills of log shipments. There are also multiple mentions of ‘Patrick’s man’ who McReavy said that he had to keep an eye on. It seems that Patrick was a competitor and his ‘man’ was trying to steal business from Bliss (Box 57, Folder 3).
As was common practice at the time, Bliss sent letters to company owners and banks to enquire about the credit-worthiness of certain individuals who had bought large quantities of lumber from him. Some replies from these businesses and banks are included in the Credit Checks folder (Box 57, Folder 13).
Michigan Central Railroad Company letters document the delays in log deliveries because of the snow and blizzards that were happening (Box 58, Folder 2).
Some interesting Solicitations were from McCormick Harvesting Machine Company for a corn binder and Horlick’s Food Company for a trial package of Horlick’s Malted Milk, which was “more healthful than tea, coffee, etc…” (Box 58, Folder 8).
Bliss also wrote to several newspapers (The Courier and Republican, The Advertiser, and the Bay City Tribune) specifying changes he wanted to make to his company’s ad. There appears to have been an issue with setting the word “Lumber” in a larger and heavier type. Bliss wanted it to be larger because, according to him, it was not “conspicuous” enough (Box 57, Folder 6).
William Hubbard appears to have been Bliss’s lead farm-hand on one of his ranches. His letters advise Bliss which seeds he should plant and the selling and buying of livestock (Box 2, Folder 10).
Several businesses sent letters to Bliss expressing anger and disagreements over business dealings. C.W. Althouse and Bliss got in an argument over if his men had cut timber that was located on Bliss’s land. Althouse paid forty dollars in settlement (Box 57, Folder 14). Thompson, Lamb and Company had a disagreement with Bliss over the grade of lumber that they shipped to him (Box 58, Folder 9).
There is also a sampling of land enquiries by individuals who were interested in possibly joining the lumber business and who were willing to buy pieces of timbered land from Bliss. As well as, lumber enquiries made by businesses and other lumber companies (Box 57, Folder 18). It can be seen that Bliss charged lumber companies less on their orders because of an ‘Association discount’ (Lumber Business Lumber Enquiries and Agent- S.J. McReavy folders).
Box 59, .5 cubic ft., processed by Lauren Nelson, consists mostly of business correspondence between C. S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies, March- May 1900. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams, and postcards and have been organized alphabetically then chronologically. In some cases items from the same correspondent were alternately filed alphabetically by the company name on the letterhead and by the individual who wrote the letter. In the spirit of original order, in the cases the item was left where it was filed. Some pieces of interest include letters of application to Mr. Bliss for an open stenographer position (Folder 1). There are also many letters from various lumber camps. Of particular interest is a collection of letters from the Vanderbuilt camp regarding fires that are endangering C. S. Bliss’s logs (Folder 13). There are also many letters written by an agent for Bliss, McReavy, regarding lumber camps in various locations (Folder 14). There is one personal letter from a cousin in Loretto, Minnesota requesting Bliss to send a photo, recommendations, and certificates to the Board of Education (Folder 15).
Box 60, .5 cubic ft., processed by Julianne Hafner, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies, July-August 1900. The various forms of correspondence include letters and telegrams and have been organized alphabetically as well as chronologically. Some pieces of interest include a letter from the Courier Herald Newspaper in Saginaw, expressing support for the Republican Party (Folder 2). Several correspondence letters from the Michigan Manufacturing Lumber Company have been kept in order to demonstrate what kind of business C.S. Bliss was involved in during 1900 (Folder 4). C.S. Bliss received a letter from the Frost Trigg Lumber Company, dated to August 27, 1900, which advises Bliss to order pine early this year to avoid the delay in shipment because of a shortage of railroad cars later in the season (Folder 2). Several legal correspondence letters were retained to demonstrate what kind of court cases C.S. Bliss was involved in during 1900. One court case involved the estate of Slayton, a case that in July 1900 was heading to the Supreme Court (Folder 7).
Box 61, .5 cubic ft., processed by Kolina Lundquist consists of business correspondences between them and their customers, September-October 1900. This box is primarily invoices, receipts, notes and letters, and correspondence with Mr. Bliss and a dog breeder, named Mr. James Lang, or Long. This kennel was in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There are quite a few letters back and forth on a female dog. The Epitome of American Dogdom was done on the dog of his request and included in the folder. The Registry was done by The Dog Fancier of Battle Creek Michigan written by Eugene Glass, who in 1912 became the manager, editor and owner of the Dog fancier of Battle Creek, Michigan. Full Bread Dogs have been tracked in the United Kennel Club Registry since 1898, which is out of Kalamazoo Michigan. The box has a few letters of denial for insurance claims against the company for wounded employees, under Insurance and Inspections folder. This folder also has information in it from an inspection that was done, asbestos had been used at the time. They were just in the early stages of discovering the health effects. At the time asbestos was used in many lumber related and building materials. Letters included vary from business with lumber, to trading livestock and home goods for lumber, as well as a few notes to and from a friend. There is also a folder with advertisements that were of the time, for vehicles or other businesses that would be sent Mr. Bliss on their products, for trade or sale. The folders with Postcards show lumber that was shipped. Other postcards have period letterhead and notes on them and are very neat to see the designs and help you to research other companies as well. (Sources cited: "Asbestos-Discovering the Toxicity." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Apr. 2012. Web. 01 May 2015; Pierce, Alan B. Cheung Chau Dog Fanciers' Society. Vol. 31-32. Hong Kong: Asia 2000, 1996. Print. Page 16 October 1923; Raab, Tanya. " ." United Kennel Club: Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2015.)
HST 583 Spring 2016
During the spring 2016 term, my nine students in Archives Administration processed C.S. Bliss records, 3.25 cubic feet in 9 boxes and 1 legal-size folder, 1899-January 1902. Most of the materials are business related, including correspondence from a previously unknown Bliss agent, B. Hoscins (in Box 65). There are also some personal letters about hunting, Bliss’ farm animals, dogs, and from ex-employees. Also of interest are some Butman Lumber Camp in Gladwin County, Mich.) letters and reports from agent George N. Brown, and other reports from Agent McReavy noting vaccinations (type unspecified) of lumber crew members (in Box 64). [Vaccinations available pre-1902 included those for smallpox, tetanus, cholera, typhoid and rabies.] Also, there is correspondence from Gladwin Lumber Camp (in Box 62).
Box 62, .5 cubic ft., processed by Chelsea Connolly, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers, and other lumber companies, 1899-1900. Correspondence includes letters, postcards, and telegraphs, and have been organized alphabetically. Items of interest include: a letter from an insurance agent in regard to Bliss’ Uncle’s examinations (“Family Papers” folder); a memorandum agreement between Bliss and the Standard Oil Company (“Legal Papers” folder); and Gladwin Lumber Camp correspondence (“Lumber Camp” folder). This Lumber Camp correspondence consists of materials that are requested to be sent, and lists of goods that are yet required.
Box 63, .25 cubic ft., processed by Taylor Gibson consists of the business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and manufacturers, customers, and other lumber companies in the state of Michigan, May-September 1899, May-June 1900, and May- July 1901. The various forms of correspondence, such as letters, postcards, and telegrams, are organized chronologically and alphabetically. Items of interest include letters and list of products from Winslow’s Camp Remedies that describe the amount and what product was purchased by the C.S. Bliss Lumber Company from May 1899 to July 1901 (Folder 2). C.S. Bliss received a letter from the C.S Bacon and Company to an outing in Alden, Michigan with other heads of Michigan lumber companies (Folder 3). Several letters were sent to C.S. Bliss from the Michigan State Land Office in regard to land that Bliss had bought or inquired about purchasing in 1901 (Folder 5). Several letters were sent to C.S. Bliss from the Michigan Department of Auditor General in regard to the exchange of certificates for land deeds and sending the department a country treasurer’s certificate (Folder 5). C.S. Bliss received a few letters from The Law and Collections Department in regard to a case that was between C.S. Bliss Lumber Company and Fox Company (Folder 6). C.S. Bliss exchanged letters from George Fairchild in regard to Fairchild training his pet dog (Folder 7). There is also a list of payments C.S. Bliss gave to his employees for working, June 1st – June 10, 1901 (Folder 8).
Box 64, .5 cubic ft., processed by Ashlynn Callender consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers, and other lumber companies, November 1900 and January 1901, organized chronologically and alphabetically. Items of interest include letters about the lumber camp and men being vaccinated (Vaccination and Lumber Camp Folder). C.S. Bliss received three letters from M.C. Emanuel about moving the lumber company to the Philippines (Business Correspondence C-F Folder). The Fidelity and Causality Company of New York wrote to C.S. Bliss about inspections they performed for his company in 1900 (Business Correspondence I, K, M Folder). There are also several correspondence having to do with C.S. Bliss and puppies (Dog Folder). A collection of letters from George Brown and Samuel T. McReavy were retained to show the updates C.S. Bliss received about the Butman Lumber Camp as well (McReavy and Butman Lumber Camp Reports Folders).
Box 65, .5 cubic ft., processed by Chad Stephens, consists mainly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and a number of customers, agents, manufacturers, other Lumber Companies, and the State Of Michigan, January-February 1901. The various forms of correspondences include letters, receipts, telegrams, postcards, official State of Michigan documents, photographs, and reports by C.S. Bliss agents. Items of interest include the Hoscins B. and McReavy agent reports to C.S. Bliss discussing certain information about possible rival companies’ interests and purchases. (Folders 1 and 3). C.S. Bliss received a number of business correspondence from Michigan Manufacturing and Lumber Company in January and February 1901 discussing business transactions (Folders 4 and 15). Other business transactions occurred with Norway White Pine, Yellow Pine and Hemlock in January 1901 (Folder 5) and Pere Marquette Railroad Company in February 1901 (Folder 17). Several business solicitation letters have also been kept in order to witness other types of business that C.S. Bliss was involved in, Agent/ Fencing Company, Soliciting Business, February 1901 (Folder 9).
Box 66, .25 cubic ft., processed by Ashley Blackburn, is composed of business correspondences between the owner and numerous customers and other companies, logging camp reports, business complaints, and some personal correspondences centered on farming or animal breeding, March-April 1901, and is organized chronologically, numerically and alphabetically. Papers of interest may include lumber camp reports (Folder 1) or Bliss’ working correspondence with the Dow Chemical Company (Folder 13). There are various business correspondences with other companies, including the Jeffery Manufacturing Company (Folder 5), the Michigan Manufacturing Company (Folder 7), Joshua Oldham and Sons (Folder 8), Henry Stephens and Company (Folder 9), the Durant-Dort Carriage Company (Folder 13), and the Jennison Hardware Company (Folder 14). There are also correspondences with other lumber men, such as McReavy (Folder 6) and O.H. Babcock (Folder 11). Bliss also had some legal business with Crane and Crane Attorneys (Folder 12).
Box 67, .5 cubic ft., processed by Cody Anderson, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies, April- June 1901. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, postcards, statements and personal notes and have been organized chronologically as well as alphabetically. Items of interest include letters from the Detroit Lumber Association and a nomination to the Saginaw Board of Trade (Folder 2). In April of 1901 there were many customers experiencing issues with C.S. Bliss (Folder 5). Throughout April and May of 1901, C.S. Bliss was in constant contact with his agent, Mr. McReavy, and they shared various different concerns and events going on around the company (Folder 1). In April and May, C.S. Bliss also attempted multiple trades and purchases of a pig, horse and dog (Folders 2, 6).
Box 68, .25 cubic ft., and 1 legal-size folder, processed by Justin Sheldon, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies, August-September 1901. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams and postcards are arranged chronologically and alphabetically. Pieces of note include letters from W.A. Olds, a soldier stationed in Manila, Philippines (Folder 16) a letter C.S. Bliss received from his brother, A.T. Bliss, who was a Michigan Governor and Senator (Folder 17); many correspondence that C.S. Bliss received from Agent McReavy who played a large role in the Bliss Lumber Company (Folder 1); a letter that C.S. Bliss received asking him to participate in the founding of the Saginaw Country Club, which includes the names of some of the area’s most influential residents at that time (Folder 17); a letter mentioning experiences of hunting and fishing that C.S. Bliss received from his Cousin Elmer who resided in Colorado (Folder 17); and several correspondence from C.S. Bliss’ farm’s caretaker concerning his various farm animal (Folder 17).
Box 69, .25 cubic ft., processed by Cassie Olson, consists mostly of business correspondence in the form of letters between Bliss and customers, manufacturers, and other lumber companies, October-November 1901. Most of the business correspondence involves complaints about late, misplaced, or short orders and his employee, McReavy. Also included is personal correspondence between Bliss and his family, about the sale of various animals - including horses, dogs, cows, and hogs – and about the buying or selling of Bliss’s land. Some letters of interest involve the lumber camp, one of which discusses the death of a man due to colic (folder 2). Bliss was also listed as a members of a Michigan Hemlock Association on meeting minutes (folder 2). The folder of illustrative materials includes mostly interesting advertisements with one newspaper clipping (photocopy) of a C.S. Bliss Lumber Company advertisement.
Box 70, .25 cubic ft., processed by Crystal Wood mostly contains business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and manufactures, lumber companies and his customers, December 1901-January 1902. The correspondence in this collection range from letters, telegrams, postcards, inquiries and receipts and are arranged chronologically and alphabetically. Items of interest include a solicitation in January 4th 1902 from the Chattahoochee Agricultural-Industrial School for Negroes for which exhaustive research with the Archivist proved futile in yielding any results about the existence of the Chattahoochee Agricultural-Industrial School for Negroes (see folder with this title); an order for the book “ Dr to Consultation of Law and Opinion on Assessments,” indicating that Bliss had interest about defending his assets dated in January 9th 1902; two folders of detailed correspondences between C.S. Bliss and his agent McReavy spanning from December 1st 1901 to January 30 1902. C.S. Bliss had a few complaints from Pere Marquette Railroad Company between December 10-21, 1901 about the removal of Lumber off company land; letter from Oscar Kelly, January 25, 1902, asking for an extension on payment because of the poor growing year for the Beet industry. There are several personal letters that range from letters between family members to a telegram from M.C. Emanuel, an old employee currently working at the Postal Telegraph-Cable Company, stating how he missed the Bliss Lumber Company dated January 29, 1902.
HST 583 Spring 2017
During the spring 2017 term, my twenty-one students in Archives Administration processed C.S. Bliss records, 11.25 cubic feet in 27 boxes and 7 legal-size folders, February 1902-December 1904. Most of the materials are business related, including correspondence from customers and several Bliss agents, Samuel McReavy (in boxes 72-75, 79, 81, 83, 89 discussing a smallpox quarantine, 92, 95-97), A. Meston (in boxes 78-81, 83); Perrin (in boxes 75, 81, 84); O. N. Sproul (a scaler, in box 80, including his reports of lumber scaled and hauled at Butman Camp in box 97); and O. Miner (in box 72). There are reports from men who ran Bliss’ farm, Walter R. Black (in boxes 81, 84-85, 88-89, 93-95) and B. W. Snow, who began as a farm hand (in box 89) and later replaced Block running the farm (in box 97). There is information on the Vanderbilt Camp (in box 72) and Butman Camp (in boxes 77, 88, 97). There are also several folders of correspondence on women applying to work as stenographers or do other office business work for Bliss (in boxes 80-81, 90-91). Personal information includes general letters from Bliss’ sister Maude (in box 72), Luman Bliss (in box 77) and cousin, E.E. Bliss, about a hunting vacation (in box 80). There is also a 1904 letter from a friend, C.S. Blodgett, discussing the young Bliss children (in box 94). Also of interest is an early 1904 thank you note from Mrs. Grace (Herbert H.) Dow about Mr. Dow’s pig, named Christmas Carol, which was a present from Mr. Bliss (in box 87).
Boxes 71-72, .75 cubic ft., processed by Kara McDonald, consists mostly of business correspondence with manufacturers, other lumber companies, and individuals, March-April of 1902. The majority of these documents, hand-written or typed letters, telegrams, memorandums, bills and receipts, advertisements and post cards, were inquiries about lumber in stock and estimates needed for various projects or supply. The box is organized alphabetically and chronologically.
There are multiple documents within this box that in some way mention the “Grange” (Box 71 Folders 6 and 12; Box 72, Folder 1). The Grange is the nation’s oldest national agricultural organization, with units established in 3,600 local communities in 37 states. It’s 300,000 members provide service to agriculture and rural areas on a wide variety of issues, including economic development, education, family endeavors, and legislation designed to assure a strong and viable “Rural America.” This organization was formed in the years following the Civil War to unite private citizens in improving the economic and social position of the nation’s farm population. Over the past 137 years, it has evolved to include non-farm rural families and communities. The major objectives of the National Grange is to support stewardship of America’s natural resources; promotion of world-wide free trade; a combination of local and federal support for rural education, medical, communications, and road systems; non-partisan political participation; assurance of safe and properly labeled food products; organization of cooperatives and other economic services to support rural Americans; and elimination of direct government farm programs so as to assure a competitive and efficient farm program (www.nationalgrange.org).
Box 73 and 1 legal-size folder, .25 cubic ft., processed by Marc VanHorn, encompasses a wide variety of documents mainly pertaining to the functioning of the business April 1902, with the last names of respondents beginning with the letters H-Z, and concludes with May 1902, last names beginning with A-M. Included are correspondence between the company and a multitude of other entities, and for a plethora of reasons. They include legal correspondence, insurance related matters, land or land use, financial correspondence, employment issues, advertisements, and documents concerning business transactions of the company. In addition, the Bliss collection also contains correspondence with the Vanderbilt camp, as well as correspondence related to its supply of provisions, employees, and their pay. This correspondence is of particular historical importance, as well as of that concerning Bliss’ personal and family-related communications, which are in separate folders. Almost all of the correspondence is either addressed to or received from a business or person located in the state of Michigan, with the noted exception of two letters detailing potential purchases of new land in Indiana. Of particular note are letters to and from camp employees O. Miner and Agent Samuel T. McReavy, and a letter from C. S. Bliss’ sister Maude, both located in their appropriate folders. A list of provisions requested by and / or furnished to the Vanderbilt camp from November 1, 1901 through April 1, 1902 (see legal-size folder).
Box 74, .5 cubic ft., processed by Ralph Goring, includes material from May (letters M-Z) and June (letters A-Z) 1902. The majority of the encompassed material is business correspondence between C.S. Bliss in Saginaw, Mich., and manufacturers, customers, competitors, trade and commerce organizations, and employees throughout Michigan. Occasionally also correspondence across the state boundaries is included.
Most important in this collection is Bliss’ correspondence with his field agent McReavy (Folder #1, who worked mostly around the Vanderbilt Lumber Camp, May- June 1902. Aside from giving detailed insights in the day-to-day challenges faced in a lumber camp (health issues of the workers, accommodation, hiring a cook, unexpected weather changes) there is also a hand drawn map outlining a cutting of timber site.
Another interesting report from May 5, 1902, describes the dangers by heavy rain on one of the lumber camp sites operated by the C.S. Bliss Lumber Company. Although the site itself is unspecified, the note written (Folder #4) by a Leo Roy refers to a “West Branch Dam.” Heavy rain throughout night and day had weakened and partially overflooded the dam. A hand drawn sketch shows how the workers on the site have tried to reinforce the dam with braces. For the material encompassed in this box almost no personal or social correspondence is extant. The few exceptions (Folder #12) are mostly invitations or updates on social gatherings in local Saginaw clubs as well as an enquiry for a donation to St. Mary’s church.
Box 75, 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by A. Lexie White, consists of legal and financial records, correspondence, July-August 1902. The topically grouped material is arranged chronologically and alphabetically. A large portion of the correspondence is between Bliss and his many customers asking for lumber and other material orders, asking when the order might arrive, and requests for new materials because what they received was of poor quality. Much of the correspondence between Bliss and agents McReavy and Perrin discusses new plots of land Bliss could purchase and conditions at lumber camps. C.S. Bliss donated $5.00 to the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) on July 30th, 1902 (Business Correspondence, S-Y, July 1902). He requested information about a Self-Feed Band Ripping Saw August of 1902, but there is no correspondence saying whether he bought it or not (Business Correspondence with Geo A. Jenks, August 1902). There are also letters from an individual named A. Dorn who says a man was calling Bliss a thief for stealing his books and was going to have Bliss arrested (Personal Correspondence with Dorn, July 1902).
Box 76, .5 cubic ft., processed by Jordan Tolmie, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufactures and other lumber companies, September-October 1902. There was one personal correspondence letter, 1902-1903. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams and postcards, which have been organized chronologically and alphabetically. Some letters show C.S. Bliss and his customers communicated back and forth for several days in a row. Some letters with intricately designed letterheads were retained.
Boxes 77-78, .75 cubic ft., processed by JoAnna Lincoln, consists mostly of business correspondence, November-December 1902. The definable series includes Agent Correspondence, Business Correspondence, Butman Lumber Camp, Legal Correspondence, and Personal Correspondence.
The Personal Correspondence is from Luman A. Bliss, Maude Bliss, and Frank Roberts. Luman Bliss discussing a pig he believes Charles Bliss may have sent him. He inquires as to the age and breed of said pig. Maude Bliss discusses a possible change in plans as to who shall be going to an undefined location, either herself or someone called Bird. Maude indicates that she would like to be the one to go rather than Bird. Frank Roberts provides Charles Bliss with an evaluation of the worth of Bliss’s farm. Frank mentions that there will be no need to construct an additional building on the property.
Box 77 contains two letters from N.N. Mershon discussing an incident that occurred involving both the men’s sons throwing rocks at one another (see Business Correspondence, K-M, November 1902). The letter also discusses business alongside the incident. There were also quite a few papers listing the names of men sent to the woods to work in a lumber camp, usually Butman Lumber Camp, and what they were paid for doing so (see Butman Lumber Camp November 1902 and Butman and Unmarked Lumber Camp December 1902). Also of interest in Box 77 is a fabric tag for leather products from Gruton and Knight MTG. Co. which was sent to Davis and Caldwell Co. before apparently being sent to Bliss (see Business Correspondence, A-C, December 1902). There was also a piece of trace paper with the dimensions for wood to be cut out (see Business Correspondence, E-H, December 1902). Box 77 also contains a document discussing life insurance Bliss had, although not the actual policy (see Legal Correspondence November 1902) as well as a document discussing insurance for Bliss’s farm (see Legal Correspondence December 1902).
Box 78 has a letter from the Odd Fellows, a group to which Bliss belonged, inviting him to attend their fair. With the letter was a small green ticket with the signature eyeball logo of the Odd Fellows allowing for the admittance of four persons to the fair. The letter instructs that if Bliss decides not to attend, he should send the ticket back. The ticket remains with the letter in the collection unused (see Meston and Odd Fellows November and December 1902).
For each month there is also a folder for Agent Correspondence. In the November folder, there are materials from W. Heudenson and Geo. B. Horton. Heudenson asks where he can find Roscommon Co. Michigan (see Agent Correspondence November 1902). Horton brings to Bliss’s attention that the Michigan State Grange needs information from Bliss about his business records for a document they are producing (see Agent Correspondence November 1902). In the December folder, there are materials from N. Dureuehiem, W.W. Steele, and Frederick F. Sayre. Dureuehiem sends a postcard to Bliss briefly discussing business matters (see Agent Correspondence December 1902). Steele sends a letter summarizing the recent business transactions and seeks confirmation on what their next step will be (see Agent Correspondence December 1902). Sayre sends out a notice that his office will be moving to a new location and encourages Bliss to visit California (see Agent Correspondence December 1902).
Research and research resources for boxes 77-78 include ancestry.com and Public Member Trees. Archivist Marian Matyn and JoAnna Lincoln researched the name Henry Coon which they found on one of the documents listing “Men sent to woods” who worked in the lumber camp (see Butman Lumber Camp November 1902). They found that Henry Alonzo Coon was born January 24, 1881 in Kent County and died February 13, 1967 in Los Angeles, California. He was married on December 23, 1905 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was a white male who may have lived in Charlevoix for a time. He had a 4th grade education and is listed as a salary worker. He also may have gotten a divorce because as of 1935, his marital status was single. We cannot be sure if this is the same man as who is listed in the Bliss collection, but it is a good idea as to who this man may have been. All of this information on Henry Coon and more can be found in Butman Lumber Camp November 1902.
Box 79, 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by Natalie Panteliss, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies, January-February 1903. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams and postcards and have been organized chronologically as well as alphabetically. Some pieces of interest include an elaborately decorated piece of stationary depicting a green, white, and red bottle advertising “Red Raven Splits” for The Hayden Fancy Grocery Co. (Folder G-L, February 1903). There is an entire folder of letters and correspondence between C. S. Bliss and Agent McReavy. Many of the letters appear to be on different stationaries from different hotels or locations, indicating that McReavy might have been travelling. (Box 4, Folder Agent McReavy, January 1903). There is a broadside advertising a program for the Farmers’ Institute at the Gladwin Court House that took place on January 28 and 29, 1903 (Legal-Size Folder 1).
Box 80, 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by Faisal Alamar, consists mostly of business correspondence between Bliss and his customers, and other lumber companies, February-March of 1903. The correspondence has many formats including letters, telegrams and postcards and is organized chronologically and alphabetically. Items of interest include a letter from The Michigan Hemlock Association, which shows that C.S. Bliss was a director in the organization (Bliss Business Correspondence, M-N, P-R, February 1903). A letter from one of the agents to Bliss includes a map showing the land that Bliss should buy for lumber (Bliss Business Correspondence, S-T, V-W, February 1903). Letters from Lumbermen’s Credit Association concern a case against Bliss about a fire in Fox and Mason furniture factory. Bliss lost the case (Legal-size folder). There are also two letters from two women applying for jobs as stenographers in the Bliss Company (Bliss Women Stenographer Applicants, March 1903).
Letters from Agent O.N. Sproul describe the Butman Lumber Camp. Sproul listed the name of the jobs, and how many men were working in each job (Bliss Butman Lumber Camp Correspondence, February 1903). Agent A. Meston communicated at least every other day with Bliss, writing from many northern Michigan towns and Saginaw. He sent Bliss measurements of cut trees to determine their volume and quality, and information about land to purchase for lumber (Agent A. Meston Correspondence, February 1903).
Box 81 and 2 legal-size folders, .5 cubic ft., processed by P. Ryan Erwin consists of mainly business correspondence between many different companies throughout Michigan, April-May 1903, organized chronologically and alphabetically. There were no folders containing I, Q, U, X, Y, Or Z documents. There are some interesting pieces such as correspondence between E.S. Rose a contractor and builder, and C.S. Bliss (Folder 2). It contains mostly regular business correspondence such as ordering lumber and loading and unloading carts E.S. Rose does also have a P.S on one of the notes talking about selling singles to a neighbor in need of them for a house. There are also interesting correspondences between C.S. Bliss and people who applied to work for him as a stenographer, some of these letters from females (folder 1). There are also a few correspondence between different Agents, Black, Meston, McReavy, and Perrin (Folders 9-12).
Box 82, .5 cubic ft., processed by Jordan Cleveland consists primarily of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers, and other lumber companies, May- June 1903. These correspondence are in the form of letters, telegrams, and postcards arranged alphabetically and chronologically. There are a substantial number of correspondences between C.S. Bliss and one A. Meston (see Bliss Business Correspondence, Meston, May-June 1903). Similarly, there are a few random summons and letters relating to a legal matter due to failure of payment by Bliss (see Bliss Correspondence, M, June 1903).
Box 83, .5 cubic ft., processed by Brian Schamber includes materials, June-July 1903. Items of note are the appearance of a new agent for Mr. Bliss; one A. Meston. From his letter he appears to be racking down lost shipments during June of that year. Samuel McReavy has a few correspondence as well with Bliss concerning the recruitment of a correspondence from Mr. Bliss’ sister, Maude, who is living in Detroit and inquiring about a mortgage. Also documented here is Bliss’ purchase of a “suit and trousers” from English Woolen Mill’s Co. (See Business Correspondence E-K, July 1903). Editions of “the Mercantile Agency Notification (See R.G. Dun and Co.”) are of note for their business value to Bliss (See Business Correspondence L-Q, July 1903).
Box 84, .5 cubic ft., processed by Jonathan Strom, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies, August-September 1903. Correspondence range from letters, advertisements, postcards, and orders organized chronologically and alphabetically. Items of interest include a letter from J. Belford who ordered columns to the town of Belford, Michigan, but asked for them to be resent due to their inferior quality (Folder August 1903 A-E). A notice from the city of Saginaw of Ordinance #30 explains regulations of electric wiring and the use of electricity (Folder August 1903 A-E). There is an order of lumber for a schoolhouse in Isabella county, Denver Township, District 4 (Folder August 1903 F-K). An advertisement for the Kelly Lumber and Shingle Company claims that they are only exclusive white pine lumber mill in Michigan at the time (Folder August 1903 F-K). A receipt states C.S. Bliss purchased advertising space in the Michigan Farmer Weekly (Folder August 1903 L-M). A letter from the Second National Bank guarantees a line of credit, totaling $1,500, for C.S. Bliss (Folder August 1903 S-W). There is a record of a purchase C.S. Bliss made to Bushnell Wholesale Pine Lumber Company whose mill is located in Louisiana (Folder September 1903 A-C). A letter from C.S. Bliss to the Common Council of Saginaw offers free right of way to the Saginaw River on his property if they extend the road (Folder September 1903 A-C). A receipt shows the Durant-Dort Carriage Company, a precursor to General Motors, placed an order for lumber and delivered it to Flint, Michigan (Folder September 1903 D-F). A letter sent by C.S. Bliss argues the validity and cost of moving a bridge to Carrollton Township (Box 1, Folder September 1903 G-M). Lastly, a bankruptcy notice concerns William O. Moses who owed C.S. Bliss money (Box 1, Folder Legal Correspondence August-September 1903).
Box 85, .5 cubic ft., processed by Courtney Riggs, contains mostly business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers, and other lumber companies, October- November 1903. Important folders in this box include correspondence from Menz Lumber (Menz Lumber) and the Michigan Manufacturing and Lumber Company (Michigan Manufacturing and Lumber Company), filled orders and a few complaints about the lumber they were sent. In one folder Agent Black details information about the lumber business (see Agent Black). The Personal Correspondence folder encompasses information about Bliss’ dog, Monico, and an invite from the Saginaw Valley Chapter. Also included here is a personal letter from Lynn Blodgett. Blodgett includes details about the store he is now operating and mentions Bliss’ family, along with someone named John.
Box 86, .5 cubic ft., processed by Pauline Fischer, consists mostly of business correspondence between the Bliss Company and other companies from Michigan, November-December 1903. These correspondence include letters, receipts, payment requests, invitations, material requests, trading requests etc.
Boxes 87-88, .75 cubic ft., processed by Ron Bloomfield, consists mainly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers, and other lumber companies during January and February of 1904. Various forms of correspondence include letters, telegrams, invoices, notes, and postcards. They have been organized chronologically as well as alphabetically. One item of interest is a Saginaw Club postcard addressed to Mr. Bliss (Box 87, folder A, D-E, January 1904). Other items of interest include two purchase order invoices from the Durant-Dort Carriage Co., of Flint, MI for processed pine lumber (Box 87, A-D, February 1904), and “canopy top crating” (Box 87, A, D-E January 1904). The Durant-Dort Carriage Company was the initial carriage company started by William C. Durant who later founded General Motors. Another item of interest is a short note from Grace A. Dow of Midland (wife of Herbert Dow who founded Dow Chemical Company), regarding a pig named “Christmas Carol” whom she had received from Mr. Bliss (Box 87, A-D February 1904). One final group of items of significance worth noting relates to a Mr. Walter R. (W.R.) Black and the Butman Lumber Camp in Gladwin, MI. One full folder of material [Box 88: Black, W.R. + Butman Lumber Camp (Gladwin, MI) January-February 1904] includes a series of handwritten notes, correspondence, receipts, invoices, lists, and reports between C.S. Bliss and Walter R. Black, with contributions from at least several others involved in the running of the lumber camp including A. Forbes, and O.N. Sproul, scaler. Of particular interest are several listings of provisions, a letter dated February 25, 1904 from the Friedman Manufacturing Company thanking Mr. Bliss for his purchase of four tubs of “Butterine” for the camp, and a January 7, 1904 invoice from C.S. Bliss to the Butman Camp for 350 “Little Dick Cigars” amounting to $8.75. A February 1, 1904 letter from A. Forbes regarding mill operations and saws is followed by a series of letters and documents documenting the purchase of saw parts from the Frick Company and machinery parts from the Wickes Corporation of Saginaw, MI. Other interesting documents in this folder include skidding reports, scaling reports, letters of activities, several statements of cut lumber, statements of labor, and documentation on the process of hiring “teams.”
Box 89, .5 cubic ft., processed by Jake Thompson February-March 1904consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies, February- March 1904. The various forms of correspondence range from letters, telegrams, and postcards have been organized alphabetically as well as chronologically. Some pieces of interest include correspondence with Bliss’ workers. Bliss received letters from an agent McReavy detailing problems among the men as well as a smallpox quarantine (Box 1, Business Correspondence, Agent McReavy Folder). B.W. Snow, a farmhand, sent letters providing updates on cattle owned by Bliss and mentions a flood on March 28, 1904 (Business Correspondence, B.W. Snow Folder). There is a collection of letters from an agent Black discussing equipment problems. He also details the movement of a mill in his letters dated from March 20- 27 (Business Correspondence, Agent Black Folder). Bliss received an interesting letter on March 1st from a John Porter, who impatiently calls for swift action in dealing with a matter with a man named Atwood (Business Correspondence, P-Z Folder). Bliss had also collected on several insurance claims from loss due to fire in Rose City and Niagara (Legal Correspondence Folder).
Boxes 90-91, .75 cubic ft., processed by Andrea Puskas, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies during April and May 1904. The majority of correspondences are letters that have been organized chronologically as well as alphabetically. Some pieces of interest include letters from Chas Ewald and the Jenks and Muir Manufacturing Company due to major flooding across Michigan. In April 1904 Benjamin Greene requested lumber in order to build a large chicken and pigeon house, and the letter includes drawings of the inside and outside of the house (Box 91, Folder G-H). Also in April 1904, C.K. Mann inquired if C.S. Bliss carried materials needed to build store front, and the letter includes drawing and measurements of the store front. On April 5, 1904, the Michigan Central Railroad Company responded to concerns of a shortage of camp supplies, and blamed Mr. Bliss’ teamsters for losing the supplies after the Railroad company dropped the items off (Box 90, Folder M). In May 1904, there are two inquiries from women wishing to fill the open stenographer position for the C.S. Bliss Lumber Company (Box 91, Folder K and Box 90, Folder L-M). Several business solicitation letters have also been kept in order to demonstrate the other kinds of business that C.S. Bliss Lumber Company would have been involved in during 1904.
Box 92, .25 cubic ft., processed by Rebecca Cuddihy, consists mostly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers and other lumber companies during May and June 1904. The forms of correspondence ranges from receipts, letters, postcards and simple price enquiries, organized alphabetically and chronologically. Two collections of interest include correspondence from Agent McReavy and Agent Walter Black, who both traveled to engage C.S. Bliss in business elsewhere in Michigan. Agent Black, for example, frequented the West Branch Hotel in Nolan, Michigan, to engage in business with the Coan Lumber Company throughout June 1904.
Boxes 93-94, .75 cubic ft., processed by Candy DeForest consists predominantly of business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers, and other lumber companies during July and August 1904. The primary forms of correspondence consist of letters, telegrams, and post cards, which have been organized chronologically and alphabetically. Some pieces of interest include a collection of letters between C.S. Bliss and a man by the name of W.R. Black (Box 94, Folder Bliss Business Correspondence, W.R. Black, July – August 1904). W.R. Black seems to be the man that runs a farm for C.S. Bliss. The correspondence between the two men is regarding the purchasing of and caring for livestock. Another very interesting find in this collection is a letter from C.S. Blodgett, an old friend of Mr. Bliss, written on August 9, 1904 (Box 94, Folder Bliss Personal Correspondence, July–August 1904). C.S. Blodgett is responding to a previous letter from C.S. Bliss letting him know how his life is in Fruitvale, California and that he plans on coming back to Michigan to visit soon. What’s very interesting about this letter is that it speaks of C.S. Bliss’s children and how old they are, Ralph being 13 and Jeanie being just out of high school. C.S. Blodgett also talks about his concern for C.S. Bliss in news of a recent large flooding of Saginaw, MI. Tying to Jeanie’s age more is a correspondence in August 1904 between C.S. Bliss and Second National Bank regarding rent being due on a safety deposit box that Mr. Bliss had items in for Jeanie, for when she finally becomes of age (Box 94, Folder Bliss Personal Correspondence, July–August 1904). He lets the bank know that he wants to continue to rent the box because she is not of age for what’s in it yet. A final interesting find in this collection is a set of legal agreements and blueprint plat maps for two different properties that C.S. Bliss had purchased from the Michigan Central Railroad Company near Edwards Lake (Box 94, Bliss Business Correspondence, July–August 1904).
Boxes 95-96, .75 cubic ft., processed by Chelsea Herron, contains mostly business correspondence between C.S Bliss and his customers, manufacturers, and lumber companies in association with Bliss Lumber Company, September-October 1904. The business correspondence consists of letters, postcards, and lumber supply lists, organized both chronologically and alphabetically. Some interesting materials in the collection include various letters that concern the fire that burnt down the lumber mill (Box 95, Folder D-E). Several letters offer sales and items to rebuild Bliss Lumber Mill after the fire. Other letters from a man named W.R. Black offer sales of water pumps and tanks for future fires at mill (Box 95, Folder C). A letter from Geo[rge] Johnston regards hiring a man for his farm (Box 96, Folder F). A slew of letters from Holt Lumber Company regards trade and purchase (Box 96, Folder H-I). Lastly, there are a few letters written by Agent McReavy, an agent in the company (Box 95, Folder Agent McReavy).
Box 97 and 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by B. Andrew Smith, contains correspondence between the Bliss Lumber Company and customers, Camp Correspondence, and the Personal Correspondence of C. S. Bliss. Documents of special interests include: Pig Advertisement (Folder A-D, November 1904). A woman with road work bills (Folder E-H, November 1904). Saw Advertisement (Folder F-M, November 1904). List of workers (Folder F-M, November 1904). Boiler Brace Diagram (Folder F-M, November 1904). Fordney Representative (Folder F-M, November 1904). McReavy, Agent Leaving Bliss (Folder F-M, November 1904). Briggs selling land to Bliss (Folder A-E, December 1904). Prices negotiated over telephone (Folder F-W, December 1904). Snow taking charge of Bliss’ farm (Folder F-W, December 1904).
HST 583 Spring 2018
During the Spring term 2018 my HST 583 class of 17 students processed 6.5 cubic feet in 15 boxes, 17 legal-size folders including records dated January 1905-December 1927. Most of the materials are business related, and prove that Bliss seriously diversified his business dealings by 1905. There is far more information about land sales, renters, bonds, property purchases, and his prize farm animals in this part of the collection than there is about lumber. Bliss always had insurance on his various investments. Because of the change in his business interests and more extensive information about his family in this section, the information is documented in detail below.
There is correspondence to / from several Bliss agents, including Samuel T. McReavy (in Box 99-100) whose letters are more personal in 1919 as McReavy is aging. He notes that his son graduated from Michigan Technical University (see Box 102) and that his (McReavy’s) eyesight is failing (Box 103). There is correspondence from a minor Bliss agent, George Hephner, who was responsible for loading and shipping lumber by rail from West Branch in 1905 (Box 99). Bliss agents often in prior Bliss boxes who are not documented in these boxes include: A. Meston, Perrin, O.N. Sproul, and O. Miner.
Letters from political figures include: Michigan Governor Fred M. Warner for lumber for 52 houses and 80 barns destroyed in Tuscola and Sanilac counties due to a severe cyclone on June 10, 1905, which was documented in period newspapers (Box 99).
Lumber camp information includes: the total hours worked in Bliss mills (Box 98); the beginning of a post office in Butman Camp (see Box 99); a mill wage list and lists of the numbers of employees and the work they were hired to do (woods work, mill work, teamster, common labor, blacksmith, and cooks), and camp medical supplies (Box 102). Dynamite and fuses were delivered to Gladwin, and there were two different accidents in which men were injured (Box 101). The Vanderbilt Camp is not mentioned in these boxes.
There are also application letters of mostly women applying to work as a stenographer for Bliss (Box 99).
Bliss was heavily involved with property sales and rentals from 1905 through 1927. There is correspondence with E.K. Eby concerning Bliss possibly buying timer land in Arkansas to expand his business outside Michigan in 1905 (Box 98). Bliss also considered, but apparently did not purchase, a logging outfit near Gulfport, Mississippi (Box 101) and property in British Columbia (Box 111). Bliss correspondence often during 1921-1922 about and eventually sold land in Lee Township, Midland County, Michigan to the Boy Scouts for $1000 (Box 106). In 1923 a farm caretaker, Andy, mentions the sale of land to the Boy Scouts (Box 107). There is a unique telegraph code from S.A. Gibbs and Company, Wholesale Lumber of Tacoma, Washington (Box 100). There are letters to/from Michigan Representative Henry Croll, Jr. about land in Ogemaw County, Michigan (Box 103). More land acquisitions or property information is in Box 108. Bliss also considered purchasing land in British Columbia, but there is no evidence he bought any (Box 111).
Bliss was very busy in this period with renters and rental properties. There are a number of letters to/from renters, receipts, letters from renters behind on their rent, rental agreements, leases, legal agreements, and information about rental housing repairs (Boxes 102, 104, 110). By 1922 Bliss owned multiple rental properties in Michigan and Arkansas (Boxes 107-108, 110). Bliss Arkansas Trust Company correspondence concerns his property and rental properties in Hot Spring, Arkansas (Boxes 107, 111).
Beginning in 1921 Bliss further diversified his investments by purchasing foreign bonds in stocks from Brazil during a period of economic recession. American banks offered bond options to businessmen to obtain financial gains. Bliss purchased bonds from Brazil (Box 105); the Kingdom of Norway, Brazil, Republic of Chile, Republic of France, Republic of Uruguay, Denmark, Kingdom of Belgium, and the city of Bergen, Norway (Box 107). There are reports from Saginaw Financing Corporation, 1922-on (Boxes 107-108, 110) and materials from Second National Bank of Saginaw (109, more materials on the bank are found in the Vertical Files- Saginaw-Banking).
With another relative named Charles, C.S. Bliss invested in petroleum in the Fordney Petroleum Company in 1926. Their letters detail the progress of their drilling and business growth (Box 111). Letters from Bliss in 1927 to Michigan senators demonstrate that he lobbied for legislation and discuss his involvement in the newly established oil industry in central Michigan (Box 112). Early examples of electric and phone receipts in 1919 are found in Box 102.
There is some legal paperwork between Bliss and the Michigan Circuit Court 1921 (Box 105), Bliss’ attorney, the State Attorney General, and probate court (Box 111).
There are letters from men who ran Bliss’ farm, James Kelly and B. W. Snow (Boxes 99-100, 104) and many letters to/from Bliss about the care of and purchasing sheep, both Rambouillet and Merino (see Box 100), and about purchasing sheep and goats (Box 101). Bliss also bought a St. Bernard puppy (a luxury item) from the Detroit Bird Store, 1919 (Box 103). There are other letters about purchasing a dog and horse (Box 104). In 1923 Bliss’ children all noted how hard it was to find workers for the farm as many people were moving to Flint and Detroit to work (Box 107). Farm information includes the purchase of trees, grape vines, supplies, the sale of a hog and cow, and the purchase of a setter and English setter (Box 107).
There are letters from John J. Rubelman whom Bliss asked to build his house (Box 99). There is an insurance claim and information about a broken plate glass window, likely in Bliss’ house, in 1920 (Box 104, 108). There is an advertisement for an Aladdin home floor plan and a drawing of a house floor plan, presumably drawn by C. S. Bliss, 1921 (Box 106). There is an oversized drawing on grid paper of a heating schema for a house in 1919 (Box 102). By 1922 the Bliss family lived during the winter in Arkansas and there is correspondence from both Michigan and Arkansas (Box 107). Mrs. Bliss purchased household furnishings (Boxes 102, 108).
Bliss purchased a Pilot Automobile from Richmond, Indiana (Box 103), but the make and date of purchase (April 1917) is found later when Bliss corresponded with Dort Motor Cars of West Branch, and Pilot about purchasing a new car. Bliss eventually bought a Buick Coupe in 1922 (Box 107). Other purchases he made include a leather pocket book and a croquet set (Box 105). A 1923 car registration is in Box 108.
Personal correspondence includes letters from: Bliss’ sister, Della, addressed to My Dear Brother detailing her daily life (Boxes 103, 108-110, 112); his sons, Walter (Boxes 103, 106-108) and Ralph (Boxes 103, 105-108, 110, 112); and his daughter, Jean (ie) (Boxes 103-104, 106-108, 110-112).
Materials for Mrs. Bliss include receipts for personal clothing, sewing goods, materials (Box 102, 108); lace, clothes and sheet music from Sears, Roebuck and Co. and curtain sample materials (Box 109); Saginaw hospital receipts in July 1923 for an unspecified reason; and additional medical receipts, all for unspecified health issues, in April 1924 (Box 108).
There is personal correspondence between C.S. Bliss and his cousin, Fred Bliss (Boxes 104-105, 107-108, 111-112), Fred is described as C.S. Bliss’ Fire Insurance Agent (Box 108). Fred always addressed C.S. as Chas or Charley. Fred owned an insurance company and real estate business. In 1926 Fred moved to California (Box 111). Another relative James W. Bliss notes the death of C.N. Bliss on January 14, 1923 (Box 107). The estate of Aaron T. Bliss is discussed (Box 104) and names Bliss as one of the estate legatees in 1924, listing land mainly in Midland and Gladwin counties, as well as land in Minnesota (Box 109).
There is also personal correspondence between C.S. Bliss and many personal friends (Box 103-104), including Grace A. Dow, who complains that Bliss bookkeepers billed her too much in error (Box 98).
C.S. Bliss purchased a headstone for his mother, Grace Bliss, who passed away July 2, 1908 (Box 103) and another headstone not specified for a particular person (Box 104).
Bliss’ personal and business memberships include: the Saginaw Board of Trade, St. Bernard Commandery- Knights Templar (Boxes 99, 103, 107); East Saginaw Club for bowling (Boxes 101, 103); Saginaw Lumber Dealers Association for dinner/annual meetings (Box 101); Elf Khurafeh Temple Order (Box 103); others (Box 104); Concatenated Order of the Hoo-Hoo (a social club) and an invitation to a Gladwin High School 9th reunion (in 1921) (Boxes 105, 107); the Northeast Michigan Development Bureau (Box 107); and the Royal Arch Masons, Gladwin Chapter 157 (Boxes 107-108).
Bliss was also involved in baseball including: Saginaw Baseball Club (Box 103), Detroit Baseball Club (Box 110), Northeastern Michigan Baseball League (The NMBL was founded in 1916, operated until 1986, spanned from Saginaw to Alpena. Bliss served as the director from an unknown date until June 3, 1927) (Box 112).
Box 98, .25 cubic ft., processed by David Banas, Jr., consist of business correspondence between Bliss and several companies with most of these businesses asking Bliss to pay overdue bills that the lumber baron had incurred, January-February 1905. There are also records of the hours that Bliss’ lumberjacks worked in the camps and mills (see Bliss Mill Records, February 1905). An item of interest is a letter dated January 4, 1905 from Grace A. Dow, the wife of Dow Chemical Company founder Herbert H. Dow, who states that Bliss’ bookkeepers have made an error and charged her too much for a service (see Bliss Business Correspondence A-F, January 1905). Also noteworthy are a series of letters between Bliss and E.K. Eby, apparently one of Bliss’ minor agents, during February 1905 for the purpose of Bliss buying timberland in Arkansas to expand his lumber business outside of Michigan (see Bliss Business Correspondence, A-C, E-F, February 1905). Another interesting item is a pink paper bill for the Wolverine Cigar Company asking Bliss to pay his bill (see Bliss Business Correspondence N, P, R-T, W, January 1905). While the bill is nothing special, the color of the paper is.
Box 99 and 1 legal-size folder, .25 cubic ft., processed by Chiara Ziletti consists mostly of business correspondence between C. S. Bliss and his customers, agents, employees, and other lumber companies, May- June 1905. There is also one folder with correspondence about his farm (May-June 1905), one of letters from men and women applying for jobs (June 1905), and one of personal correspondence (May-June 1905). All the material has been organized chronologically as well as alphabetically. Items of interest include: Among the business correspondence there are letters from Bliss agent S. T. McReavy (see Bliss Business Correspondence, L-M P, S, W, May 1905 folder, and Bliss Business Correspondence, L-M, P, June 1905 folder). There are letters by W. W. Steele on the construction of a rural mail route, probably in Butman (see Bliss Business Correspondence, L-M P, S, W, May 1905 folder, and Bliss Business Correspondence, R-T, V-W, Y June 1905 folder). There are also letters from George Hephner, working for Bliss and writing from West Branch. It seems that he was responsible for managing the loading and shipping of lumber by train (see Bliss Business Correspondence, B-H, May 1905 folder, and Bliss Business Correspondence, B-J, June 1905 folder). There are two letters from John J. Rubelman, to whom Bliss asked to build his house (see Bliss Business Correspondence, R-T, V-W, June 1905). There is also a letter dated June 16, 1905 from Isaac Erb, architect, discussing modifications to his house (see Bliss Business Correspondence, B-J, June 1905 folder). Several items document that Bliss was a member of the Saginaw Board of Trade (see Bliss Business Correspondence, S, May 1905 legal-size folder, and Bliss Business Correspondence, R-T, V-W, Y June 1905 folder). In the letter of June 15, 1905 from O. E. Thompson and Sons there are few pages of Bliss’ catalogue with door and column options (see Bliss Business Correspondence, R-T, V-W, Y June 1905 folder). There is also a telegram dated June 17, 1905 from Michigan Governor Fred M. Warner asking for lumber because forty-two houses and eighty barns were destroyed in the districts of Tuscola and Sanilac counties because of a cyclone (see Bliss Business Correspondence, R-T, V-W, Y June 1905 folder). Notice of the cyclone can be found in the newspapers of the time, which reports at least four people dead because of the catastrophic even (“The Storm’s Great Fury,” Milford Times, June 10, 1905, 6; “For Cyclone Victims,” Isabella County Enterprise, June 16, 1905, 6). Among the farm correspondence there are letters by James Kelly and B. W. Snow (see Bliss Farm, May-June 1905 folder). In the job applications folder, some of the letters are from or about women applying to work as a stenographer for Bliss, who had an open position in June 1905 (see Bliss Job Applications, June 1905). In the personal correspondence folder there are two letters by George L. Fisk, and a reservation for C.S. Bliss and his wife for an event organized by the Asylum of St. Bernard Commandery – Knights Templar (see Bliss Personal Correspondence, May-June 1905 folder).
Box 100, .5 cubic ft., processed by Sarah Yasick, contains business correspondence from the C. S. Bliss Lumber Company, July- August 1905. Much of the correspondence is with sheep breeding companies including: J.Q.A. Cook (see Business Correspondence A-C, August and September 1905); R. S. Shaw, Michigan Agricultural College (see Business Correspondence S, July 1905 and S-T, September 1905); Dwight Lincoln, American Rambouillet Sheep-Breeders Association and C.E. L. of Oak Hill Stock correspondence both in (Business Correspondence I-J, L, September 1905), C. E. Peabody(see Business Correspondence, N, P, R, September 1905), John H. Seely, American Rambouillet Sheep-Breeders Association, and R. S. Shaw again (both in Business Correspondence S-T, September 1905), and A. A. Wood and Son- Sheep, which is the only discussion of Merino sheep, the rest is all concerning Rambouillet sheep (see Business Correspondence, W, September 1905). There is a wool sample that was sent to Bliss (see J.Q.A. Cook letters, in Business Correspondence A-C, August 1905). There are also letters between Bliss and his farm manager, Mr. Snow, as Bliss prized his sheep and kept close records on them (see Business Correspondence A-C, July 1905 for two letters from Bliss and see Business Correspondence S, July 1905 and R-S, August 1905 for letters by Snow). There is a unique telegraph code that was used between Bliss and S.A. Gibbs and Company Wholesale Lumber, of Tacoma, Washington, to ensure their conversations would stay private (see Business Correspondence, R-S, August 1905). In the code the word “Path” meant Ship large car of each. The first folder has correspondence between Bliss and his longtime agent, Samuel T. McReavy (see Business Correspondence, Samuel T. McReavy, July 1905). There are also records regarding land Bliss owned and rented out, taxes paid/due, and related materials. Also of interest is a hand drawn map of Pultneyville, New York, with a letter from his traveling friend, Geo. Le Fries (see Business Correspondence, L, July 1905). The folders are organized alphabetically and chronologically.
Box 101, .25 cubic ft., processed by Allie Narwocki, includes correspondence about goats and sheep because Mr. Bliss was buying them for his farm (see Liken and Bach, C.E. Peabody, Ross and Rieck Co. correspondence in the folder, October 1905). Other items in that folder include a Michigan State Grange newspaper advertising contract; a letter from the Miller Bryant-Pierce Co., advertising typewriters and the ink used in the letter in particular. Lastly in this folder, C.S. Bliss received a letter about dynamite and fuses being delivered in Gladwin. In the November-December 1905 folder, there are four letters from the Fidelity and Casuality Company regarding two different accidents in which men were injured. In addition, there is a four-page letter written by W.H. Gilbert regarding a complete logging outfit for sale near Gulf Port, Mississippi. As far as we know from the collection, Bliss did not buy this logging outfit, but it is interesting that he reviewed and perhaps considered purchasing out-of-state logging operations. The other two items in this folder include a bond for Michigan Central Railroad Company Agent, Silas S. Armstrong, ensuring that he was certified to operate railroad machinery safely. The bond also looked at the characteristics of Armstrong and made sure he could effectively handle the responsibility. The Northern Mileage Ticket Bureau sent a note informing that C.S. Bliss could apply for mileage reimbursement. One folder of personal correspondence in the box includes invitations from the East Saginaw Club for bowling, and the Saginaw Valley Lumber Dealers Association informal dinner annual meeting invitation (December 1905).
Box 102 and 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by Olivia Beebe, includes materials from Bliss’ business and personal life, December 1904-April 1919 (Scattered). The box contains materials documenting Bliss’ business including a mill wage list from 1908 and 1909 (see Bliss Camp Inventory and Wages List, 1908–1911). The collection also contains materials from the Saginaw Employment Agency regarding the introduction of future employees and payments to the Saginaw Employment Agency agent Chas. P. Rieder to pay the new employees’ railway fare (see Bliss Employment Materials (Folder 1 of 2), December 1919–January 1912, Bliss Employment Materials (Folder 2 of 2), September 1909–January 1918). These records give the researcher an idea of how many individuals the Bliss camps hired 1909–1918, along with what individuals were hired to do: woods work, mill work, teamster, common labor, blacksmith, and cooks. Other interesting materials regarding the Bliss camps are the records from Winslow’s Camp Remedies, selling the camp medical supplies. The folder contains product lists from 1910 (see Bliss Camp Medical, December 1909–March 1910). The folder Legal Correspondence, December 1918–March 1919 contains materials on rent, leases, and legal agreements. The collection also contains examples of early receipts from 1919 for Northern Power Co. and Michigan State Telephone Company (see Bliss Business Material December 1919–April 1919).
The personal materials in Box 102 include Mrs. Bliss’ receipts encompassing ladies garment set, pillow tubing, belt, satin, etc. (see Mrs. Bliss Receipts, February 191 –February 1919). Other personal financials include purchases of rugs, desks, and bonds (see Bliss Personal Financials, November 1910–March 1919). The collection also contains Personal Correspondence from longtime Bliss agent Samuel T. McReavy, about his son who graduated Michigan College of Mines [now Michigan Technical University] (see Bliss Personal Correspondence, January 1918–June 1919). There is one legal-size folder of materials including: J.O. Newberry rent (related to the Legal Folder), Saginaw Employment Agency (related to Bliss Employment Materials), and a drawing on grid paper of a heating schema for a house (related to buying furnace cords in Bliss Personal Finance folder) (see Bliss Business Materials, December 1910–January 1919).
Box 103, .25 cubic ft., processed by Dylan Foss contains documents and records from the C.S. Bliss collection organized chronologically, with a bulk of the documents dating between April to December of 1919, but also with a few personal letters dating to March of 1919. Materials are divided into business and personal correspondence, with the business correspondence being organized chronologically and alphabetically, and with the personal correspondence being organized chronologically.
The business correspondence section include a mixture of letters between Bliss and his customers inquiring about prices for land, letters from business partners, notices from the Northeastern Michigan Development Bureau, letters from the Michigan War Savings Committee and the Treasury Department War Loan Organization endorsing investments in their war savings bonds and stamps, and financial reports from the Second National Bank of Saginaw. One letter of interest is from Henry Croll Jr., of the Michigan House of Representatives, replying to Bliss after Bliss had inquired for roadmaps of Ogemaw County in order to gain insight on the quality of the surrounding land (see Folder A-C April-July 1, 1919) (Henry Croll Jr. was born on April 22, 1875 in Saginaw, MI and died April 6, 1944 in Lansing, MI. He served as a Republican representative for the Clare District from 1913- 1920 in the Michigan state House of Representatives and did not serve in the Senate. At certain points in his life Croll also lived in Beaverton as well as Lansing and may have become acquainted with Bliss while growing up in the Saginaw area. He was married twice, once in 1896 to Bessie L. Thomason, (who passed in 1930,) and then later to Jessie Holt in 1933. Henry Croll Jr. is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Saginaw, MI (http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/croft.-crompton.html#126.65.14). There is also a letter from Bliss's field agent, Samuel T. McReavy, discussing working out deals with potential clients and mentioning that his eyesight is failing him as he comes to the end of his career in his older age (see Folder M-N, S, W July 1-September 30, 1919). T.J. Allen, the secretary and treasurer of the Electric Cigar Company in Flint, Michigan, wrote to Bliss on several occasions where he mentioned a couple by the names of Fred and Leah Butler having gone missing shortly after moving to a new home in an unknown location (see Folder A-E, R-S October 1- December 31, 1919). Allen notified Bliss so that he could be aware of the situation, and as a friend and business partner, that he would notify Allen if he had seen the couple at any point.
The Personal Correspondence primarily consists of letters and postcards from Bliss's close friends and family such as from his sister, Della, his sons, Walter and Ralph, his daughter, Jean, his fraternity friend, McEmanuel, and his friend, Alex Romany. There are also several letters and documents from organizations that Bliss participated in, such as the Saginaw Baseball Club, Elf Khurafeh Temple Order, the East Saginaw Club, and the St. Bernard Commandery, (Knight's Templar). There is also a note from his son, Walter, where he sent money to his father to compensate him for the two steers that were killed by lightning on the Gladwin Farm that Bliss helped to run (see Personal July 1-September 30, 1919), a note from the St. Bernard Commandery (Knights Templar) that a fellow member, Sir Frank Ellsworth, had passed away on Wednesday September 3rd, 1919 (see Personal July 1-September 30, 1919), a letter from the Saginaw Baseball Club responding to Bliss about any by-laws that exist to run a baseball team (see Personal July 1-September 30, 1919), and a receipt for a two-dollar donation that Bliss had given to the Roosevelt Memorial (see Personal October 1-December 31, 1919). Other documents of interest also include a brochure from the Elf Khurafeh Temple outlining the events that took take place on their "Lansing Pilgrimage" on October 13th, 1919 (see Personal October 1-December 31, 1919), a letter from the Stotzer Granite Company of Portage, Wisconsin billing Bliss for the construction of a headstone for his mother, Grace Bliss, who passed away July 2nd, 1908 (see Personal October 1- December 31, 1919), and a well preserved promotional ad for the Vitality Supreme Magazine that Bliss received which discusses untraditional ways in which an individual can maintain physical health (see in Personal October 1-December 31, 1919).
There are many well preserved advertisements in this file from companies that Bliss regularly purchased good and services from, some printed in color. Some pieces of interest within this section include a well-preserved certificate from the Eureka Vacuum Cleaner Company (see Personal March-July 1, 1919), a letter discussing Bliss's subscription to National Geographic Magazine (see Personal March-July 1, 1919), a receipt from Pinkerton and Co. For veterinary supplies for his horses (see Personal March-July 1, 1919), and an invitation for Bliss to attend his seventh annual Gladwin High School Reunion (see Personal March-July 1, 1919).
This box also contains letters sent to C.S. Bliss from the owners of the Detroit Bird Store discussing his purchase of a St. Bernard puppy through the store, as well as several other advertisements saved by Bliss that endorsed animals the store was selling (see Detroit Bird Store, 1919). Since St. Bernards were considered a luxury breed during this time, especially due to their size, Bliss may have been purchasing this dog for prestige purposes. For researchers who would like to know more about the Detroit Bird Store, the archives in the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University have more documents on the store in their John C. Pollie Papers, 1910-1969 and undated (Box 4, F 4, Pollie, John C., Business Correspondence, Detroit Bird Store (Chester A. Lamb), 1919, 1930, 1939-1940, 1942, 1944.).
The last folder in this box contains some well-preserved colorful advertisements from the Pilot Motor Car Company based out of Richmond, Indiana, which are encouraging Bliss to purchase a topper and other accessories for his Pilot Automobile, (see Pilot Automobile Advertisements, 1919). Bliss had purchased a Pilot Motor Car, but it does not specify in these advertisements as to what year and model Bliss had purchased.
Box 104 and 2 legal-size folders, .5 cubic ft., processed by Emma Walworth, consists mostly of Business and Personal Correspondence and receipts, July through September 1920 (letters K-T), September through December of 1920 (letters A-Z), and January-March of 1921 (letters A-J), with a few items are from April 1919 and April 1920. There are several folders of Personal Correspondence and receipts for each period of time included in this box. Personal Correspondence was from people who worked on his farm; his daughter, Jean; friend, Geo Scafe; and his cousin, Fred Bliss. The contents of this box are organized both chronologically and alphabetically, as well as by the type of Correspondence (Business or Personal). Some pieces of interest are the letter from his daughter, Jean, discussing family news and health (see Personal Correspondence folder from January-March 1921). The letters of Fred Bliss discuss business dealings, and have letterheads from the Estate of relative, Aaron T. Bliss, and the Agency of The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company. A photograph of a horse Bliss was interested in purchasing along with a letter from the seller, L. Hamlin, is included (see Business Correspondence, G, H, J, July-Sept. 1920). There is also a letter regarding fire and tornado insurance, which it appears Bliss purchased for a property he owned. There are also multiple letters and even a photograph regarding his inquiries about purchasing a dog as well (see Personal Correspondence / receipts July-September 1920). There several letters throughout the collection that are from folks who owe him rent or money. Some state that the money is included, while other seem to need more time to pay. There are many receipts throughout this box, but there a few of interest, including: one for a granite marker and inscription that he purchased from the Gototzer Granite Company. There is no evidence for whom the marker was intended. There are also a few receipts for memberships or subscriptions to different local organizations. Bliss had subscriptions to The Midland Sun and Hay Trade Journal, among others. There is also some correspondence regarding the purchase and sale of stocks and bonds. Lastly, there is an insurance claim for broken glass plates and a letter stating it was replaced (See Business Correspondence, P-R, October-December of 1920). The two photographs included in this box were also sleeved for protection.
Box 105 and 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by Taylor Ensley, consists mostly of business correspondence between Bliss and customers, renters, lawyers, and bond salesmen during the fall of 1920 and January- June 1921. This box contains bonds, stocks, personal letters, financials, and legal records. A majority of the correspondence within this box is that of the businesses that C.S. Bliss was involved in. Bliss had many connections with foreign bonds and stocks including some in Brazil, (See Bliss Business Correspondence, A-B; April-May 1921), Eddy Paper Company (See Bliss Business Correspondence, C, E-J; April-May 1921), and First Mortgage Real Estate Bonds (see Bliss Business Correspondence, A-B; April-May 1921). There is also one folder of legal material relating to Bliss and the Michigan Circuit Court (see Bliss Legal Correspondence, March 1921). Another folder contains some of C.S. Bliss’s personal correspondence in the winter and early spring of 1921 including: letters from Bliss’s son, Ralph; letters from Bliss’s cousin, Fred; a check for three dollars; a Gladwin High School 9th Annual reunion invitation; Life Insurance papers from Michigan Mutual Life Insurance Company of Detroit, Michigan; and a letter from the Concatenated Order of the Hoo-Hoo, a social group, which Bliss was a member (see Bliss Personal Correspondence, January-May 1921).
Box 106 and legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by Nikki Brabaw, includes mainly business correspondence between C.S. Bliss and his renters, attorneys and agents located mostly in Michigan, July 1921-June 1922. The contents of the box are organized chronologically by folder and alphabetically within each folder. There is also a large portion of letters and postcards from C.S. Bliss’s children (Ralph, Jean, and Walter), friends and other family members. Some items of interest include a newspaper advertisement for Aladdin home floor plans and a drawing of a house floor plan presumed to be drawn by C.S. Bliss in 1921, and letters from 1921 and 1922, noting C.S. Bliss purchased a leather pocket book for Harry Leininger and a croquet set for Fleda Leininger (see Bliss Personal Correspondence, August 1921–June 1922). Also, an ongoing correspondence between C.S. Bliss and A.C. Baker about the Boy Scouts purchasing land that Bliss owned in Lee Township, Midland County, Michigan for their use as a boy’s camp. These correspondence span Fall of 1921 (Bliss Business Correspondence, A-D, October–December 1921) through Spring of 1922, when Baker offered Bliss $1,000 for the land (see Bliss Business Correspondence, A-C, January–June 1922). The letter with information about writing the contract with A.C. Baker and the Boys Scouts is found in the legal-size folder, Bliss Business Correspondence, July 1921–February 1922.
Box 107 and 3 legal-size folders, .5 cubic ft., processed by Adrienne VandenBosch, consists mostly of business correspondence C.S. Bliss had with financial institutions, and renters, January 1922 and July 1923. Personal correspondence is also included, mainly consisting of letters from family. The majority of correspondence comes from Michigan and Arkansas, as Bliss resided in both states during this time. Series are organized alphabetically and chronologically within each year.
A relevant historical note for the time period of material in this box is that a walkout of railway shopmen occurred on July 1, 1922. This nation-wide strike was in response to wage cuts and unjust working conditions. Around 400,000 shopmen were on strike, which affected passenger and freight trains alike. The strike warranted the intervention of President Harding—the stoppage interfered with the delivery of United States mail and created a transportation emergency, disrupting the transportation of coal and of fruit crops from the Pacific Coast. While not all railroads signed this agreement, negotiations for Terms of Settlement concluded on September 13, 1922. The settlement is known as the Baltimore Agreement (Gadsby, Margaret. "Strike of the Railroad Shopmen." Monthly Labor Review 15, no. 6 (1922): 1-21. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41828540).
There are a number of interesting business correspondence. Bliss invested in real estate, and held rental properties in Michigan and Arkansas. Documents regarding the discussion of property or land taxes are found in the Bliss Property January 1922–April 1923 folder. Correspondence from renters regarding rental contracts and payment of, rental maintenance, and other correspondence can be found in the Bliss Renters, March–October 1922, and Bliss Renters, January–April 1923 folders. The legal-size folder of Bliss Renters, September 1922 contains a Certificate of Protest from the Notary Public of Gladwin County, Michigan on payment from renter Floyd E. Hall. Further information about this matter can be found under the letterhead of Peoples State Bank, dated September 20, 1922 (see Renters, March–October 1922 folder). Additional correspondence with C.S. Bliss regarding rental properties can be found in Bliss Business Correspondence folders under the letterhead of People’s State Bank.
The folders for Bliss Arkansas Trust Company, November–December 1922 and Bliss Arkansas Trust Company, January–June 1923 contain correspondence from Arkansas Trust Company concerning Bliss’ property and rental properties in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The Automobiles, January-December 1922 folder contains correspondence between Bliss and Dort Motor Cars, Morrison Garage (of West Branch, Michigan) as well as Pilot Motor Car Company, regarding the trade-in of his old car and the purchase of a new vehicle. This folder also contains the registration for a Buick Coupe from May 1922. Letters from Pilot Motor Car Company include information about the car that C. S. Bliss purchased in April of 1917, and the sales flyer for additional features for that vehicle can be found in Bliss correspondence from November 1919.
Due to international financial recession in the 1920s, American banks offered bond options to businessmen to obtain financial gains through foreign bonds. Thus, C.S. Bliss purchased Foreign National Bonds in many countries, including the Kingdom of Norway, Brazil, Republic of Chile, Republic of France, Republic of Uruguay, Denmark, Kingdom of Belgium, and the city of Bergen, Norway. The Bliss Foreign National Bonds, January–December 1922 folder contains statements on Coupons for Collection, and letters regarding the financial viability of Bliss’ foreign bonds. The corresponding (legal-size folder) contains circulars from Michigan Banks advertising bonds available.
There are many letters regarding investment securities, insurance, and other correspondence to show the scope of business C.S. Bliss was involved in at the time (see the following folders: Bliss Business Correspondence, January–December 1922, A–M; Bliss Business Correspondence, January–December 1922, N–Z; and Bliss Business Correspondence, January–May 1923). Monthly finance reports from the Saginaw Financing Corporation are in the Bliss Saginaw Financing Corporation, July–December 1922 legal-size folder.
Membership receipts and other correspondence from personal organizations that Bliss belonged to are found in Bliss Personal Correspondence, January–December 1922. Bliss was a member of the Royal Arch Masons, Gladwin Chapter 157, the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, the Northeast Michigan Development Bureau, and the Saint Bernard Commandery Number 16, Knights Templar. This folder also contains a letter from Bliss’ son, Ralph, that mentions a railroad strike (see letter dated August 24, 1922 in Personal Correspondence, January–December 1922).
The Bliss Personal Correspondence, January–June 1923 folder contains correspondence with C.S. Bliss’ cousin, and Fire Insurance Agent, Fred L. Bliss. These letters include information about family members, and discussion of business trends (including General Motors, streetcar business, and realestate). Fred addresses C. S. as “Chas” and as “Charley” in personal letters. A letter from James W. Bliss notes the death of C.N. Bliss on January 14, 1923 (see letter dated January 19, 1923 in Personal Correspondence, January–June 1923). Letters from Bliss’ children, Ralph, Jean, and Walter are also included. Jean and Walter mention how hard it is to find workers for their farm, as most people are moving to cities like Flint and Detroit for work. A letter from Andy, a caretaker of Bliss’ property, mentions a sale of land to the Boy Scouts (see letter dated February 2, 1923 in Personal Correspondence, January–June 1923).
Bliss maintained a farm during this time, and information regarding the purchase of trees, grape vines, and other supplies can be found in Bliss Farm, January 1922–April 1923. Bliss sold a hog through the Ogemaw Co-operative Shippers’ Association, and a cow through the West Branch Farmer’s Elevator Company. Bliss received dog licenses for a Setter, and an English Setter (see Dog License 1922, and Dog License 1923 in Bliss Farm, January 1922–April 1923).
Box 108 and 2 legal-size folders, .5 cubic ft., processed by Lindsey Rogers, is comprised of Banking, Business, Personal, and Property records, late 1922-July of 1924. There are nine folders, two of which are legal sized, filed under ‘Bliss, Bonds and Banking 1923–1924’ and ‘Bliss, Saginaw Financing Corporation, 1923–January 1924.
The box is organized into Business Correspondence 1923-1924 (Folders 1- 2), Bliss Family personal correspondence 1923-1924 (Folder 3), Land Acquisition (Folder 4), Properties – Arkansas (Folder 5), Properties – Michigan (Folder 6), Personal (Box 7). All Folders are filed alpha-numerically by name and then date, and then by year.
Items of note include letters from C.S. Bliss that have been kept with the rest of the correspondence (Folders 1-6). Folders 1 and 2, Business Correspondence 1923 and 1924 respectively, consist mainly of correspondence relating to business or from tenants. Folder 2 has letters from C.S. Bliss’ cousin, Fred Bliss. It has been kept in Business instead of Personal because of content. Folder 3 is divided into Family and Friends. There are letters specifically addressed to Gertrude Bliss from a cousin. Other family correspondence is from Bliss’ sister, Della, and children, Jean, Ralph and Walter. There is also a collection to letters to C. S. Bliss, addressed to “Dear Friend Char,” letters from S. Flower, a tenant with whom he had a very friendly relationship, and a letter from Mrs. L. M. Walters with extraordinary letterhead, a boarder demonstrating Roscommon County outdoor tourism options. Folder 4 contains general information of Land acquisition or general information on properties. Of note here is a series of letters and company replies concerning Plate glass windows. Folder 5 consists of information relating to properties in Arkansas, where the family had a home that they went to in the winter. Included are receipts about improvements that were being made their home. There are also receipts for purchases from Mrs. Bliss for a few things. Folder 6 contains information on property in Michigan. This folder had items removed during processing due to the acidic nature of the originals. They have been photocopied and are available in the folder. Notable are township maps with handwritten notes or that are hand colored. There is also a drawing of a pair of hands on one of the pieces within. Folder 7 is a personal file, and includes things like Bliss’ Masonic Temple information, a car registration from 1923, a letter of complaint written to a business by C. S. Bliss that is quite funny, and information related to C.S. Bliss’ stay in Detroit at the Bancroft Hotel and Mrs. Bliss’ hospital stay in Saginaw during that time.
Box 109, 1 legal-folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by Savannah Mitchell, contains mostly business correspondences to and from the Second National Bank of Saginaw, January- December of 1924 (letters A-Y). The legal-size folder, Second National Bank of Saginaw Materials, January-December 1924, includes trial balances for the entire year of 1924. The records make it clear that Bliss was indeed a wealthy man.
Also interesting are many documents that belonged to Mrs. Bliss (see folder Personal Correspondence, Mrs. Bliss, January- December 1924). Many sales receipts from Sears, Roebuck and Co., Chicago are in this folder. The receipts show she bought many materials, lace, clothes, sheet music, etc. The price range is wide, from $5.00-$62.00. In addition, a material sample of curtain from Bay City “Cash” Dry Goods Company. The curtain sample is priced $10 per pair.
Another interesting collection is the letters from C.S. Bliss’s sister, Della to Bliss (see Personal Correspondence to C.S. Bliss from Sister Della January-December 1924). The letters are always addressed to “My Dear Brother” and contain insight on her daily life such as going to the store, who came to visit that day, and selling cream.
Lastly, a document about Estate of Aaron T. Bliss, December 11, 1924 names C.S. Bliss on of the general legatees. It lists land mainly in the Michigan counties of Midland and Gladwin as well as some land in Minnesota (see Bliss Business Correspondence, A-B, D January-December 1924).
Box 110 and 2 legal-size folders, processed by Josh Smith, consist largely of personal correspondence which are letters from his children, Ralph, and Jean, and a large amount of letters from C.S Bliss’ sister, Della, January-December 1925. There is also a good amount of business correspondence in the collection, commonly discussing rental properties, rental payments, and rental housing repairs. C.S Bliss was involved in dealings in baseball. There is correspondence from the Detroit Baseball Club regarding to a prospect C.S recommended (see Folder B-L Bliss Personal Correspondence, July-December 1925). Another important aspect about this collection is that it contains letters directly from and written by C.S Bliss himself. These are correspondence from C.S Bliss to his daughter, Jean (see B-G Bliss Personal Correspondence, January-May 1925). Finally, contained within this collection is the Saginaw Financial Corporations records for the entire year of 1925 (see Folder Bliss Saginaw Financial Corporation Records, January-December 1925). The box is organized chronologically, January to June 1925 and July to December 1925, and divided into Business and Personal correspondence, both of which are alphabetized.
Box 111 and 2 legal-size folders, .25 cubic ft., processed by Jon Korpi primarily consists of different correspondents, including manufacturers, state attorney general, customers, and other lumber companies, January- December of 1926. There are also letters of correspondence between Bliss his personal attorney/judge and probate court. A majority of this collection is the correspondence of letters from the Arkansas Trust Company in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Taxes and deeds were the primary purpose of these letters sent to Bliss. His cousin, Fred Bliss, who owned an insurance and real estate company, wrote to C.S. Bliss explaining that Fred was closing his Saginaw business and moving to California (see Bliss Business Correspondence, A, B, D, July–December 1926). Personal Correspondence between C. S. Bliss and his daughter, Jean, detail the business and personal relationship between the two (see Bliss Personal Correspondence, H, J W, January–July 1926 and Bliss Personal Correspondence, B, F, July–December 1926). The collection also includes investments in petroleum that Bliss had in his correspondence with his cousin, Charles. Letters from Fordney Petroleum Company, which Bliss invested in, detail the progress of their drilling and business growth (see Bliss Business Correspondence, F, H, July-December 1926).
Box 112 and 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by Greg Swallow consist of C.S. Bliss Business and Personal Correspondence, January-December 1927. The Business Correspondence centers around C.S. Bliss and various agents of his company, manufacturers, customers and numerous merchants that spans from the local community of Saginaw; to across the state of Michigan; throughout the United States and the world. The Business Correspondence contains mainly letters, including those he wrote personally, and banking records that are organized chronologically and alphabetically. Also included is correspondence to State of Michigan officials, such as senators dealing with attempts to lobby for legislation, and communications between Bliss and the Fordney Petroleum Company about his involvement in the newly established oil industry in central Michigan (see Bliss Business Correspondence, F-J, January – December 1927 folder). Another interesting topic documented in the collection pertains to the Northeastern Michigan Baseball League (see Northeastern Michigan Baseball League, June 1927 folder). The Northeastern Michigan Baseball League was founded in 1916 and operated until 1986. The league spanned from Saginaw in the south and as far north to Alpena (Bernreuter, Hugh. "N.E.M. Baseball League celebrates 100-year anniversary." MLive (2016). Saginaw, Michigan.). C.S. Bliss served as the league’s director starting at an unknown date until June 3, 1927.
The Personal Correspondence within the collection are letters to and from C.S. Bliss and his family including: his daughter, Jeanie, son, Ralph, cousin, Fred, and a large collection of letters from his sister, Della. Their letters discuss daily life, personal business dealings and health of family members. One interesting piece is a postcard from Fred that includes a picture of the Hotel Pines and city life around the building in Pine Bluff, Arkansas (see Bliss Personal Correspondence, January–December 1927 folder).
HST 583 Fall 2018
During the Fall 2018 term, 13 students in my HST 583 Archives Administration class processed cubic feet in 17 boxes and 4 legal-size folders of C.S. Bliss and Company Business Records and Family Papers. Students processed lumber camp pay orders, 1894-1905, and correspondence, receipts and legal papers, 1892-1932 (2 scattered), mostly 1928-1932. All boxes are organized alphabetically and chronologically. Most of the materials are business related, and there continues from the last processed unit to be far less correspondence about lumber and more about land sales, renters, bonds, property purchases, investments, insurance, and his farm than lumber. A number of women received pay orders for their husbands and sometimes for themselves.
Box 113 and 1 legal-size folder, .25 cubic ft., processed by Tiffany Gaiter, mostly contains the business transactions of Mr. C. S. Bliss from the year 1920; however, a few documents from 1896 and 1919 are also included. There are several series in this collection: insurance company receipts, attorney papers, government and court documents, business and personal correspondence- including letters from his sister Della, his son Ralph. There is also information regarding the dogs Mr. Bliss owned, entertainment receipts and receipts for both Mr. and Mrs. Bliss’ purchases of personal items.
A document of interest in this collection is Mrs. Bliss’ proof of stock ownership (Box 1, Mrs. Bliss Stock account -January 1919). Though women would not be allowed to vote until 1920, this is proof that women in Saginaw Michigan were current with the women’s fanatical movement. Mrs. Bliss’ stock ownership, though with a different company, coincides with the opening of the First Woman’s Bank of Tennessee, exclusively for women in, October 6, 1919 (Throckmorton, H. Bruce, and H. Bruce Throckman. "The First Woman's Bank in Tennessee: 1919-1926." Tennessee Historical Quarterly 35, no. 4 (1976): 389-92. http://www.jstor.org.cmich.idm.oclc.org/stable/42623608.).
Box 114, .5 cubic ft., processed by David Zinger, includes C.S Bliss correspondence, April-June 1920, and Butman Lumber camp folders, which contains pay orders for workers in the camp for 1900. The majority of the box is the pay orders from Butman Lumber camp. The folders contain the pay orders for the job of foreman with the last names from A-Y. T Business Correspondence includes pay orders from the lumber camp Bliss owned as well as information about selling his land and purchasing and selling bonds that he bought and sold in the Detroit Pressed Steel company, Newfoundland, and in Saginaw. In Personal Correspondence, his sister, Della, wrote Bliss about the railroad company and travel expenses. Mr. Bliss also had a lot of dealings with insurance in 1920. The Insurance Correspondence folder shows that Mr. Bliss personally sustained an injury and had a roof fire on one of his properties he owned. Also included is Dam Saw Mill pay-orders.
Box 115-116, .75 cubic ft., was processed by Leah Althoff. Box 115 contains all the Personal and Business Correspondence and receipts. Box 115 contains mainly pay orders from the Dam Saw Mill to individual workers, 1903 or 1904. Some workers received several pay-orders over the span of the two years represented in the Box. Some of the pay orders are charged to the account of one individual worker, who seemed to have employed other workers for a certain task. A small amount of pay-orders is for the Butman lumber Camp.
Box 116 contains all pay orders, organized alphabetically and chronologically, and various Bliss papers between June and September 1920, one letter being undated. The Personal Correspondence contains mainly letters from his fraternity contact M.C. Emanuel, who in one letter refers to confidential information about an opportunity for Bliss to sell land and advises him to get in touch with Mr. Charles Numann. The Personal Correspondence also contains a letter from R.S. Bliss to his father and a letter from C.S. Bliss’ cousin, Aaron T. Bliss, referring to C.S. Bliss’ decision to elect Mr. Sleeth as the manager of a Financing Corporation, possibly the Saginaw Finance Corporation.
The Business Correspondence contains letters and subscription agreements about the Saginaw Financing Cooperation, which traded foreign bonds. One letter refers to an advertisement that C.S. Bliss published in the Saginaw News regarding the Saginaw Finance Corporation.
Further, there is an exchange of information about a personal dog, C.S. Bliss planned to buy. The folder about his house and farm contains mainly information regarding a problem with flooding in the garage of the house and also an undated letter with an offer to buy a car.
Box 117 and 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by Logan Keith contains Business and Personal Correspondence, January 1928-June 1928 and Drive Pay Orders, 1900, and a legal-size folder containing information from the Saginaw Financing Corporation, January-June 1928.
In Business Correspondence there is an Arkansas Trust folder and a folder with Stock trading information and research. In Personal Correspondence there are letters from his children (Ralph, Wilson, and Leah) detailing information from the holiday as well as information on selling “The Ranch”. C.S has response letters to Ralph within the correspondence. Also, in Personal Correspondence are letters from his sister, Della, Cousin, Fred, and the Grand Royal Arch Mason’s masonry. Fred discusses an oil well, while the Masonry series includes an invitation, and Bliss’ response to a ball, as well as information of Chapter 157, Gladwin, being revoked. There are four folders which contain drive slips from 1900. In the final Personal Correspondence folder, there is a dog license for a female English Setter. Lastly, there is a legal-size folder with information from the Saginaw Financing Cooperation, including taxes, earnings, expenses, and other items related to these.
Box 118 and 1 legal-size folder, .25 cubic ft., processed by Erica Cardinal, contains Personal and Business Correspondence, legal reports, and other materials of Charles C. Bliss, January-December 1928. The records in this box have been divided into thirteen individual folders: Personal (A-N and M-W), Northeast Michigan Tourism, O’Keefe Legal, Business and Loans, Farm Inquiries, Foreign Stock, Roe (Legal) Correspondence, Personal Expenses, Showalter Deeds, Legal, and Taxes and Bank Records.
In 1928, Bliss was contacted many times by the Northeast Michigan Tourism Company, which had an interest in placing his lumber mill in their catalogue. There were a few inquiries from men interested in working at or purchasing his farms, but nothing extraordinary stood out.
Bliss’ Business Correspondence includes foreign stocks. Multiple receipts regarding countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, and Guatemala all state a certain amount of money, and report how the market for that country was going at the time.
One letter, filed in Personal Correspondence, is from Bliss’ sister, Della, who wrote frequently to her brother.
There are also some receipts with large purchases, mostly items associated with building a house or some similar structure.
A Dog License for an Irish Setter, purchased for one hundred dollars in 1900, is also included.
Boxes 119-120, .75 cubic ft., processed by Brad Davis consists mostly of Business Correspondence between trust companies, customers, manufacturers, farms, landowners, and lumber companies, July-December of 1929. There are also receipts from laborers that C.S. Bliss employed on his farm and lumber camps, late 1901-1902. Some of the Business Correspondence include Crapo Farms, Dow Chemical, the Arkansas Trust Company, the Brown Fence and Wire Company, Continental Casualty Company, the Saginaw County Treasurer, Field and Stream Publishing, F.M. Lucas Advertising Agency, the Guardian Detroit Company, Hayden Van Atter and Company, Fordney Petroleum Company, Gilbert A Curie Attorney, the Western Union, and more.
Personal Correspondence includes letters from Bliss’ children, Ralph and Jean, while they were attending school, as well as letters from his cousins, W. L. Bliss and Francis Bliss, discussing family matters. A variety of documents illustrate Bliss’ involvement with several groups and orders, including the East Saginaw Club, the Masons, the International Order of Hoo-Hoo, and the Knights Templar. Some other notable documents are correspondence between Bliss and the Michigan Children’s Aid Society that document the process Bliss and his wife, Gertrude, underwent to adopt his daughter, Georgina, on December 17, 1928 (Box 120, Legal-size). Other items of interest include a blueprint, deeds of sale, and letters between Bliss and Crapo Farms for the purchase of a farm in Ogemaw County in 1928. The blueprint is in excellent condition for its age, and the process of transferring ownership of the farm is highlighted in the letters between Bliss and Crapo farms.
Box 121 and 2 legal-size folders, .5 cubic ft., processed by Caleb Norris include both the personal and business life of Mr. Bliss in 1929, with select information from 1891 and 1901. The box contains business papers and receipts, Business Correspondence pertaining to positions in lumber camps as well as the tenants Bliss loaned out, the Drive orders of all workers with last names between A and W for the year 1901, and multiple records detailing Bliss’ investments and bonds from foreign nations.
Box 121 also contains personal information regarding Bliss’ life. Included in the files are letters between Bliss and his sister, Della, January 28-April 18, 1929, a series of court summonses from the Court of Saginaw, personal notes and receipts featuring the purchase of a bay horse and a casket in 1891, as well as other miscellaneous correspondence between Bliss and his relatives and informal conversation with his subordinates. Also included is a humorous correspondence between Bliss and the Wright’s Underwear Company as he attempted to figure out which garments were best for him. A catalog of fabric swatches are included in this folder.
Two legal-size folders include: a document from the Michigan Children’s Aid Society to Mrs. Bliss asking how her adopted daughter Georgia is adjusting to life with her and Mr. Bliss, and reports from the Saginaw Finance Corporation, December 1928-May 1929.
Boxes 122-123, .75 cubic ft., processed by Joshua Simon, consists of mainly Business Correspondence, with some Personal Correspondence interspersed, 1928-1930. Pay orders mostly for both Bliss’ Coleman Railroad Camp and Farm are also included, with many being completed by Bliss agents Samuel T. McReavy and Al Lawrence, September 17, 1898-March 22, 1900.
The business records contain a large assortment of materials from organizations beginning with the letters N and O, as well as correspondence from the Second National Bank of Saginaw regarding Bliss’ involvement in foreign loans within South American and European countries.
The Business Correspondence also contains financial reports regarding the Saginaw Financing Corporation’s operations and assets, receipts from the Office of C. S. Bliss, and a relatively large amount of records from both the Standard Building and Loan Association, and the State Accident Fund (Reports in legal-size folder).
Personal Correspondence includes a receipt for a coffin, vault, and embalming services purchased by Bliss (see Detroit Casket Company receipt in Personal Correspondence, 1929-1930 folder) The Personal Correspondence also contains of handwritten correspondence by Della Bliss and Charles S. Bliss, as well as letters regarding the possible adoption of an eight-year-girl from the Methodist Childrens’ Home of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan. A small amount of Personal Correspondence regards the Bliss’ home/a construction project that was undertaken, and automobiles.
Box 124 and 1 legal-size folder, .25 cubic ft., processed by Jessica Overbee consists of both Business and Personal Correspondence between C.S. Bliss and customers, manufacturers, family, and friends, July-December 1929 and January-February 1930. The collection also includes pay orders from the Sugar River camps, March- July 1894, and contain a few miscellaneous pay orders from other camps such as Saginaw at the end (Folder 2 of 2, April-July 1894). Items of interest include an x-ray and a prescription for glasses for an adoptive daughter named Georgina (Folder Henry Ford Hospital-Georgina, December 1929). There are various letters to The Michigan Children’s Aid Society about the process of adopting Georgina, October-November 1929. Other items of interest are letters from his children, including two from Jean, and one each from Lottie and Ralph, September 1929. Also on October 14, 1929, Mr. Bliss writes to his wife about his visit to the hospital, detailing his ailment. On December 6, 1929, the Guardian Trust Company advised about property that showed the attitudes about housing that reflected racist views common to that day (Folder Guardian Trust Company, July-August, December 1929). One final piece of interest is a letter from Miss M K on September 1929, regarding an outbreak of Tuberculosis in her struggling family and asks Mr. Bliss for his help on an application for a sanatorium. Other interesting documents in this collection include letters of purchase, rent collections, reports of losses, interest earned on loan shares, and dealings with property.
Boxes 125-126, 1 cubic ft., processed by Ariel Wiborn, of C. S. Bliss Lumber Company collection consists of some Business Correspondence between C. S. Bliss and banks pertaining to rental units in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, and insurance payments by Bliss in January-June 1930. There are also several State of Michigan auditors’ notes asking Bliss for money owed them. In that time frame, C. S. Bliss also had general Personal Correspondence; note of dues payed to Order of the Eastern Star, purchases made for his wife and daughter, letters from his son, Ralph Bliss, and notes of thanks for church donations made in West Branch, Michigan. There are a few Personal Correspondence, also January-June 1930 between C. S. Bliss and his caretaker of a farm in West Branch, as well as John Chesny, a man interested in purchasing farm land from him and the subsequent haggling. (see folder Bliss Personal Correspondence, Farm, January-March 1930). In addition, there are Personal Correspondence between C. S. Bliss and Luren Dickinson of Charlotte, Michigan, who was running for governor in 1930. Bliss expresses his support, and Dickinson expresses his thanks, using a letterhead with ‘Lieutenant Governor’ at the top.
The rest of these boxes consists of pay orders from primarily the Railroad (RR) camp from C. S. Bliss and Co. to the men, and some women, working for him in 1895-1896. There are various pay orders from other camps as well (see folder Bliss Miscellaneous Camps, Pay Orders, 1895-1896 and Bliss Drive Camp, Pay Orders, 1895-1896), which included Brown, Chippewa, Drive (in its own folder), Greendale, Midland, Mount Pleasant, and Tittabawassee Camps. These are organized alphabetically by camp, then last name, and then chronologically. On the back of a pay order addressed to a Mr. Post, there’s a note saying that he’s a good man and his son recently died of diphtheria (see folder Bliss Railroad Camp, Pay Orders P, 1895-1896). Another unique pay order is addressed not to a ‘Mrs. Eugene Whitman’, but to ‘Mabel Whitman’, with her husband’s name on the pay order as well (see folder Bliss Railroad Camp, Pay Orders W, 1895-1896).
Note: HST switched to fall term in Fall 2019.
In Fall 2019
During the Fall 2019 term, 13 students in my HST 583 Archives Administration class processed 7.25 cubic feet in 17 boxes and 4 legal-size folders of C.S. Bliss and Company Business Records and Family Papers. Students processed pay orders, mostly for lumber camps, 1894-1905 which includes: Butman Lumber Camp, 1903-1904 (Boxes 127-128), Kelly Camp 1904-1905 which includes occasional pay order for Mill and Stroh Camp (Boxes 129-130), farm and Dam lumber camp, 1901-1902 (Box 132), Gladwin/Beaverton lumber camps and Railroad (GBR), 1896-1897 (Boxes 133-134), pay orders for general laborers, 1903 (Box 135), Bliss camp, surnames A-B and R-S only, 1896-1898 (Box 136), Chippewa and Railroad camps, 1895-1896 (Box 137), an unnamed camp, 1895-1895 (Box 138), Van or Vanderbilt Camp, 1899-1900 (Box 141). They also processed correspondence, receipts and legal papers, 1892-1932 (2 scattered), mostly 1928-1932. All boxes are organized alphabetically and chronologically. Most of the materials are business related, and there continues from the last processed unit to be far less correspondence about lumber and more about land sales, renters, bonds, property purchases, investments, insurance, and his farm than lumber. A number of women received pay orders for their husbands and sometimes for themselves.
Box 127-128, 1 cubic ft., processed by Sara Miller, consists mostly of pay orders from the Butman Lumber Camp, 1903-1904. The pay orders comprise approximately ¾ of two boxes and are arranged in alphabetical and then chronologically. Box 23A is entirely pay orders (A-M), while 23B contains pay orders N-W, Bliss Business Correspondence 1893-1905, and Bliss Personal Correspondence 1898-1905.
One folder in box 23B is dedicated to an individual noted as A. Muma, who seemingly repeatedly submitted paperwork for jobs on the same section of land.
Business correspondence of note include several interesting examples of business letterheads, all of which are found in box 23B.
Personal correspondence includes a letter from the Alma Sanitarium, and a solicitation from Campbell and Williams Real Estate and Investments about buying land for swine and sheep in South McAlester, Indian Territory (what is now Oklahoma), all of which are found in box 23B. In the Bliss Business Correspondence, 1893-1905 folder, there are mainly examples of various businesses soliciting purchase orders or contracts from Bliss. The materials were retained for their intrinsic value as interesting and attractive letterheads, such as the full color engraving of a pig, or to show that Bliss had business contacts as far afield as Arkansas or Mexico. There is an order for a 3 seated Canopy Top Ames-Dean Spring Wagon, paid for “$100.00 in one horse agreed upon today and $25.00 in cash”.
Notable items in this collection include the following: An example of C.S. Bliss and Company letterhead and envelope with advertising text and picture of two horses pulling a cartload of wood; a letter from the manager of the Valley Telephone Company to Bliss about witness fees for the case of Keys against the Valley Telephone Company. Racist cartoon of a man on the Camden Yellow Pine Lumber letter. All of the previous items are found in the Bliss Business Correspondence 1893-1905 folder in box 23B. The Bliss Related Examples of Letterheads, Advertisements 1899- 1905 contains various examples of period letterheads such as several pieces of correspondence from the Morley Brothers Bicycles; a unique, multicolor, and letterhead from the Co-Operative Society of the National Supply Co. In the Bliss Personal Correspondence 1898-1905 folder, significant items include: an invitation to the So-Sa-Wa-Ga-Ming Club, a fishing club near Marquette, Michigan; a postcard from the “Hoo-Hoo” Club, changing the annual gathering from Put-In-Bay, Ohio, to Cleveland, Ohio due to the chicken pox epidemic of 1898; and two letters, probably from employees, in sanitariums in Alma and Elwell, Michigan. Undated materials are placed at the front of each folder.
Boxes 129-130, .75 cubic ft., processed by Nate Bublitz, are predominately pay orders with folder listings alphabetized, 1904-1905, for male employees at Kelly Camp. These pay orders are almost always signed by James Kelly as the foreman, but there are instances where this is not so. It is not known why there are variations of foreman signatures and it also does not appear that pay orders signed by Bliss have a special significance. Additionally, many of these pay orders are addressed to individuals that have other people with the same surname that will be listed as well. Occasionally Mill and Stroh Camp pay orders are included. A number of pay orders document family members, including women, who were paid for different work, sometimes by a relative.
Bliss correspondence includes: Wm. E. Barret and Co. of Grand Rapids, MI on September 10, 1897 sent Bliss a stock list of their supplies; a memorandum of agreement between E.W. McCormick of Saginaw and Charles Bliss of Saginaw on October 18, 1898 refers to business interests between the two; an advertisement from H. Scherer and Co. of Detroit, MI for free bike samples for Charles Bliss employees, April 29, 1899; and a personal letter notes that Bliss built a float and participated in an industrial parade in Saginaw September 27th-30th, 1898.
Some pay orders folder “A” refer to “Friend Avery,” “Avery Allen,” and “Allen Avery.” All of these refer to the same person who was more than likely a family friend. In this folder there are two pay orders for Mill Camp, and employee Irwin Ault made his mark on two orders.
Folder “B” has two sets with the same name (Bower and Breault). A. Forbes signed as foreman rather than James Kelly for six orders and Charles Bliss signed on one order. Stroh Camp was mentioned once.
Folder “C” orders included three women and spouses or family members. Mrs. John Campbell, Mrs. Mard Casson, and Mrs. E.H. Cook (one pay order each). A. Forbes signed 10 pay orders as foreman and Bliss signed one. There were three pairs of potentially related male family employees with multiple orders each (Chamfaine, Conley, and Crosby). Mill Camp was mentioned three times and Stroh Camp once.
In Folder “D” A. Forbes sign as foreman on five pay orders and Mill Camp was denoted twice. Fred Dupsloff (spelled variously) has a special note to pay his money to the State Bank of Gladwin written on the back of his pay order #698.
In Folder “E” A. Forbes signed two pay orders for Kelly Camp.
Folder “F” contains the pay orders of two women and some of their family. Miss Grace Forbes received (two) pay orders and Mrs. W.M. Frost (six) pay orders and her husband (15). A. Forbes signed 11 orders and it is interesting that some might be for his family. Pay order #333 to Chag Fuller originally included an attached personal note.
Folder “G” contained two pay orders from Mill Camp. A. Forbes signed five orders as foreman, and there were two potential pairs of family members (Green and Greenier).
Folder “H” included four orders for Mill Camp. A. Forbes signed 16 pay orders, and there were three pairs with the surname (Harris, Hawley, and Hunt). A different foreman, Frank Teck, signed a single pay order. Honey and Fairchild (farriers) were both paid by the same order for horse shoeing. E.E. Honey was paid individually on three orders, one of which was signed by Bliss. Mrs. E.E. Honey also earned one paycheck.
Folder “J” had a single Mill Camp pay order.
Folder “K” had three pay orders to foreman James Kelly (two signed by A. Forbes and one by Bliss). Mrs. James Kelly also had two pay orders and Pat Kelly received two. A. Forbes signed 10 pay orders as foreman. Two Kennedy men were paid. There was one Mill Camp pay order.
In Folder “L” A. Forbes signed six pay orders and C.S. Bliss signed two. George Love also signed a pay order for $100 to himself, and he does not appear as a foreman in the rest of this box. It is unclear why or how he had the power to do this. There are two Mill Camp pay orders.
Folder “M” includes six pay orders for Mill Camp and one for Stroh Camp. A. Forbes signed 17 pay orders, Bliss signed three, and Frank Teck signed one. Three individuals, A.W., Carl, and Roy Major were paid under the “Major Contract,” probably a private contractor (23 pay orders). Family pairs included Maturen and Morton, and McGriff’s (3); and G.C. and M.P. Morton were paid four times for the purchase of hay for Bliss horses. Two pay orders were issued to a man named Ronald McDonald (This was really fun to find for McDonald’s lovers).
Folder “O” includes 20 pay orders signed by A. Forbes and one by Bliss. Two pay orders were issued for Mill Camp. Guy and Joseph Ordinary were both paid (Joseph 11 times). Four potential family members paid include Clint, Clyde, Lee, and Robert Ostrander, who were paid 31times, with Robert being paid 16 times.
Folder “P” included two women, Mrs. John Post (1 pay order), and Mrs. F.W. Pahe (6). Possible family members Mr. John Post received two pay orders and Floyd Post attained one. Mr. F.W. Pahe earned 12 pay orders. There was one set of potential male family members (Perry). A. Forbes signed seven pay orders and Frank Teck signed one. Frank Teck may be a higher-level or specialty job man in the company because of his irregularity of signing pay orders.
Folder “R” includes pay orders for Mill Camp twice and Stroh Camp once. A. Forbes signed eight pay orders and Bliss one. There were three individuals with the surname of Reigle in this folder.
In a separate folder, the Ritchie Bros. appear to be a private contractor for Kelly Camp. Within this folder pay orders are organized chronologically by pay order number rather than by surname and then pay order number. Some of the names of the men paid here are also included within this box. Most of the pay orders were usually signed by James Kelly, but 13 were signed by A. Forbes and three by Bliss, one of which is to a Mrs. Rebecca Dutchen, who does not appear to have had a husband employed by Bliss as documented by this box. It is unclear what she did, perhaps cook or office work.
Folder “SA-Smith, George” is the first folder of a large amount of “S” pay orders. A. Forbes and Bliss each signed nine pay orders. Four orders were for Mill Camp and one for Stroh. There were two individuals with the surname of Shaw and two with Shieck. There were multiple Smith’s as well, but these may not be related as Smith is a common name. More Smith’s are found in the next folder. Chas. Smith though made his mark, meaning he was illiterate, on pay order #75, but signed his own name on order #194, which likely indicates that someone else signed his name for him. Jas. Simmonds also made his mark on a pay order. Mrs. O.N. Shroul earned two pay orders and her husband, Mr. O.N. Shroul, eight.
Folder “Smith, James-SU” is the second part of the “S” pay orders. Miss Nellie Smith is of key interest as an unmarried woman working for Bliss who received four pay orders. There are 20 pay orders signed by A. Forbes, four from Bliss, and one from Frank Teck. Stroh Camp is mentioned once in a pay order. There are three sets of potential relatives in this folder: Charles and Harry Stevens, M. and Peter Stillwagon, and Bent and W.J. Stuck.
Folder “T” had 17 pay orders signed by A. Forbes. Frank Teck, who received a pay order himself. William Teck, possibly a family member or relative of Frank’s, collected 13 pay orders. This is interesting when foremen receive pay orders from other foremen and possibly have family involved in the business. There was one additional pair of likely family members, James and Pat Toohy, who each received a number of pay orders.
Folder “V” has two pay orders for work completed by Henry Valentine at Mill Camp, one of which was signed by C.S. Bliss.
Folder “W” included one pay order for work at Mill Camp. Three pay orders were signed by A. Forbes and one by Bliss.
Folder “Y” contains one order signed by A. Forbes. Interestingly, John Shaw’s signature appears as a second signer on the back of other individuals’ pay orders (i.e. Beanie Yeager and Fred Dupsloff). John Shaw was himself paid, and it is intriguing as to why he signs other pay orders when he does not appear to be a foreman himself.
When A. Forbes signed the pay orders, which typically date from late 1904 or 1905. When Mill and Stroh Camps are listed these are almost exclusively earlier pay orders.
Box 131, .5 cubic ft., processed by Mollie Gilin, includes business correspondence, 1928-1929 from the East Michigan Tourist Association, Department of Industry and Labor, Community Bank and Trust, Arkansas Trust Company, Farm Buyers Guide, Fordney Petroleum Company Automotive Insurance Company, Home Building and Savings Association, Hunter Trader Trapper Association, J. W Seed Company, and the Attorney General Department. Also included in the box are Bliss’s pay orders (A-Z) from the West Branch Dam (season 1900).
There are many personal letters to and from Mr. Bliss, personal information concerning a cemetery plot. There are some unique items in the box including Mrs. Bliss’s Ford Hospital records and personal letters, Georgina Bliss’s Enrollment card information, some letters concerning Georgina’s tuition and some of C.S Bliss’s hotel and grocery receipts. Other interesting examples include Aladdin Business Correspondence (in the Aladdin Company Correspondence, 1929 folder) and a personal letter to C. S. Bliss from Ralph (in the C.S. Bliss letters from Ralph, 1929 folder) concerning family matters.
Box 132, .5 cubic ft., processed by Brittany Gwisdala, consists mostly of Business Correspondence of several different companies, including building and loan associations, lodge memberships, real estate and insurance, and catalogue inquiries from 1929. There are also Pay Orders from laborers that C.S. Bliss employed on his farm and in the Dam lumber camp, 1901-1902. The collection is organized in alphabetical and chronological order. Business correspondence include Jerry M. Miller’s General Store, Michigan Bell Telephone Company, Montgomery Ward Company, Second National Bank, and Myers, Cooper, and Watson Real Estate and Insurance Company. Membership materials include the West Branch Lodge and Elf Khurafeh Temple. Additional correspondence includes the Michigan Children’s Aid Society, regarding the adoption process of Bliss’ daughter, Georgina, and agency letters addressing concern for the child’s skin condition. Furthermore, there are personal letters between Bliss and J.W. Johnson, Sam J. McReary, Jerry Miller, and Frank Methner.
Several items in Box 132 are noteworthy; several receipts regarding women who worked on the Bliss farm and camp, personal business correspondence between Mrs. Gertrude Bliss and The Montgomery Ward and Company, and a ticket and flyer from the Elf Khurafeh Temple of Saginaw advertising a Shrine Minstrel Show.
Boxes 133-134, .75 cubic ft., processed by Danielle Corrie, include the personal and business correspondence for C.S. Bliss Lumber Company, 1896-1897 and 1930. Business correspondence includes the pay orders for workers at the Gladwin, Beaverton, and Railroad camps. Three women are documented receiving pay orders in the camps, Mrs. M Grebroad (in Bliss GBR Pay Orders E-F-G 1896-1897 folder); Mrs. O Miner, wife of the foreman (in Bliss GBR Pay Orders Foreman O. Miner 1896-1897 folder); and Mrs. George S Prove (in Bliss GBR Pay Orders N-O-P 1896-1897 folder). There are letters from a Mister Hayes to Bliss relating to the rentals Bliss owns (in Bliss General Business Correspondence September-November-December 1930). Hayes also discusses the eviction of a Mister Ault from his home (in Bliss General Business Correspondence September-November-December 1930). Bliss also has mail relating to his international stocks as well (in Bliss General Business Correspondence September-November-December 1930.) A Tourist map of Michigan is included in the collection (in Bliss Miscellaneous July-December 1930).
Personal correspondence includes a letter from the Michigan Masonic Home asking if Bliss is alive, and messages from his friends and family talking about various events.
Box 135, .25 cubic ft., processed by Matt Hood, is mostly composed of receipts from 1903 and business correspondence with only a few personal letters, 1930-1931. There is mostly Business Receipts, payroll for laborers, some general and business correspondence. The only personal correspondence was pre-Christmas letters from Della and C.S. Bliss which cover the general greetings of the holidays and checking in on family news. There are some unique items in the box, a pair of dog licenses from Saginaw, Veterinary bills, C.S. Bliss, Ms. Bliss and Georgina Bliss’ Red Cross membership cards, documents on the Fraternal Order of Lumberman (Hoo-Hoo), of which Bliss was a member, and receipts from Standard Oil. There are annual updates from the following organizations: Michigan Tuberculosis Association, Michigan Children’s Society, and the Michigan Farmer. Ex. Dog Licenses from the City of Saginaw, 1903 (See Bliss Receipts, “B-D” Names, 1903) Ex. Veterinary Bill from Dr. Geo Carter, 1903 (See Bliss Receipts, “B-D” Names, 1903) Ex. Bliss family Red Cross donation and membership Cards, 1931 (See Bliss Receipts, “R” Names, and Travel Receipts, 1930-1931) Ex. 39th Hoo-Hoo Annual Toronto letter (See Bliss Correspondence, “M” Names, 1930).
Box 136, .5 cubic ft., processed by Emily Carpenter, contains correspondence of both business and personal, October of 1930-June of 1931, apart from one folder that contains correspondence from 1928. The Bliss Business Correspondence series include correspondence between Mr. Bliss and business associates and other companies that provide services or receive services from the Bliss Company. They are separated into two folders, one A-D and F and H. There are two Camp Pay Order folders, one that is alphabetized, R and S, which contains camp orders, receipts, and correspondence specifically about a C. S. Bliss Company Camp with company names that begin with R or S or individuals whose last name begin with the corresponding letters, and other is comprised of orders, billing, and other information pertaining to the saddle and hay used in the Bliss camp. The International Banking folder contains Mr. Bliss’ international banking plans to Brazil and Bolivia. The information pertaining to Brazil is dated 1928, the rest is dated 1930 and includes information about Bolivia. Correspondence pertaining to C. S. Bliss’s rental property in 1928 is found in the Bliss Rent folder.
Bliss family correspondence is found in the Bliss Family folder, comprised of a couple of letters from Mr. Bliss’ son, Ralph, daughter Jean (“Jeanie” in the correspondence), and a doctor addressing Jean’s momentary sickness. Correspondence pertaining to the Bliss’ farming orders is in The Bliss Farming folder. The Bliss House folder contains correspondence pertaining to home improvement orders. Receipts from the city of Saginaw, as well as those with intricate designs such as dogs or beautiful lettering are found in the Personal Receipts folder. Bliss Personal Correspondence folders document Mr. Bliss’ membership with the Order of the Hoo-Hoo, including membership renewals, news and updates, and a bright orange and green flyer with illustrations. Personal correspondence to individuals whose last name begin with B, E or H are found in the Personal Correspondence B, E-H, K and M folders.
Box 137 and 1 legal-size folder, .5 cubic ft., processed by Brennan Hall includes Personal and Business Correspondence. All materials that were deemed valuable and merited keeping are all contained within a single box with one legal-size folder outside of the box containing Saginaw Finance Corporation Reports. Box #137 contains all cash-pay orders from the Chippewa lumber camp and railroad camp. The material is organized as follows: Pay Orders files are now organized alphabetically and within each folder, the individual Pay Orders are alphabetically by last name, as well. Within each individual worker’s last name, the Pay Orders are organized chronologically in the numbers of each order— which follows in descending order. Pay Orders are from the time span of 1895-1896. There is one Cash Order that is from a Mr. James Smith that has an attached form. The form is a legal document that is Certificate of Protest which reports that the call to protest was made due to lack of payment for the sum of $6.00 with an additional fee of $1.55.
The Business Correspondence folder contains International Loans that consist of banking statements, 1930-1931. These statements credit to Bliss’ account from sources that come from several foreign countries such as Maraucao, Greece, Prague, and Peru.
The legal-size folder “Bliss, Business Correspondence, Renter Frank Methner, 1931” contains several monetary amounts of $50.00 and one payment of $81.00 sent to Mr. Bliss.
The folder, “Bliss, Personal, Charities, Club Memberships, Georgina, 1931” contains letters and documents transcribing donations made to several charities that were made by Mr. Bliss and in relation to his adopted daughter, Georgina Bliss. An invoice shows that she was to receive a Bible that had her name inscribed on it in gold lettering.
The folder, “Bliss, Personal Correspondence, Morley McClurry, West Branch Farm, 1931” contains a conversation between Mr. McClurry and Mr. Bliss about Mr. Bliss’ farm in West Branch Michigan and how the production of the farm is going.
The folder, “Bliss, Personal Correspondence, Della To C.S., 1931”, contains letters from Charles Bliss’ sister Della. She discusses her brother’s business and how he was experiencing some setbacks. She writes to her brother, thanking him for sending her checks of unknown amounts.
The folder, “Bliss, Personal Houses, 1931” it contains letters describing Charles Bliss’ business transactions regarding the furnishing of his homes. There are receipts that show Mr. Bliss had made purchases to “Peters Paint Co.” in Hot Springs, Arkansas. There is also a letter from an unknown sender addressed to Mr. Bliss, in which the sender tells Mr. Bliss that the property in question belongs to him and that Bliss and his employees are forbidden from setting poles, wires, or cables upon or over the property and warned him against trespassing.
“Bliss, Saginaw Finance Corporation Reports, 1931”, contains reports about Mr. Bliss’ business with details including repossessed cars, taxes, office rent, advertising, and real estate expenses.
Box 138 and 2 legal-size folders, .5 cubic ft., processed by B. Miller, includes pay orders, 1894-1895, and personal correspondence, rental property information, and financial papers, 1931. The materials are arranged alphabetically. Letters in Bliss Business Correspondence folder address the topic of him selling land to the State of Michigan so that they could build highway M-76. A large portion of the box is pay orders, 1894 to 1895, from an unnamed lumber camp. Two women who received pay slips from this camp are Mrs. Giffs and Mrs. Ominer. In its own folder titled Bliss, Operators License, 1919, is the driver’s license issued to Bliss in 1919, including a brief physical description of him. The Personal Correspondence are from several people, with many addressing the topic of Charles’ sister, Della Bliss’ death in August 1931. One personal correspondence in this folder is written on scrap paper with numbers above each word to price out sending a telegraph detailing the location of her funeral service. The rental property folder contains information on maintenance to properties that Charles owned in 1931, including receipts for water bills. This folder contains several letters from Lewis Hays, a landlord for his properties, outlining who had paid that month’s rent and what issues were arising with the locations and its tenants, including the “Old Women at 5 Maple Street”. Two legal-size folders include bonds and building plans, 1931. In the building plans, there are hand-drawn prints for a two-floor structure and the list of materials that will be needed to build it.
Box 139, .5 cubic ft., processed by Magenta Robinson, includes business and personal correspondence, letters, membership cards, and receipts from 1893 and 1931. The topically grouped materials are arranged alphabetically. The business correspondence consists of investor’s service letters and letters to and from potential buyers interested in purchasing or leasing property belonging to Charles Bliss. There are many letters from the North American Building and Loan Association sent to C.S. Bliss concerning his investments. C.S. Bliss was a member of the National Union from which he received correspondence from Frederick E. Smith, the organization’s financial secretary. In 1893, C.S. Bliss and Company subscribed for a yearly subscription to the Richard Armstrong Boy Line and Fire Boat Company for fire boat services. There are also letters concerning Bliss rental properties in Beaverton and West Branch.
The personal correspondence consists of orders to the Montgomery Ward and Company for personal care and household goods, as well as a draft and a newspaper copy of an obituary for Mrs. Charles O. Quigley, the sister of Charles S. Bliss. The orders to the Montgomery Ward and Company included in this box were made by Mrs. H. Leininger in 1931. There are letters from The North Star Nursery Company in response to Charles S. Bliss interest in the company’s trees and planting services for the family cemetery lot in Marcellon, Wisconsin. There are letters from the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, the West Branch Lodge No. 376, and the West Branch Methodist Episcopal Church. C.S. Bliss was a member of each of these organizations. There are receipts from the year 1893 from a local Saginaw grocer, hardware and clothing stores, and a jeweler.
Box 140 and 1 legal-size folder, .25 cubic ft., processed by Megan Shaw, consists of Personal and Business correspondence, including receipts and other documents, mostly from 1898. This box largely contains a mixture of contents; most from Mr. Bliss’ company and business correspondence, as well as personal correspondence from both Mr. and Mrs. Bliss and the Bliss Family farm.
The Business correspondence includes miscellaneous insurance papers and receipts, including a large amount of materials related to International Stocks, 1931/1932, from Finland, Peru, Santiago, Poland, Greenland and many others. All these transactions and records occurred through the 2nd National Bank and Trust Company of Saginaw, Michigan.
Of note in Bliss Insurance papers, 1898, 1931 folder are papers referring to Mr. Bliss’ employment of a minor, Beatrice McClung. Letters from the Michigan State Accident fund, Lansing, Michigan, mention labor laws and compensation of minor laws, along with the requirement of obtaining a school permit to legally work, as mandated by the Dept. of Labor and Industry. (Beatrice McClung may be found on Ancestry, born in 1915 and living in West Branch, Michigan. This law referred to is 149 Dept. of Labor and Industry section 8325 Women and children employment, subsection 10 employment of minors; Michigan Compiled Laws 149. 8325 (10), 1929.)
The Saginaw Financing Corporation, Business correspondence, (legal-size folder) list miscellaneous loans, expense and earned interest on notes, mortgages, and Mr. Bliss’ overall real estate earnings, June-November 1931.
The Bliss Farm, 1898 folder contains nine items pertaining to the care and housing of horses including Livery and Boarding stables, horseshoeing, and veterinary care. Personal house and receipts correspondence provide insight on house materials (especially paint records and receipts), reading habits of Mr. Bliss, and his personal interests, such as the renting and repairing bicycles notice addressed Dr. Geo. W. Emendorfer, an agent for the “Detroit Free Press.” (see Bliss Personal, house and receipts, 1898-1931 folder); and $25 Bliss spent purchasing a copy of George W. Hotchkiss and Co., “A history of the Lumber Interests” (in the same folder).
The Mrs. Bliss folder contains four items on her Miscellaneous fine shoe and boot purchases, mainly from Saginaw Michigan, and one from Detroit. Two other items are an outstanding balance for fine china, and a Purchasing receipt of “Pure, Upriver Ice Above Sewerage.”
Boxes 141-142, .75 cubic ft., processed by Casey Peacock, includes Pay Orders for Van or Vanderbilt lumber camp, organized alphabetically by surname, and include pay orders to three wives, Mrs. William Westface, Mrs. C. Smith, and Mrs. O. Miner. The pay orders document that two men, Sam Flock and O. Miner, moved from worker to foreman positions, 1899-1900.
Box 142 of C.S. Bliss Lumber Company records include both business and personal correspondence, 1899-1901, and 1931-1932. Personal correspondence includes an invitation to Mr. Bliss to the dedication of 40 acres of pine forest planted in memory of his brother, Governor Aaron T. Bliss, 1931. Other personal correspondence includes personal letters to Gertie and Mr. Bliss and letters to Mr. Bliss’s father and letters to friends. Business correspondence includes: rental and insurance information, tax information on Bliss farm in Alger, Michigan.
Box #143 is unprocessed.
Processing Note for Boxes:
The first year of processing, the contents of 3.5 cubic ft. boxes, which were densely packed, were distributed in .5 cubic ft. boxes to each student. During processing, these boxes expanded into 10.75 cubic feet. This continued to happen for several years. Beginning in 2018/2019 students retained fewer materials yearly because we already had a very solid collection of various types of records, formats and business and personal relationships documented. In seven years, eight classes, my students and I have processed a total of 143 boxes and 42 folders or 61 cubic ft. of C. S. Bliss records.
Withdrawn materials include: peripheral materials, generic correspondence, blanks, miscellaneous notes and doodles, illegible materials, reading materials. Acidic, dirty, or moldy materials were photocopied and removed from the collection and the copies were retained. By 2016 enough of a sample of receipts and bills was process so we no longer retain them during processing. Totals of cubic feet of withdrawn materials for the classes include: 2013: 1 cubic ft.; 2014: 1.5 cubic ft.; 2015: 1.5 cubic ft.; 2016: 2 cubic feet; 2017: 3 cubic feet; Spring 2018: 3 cubic feet; Fall 2018: 2 cubic feet; Fall 2019: 1.5 cubic feet.
To be processed: As of Fall 2020, approximately 12 cubic feet of manuscripts remain to be processed, which date through 1930.
Materials are mostly organized into chronological and alphabetical order within the collection and within the boxes. The processed materials are arranged and described as individual project completed by individual students, following a standard template and instructions.
Scope and Contents Notes and Box and Folder Listings, as well as occasional biographical information, are separately described by each student processor for their final class project with some editing provided by the archivist.
Approximately 12 cubic feet of manuscripts and several hundred oversized volumes remain to be processed. An inventory of the unprocessed boxes and volumes is available in the Clarke Historical Library.
Oversized Volumes Processing Note:
Challenges with processing this collection were the dirtiness of all the volumes and the weight of some of the larger volumes. The dirtiness could be contributed mostly to the disintegration of a lot of the covers leaving an orange powder on hands and clothes. Processing of the collection began October 3rd, 2014 and ended December 3, 2014. The most time consuming part of processing this collection was completing the inventory. Much of the volumes contained poor handwriting or blurred type that was difficult to decipher. Dates were left out of a few of the volumes Some of the Check Stub books contained a lot of small, rusty pins or paperclips that had to be carefully removed from the volumes pages. Also, there was a check stub book in the collection that would not open more than a few centimeters and forcing it would have been imprudent. There was very little to weed out of the collection, just roughly 22 sheets of scratch paper was removed.