Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
American Fur Company Records

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: American Fur Company Records,
Creator: American Fur Company Records.
Inclusive dates: 1810-1848
Extent: .25 cubic feet (in 1 box)
Photocopies made from 2 reels of microfilm of company related materials including correspondence (copies), index card, and finding aids (copies) of other, related collections.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# none

Access Restrictions:

American Fur Company Records are open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

American Fur Company Records, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


The collection is organized alphabetically and chronologically.


Organizational History:

The American Fur Company was founded in 1808 by John Jacob Astor (1763-1848). It eventually held a monopoly on fur trade throughout the Great Lakes, with the Company head quarters in Mackinac and a branch in Detroit, Michigan. The Company dealt in trade goods, fining, ore transportation, and other related business interests. Astor sold out his shares in 1834 to Ramsay Crooks. The Company went bankrupt in 1847.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This is an artificial collection of related materials, pulled together by topic. Included in the records are correspondence to/from Samuel Abbott, who served as the Collector at Michilimackinac (1812-?) and as manager for the Company, 1812-1848 (and longer?). Some of the correspondence is from James Abbott, Samuel’s brother, who was also a manager for the Company in the Detroit, Michigan, area. (There is no further information available on the Abbotts.) Other records include expense accounts for transportation to the Council in the summer of 1825. The Shipping / Receiving book provides good information of prices paid per pelt, for everything from mink to rat skins. There is an Indenture of Mortgage signed by John Jacob Astor, 1827, in the Mortgage Records, and a Capital Stock certificate of the Mackinac, Lake Superior Copper Company, 1845, in the Correspondence. These materials are all photocopies made from 2 reels of microfilm.

Additionally, there are index cards to assist researchers using the records. The related American Fur Company business records of Mackinac Island, Michigan, to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1817-1834, are available on microfilm at the Clarke, as are books about the Company.

See also numerous related reels of microfilm on the American Fur Company, the Mackinac Island Collection, and the Abraham Wendell Collection.

On April 13, 2001, the paper collection, which had been on deposit at the Clarke, was returned to Mackinac State Historic Parks as part of the Sault Sainte Marie Collection. The microfilm of this American Fur Company Collection is at the Clarke, Reels 1-2, Microfilm MSS F-52.

Subject Terms

    • American Fur Company Records.
    • Livingstone, John R.
    • Barbeau, Peter B., 1800-1882.
    • Franchere, Gabriel, 1786-1863.
    • Johnston, George, 1796-1861.
    • Scranton, Myron W..
    • Biddle, Edward.
    • Carleton, Guy H., 1819-1895.
    • Fur trade--Great Lakes Region (North America)
    • Indians of North America--Great Lakes Region (North America)
    • Sault Sainte Marie (Mich.)--History.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    American Fur Company Records. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Checkbook stubs, 1820-1822
    Box   1 F   2
    Correspondence (folder 1 of 2), undated, 1810-1830, 1842-1848
    Box   1 F   3
    Correspondence (folder 2 of 2), undated, 1810-1830, 1842-1848
    Box   1 F   4
    Expenses for the transportation of Indians, 1825
    Box   1 F   5
    Mortgage Records, 1827
    Box   1 F   6
    Receipts, 1811-1843
    Box   1 F   7
    Shipping papers, 1822
    Box   1 F   8
    Shipping / Receiving book, 1835-1843