Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
A. & H. Jenkins Collection, 1847-1851

Duane Norman Diedrich Collection

Finding aid created by
Cheney J. Schopieray, January 2009

Summary Information
Title: A. & H. Jenkins collection
Creator: A. & H. Jenkins
Inclusive dates: 1847-1851
Extent: 10 items
Abstract:
The A. & H. Jenkins collection is made up of incoming correspondence to this Baltimore, Maryland, furniture manufacturing/undertaking firm, headed by Anthony H. and Henry W. Jenkins. These letters contain requests for contracts and details about prices, bills, and accounts for various types of furniture.

Language: The material is in English.
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1989, 1992, 1994. M-2470, M-2891.18, M-3046.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

A. & H. Jenkins collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.


History

Michael Jenkins and Thomas Combs started a cabinet-making and undertaking firm in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1799 (located on Light Street as early as 1802). The shop was taken over by his son, Anthony H. Jenkins, after his death in 1832. Baltimore City Directories from the 1830s to the 1850s alternately refer to the business as "Anthony H. Jenkins," "A. & A. H. Jenkins," "A. H. Jenkins," and "A. & H. Jenkins," reflecting a joint ownership with his brother, Henry Worthington Jenkins, beginning in 1837. Although listed as "cabinet makers," A. & H. Jenkins manufactured chairs, tables, bookshelves, altars, piano benches, and operated jointly as an undertaking firm. A. & H. Jenkins were recognized for their fine funeral services and assisted with the burial of many prominent persons. The elaborate and ornate coffin they constructed for the interment of John Quincy Adams was especially impressive.

In 1857, Anthony dropped out of the partnership while his brother continued the business. Henry W. Jenkins brought his son, Thomas Warner Jenkins, into the family business in 1864. After Henry's death in 1878, Thomas partnered with his brother, William F. Jenkins. Thomas' sons entered the firm in 1898, and in 1904, they closed the furniture-making department to focus on the funeral business. Though eventually sold out of the family, the Henry W. Jenkins & Sons funeral home continued to operate until January 2009, when it became part of the Evans Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services, established in 1865.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The A. & H. Jenkins collection is made up of 10 incoming letters (1847-1851) to this Baltimore, Maryland, furniture making/undertaking firm (headed by Anthony H. and Henry W. Jenkins). The correspondence contains requests for contracts and details about prices, bills, and accounts for various types of furniture. The collection offers some insight into the business' clientele, such as their particular furniture needs and specifications about materials and design, their geographical locations (from as far away as Charlestown, Virginia), and various circumstances respecting bills and overdue payments.

Short excerpts from two letters illustrate content. One regards delayed payment from a Charlestown, Virginia, Episcopal Church for a desk and pulpit: "The loss of our beautiful church with all its furniture has been a distressing dispensation to us & compelled us to delay, longer than we desired…" (May 7, 1849). Another, from Revered E. C. McGuire at Fredericksburg, Virginia, provides specifications for the construction of a table ($25.00) and chairs ($24.00 each) made with "crimson plush" rather than "crimson damask" (January 29, 1849).

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Cabinetmakers--Maryland--Baltimore.
    • Furniture--Maryland--Baltimore.
    • Furniture--United States--History--19th century.
    Contributors:
    • Jenkins, Anthony Hearn, ca. 1810-1884
    • Jenkins, Henry Worthington, 1814-1878
    Genre Terms:
    • Correspondence.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    A. & H. Jenkins collection,  1847-1851 [series]:
     
      1847 November 9 . Chester B. White ALS to A. & H. Jenkins; Fredericksburg, Virginia.
    Requesting a contract to manufacture rosewood and mahogany piano stools (includes response, which details the costs of manufacture). A printed, illustrated "Chester B. White, Bookseller & Stationer…" advertisement is located on the letter's cover.
     
      1847 November 20 . Chester B. White ALS to A. & H. Jenkins; Fredericksburg, Virginia.
    Request for the manufacture of piano stools, which he would like sent by the steamer Mary Washington . Written on "White's Bookstore" stationery.
     
      1848 August 22 . Alex[ande]r Jones ALS to A. & H. Jenkins; Charlestown, [Virginia].
    Regarding payment for a pulpit and desk, furnished for the Episcopal Church in Charlestown.
     
    [before   1848 November 20 ]. Rich[ard] Baylor ALS to A. & H. Jenkins; Loretto, [Virginia].
    Baylor states that he has not received Mr. Long's illustration of a bookcase or the estimated cost of its manufacture. Request for another copy.
     
      1848 November 20 . Rich[ar]d Baylor ALS to A. & H. Jenkins; Loretto, Virginia.
    Baylor has received Mr. Long's sketches and wishes to have it built (at $200.00). Includes an additional request for a sofa ($45.00) and six chairs ($7.50 each).
     
      1849 January 29 . Rev. E. C. McGuire ALS to A. & H. Jenkins. Fredericksburg, [Virginia].
    Regarding the construction of a table and chairs and requesting that crimson plush should be used, rather than the crimson damask.
     
      1849 May 7 . N[athl] S. White ALS to A. & H. Jenkins; Charlestown, [Virginia].
    On behalf of the Episcopal Church, White expresses appreciation for A. & H. Jenkins' forbearance, iterating that the loss of their church and its furniture has compelled them to delay longer than they had desired.
     
      1850 December 6 . William A. Billups ALS to A. & H. Jenkins; Mathews County, [Virginia?].
    Billups expresses appreciation for A. & H. Jenkins' patience respecting his bill. Also includes a query respecting the purchase of a looking glass.
     
      1850 December 18 . Rev. Harvey Stanley ALS to A. & H. Jenkins; St. Mary's County, Maryland.
    The reverend states that Captain Bayre will present this letter, which contains specifications for the completion of an altar and railing.
     
      1851 August 23 . Henry [Britten?] ALS to A. & H. Jenkins; New York.
    Enclosing a bill for mahogany board and plank [actual bill not present].
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Briggs, Francis Chickering (1833-1908), Hampton University Archives, William R. & Norma B. Harvey Library, Hampton Virginia.

    Henry W. Jenkins & Son. Drawings, 1845-1902. Disc of 135 drawings of furniture. Winterthur Library.

    Henry W. Jenkins & Son. Photographic prints. Winterthur Library.

    Bibliography

    Hill, John H. Furniture Designs of Henry W. Jenkins & Sons Co. . Winterthur Portfolio, vol. 5. University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Inc., 1969.

    Weidman, Gregory R. Furniture in Maryland 1740-1904 . Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1984.