William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Henry Black Papers, 1863-1872
Naomi Herman-Aplet and Meg Hixon, December 2011
Henry Black papers
0.5 linear feet
The Henry Black papers contain personal and business correspondence addressed to Black, primarily concerning life on his family's farm in Carrollton, Illinois, and the marketing and sale of Black's patented hay harvesting machine. The collection also holds several pamphlets offering advice for patent-seekers in the mid-1860s.
Language: The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Henry Black papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
- Series I: Correspondence
- Subseries I: Personal correspondence
- Subseries II: Business correspondence
- Series II: Printed material
Each series and subseries is arranged chronologically.
Henry Black was born in Illinois ca. 1836, and lived in Carrollton, Illinois, with his parents, William and Caroline, who owned a farm. His siblings included John W., Catherine, and Alice. In 1864, he moved temporarily to Pacheco, California, where he worked on a farm, and in 1866 he returned to Carrollton and received a patent for a pulley used in hay harvesting. He spent the next several years marketing and selling his machine in the Midwest and South. He committed suicide in 1878.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Henry Black papers contain personal and business correspondence addressed to Black, primarily concerning life on his family's farm in Carrollton, Illinois, and the marketing and sale of Black's patented hay harvesting machine. Personal correspondence dates almost exclusively to the Civil War era, though Black's correspondents only mentioned the war in passing; his sister Alice, parents, and cousins focused on farm life in Carrollton, and passed along news of family and friends while Henry worked in California. Black's cousin, Edward B. Hobson, wrote several letters about his studies at Shurtleff College in Alton, Illinois. Albert Gregory, another cousin, described his family's passage from San Francisco to Panama, where they saw several volcanoes and other exotic sights (March 8, 1863). Business correspondence comprises the bulk of the collection, and relates primarily to Black's hay harvesting pulley, which he marketed and sold throughout the Midwest and South. One early letter from James Hill in New Hampshire regards Hill's harness business, including wartime prices for his products and a printed circular offering his manufactured goods to military officials (December 2, 1864). The remainder of the material contains inquiries about Hay's machine, orders for the equipment, and positive feedback from customers. A series of later letters from the U. S. Wind Engine & Pump Company respond to Black's own inquiries about their windmills and other farm equipment.
Printed material includes 6 pamphlets about the process of obtaining a United States patent, a call for advertisers for the Boston Cultivator, and a request for sales agents for the Osage Orange Hedge Plants Company.
- Agricultural implements.
- Agriculture--United States--History.
- Carrollton (Ill.)
- Haying equipment.
- Patents--United States.
- Black, Alice.
- Black, Caroline.
- Gregory, Albert.
- Hobson, Edward Black.
- Circulars (fliers)
- Letters (correspondence)
| Container / Location
Personal correspondence [subseries]:
January 1863-August 1871
Business correspondence [subseries]:
1863-1872 and undated
Printed Material [series]:
1866 and undated
Additional Descriptive Data
Black, Henry. "Improved Hoisting-Apparatus." Patent 57,850. 11 September 1866.