Monday, February 29, 2016

Research Library Update, 2/29/2016

Today saw more progress at the Research Library. Most of the focus was on cleaning and organizing containers of letters and invoices from about 1896 to 1916. The cabinet containing these volumes was a lot like a circus clown car- no matter how much we removed from the cabinet there never seemed to be an end to it. Here's about half of what was organized and cleaned. These will ultimately be in archival storage boxes and protected from light damage:

So what's in these boxes? Just about every invoice and piece of correspondence that came to Noble & Cooley. It is an amazing collection of business documents as well as customer letters and even appeals from other companies urging Noble & Cooley to invest in their gold and silver mines. Here's just one example from 1907:

The 1892 catalog yielded these specification sheets for rolling hoop toys:

And what kind of archive collection wouldn't still have original examples of the real thing, these equipped with bells?

On the more human side of the business correspondence is the following letter to Mr. Noble from a doting mother expressing how much joy her young son derived from his Noble & Cooley drum, and looking to purchase another for "a little poor child" (click on the images to view larger versions). As touching as the letter is, Mr. Noble was not so emotionally moved as to forget to send her the bill!

Letter from Mary H. Scott Davis, December 12, 1907
Reply from Noble & Cooley, with notation from Mrs. Davis, enclosing payment.
On a different topic, our recent eBay auctions brought in nearly $100 toward the needed inventory software so we'll be auctioning a few more duplicate items from the archives collection. If you bid on any of the items NCCHP greatly appreciates your help!

Friday, February 12, 2016


UPDATE 2/21/16: Our first 2 eBay auctions ended February 21st and produced good results. The current auction is for another 1905 Catalogue so if you missed out on the first auction you have a second chance to bid by CLICKING HERE.

ORIGINAL ANNOUNCEMENT 2/12/16: As the NCCHP Research Library begins to inventory the massive (seriously) Noble & Cooley company archives we're coming across multiple copies of a few historic items. Enough in fact that we can retain and preserve multiple duplicates in the archives and still feel comfortable selling a few extra copies with proceeds benefitting NCCHP.

So we're piloting a benefit auction approach on eBay where items are auctioned and 100% of the sale proceeds benefit NCCHP. This approach assures the widest audience, with the added benefit of attracting interest in NCCHP among people who are unaware of the museum and mission. The other good news is that as a registered charity eBay and PayPal are very supportive of benefit auctions and have significantly reduced their fees for us.

Now the fun part- our first two auctions are running now [ed. note: the first 2 auctions ended successfully on 2/21/16]. The first is a 68 page 1905 N&C catalogue complete with a 5 page Supplement. The second item is a 62 page 1909 N&C Catalogue.



As they say in the auction biz, "Bid high and bid often!" but most importantly, bid knowing that 100% of the item proceeds will benefit NCCHP. Thanks!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Update on Research Library Progress

Although "life" distracted our two primary Research Library volunteers this winter, progress has been steady and in the right direction. The first forays into the actual trove of historic material began on February 6, 2016 with some very interesting finds. A picture is worth a thousand words so here are a few of the more interesting items:

Original artwork for toy drum, depicting a scene from the Revolutionary War, #5515.
Copyright Noble & Cooley.

More patriotic-themed original artwork, #5514. Copyright Noble & Cooley.

Civil War themed original artwork for Noble & Cooley toy drum, #5483.
Copyright Noble & Cooley.

Spanish American War theme (?) with Uncle Sam, #5513. Copyright Noble & Cooley.

Two of many old Noble & Cooley accounting books.

1893 phone book; back when the book contained ALL the phone company's customers!

Reminder: The Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that depends on contributions. To join please visit or to make a charitable donation CLICK HERE.

NEWS: We are considering generating document conservation funds by auctioning some very rare duplicate items on ebay. If we proceed with the auction approach it will be the first time the items have left the Noble & Cooley factory archives in over 100 years. Stay tuned to the Research Library blog for updates. 

NCCHP 8th Annual Ice Harvest

The extraordinarily mild winter didn't stop NCCHP's 8th Annual Ice Harvest, held at the museum on February 6th under a sunny, deep blue sky. The newly fallen snow and temperatures just above freezing added the right touch to make it a perfect, comfortable New England winter day.

The pond ice measured around 3" so ice-cutting demonstration was cancelled but more than made up for as the Director of the Storrowtown Village Museum described the history of ice harvesting and described the functions of various ice harvesting tools. This year's turnout was on the light side largely due to the mild winter and poor condition of the ice, but interest was high among all who attended.

The other hit of the day was Blue Star Equiculture Farm's display which included two very beautiful and formidable working horses. Various demonstrations of the horses' working skills were held, followed by a riding demonstration as what looked like two very tiny humans climbed up some steps onto the backs of the two Goliath-sized horses. They walked around the Noble & Cooley parking area for a bit then charged side-by-side up and down the road in an impressive display of speed, skill, and poetry in motion.


Museum tours were held, and all-in-all it was a great day for those who came to the museum for an afternoon of celebrating "living history" and the community spirit of the farm communities and industrial villages that were common in so many New England towns. 

If you missed the event this year please make a note to visit Granville next year for the 2017 ice harvest!