McClanahan, John King
Archive of Business and Family Correspondence and Ephemera of the family of John King McLanahan, of Hollidaysburg, Blair County, Pennsylvania, and their various companies, 1882-1936

Large archive of 4075 letters, 5235 pages, dated 27 September 1882 to 17 March 1936; with over 3500 pieces of related ephemera.

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The collection contains correspondence from three generations of the various McLanahan family related businesses: Blair Limestone Company, Juniata Limestone Company, Keystone Manganese and Iron Company, Lawrence Ore Banks – Pinkney Mine, McLanahan & Stone Machine Company, Price & McLanahan Architects, St. Clair Limestone Company, Whiteside & McLanahan Real Estate, & Woodbury Clay Company, etc.

The bulk of the correspondence up to 1918 focuses on J. King McLanahan, and after his death the archive continues with correspondence of his sons, J. Craig McLanahan and Martin Hawley McLanahan, who both figure prominently in the collection, and his grandson.

The collection comprises a large amount of business correspondence of companies that did business with the McLanahan family companies, many of them in the steel and iron industry, or coal and transportation, industrial machinery, as well as banking, insurance and law. There are also letters of grocers, nurseries, department stores, clothing and furnishings, etc., which would appear to be of a more personal nature.  (For a more detailed list of correspondents see below).

The collection also includes many family letters written between J. King McLanahan, his wife, and their children, as well as grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews, or siblings of McLanahan.

Overall, the collection offers great insight into the development and early years of this great American manufacturing company, which was founded in the mid-19th Century and is still in business today, albeit with a different name, however a fifth generation of the McLanahan family is still with the company, in Hollidaysburg to this day.  

History of the McLanahan Family and Companies

James McClenaghen emigrated from Northern Ireland in 1734 to the American mainland due to religious persecution. Upon his arrival in the Thirteen Colonies, McClenaghen purchased a great deal of land in Pennsylvania and began his life anew.

Following the Revolutionary War, the family name changed to McLanahan and a son, James Craig McLanahan (1794-1865), was born on 22 May 1794. In 1810, James Craig traveled north to Blair County, Pennsylvania from his family farm near Greencastle, Pennsylvania, and began his career in the iron industry. He started by keeping the books for his uncle’s foundry near Williamsburg (Cove Forge, as it was known).

After his work at his uncle’s foundry, James Craig took another job managing a larger forger in Spruce Creek before becoming the manager of operations at one of the area’s largest forges, Bedford Forge. While at Bedford Forge, he was introduced to the owner's daughter, Elizabeth King (1804-1895). The two were married on 15 May 1827.

In 1835, looking for an opportunity to move into the ownership side of the forge business, James Craig took on two investment partners (known only by their last names), Evans and Devine, and bought majority ownership in a foundry operation.

McLanahan, Evans, and Devine created the Bellerophon Foundry in Gaysport, Pennsylvania. Named after a hero from an ancient Greek legend, the Bellerophon Foundry quickly experienced ownership changes when Devine was bought out by Michael Kelley. Kelley’s small machine and blacksmith shop paired with Bellerophon and the business began to expand. In 1848, McLanahan bought out his original partner, Evans. Together with his remaining partner Kelley, the men moved the foundry into a canal warehouse situated on a riverbank in Gaysport, renaming the business Kelley and McLanahan.

In 1849, at the age of 21, James Craig's oldest son, John King McLanahan (1828-1918) known as “King,” joined the family business, running the operations as manager. He married Mary Anne Martin (1832-1903), daughter of John Martin (1805-1864) and his wife Amanda (1804-1865).

Prior to joining the family business, King had worked as a clerk for Pennsylvania millionaire Dr. Peter Shoenberger, who had vast investments in mining and iron ore refining. At the age of 16, this allowed King to learn the business of iron ore refining and iron furnaces.

When King was 17, James Craig sent him off to Philadelphia for a three-year apprenticeship with Baldwin Locomotive Works. After completing the program, King supervised the construction of a steam locomotive for use by the Pennsylvania Canal Company.

In 1850, less than a year after King joined the company, the Kelley and McLanahan foundry burned down at a total loss. Undaunted, King and his father designed a bigger and better foundry building. The operation resumed in 1851, and production returned to expected levels.

When King left the company in 1852, James Craig hired Colonel William Stone to take over King's role as foundry foreman. Stone, who had previously been in charge of moulding at the George R. McFarland Foundry in Hollidaysburg, would come to play a key role in the company.

King McLanahan came back to the company in 1855, using his expertise to design and sell blast furnaces and steam boilers for other manufacturers in the region. Building this machinery in Hollidaysburg, the foundry became the first successful coke furnace to make foundry metal in the United States.

James Craig McLanahan had taken on various partners over the years, leading to changing names, but in 1858, J. King McLanahan and Colonel William Stone bought out the investors and renamed the foundry McLanahan and Stone. This partnership with the McLanahan and Stone family would span generations and proved a beneficial one.

Samuel Calvin McLanahan (1842-1928), King's younger brother, had previously worked for the family company at the age of 14, managing the company's books. Some accounts credit him with organizing the first accounting system for the company. In 1860, he was hired by his brother as an apprentice.

Three years later, Samuel Calvin left to join the Civil War as an engineer in the United States Navy. The scope of the business would change greatly during the war years. As the American Civil War got underway a year later, production and revenue rose thanks to the increased demand for war materials, but on 31 March 1863, disaster struck again. In those days, it was common practice to embed molds for large items into the foundry floor. A flood caused the river to rise and water seeped into the building and found a mold filled with hot iron. An enormous explosion followed, leveling the entire foundry and shop areas adjacent to it.

J. King McLanahan, James Craig McLanahan, and William Stone worked to survey the damage and find a future for the company. Instead of rebuilding, McLanahan and Stone continued operations in a small temporary foundry. In the meantime, they purchased the foundry, two brick buildings and all the equipment from the Portage Railroad Car and Locomotive Repair Shop in Gaysport. By September 1863, the new facility was ready for use and operations were moved in. This property continues today as the current location of the company’s headquarters.

The Civil War came to an end in April 1865. Not long after, family patriarch and company founder James Craig McLanahan passed away at the age of 71.

At this time, company leadership passed to King and Col. Stone. With the help of various investors taken on during this time, King and Stone installed retort coke ovens, which enabled the production of a purer form of iron, while recovering impurities and byproducts. This cutting-edge technology allowed the company to enter new markets, including the casting and manufacture of forge hammers, iron heating and cooking stoves, plows, furnaces, and other products.

Samuel Calvin McLanahan was discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1869 and returned to the company. King continued to manage all operations, while Andrew Stone, son of Col. Stone, worked as foundry foreman. After Samuel Calvin’s return from military service he was made the shop foreman. King continued to run operations into the late 19th century along with Samuel Calvin. While King was still technically a part of the company, he was not at the foundry often because he held a variety of other business interests.

During that time, partners Andrew T. Stone and William Bayley worked as foundry foreman and ran the office, respectively. As the years progressed, Samuel Calvin essentially took over (though King retained the position of President) and steered the company toward the production of heavy machinery, focusing primarily on the mining industry. With Samuel Calvin’s ascension, the company was stable and prosperous again following the recession of the late-19th century.

As the company expanded, they shifted from on-order production to making machinery that others sought out. They introduced the Ore Jig and created the first Log Washers. Under Samuel Calvin, the company designed and sold a variety of other machines, still primarily marketed and produced for the mining industry.

In 1881, fire destroyed the machine shop and its patterns for casting work. Fires were not uncommon for the company at the time, but this one was particularly devastating. Samuel Calvin's determination to get the company back in shape resulted in him leasing a temporary machine shop while he rebuilt the destroyed shop and installed new machinery. During this time, the company did not lose a single order.

The company experienced relative stability in the 1880s. In 1889, John King McLanahan, Jr. (1871-1926), son of King McLanahan, joined the company as a machinist’s apprentice. Over time, the plant continued to expand and the federal patent for the Log Washer was obtained.

In 1894, the Single Roll Crusher was created, an innovative and extremely successful machine for the company.

C. “Ward” McLanahan (1883-1974), son of Samuel Calvin McLanahan, led an illustrious young life. Not only did he study at Yale, but he also set the world record (since eclipsed) for pole vaulting. In 1904, Ward placed fourth as a member of the U.S. Olympic Pole-Vaulting team at the Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri. He married Genevieve Jackson Hesser (1884-1980) and would soon join the family company.

The McLanahan Company prospered into the early 20th century during the boom of the American Industrial Revolution. This period transitioned into World War I, which once again saw a production rise thanks to the demand for war materials. During this time, the company’s manufacturing processes began converting from steam engines to motorized electrical power.

In 1918, a fire destroyed the shops and damaged many facilities but gave the company an opportunity to update their machinery and convert to electrical power. Following WWI, McLanahan emerged as a nationally-recognized leader in heavy equipment fabrication and applications, but J. King McLanahan died late in the year.

In 1928, after holding a variety of other positions elsewhere, Ward McLanahan joined the family business, the same year that his father Samuel Calvin McLanahan passed away.

Taking over as General Manager, Ward was still a new to his leadership role in the company when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression ensued. Ward managed to keep the company afloat during these perilous years by pledging his own personal financial resources to compensate for the company’s lack of ability to pay taxes, which kept the company operating and many people in the local community employed.

As America began to emerge from the Depression, World War II gave McLanahan Corporation the opportunity to return to full deployment due to the war’s massive demand for heavy machinery. Following WWII, the company hired a string of employees who would eventually become incredibly important members of the decision-making team at McLanahan.  In 1946, Robert Brown, eventual Vice President and Production Manager, was hired as a sales engineer. Roy Rumbaugh, future President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, was hired as an engineer.b

McLanahan saw the debts incurred in no small part due to the Great Depression paid off, as well as improvements in production, facilities, and the implementation of employee benefit plans. In 1957, Michael McLanahan began his work with the company. Ward’s son Craig was named President of the company in 1961, as Ward became Chairman of the Board of Directors — essentially he first step towards phasing himself out of the company.

In the late 1950s and 1960s, Ward reorganized the company and consolidated leadership. The company officially was named the McLanahan Corporation. The company today is still in business and still based in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. Michael W. McLanahan, of the fifth generation of the family, is the Chairman of the Board.

         Some of the Correspondents in the Archive are:

Abendroth & Root Manufacturing Company – 11 letters, 12 pp., dated 1894-1896; Abendroth & Root Manufacturing Company were a manufacturer of water heaters, water tanks, and other sanitation equipment. Founded in Newburgh, New York, in 1866, they entered the automobile business in 1906. Using the name Frontenac, they catered to the upper middle class, featuring large-displacement four-cylinder engines. Only twelve were built the first year. Production peaked at 100 vehicles per year in 1907 and dropped off from there until production ended in 1913. As a result, the company abandoned the effort and returned to their original business.

American Iron & Steel Association – 12 letters, 12 pp., dated 1893-1911; the need for an organization "to take all proper measures for advancing the interests of the trade in all its branches" led ironmasters, clustered mainly in the East, to establish the American Iron Association in 1855. That year, world pig iron production amounted to seven million tons. In 1864, with the introduction of the Bessemer steelmaking process in the United States, the Association, then headquartered in Philadelphia, changed its name to the American Iron and Steel Association (AISA). Early in the twentieth century, as the industry experienced explosive growth, its leaders saw the need for an organization to supplement the largely statistical activities carried on by AISA. That led to the founding of the American Iron and Steel Institute in 1908, with Elbert H. Gary as its first chief executive. From 1908 to 1912, the Institute and the Association functioned side by side. But on January 1, 1913, the Association was merged into the New York - based Institute. 

Thomas C. Bates – 16 letters, 28 pp., dated 1888-1902; along with D.H. Fanning & H.H. Fairbanks, he was one of the proprietors of Worcester Corset Company, Worcester, Massachusetts, manufacturers of corsets.

Bethlehem Steel Company – 30 letters, 30 pp., dated 1931-1933; the Bethlehem Steel Corporation (commonly called Bethlehem Steel) was a steel and shipbuilding company that began operations in 1904 and was America's second-largest steel producer and largest shipbuilder.

Blair Limestone Co., Hollidaysburg, PA - owned 85 acres of limestone lands near Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. Its quarries had an annual capacity of about 600,000 tons. A controlling interest in Blair Limestone Company was owned by Jones and Laughlin Steel Company, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which owned numerous steel related companies. Several of the letters in this collection are written on the letterhead of Blair Limestone Company.

Cambria Iron Company – 12 letters, 13 pp., dated 1885-1900, the Cambria Iron Company of Johnstown, Pennsylvania was a major 19th-century industrial producer of iron and steel. Founded in 1852, it had the nation's largest steel foundry in the 1870s, and was renamed the Cambria Steel Company in 1898. The company used many innovations in the steelmaking process, including those of William Kelly and Henry Bessemer. The company was acquired in 1923 by the Bethlehem Steel Company. It later became the Cambria Steel Company. P. E. Chapin was the general manager with E.Y. Townsend as president.

Cambria Steel Company – 30 letters, 31 pp., dated 1907-1932; works at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, general offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Canan-Knox Supply Company – 11 letters, 11 pp., dated 1914; located at Altoona, Pennsylvania, dealers in Builders’ Supplies, Terra Cotta Goods, Cement, Lime, Sand, Plaster, Brick, Crushed Stone, etc. L.M. Canan and S.T. Knox.

Carbon Valley Coal Company – 3 letters, 3 pp., dated 1895; producers of Coal and Coke, offices at Allentown, Pennsylvania, works at Jasper, Alabama.

Carnegie Steel Company – 125 letters, 126 pp., dated 1895-1914; Carnegie Steel Company was a steel-producing company primarily created by Andrew Carnegie and several close associates, to manage businesses at steel mills in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area in the late 19th century. The company formed in 1892 and was subsequently sold in 1901 in one of the largest ever business transactions of the early 20th century, to become the major component of the United States Steel Corporation. The subsequent sale made Carnegie one of the richest men in history.

Philip E. Chapin – 10 letters, 13 pp., dated 1888-1890; Chapin was a superintendent for Cambria Iron Company, Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

E. W. Cole, Nashville, Tennessee – 5 letters, 5 pp., dated 1895-1898; was an American Confederate veteran and businessman. He was the president of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway, and the founder of the American National Bank.

Engineer’s Office U. S. Army 9 letters, 11 pp., dated 1900-1902; the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is a U.S. federal agency under the Department of Defense and a major Army command.

C. R. Fay – 4 letters, 5 pp., dated 1897-1909; Fay Fancy Grocery Company, Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, fancy and staple groceries, boots and shoes, shirts, overalls, etc. Wholesale and retail dealers in flour, feed, salt, lumber, coal, and all kinds of grain, etc.

Fidelity & Casualty Company, Insurance – 20 letters, 21 pp., dated 1895-1898; insurance company located in New York City, New York.

Furst Brothers – 31 letters, 36 pp., dated 1900-1910; a grain, flour, feed, plaster, salt and general merchandise company, located at Cedar Springs, Clinton County, Pennsylvania. The Furst brothers were: L.C. Furst, A.S. Furst, and R. H. Furst.

Dr. T.A. Gardner, New York City, NY – 8 letters, 9 pp., dated 1909; offices of Dr. Gardner, New York City, New York, practice consists of Dr. E. A. Gardner, Prop., Dr. E.E. Gardner, consulting physician, and G.T. Gardner, Secretary.

General Refractories Company – 22 letters, 22 pp., dated 1931-1933; located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

J. B. German – 10 letters, 10 pp., dated 1899-1900; agent of New and Second Hand Machinery, locomotives, engines, boilers, pumps, air compressors, office at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

George W. Gregory, Esq., - 14 letters, 20 pp., dated 1888-1902; attorney at Boston, Massachusetts, successor to Crosby & Gregory, solicitor of American and Foreign Patents.

Harbison-Walker Refractories Company – 89 letters, 90 pp., dated 1931-1933; located at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Harmon, Colston, Goldsmith, & Hoadly – 16 letters, 19 pp., dated 1895-1896; attorneys of Cincinnati, Ohio. Firm consists of: Judson Harmon, Edward Colston, A.W. Goldsmith, & George Hoadly, Jr.

Henry T. Harvey, Esq. – 13 letters, 13 pp., dated 1897-1900; attorney at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.

Home Planters Association, Rochester, New York – 6 letters, 9 pp., dated 1910; located in Rochester, New York. H.B. Philips, Secretary.

Howard Brick Company, Howard, Pennsylvania – 15 letters, 15 pp., dated 1909-1910; manufacturers of Vitrified Shale Paving, Sewer, Foundation and Building Bricks. They were located at Howard, Centre County, Pennsylvania. John P. Weber, president; John Fearon, vice-president; A. Weber, treasurer; and H.A. Moore, secretary. Moon wrote the letters.

G.T. Hughes & Sons – 17 letters, 25 pp., dated 1893-1898; attorneys, Columbia, Tennessee; firm consists of G.T. Hughes and his son L. B. Hughes.

M.C. Ihlseng, - 6 letters, 7 pp., dated 1910; President, Blairsville College, Blairsville, Pennsylvania

Juniata Limestone Company, Williamsburg, Pennsylvania – 6 letters, 6 pp., dated 1897-1910; they were a stone crushing business located at Carlin, Blair County, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Hollidaysburg. The quarries were located on the Williamsburg Railroad about 18 miles from Hollidaysburg. J. King McLanahan was president, Lovell Baldrige -secretary and treasurer; directors were John Manning, Thomas B. Lewis, C.A. Woods, and John Bingaman.

Keystone Manganese and Iron Company – Southern Mine, P.O. Cushman, Arkansas – 95 letters, 110 pp., dated 1887-1902; organized in October of 1885, Keystone Manganese and Iron Company, a Pennsylvania concern, acquired large tracts of land in the Batesville District of Arkansas and became the largest shipper of ore from the area the total production up to 1892 rose to 18,111 tons. J. King McLanahan was President; Craig Hammond, Superintendent, James McMillen, VP; Cyrus Elder, Treasurer; S.P.S. Ellis, Secretary

        Daniel King, Finksburg, Maryland – 8 letters, 11 pp., dated 1894-1896.

Laidlaw, Dunn, Gordon Company, Cincinnati and Hamilton, Ohio – 4 letters, 4 pp., dated 1895-1898; starting out as Cope & Maxell, then becoming The Gordon Steam Pump Company, then Laidlaw, Dunn, Gordon Company, they manufactured Boiler fee water pumps, water works pumping engines, etc.

Lawrence Ore Banks – Pinkney Mine - J. Craig McLanahan was manager of the Lawrence Ore Banks, Pinkney, Tennessee. Lawrence Ore Banks owned the Pinkney Mine, an iron mine in the interior plains of Tennessee, just west of the village of Pinkney. It was first operated by J. Craig McLanahan who leased it from the Lawrence Iron Co., the owner, and its operation was continued by him most of the time until 1900 when his lease expired. The Lawrence Iron Co. operated the mine much of the time from about 1902 to 1912 under the name Pinkney Mining Co. Daniel King was the superintendent for Pinkney Mining Co. McLanahan operated the mine at times with two steam shovels and at other times with three. The crude ore was treated in a washing plant which was supplied with water from Chisholm Creek. The washed ore was shipped to Sheffield, Alabama. McLanahan produced 356,000 tons of iron ore from an area of 12 acres, Pinkney Mining Co. produced 606,500 tons from an area of 25 acres, though part of this output was obtained by reworking the 12 acres of McLanahan. There are several letters on the letterhead of this company, usually written by J. Craig McLanahan.

John H. McGowan Company – 7 letters, 10 pp., dated 1894-1898; tobacco machinery, steam pumps – hand & power, pipe, fittings, belting, hose, general supplies. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, with a branch at Richmond, Virginia. John H. McGowan, president and manager.

McLanahan – Stone Machine Co., Gaysport Foundry, Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania – 10 letters, 11 pp., dated 1895-1933; J. King McLanahan – President; Andrew T. Stone -VP; S.C. McLanahan – Sec’y; H.M. Henshey, Treasurer; Wm. F. Kirk – Manager. Established 1836, incorporated 1900.

Thomas Meehan & Son, nurseries, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– 12 letters, 13 pp., dated 1902-1910; Thomas Meehan was a noted British-born nurseryman, botanist and author. He worked as a Kew gardener in 1846–1848, and thereafter he moved to Germantown in Philadelphia, where he founded a very well-known nursery. He was the founder of Meehan’s Monthly (1891–1901) and editor of Gardener’s Monthly (1859–1888).

Newburger, Henderson & Loeb – 7 letters, 7 pp., dated 1917; Bankers and Brokers, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

North American Refractories Company – 17 letters, 17 pp., dated 1931-1933; located in Cleveland, Ohio. 

  Page Woven Wire Fence Company – 7 letters, 9 pp., dated 1909; offices at Adrian, Michigan; with plants in Adrian, Michigan and Monessen, Pennsylvania; J. Wallace Page, president; A. Clement, vice-president; C.M. Lamb, 2nd vice-president; A.B. Cody, secretary; L.B. Robertson, treasurer; John E. Carr, cashier.

Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 10 letters, 12 pp., dated 1896-1910; the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, commonly referred to as Penn Mutual, was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1847. It was the seventh mutual life insurance company chartered in the United States.

Pennsylvania Railroad – 25 letters, 25 pp., dated 1897-1933; the Pennsylvania Railroad was an American Class I railroad that was established in 1846 and was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The PRR was the largest railroad by traffic and revenue in the U.S. for the first half of the 20th century. Over the years, it acquired, merged with or owned part of at least 800 other rail lines and companies.

Price & McLanahan -Architects, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (see below under Whiteside & McLanahan Real Estate)

Raystown Water Power Company – 9 letters, 11 pp., dated 1910-1917; the 1905 Raystown Dam brought many changes for the Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania area, physically and economically. The Raystown Dam was the first hydroelectric dam to be built on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River and the construction process had fewer financial problems because it was a product of private instead of public enterprise. The first power dam on the Raystown Branch was the product of private enterprise. It was conceived when ten area men formed the Raystown Water Power Company.

Reinecke Coal Company – 13 letters, 15 pp., dated 1894-1896; miners and shippers of Eureka Coal, located in Madisonville, Kentucky, mines on Louisville & Nashville Railroad; C. Reinecke, president; L. Feger, superintendent; I. Bailey, secretary and general manager;

W. K. Saulsbury Furnace Company – 13 letters, 14 pp., dated 1894-1895; located in Sheffield, Alabama.

Repauno Chemical Company Atlas Powder – 16 letters, 18 pp., dated 1894-1896; Lammot du Pont (1831-1884) contributed a spark of innovation to the staid DuPont of the mid-19th century, improving black powder and leading the company into the new field of high explosives. In 1857 Lammot patented "B" blasting powder – also known as soda powder – which used inexpensive Peruvian and Chilean sodium nitrate and made DuPont a major force in the blasting powder industry. He founded the Repauno Chemical Company, which led to the entry of DuPont into high explosives.

Marcus Ruthenburg – 13 letters, 18 pp., dated 1902; a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based engineer. He worked with Henry Hess. Ruthenburg invented an electric furnace peculiarly adapted for smelting and refining ores, as well as designing other furnaces, etc.

Sheffield Coal, Iron & Steel Company, Sheffield, Alabama – 187 letters, 215 pp., dated 1895-1909; the iron and steel department of the company was located in Sheffield, Alabama, and the coal and coke departments in Jasper, Tennessee, with general headquarters in Sheffield. They owned the rights and privileges to 70,000 acres of mineral land in Walker, Winston, Jefferson, and Fayette Counties, and the celebrated Gamble and Elliott mines near Jasper. W.H. Berlin, was one of the principals, and in connection with Samuel Adams and J.H. Hayes, they also owned the Carbon Valley Coal property.

St. Clair Limestone Company - general offices located at Carnegie Building, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; officers at Pittsburg were: D. G. Kerr, President; W.W. Blackburn, Secretary; W.C. McCausland, Treasurer; and James J. Campbell, Auditor and Assistant Secretary. Officer at Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, J. King McLanahan, General Manager. The Clairton Steel Company owned 51 percent of the stock of the St. Clair Limestone Company, which owned 25 ½ acres of limestone lands in Blair County, Pennsylvania, on which were located quarries with an annual capacity of 300,000 tons of limestone. St. Clair was yet another company that J. King McLanahan was involved with. There are several letters in this collection related to this company.

T. A. Shoemaker – 14 letters, 20 pp., dated 1897-1901; was associated with Bellefonte Fuel & Supply Company, located at Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. They were forwarding and commission merchants, and he was in partnership with J. L. Montgomery. They were sales agents also for Lehigh Valley Coal Company and Atlantic Refining Company. Shoemaker was also president of the Centre County Banking Company, also located at Bellefonte. He was also connected with F.H. Clement & Co., contractors.

Spathite Iron Company – 10 letters, 10 pp., dated 1895-1898; was located in Florence, Alabama. J. Overton Ewin was the receiver. The company also owned valuable ore lands in Tennessee. Ewin was also superintendent of the Nashville, Florence, & Sheffield Railroad Company.

Sturtevant Mill Company – 17 letters, 19 letters, dated 1931-1932; Boston, Massachusetts; manufacturers of machinery equipment used for screening, reduction, separating, conveying, and processing.

Taylor & McCoy Coal & Coke Company – 24 letters, 34 pp., dated 1910-1932; located in Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, offices at Baltimore, Martland. The company was engaged in mining and shippers of Gallitzin Bituminous Coal and manufacturers of Superior Coke.

Traveler’s Insurance Company – 5 letters, 5 pp., dated 1897-1902; located in Hartford, Connecticut. George D. Moore, was the state agent for Pennsylvania.

Edward C. Tyson – 31 letters, 39 pp., dated 1908-1915; located at Flora Dale, Pennsylvania; they were an orchard tool and supply company, specializing in Susquehanna Fertilizers and Agricultural Chemicals.

United Clay Mines Corporation – 18 letters, 22 pp., dated 1932-1933; high grade Clay of all kinds, general offices Trenton, New Jersey.

Vesuvius Mining Company – 5 letters, 6 pp., dated 1908; located at Baltimore, Maryland, with Oliver Hoblitzell, president; L. B. Keene Claggett, vice-president, and William W. Hoblitzell, secretary. The company appears to have a lease on land in Missouri, near Carthage, where they mined Zinc.

W.O. Nicklas & Company, 13 letters, 14 pp., dated 1917-1918; carpets, blankets, furniture and wall paper, located in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

John Wanamaker – 5 letters, 5 pp., dated 1896-1917; Department Store, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Booker T. Washington – 2 letters, 2 pp., dated 1909-1910; of The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute for the Training of Colored Young Men and Women, Tuskegee, Alabama. Washington was principal of the school. Washington was an American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African-American community. He was born into slavery. Typed letters, signed by Washington.

Whiteside & McLanahan, Real Estate, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Philadelphia based real estate firm, of which J. King McLanahan’s son, Martin Hawley McLanahan (1865-1929) was one of the principles. There are 64 letters, 97 pp., written by M. “Hawley” McLanahan, dated 13 May 1885 to 6 November 1917 in this collection to his father, with several to his brother and mother. Hawley was trained as an architect at Washington College. He began his career as a real estate developer with the firm of Whiteside & McLanahan, with whom he became associated in 1885. The firm rode the wave of middle-class homeownership in the Philadelphia region. McLanahan married Elsie Schoen (1870-1951), the daughter of industrialist Charles Schoen.

After William Whiteside died in 1890, McLanahan carried on the business; and it was not until January, 1903, that what would be his illustrious and long partnership with William L. Price under the name Price & McLanahan was announced.

A native of Philadelphia, William L. Price (1861-1916) apprenticed to a carpenter before gaining architectural training under Philadelphia architects Addison Hutton and Frank Furness. During his early career (1881-1890s) he was associated with his brother Francis (Frank) as W. L. and F. L. Price, and also with his brother Walter. After the turn of the century William Price became the senior partner in the firm of Price and McLanahan, with M. Hawley McLanahan, an architect and real estate developer. Price planned many commercial buildings and private residences in Philadelphia and elsewhere, and was especially well known for his imposing hotels and other large buildings. He worked in the Shingle Style and the Arts and Crafts mode as well as designing some unusually early and influential works in the geometric style that became known as Art Deco. Among his best known and most spectacular projects were the Art Deco style Traymore Hotel in Atlantic City and the Chicago Freight Terminal.

Price & McLanahan initially occupied an office at 731 Walnut Street. Although Price & McLanahan continued the arts and crafts focus associated with William L. Price, the office also undertook larger projects such as the hotels which were designed for Atlantic City, New Jersey (Blenheim and Traymore Hotels, 1905-06 and 1906, 1914-15, respectively).

This partnership continued until Price's death in 1916. M. Hawley McLanahan continued to use the name after Price's death in 1916 but changed the firm name to McLanahan & Bencker in 1920 to acknowledge the design work of chief draftsman Ralph Bencker. McLanahan & Bencker (with Ralph B. Bencker) continued from 1920 until 1925, when McLanahan returned to independent practice until his death in 1929 while staying at the Traymore Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

McLanahan became a member of the AIA in 1922 and was a member of the Philadelphia Chapter as well. In 1923 his firm, McLanahan & Bencker, won the Philadelphia Chapter, AIA, medal for most meritorious work.

Wood, Morrel & Company – 6 letters, 6 pp., dated 1888-1890; of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, James McMillen, president. The company was a grocery and feed store.

Woodbury Clay Company, Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania – 444 retained copies of outgoing letters, 444 pp., dated 1931-1934; the Woodbury Clay Company were miners and shippers of plastic refractory clay. They worked the clay pits at Oreminea, Blair County, Pennsylvania. The clay pits were served by the Pennsylvania Railroad and they supplied refractory clay to the steel industry. The clay pits were worked by various companies, including the Woodbury Clay Company, the Woodbury Land Company, and the Gallitzin Sand Company, circa 1880-1936. The Woodbury Clay Company appears to have been yet another company of the McLanahan family of the later years.

Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company – 17 letters, 17 pp., dated 1931-1933; located in Youngstown, Ohio; Charles T. Moke, purchasing agent.

Plus: Other business letters to J. King McLanahan and his sons J. Craig McLanahan and J. King McLanahan, Jr., mostly from those companies in the iron, steel, mining, manufacturing, law, banking, insurance fields, as well as other related areas; of these miscellaneous letters, approximately 59 of the letters are not dated, or incomplete, but fall into the timeframe of this collection – 1882 to 1936.

Inventory of the Collection:

Business and Family Correspondence:

24 letters. 46 pp., written by J. King McLanahan to wife and sons, dated 27 September 1882 to 24 March 1917; one letter not dated, one letter incomplete, mostly handwritten, a couple typed.

983 retained copies of typed letters, 1021 pp., dated 13 November 1885 to 30 December 1930; bulk not signed, but appear to have been written (typed) by either J. King McLanahan, or other officers of the McLanahan related companies.

1856 incoming letters, 2314 pp., dated 31 May 1883 to 20 December 1933; these letters are generally addressed to J. King McLanahan, or his companies that he served as president, except those written after his death (1918) which were made out to other companies of the family (Woodbury Clay Company, etc.).

78 letters, 129 pp., of J. Craig McLanahan, dated 2 September 1889 to 10 January 1902; both typed and written; most the letters are written to his father J. King McLanahan.

444 letters, 444 pp., of outgoing typed copies of letters of the Woodbury Clay Company, dated 2 January 1931 to 4 September 1934; not signed, or if signed with name of company.

153 incoming letters, 164 pp., written to the Woodbury Clay Company, dated 14 July 1930 to 11 July 1935.

68 miscellaneous business letters, 114 pp, written by and addressed to individuals besides the McLanahan family members, or companies, dated 30 July 1888 to 17 March 1936;  while the letters are not written to the McLanahan family, or companies, the letters do appear to deal with the McLanahan businesses, customers of the companies, or letters copied and sent to McLanahan.

137 letters, 151 pp., miscellaneous incoming business letters to J. Craig McLanahan, dated 29 December 1888 to 9 June 1898.

64 letters, 97 pp., written by M. “Hawley” McLanahan, dated 13 May 1885 to 6 November 1917; 18 of the letters on the letterhead of Whiteside & McLanahan, real estate; 27 letters on the letterhead of Price & McLanahan, architects; letters are written by Hawley mostly to his father J. King McLanahan, his mother, or brother “Haus.” The letters on the Price & McLanahan letterhead have some mention of the work of Price & McLanahan.

21 letters, 37 pp., written by J. King “Haus” McLanahan, Jr., dated 12 November 1891 to 19 June 1917; of the 21 letters, 20 are written to his father, J. King McLanahan.

17 letters, 17 pp., incoming business letters written to J. King “Haus” McLanahan, Jr., dated 5 January 1896 to 1 October 1925.

19 letters, 58 pp., written by Mrs. Mary McLanahan, wife of J. King McLanahan, dated 17 July 1879 to 16 November 1901; letters are written mostly by Mrs. McLanahan to her husband, with several to her son Hawley.

5 letters, 10 pp., incoming letters written to Mrs. Mary McLanahan, wife of J. King McLanahan, dated 13 August 1884 to 24 May 1899; written by family, friends, and business-related letters.

8 letters, 26 pp., written by Katherine McLanahan, wife of J. Craig McLanahan to in-laws Mr. and Mrs. J. King McLanahan, dated 6 January 1894 to 19 February 1902.

11 letters, 23 pp., written by Samuel Calvin “Cal” McLanahan, brother of J. King McLanahan, to J. King McLanahan, dated 21 December 1907 to 7 April 1917; Calvin is located at Seabreeze, Florida.

8 letters, 15 pp., written by James William “Will” McLanahan, to his brother J. King McLanahan, dated 7 April 1894 to 4 December 1908.

3 letters, 13 pp., written by Ward McLanahan to his uncle J. King McLanahan, dated 4 June 1902 to 22 December 1908.

8 letters, 14 pp., written by Alexander King to J. King McLanahan, dated 18 December 1896 to 6 April 1902; King appears to be a relative on McLanahan’s mother side of the family.

12 letters, 49 pp., written by Sadie B. King to her cousin J. King McLanahan, dated 1 June 1899 to 22 May 1909.

12 letters, 43 pp., Francis K. Sears, written to cousin J. King McLanahan, dated 22 March 1909 to 1 January 1917.

78 letters, 241 pp., written to J. King McLanahan from his grandchildren, dated 21 December 1907 to 19 August 1917; of these 78 letters, 25 are not dated.

69 letters, 212 pp., of miscellaneous family letters written by cousins, daughter-in-law’s, nieces, nephews, etc., written to J. King McLanahan, dated 20 August 1895 to 20 July 1917; many of these letters are not dated.


Over 3500 pieces of printed and manuscript ephemera, including:

-       2250 (approximately) receipts of the Woodbury Clay Company, written out to various customers, dated c1936 -1955.

-       600 (approximately) receipts from the Pennsylvania Railroad Company for materials shipped via the railroad by the Woodbury Clay Company, dated c1951.

-       475 (approximate) receipts, both business and personal, for J. King McLanahan, his various companies, and Woodbury Clay Company, dated c1884-1955.

-       75 (approximately) pieces of manuscript and printed ephemera, includes contracts, agreements, accounts, etc.

-       70 Telegrams, business related, dated c1885-1933; mostly written to J. King McLanahan, later telegrams written to the Woodbury Clay Company.

-       35 pieces of printed ephemera, includes circulars, brochures, advertisements, notices, announcement, etc.

-       20 postcards, business and family related, mostly written to J. King McLanahan, dated c1897-1932.