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Henry Abbott Collection

Identifier: MG-035

This collection contains various papers and ephemera belonging to Henry Abbott, as well as papers about Abbott, specifically in the year after his death in the 1940s.

The majority of the collection is comprised of official documents belonging to Abbott. There are a number of patents issued to Abbott during the second half of the 19th Century, as well as copyrights issued by the Library of Congress, and a mortgage and bond issued to Abbott.

There are a number of ephemeral items in this collection. This includes stationary with various addresses embossed or printed on the paper from locations in New York and New Jersey. These are presumably business or personal addresses of Henry Abbott. Furthermore, there are business cards and a name plate, all with Abbott's name. There is also a printing block that depicts the street view of Abbott's Maiden Lane facilities during the aftermath of the blizzard that hit the Northeast United States in March of 1888, also known as the Great Blizzard of 1888, or the Great White Hurricane.

There are a limited number of personal papers belonging to Abbott. Included in this collection are a few small booklets of the Maiden Lane Historical Society, which mostly list officers and members of that society. Also included is a pamphlet written by Abbott about the calculagraph, an invention of Abbott's used to calculate the time of toll calls.

There is also a limited amount of correspondence. Most of the correspondence in this collection are small notes or birthday poems. There is one undated note that is written by Judson Blake. This letter is to Henry Abbott's wife, Laura De Camp Abbott, and is regarding the engagement of Abbott's daughter to Judson Blake.

This collection also contains a few items regarding Abbott's death. Henry Abbott died in December of 1943, and there are a couple of newspaper clippings about his passing and mention Abbott's achievements in the watch industry. Furthermore, there are a few letters between Abbott's estate (presumably handled by Abbott's daughter, Elsie A. Blake), regarding a matter of resolving the loan of a few items.


  • 1869 - 1943


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

These records are open to researchers for personal or scholarly research. Most of the records in the collection are available for photocopy, depending on the preservation needs of the material as well as other variables not specified here. Researchers, however, are responsible for obtaining copyright permission to use materials and documents. These records are part of the permanent collection in the archives of the Library & Research Center of the National Watch and Clock Museum and researchers are required to comply with the Archive Rules when using the collection.


1 Linear Feet (1 box)

Biographical / Historical

Henry G. Abbott was born June 24, 1850, in Waterbury, CT. He is best known as the inventor, manufacturer, and salesman of his 1895 invention, the calculagraph, which was a machine used to record elapsed time. It went on to have many applications but was an especially a prominent device used in the long-distance telephone industry. Abbott also invented the watch stem-winder, patented over 50 improvements to various facets of watch manufacture, and manufactured interchangeable watch parts.

In his youth, Abbott worked under Edward Howard, the “ 19th century father of the watch industry” and eventually became the owner of a watch and clock repair shop in Maiden Lane, NY. He became a jeweler as well as a watchmaker, did some work for Tiffany & Co., and over the course of his life was President of the Jeweler’s Security Alliance as well as Director, Treasurer, and Vice President of the National Association of Manufacturers.

In his personal life, Abbott was married to Laura De Camp. They had one daughter, Elsie Abbott Blake, and one grandson, Cpl. Henry Abbott Blake. Henry Abbott died December 19, 1943 in East Orange, New Jersey, at the age of 93, after suffering from influenza.


This collection is arranged into three series:

  • Series I: Papers & Photographs
  • Series II: Patents & Official Documents
  • Series III: Ephemera


Henry Abbott
Kate Van Riper, Archivist at the Library and Research Center. Biographical Sketch by Morgan Flood, Intern at the Library and Research Center.
Summer 2016
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the NAWCC Library and Research Center Archives Repository

514 Poplar St
Columbia PA 17512