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James Gibbs Collection

Identifier: MG-007
This collection consists of papers and photographs that Gibbs based his research on for several of his books. This includes research on Pennsylvania clockmakers broken down by county, Dueber Hampden Watch Company, Ohio clockmakers, Alabama clockmakers, Louisiana clockmakers, Virginia clockmakers, Tennessee clockmakers, and correspondences from different individuals.


  • 1925 - 1989
  • Majority of material found within 1960-1980


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.


5 Cubic Feet (5 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

James Gibbs (1915-1990) worked for the Safetee Glass Company. In addition, he conducted research on topics including United States clockmakers with a focus on Pennsylvania clockmakers, the Dueber Hampden Watch Company, bank time clocks, and calendar clocks.

James Gibbs was an early member of the NAWCC, Inc., and served in many leadership positions within the organization. In 1961 he became President of the NAWCC, Inc., and from 1974 until his death he was Chairman of the Editorial Committee. He was also a trustee of the NAWCC Museum from its inception until 1986. Moreover, he was an author, writing many articles for the NAWCC Bulletins, as well as several Bulletin Supplements; and he also wrote several books, including Pennsylvania Clocks and Watches, Buckeye Horology, and Dixie Clockmakers.

Pennsylvania Clocks and Watches was published in 1984. This 286 page book tells the story of timepieces in Pennsylvania from the time of William Penn to the past century. Arranged by county, information is provided about different watch and clockmakers in each geographic area as well as about some of the businesses they founded; and he also makes a point of distinguishing clockmaking as being a highly skilled craft rather than just an occupation. Written descriptions are also given of various clockworks and many of these are illustrated in picture form in the book.

Buckeye Horology was published in 1971, and since the author was a native of Canton, OH, he had an inherent interest in Buckeye horology. In this book he tells the history of clockmaking in the various counties of Ohio, and he also includes many photographs of Ohio clocks and clockworks that were made there.

Dixie Clockmakers was written in 1979 and is a history of 18th and 19th Century clockmaking in the South. Until the time that the author wrote this book, very little had been written on the subject of clockmaking and horological activity south of the Mason Dixon line; therefore, he decided to devote a chapter to each state--Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and the final chapter contains the balance of the Southern states. Records seem to indicate that the most important clockmakers were in the geographic areas having the greatest wealth and cultural refinement, South Carolina being the most notable state when it comes to horological data. European immigration was responsible for providing the South with some of its earliest clockmakers and the Southern clockmakers were quite inventive, with some of their accomplishments including 26 horological patents, mathmatical instruments, and fever thermometers.


James Gibbs

Processing Information

This collection was processed and partially described before May 2016. During the Summer of 2016, the collection was revisited and the archival description was expanded. It is unclear if the order of the collection present at the time of the revision accurately reflected the original order. The order in which the collection was found in 2016 has been maintained as it is presented here.
Kate Van Riper, Archivist. Biography written by Mary Sue Deeg, March 2010
Summer 2016
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the NAWCC Library and Research Center Archives Repository

514 Poplar St
Columbia PA 17512