William H. Comstock Company, Limited Papers

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WILLIAM H. COMSTOCK COMPANY, LIMITED PAPERS
Creator:
Call Number: D.71
Dates: ca.1833-1960
Physical Description: 2 boxes, 1 bound volume
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Access
Use
Citation
Related Materials
Content List
Box 1:
Box 2: Products of the Comstock Company
Collection Overview
Title: WILLIAM H. COMSTOCK COMPANY, LIMITED PAPERS
Call Number: D.71
Dates: ca.1833-1960
Physical Description: 2 boxes, 1 bound volume
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
The William H. Comstock Company, Ltd., traced its origins to 1833, when Edwin Comstock founded a drug business at New York City. With his death in 1833, control of the company passed to a succession of his brothers, all of whom employed his son, William Henry Comstock, as a clerk. After the dissolution of a series of partnerships among Edwin's brothers, a partnership was formed in 1853 which included William. By 1867, William was the sole remaining member of the partnership that controlled the firm, and he moved the company to Morristown, New York, a small town in the Adirondacks. From the 1860's until the beginning of World War I, the Comstock firm, along with the rest of the patent medicine industry, enjoyed its best years. The company purveyed numerous medicines, most of which were purported to be capable of curing unusually large numbers of illnesses. The sales volume of the company seems to have peaked around 1910; thereafter, the fortunes of the Comstock company, like those of the rest of the patent medicine industry, began to decline. An expanding foreign market seems to have helped to make up for some of the losses in domestic sales, but by the 1930's the company's sales volume had declined precipitously. This trend continued in the 1940's, and by the late 1950's, the work force had shrunk to three persons. With the death of William H. Comstock II in 1959, the Comstock facilities at Morristown were closed, and the company was dissolved the following year.

Scope and Content
The collection consists of samples of the company's products, advertisements, sheets of package labels, correspondence with the company's agents, contracts, legal papers pertaining to litigation in which the company was involved, invoices for raw materials, and payroll records. Also included is a copy of History of the Comstock Patent Medicine Business and Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills, by Robert B. Shaw, Associate Professor of Accounting and History at Clarkson.

Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated to the University of Rochester Library by Robert B. Shaw in 1975. Additional labels were donated to the collection by Robert Baron of Worcester, MA, December, 30, 2008.Access
The WILLIAM H. COMSTOCK COMPANY, LIMITED PAPERS is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], WILLIAM H. COMSTOCK COMPANY, LIMITED PAPERS, D.71, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of RochesterRelated Materials
An additional copy of History of the Comstock Patent Medicine Business and Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills, by Robert B. Shaw, has been cataloged as Rare Books HD 9666.9 C62 S46 1972.


Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:


Content List
Contents:
Box 1:
Folder:
Folder 1. Correspondence, 1850-1863, 1880
Folder 2. Contracts, 1853-1865
Folder 3. Materials pertaining to litigation, 1851-1966
Folder 4. Receipt Books, 1881, 1888
Folder 5. Miscellaneous financial records, 1852-1866
Folder 6. Miscellaneous certificates, 1851-1855
Folder 7. Circulars for wholesalers, retailers, and agents, 1854-1864
Folder 8. Advertisements, 1844; many undated
Folder 9. Almanacs and circulars for the public, 1885?-1908, 1943
Folder 10. Payroll Records, 1889-1890, 1928-1959.
Folder 11. Labels, 1855; many undated
Folder 12. Posters, n.d.
Folder 13. History of the Comstock Patent Medicine Business and Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills, by Robert B. Shaw, 1972. (There is also a cataloged copy in Rare Books, call number HD 9666.9 C62 S46 1972).
Box 2: Products of the Comstock Company
Folder 1. Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills (3 containers).
Folder 2. Comstock's Dead Shot Worm Pellets.
Folder 3. Comstock's Worm Pellets (vial only).
Folder 4. Dr. Howard's Electric Pills.
Folder 5. Windham Lee's Pills (2 vials).
Folder 6. Les Pildoras de Raiz India del Dr. Morse.
Folder 7. Pildoras Azucaradas del Dr. Morse.
Folder 8. Pildoras Azucaradas Raiz India del Dr. Morse.
Bound Volume: Scrapbook of Receipts, 1867-1880


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