American Fur Company. Letterbooks, Ledger, and Calendar, 1803-1851 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
The American Fur Company was incorporated in New York State in 1808 by John Jacob Astor and dominated the fur trade in the United States by the 1820s. This collection consists of three components: photocopies of two letterbooks (1816-1825), a typescript calendar of correspondence and other papers (1831-1849) held at the New-York Historical Society, and a microfilm copy of a ledger (1803-1851) from Mackinaw Island.
The two photocopied letterbooks were kept by Ramsay Crooks and Robert Stuart, factors of the Company at Mackinac. The first volume contains letters dating from December 18, 1816 to May 23, 1820 and the second dates from June 21, 1820 to July 24, 1825. These records were acquired by the Library in 1916 from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, which had borrowed the letterbooks from Mackinac to copy the volumes.
The typescript calendar of the American Fur Company papers (1831-1849, bulk 1834-1857; 24 linear feet and 138 volumes) held at the New-York Historical Society was cooperatively financed by nine historical agencies, including the Illinois Historical Survey, during the 1920s. The calendar lists correspondence chronologically with details of the date, correspondent, recipient, location, and an abstract of the letter's content. In 1944, the calendar was published in the Annual Report of the American Historical Association in two volumes. These have been digitized and are available through HathiTrust: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015071441433 (Part I: 1831-1840) and http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015071441441 (Part II: 1841-1849).
The microfilmed Mackinaw Island ledger of the John Jacob Astor Fur Company records accounts held by the Fur Company with individuals from 1803-1851. A portion of the ledger is titled "New Indian Credit Book, Sept. 29, 1829-" and records accounts held from 1824-1845. The microfilm was acquired in 1970 from Northwestern Michigan College.
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