Reconstructing from old records

We have learned to decipher the past of the carriage factory by looking at the building and its layout, thinking about its context, listening to what the artifacts left behind have to tell us – machines and handtools, templates and partially completed pieces, everything from the lineshaft to paint cans. We also listen to what the written records have to tell us.

In the case of the Campbell Carriage Factory there are genealogical records about the family and employees, old local newspaper accounts, as well as remnants of catalogs, shipping tags and painting manuals. We also have some of their business records. The newspaper articles are probably the easiest to decipher… in the sense of understanding what they can convey to us, but they are short and only give us a snapshot.

The business records are the most difficult to decipher but have the potential of telling us a great deal! Only the ledgers can provide detailed evidence of how things unfolded over time... a story which stretches out over 100 years.
Paul Bogaard
Adèle Hempel, Michael Doan
XXth Century
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