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McCormick Brothers Company records

Identifier: MSS-218

Scope and Contents

This collection includes correspondence, business records, family genealogical papers, product blueprints and drawings, trade publications, and other materials from the McCormick Brothers Company in Albany, Indiana ranging from 1819 to 1990 regarding company history and business transactions, and McCormick family history, photographs and negatives. These records and graphic materials were used for Griner's book The McCormicks of Albany.


  • Creation: 1819-1990

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Historical Note

On May 20, 1907, Walter, Arch, and C. Roy McCormick founded the McCormick Brothers Company in Albany, Indiana. The company evolved from a string of family businesses, including a washboard factory and a hardware store. At the time of its founding, the McCormick Bros. Co. functioned primarily as a hardware store. Around 1908 a new concept in kitchen design was becoming popular across the United States: the freestanding cabinet. the McComick Bros. Co. began to produce metal accessories for these cabinets such as flour bins and sifters, metal racks for utensils and spices, breadboxes, and drawers. As the market for such items grew, the McCormick's decided to devote all of their resources to manufacturing kitchen accessories, and the company moved to a new facility in the old Albany bank building. After Walter McCormick left the business in 1909, another McCormick brother, Ora, joined the company and reorganization was needed. Subsequently, C.Roy was elected president, Ora vice-president, and Arch secretary-treasurer.

As the McCormick Bros. Co. grew, the town of Albany grew around it. Located in the center of residential Albany, the plant was the focal point of its neighborhood, and most of the employees lived in the surrounding community. During the Great Depression the company expanded to produce other kitchen accessories, such as the hand-held sifter and wire shelving for refrigerators. When the United States became involved in World War II, the McCormick Bros. Co. contribued to the war effort. Beginning in 1942, ninety percent of the company's resources were dedicated to the production of materials for the Army and Navy. The electro-tin plating department was expanded and used to plate parts for shells, rockets, and bombs. Other areas of the plant were used to manufacture booster caps for shells, racks designed to handle fuse parts, and other military supplies. In 1945, the company received the Army-Navy "E" Award, the award for excellence in production in support of the country's defense.

In 1948, a problem arose for the McCormick Bros. Co. when a leak in the old plating waste tank was discovered to be contaminating the White River nearby. As a result, thousands of fish were killed. The old tank was quickly replaced with a new, spill-proof tank, and the McCormick's provided assistance replenishing the river's fish population.

As times changed, so, too, did the McCormick Bros. Co. products. Due to a decline in baking, the demand for flour bins and breadboxes all but disappeared, and the company's focus began to shift to the production of refrigerator shelves and hand-held sifters. In the 1950's, a new market opened up with the widespread popularity of the television, and the company introduced folding TV tables. During the Korean War, the plating department was used again to support the military effort.

In 1953, the McCormick Bros. Co. applied for corporate status and became the McCormick Brothers Corporation. Toward the end of the 1950's, and into the 1960's and 1970's, the company contracted with the U.S. Steel Corporation to manufacture paving joints to be used in the contruction of the nation's interstate system. These joints allowed for the expansion and contraction of pavement on the roadways caused by weather conditions, and prevented the concrete from cracking.

Despite efforts to diversify production, a lack of modernization in the company led to strikes in 1969 and 1971. After a number of attempts to stay afloat, in 1977 the board decided to sell all assets and close the company. The last board meeting was held on July 3, 1978, and the McCormick Brothers Corporation was officially closed.

(Source: Griner, Ned H. Bread Boxes, Bins, and Sifters: The McCormick's of Albany Indiana. Muncie: Minnetrista Cultural Center Foundation, 1999.)


9.5 Cubic Feet (15 boxes)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: McCormick Brothers Company administrative records, 1884-1961

Subseries 1.1: Financial records and other materials, 1910-1952

Subseries 1.2: Government relations records, 1941-1949

Subseries 1.3: Legal size business records and McCormick family papers, 1885-1948

Subseries 1.4: Patents records, 1884-1954

Subseries 1.5: Plant operations records, 1931-1950

Subseries 1.6: Plating records, 1937-1950

Subseries 1.7: Price revision lists, 1950

Subseries 1.8: Product blueprints and drawings, 1945-1950

Subseries 1.9: Product records, 1943-1961

Subseries 1.10: Trade publications, 1943-1950

Subseries 1.11: Wage dispute records, 1944-1947

Series 2: McCormick Brothers Company correspondence, 1941-1951

Subseries 2.1: Consultant correspondence, reports, and blueprints, 1944-1949

Subseries 2.2: Customer correspondence, 1942-1951

Subseries 2.3: Equipment suppliers correspondence, 1941-1951

Subseries 2.4: General correspondence, 1945-1950

Series 3: McCormick Brothers Company historical records, 1829-1990

Series 4: McCormick family genealogical research papers, 1819-1990

Series 5: McCormick Brothers Company photographs, 1940-1973

Series 6: McCormick Brothers Company slides, undated

Series 7: McCormick Brothers Company ledgers and record books, 1900-1974

Series 8: McCormick Brothers Company oversized materials, 1908-1956

Series 9: McCormick family photographs and negatives, 1885-1965

Subseries 9.1: McCormick family photographs, 1890-1965

Subseries 9.2: McCormick family negatives, 1885-1947

Custodial History

This collection was received in several additions by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Ned Griner on and before 2005/07/22. Additional oversized photograph received as a donation from Ned Griner on 2014/05/12.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2002/08/28 by A. Childers. Finding aid revised 2005/12 by J.E. Gastineau. EAD finding aid created 2012/04/02 by Lisa Barney. EAD finding aid revised 2012/04/16 by Bethany Fiechter. EAD finding aid revised 2014/05/20 by Kasey Mock. EAD findina aid revised 2014/05/21 by Rebecca Marangelli.

McCormick Brothers Company records
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Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA