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J. Howard Catlin papers



Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Glass negatives

Photographs from glass negatives



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J. Howard Catlin papers | Litchfield Historical Society

By Lee S. Cook

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Collection Overview

Title: J. Howard Catlin papersAdd to your cart.

Primary Creator: Catlin, J. Howard (1847-1933)

Extent: 0.0

Date Acquired: 11/01/1961. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Northfield (Conn.) - Photographs

Forms of Material: Diaries, Glass negatives

Languages: English


The J. Howard Catlin papers (1961-40-0) consist of:

Glass negatives of the Northfield area. Prints are filed with the negatives as Series 2. Currently housed in 5B section 1.

Photographs donated at the same tiime as the glass negatives. Currently housed in 5B section 1.

Six pocket diaries kept by J. Howard Caltin in 1867, 1868, 1873, 1874, 1880, and 1892. Catlin's entries are brief and generally chronicle his daily activities. He regularly notes the weather, and in several of the diaries keeps a cash account of his personal spending. Currently housed in 3A Box 1A.

Collection Historical Note

J. Howard Catlin was born in March of 1847 to John and Laura Humaston Catlin of Northfield, Connecticut. As a young man he became involved with the Northfield Knife Company with his brother Franklin and he also became active in his community of Northfield; acting as a notary public during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1871 he married Josephine (Josie) Wooster of Connecticut, and the couple had two children. He passed away on March 30, 1933.

The Northfield Knife Company was established in 1858 and soon became prosperous, producing the first cast iron handled knives in 1862. In 1865 ownership control of the company passed to Franklin H. and J. Howard Catlin of Northfield. The success of the company led the Catlin brothers to expand through the purchase of several of the area's smaller knife companies. The American Knife Company of Plymouth Hollow was purchased in 1865 and the Excelsior Knife Company of Torrington was purchased in 1884. The company's sucess was evident  at the 1901 Pan American Exposition where their exhibit displayed over one thousand different knife styles. In 1919 the Northfield Knife Company was sold to Clark Brothers Cutlery of St. Louis, Missouri, and the company was declared bankrupt in 1929.

Subject/Index Terms

Northfield (Conn.) - Photographs

Administrative Information

Repository: Litchfield Historical Society


January 1962 - 17 plates and 1 transparency. Gift of Mrs. Albert M. Turner

April 2011 - Diaries found in collection.

Physical Access Note: Original glass negatives are not available due to fragility. Use printed photographs.

Acquisition Source: Mrs. Albert M. Turner

Acquisition Method: Gift

Original/Copies Note: For more information please see http://www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.

Related Materials:

Albert M. Turner papers (1961-02-0).

Early Litchfield photographs printed by Ken Carter in 1975. Prints from J.Howard Catlin papers - Series 1: Folders 1, 11, 16, and 18.

Preferred Citation: J. Howard Catlin papers (1961-40-0), Litchfield Historical Society. Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut 06759.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Glass negatives],
[Series 2: Photographs from glass negatives],
[Series 3: Photographs],
[Series 4: Diaries, 1867-1892],

Series 1: Glass negativesAdd to your cart.

Glass negatives of Northfield, Conn. taken by J. Howard Catlin. Prints were made sometime after the negatives were donated by Mr. Catlin's daughter, Mrs. Albert M. Turner (Helen "Nellie" Catlin). Descriptions are based on notes on the back of the photographs. Photographic prints of the negatives are filed in Series 2 with identical folder numbers.

Currently shelved in 5B sec 1.

Folder 1: Asa Hopkins homesteadAdd to your cart.
House at #140 Campville Road. Built circa 1810, owned by Asa Hopkins and later Gilbert Wooster.
Item 1: Asa Hopkins homesteadAdd to your cart.
Five people in the photograph are identified as Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Wooster; Josephne Wooster; and Mr. and Mrs. Howard Catlin. taken in late fall or early spring.
Item 2: Asa Hopkins homestead in summerAdd to your cart.
Six unidentified people in front of the house.
Folder 2: Harry Borgeson houseAdd to your cart.
The glass plate has not been located. There is a photographic print in Series 2: Folder 2.
Folder 3: Charles Talcott houseAdd to your cart.
Hopkins Road, taken in the summer.
Folder 4: Jeremiah Peck HouseAdd to your cart.
3 views. Originally across from the Knife Factory, torn down by the State of Connecticut.
Folder 5: Heaton houseAdd to your cart.
#2 Main Street, Northfield. Greek revival house with picket fence on the corner. Episcopal Church in right background. Two women in dark dresses stand in front of the fence.
Folder 6: Gustafson homesteadAdd to your cart.
3 views. Blakeslee Road
Folder 7: Catlin-Turner houseAdd to your cart.
3 views. Site on Knife Shop Road. Torn down for Northfield Volunteer Fire Dept. firehouse.
Folder 8: Knife Shop RoadAdd to your cart.

Photograph of houses on Knife Shop Road including the John Catlin house, a two family house and store across from the Catlin/Turner house [site of #14 Knife Shop Rd.]. The fence and dooryard of the Turner house appear in the foreground. The glass plate for this has not been located. See the photograph in Series 2: Folder 8: Item 1.

Also Item 2 is a glass negative of a baseball game with houses (that may be matched up to Item 1) and the cemetery.

Folder 9: [Northfield] district schoolAdd to your cart.
Two photographs with teacher and students posed by an unidentified district school in the Northfield section of Litchfield.
Folder 10: Fluteville district schoolAdd to your cart.
Landscape with children and adults posed informally with dress indicating a special occasion.
Folder 11: Guernsey Hill district schoolAdd to your cart.
Items 1 & 2: Students and teacher in front of the Guernsey Hill district school.
Folder 12: Catlin family monumentsAdd to your cart.
Catlin family monuments/gravestones in the Northfield cemetery.
Folder 13: Shanley's millAdd to your cart.
Located on the Naugatuck in what was Fluteville. In the photograph are a one story building used as a saw mill, and the two story grist mill. The river and railroad tracks run behind the building, with Harwinton in the background. It was owned by the Shanley family from 1867 until about 1957 when the government bought it for flood control.
Folder 14: SawmillAdd to your cart.
An unidentified saw mill, probably in Northfield.
Folder 15: Peck's "Emporium"Add to your cart.
Built by Jeremiah Peck in 1851, and later owned by his sons Howard and Henry Peck, these buildings were known as Peck's Emporium, Grist Mill and Warehouses. Located on Knife Shop Road in Northfield, the mill and two warehouses burned down in March 1903.
Folder 16: Peddlar and wagonAdd to your cart.
A peddlar with a covered wagon and 2 horses at an unknown location. Also in the photograph is a  clapboard house with carpenter gothic piazza which is a later addition.
Folder 17: Northfield Knife Shop and PondAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Northfield Knife CompanyAdd to your cart.
Buildings of the Northfield Knife Company with Knife Shop Road in the foreground. Originally described as "just above Peck's Mill, Northfield, Connecticut."
Item 2: Northfield Knife CompanyAdd to your cart.
West side of the Northfield Knife Company.
Item 3: Northfield Knife shop dam in winterAdd to your cart.
View of the dam taken in the winter with some buildings visible.
Item 4: Northfield Knife Shop damAdd to your cart.
The dam with buildings visible on both sides. Note: The glass plate has not bee located. There is a photographic print in Series 2: Folder 17: Item 4.
Item 5: Northfield Knife Shop pondAdd to your cart.
Mrs. Albert M. Turner at the pond above the Knife Shop dam. She is holding an oar for a row boat. Note: The glass plate has not been located. There is a photographic print in Series 2: Folder 17: Item 5.
Folder 18: Interior settingsAdd to your cart.
Figures, mostly unidentified, inside of residences.
Item 1: Northfield kitchen sceneAdd to your cart.
A woman stirring something in a bowl. Also visible are a New Empress stove and copper kettle. Written on the back of  a print is "Northfield kitchen scene - Mrs. Hopkins."
Item 2: Parlor scene 1Add to your cart.
Four people seated at a table. Identified on the back of a photo as Mrs. Howard Catlin, William RIchardson, Jennie Sulphin (worked for family, from Michigan), and Mr. Hopkins. On another print, Mrs. Howard Catlin is identified as "Mother - Mrs. Turner, Elbert H. (Bert) afterward."
Item 3: Parlor scene 2Add to your cart.
Four people at a table playing a game. Identified on the back of a print as Mrs. Howard Catlin, William Richardson, Mr. Howard Catlin, and Jennie Sulphrin. The parlor is the same as in Parlor scene 1.
Item 4: Parlor doorwayAdd to your cart.
Two figures, a young man and woman posed in a parlor doorway. The girl in outdoor dress, and the boy in a man's frock coat and trousers with a cane and tall beaver hat.
Item 5: Young woman in a parlorAdd to your cart.
A young woman posed at a table in front of the same parlor doorway as in Item 4.
Item 6: Young woman in a parlorAdd to your cart.
A young woman posed by a table by a parlor doorway. The woman's dress and items on the table are different than in Item 5.
Item 7: Northfield Store front room sceneAdd to your cart.
Information for this photograph was received from J.M. Foy on 15 Dec 1981: front room over the Northfield Store with 3 people (left to right) - Dan (Rogers) Pond; his grandmother, known as Grandma Rogers; her daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Pond (Dan's aunt and foster mother. This was taken around 1885 when Leonard Munson owned the store. Photograph of the Episcopal church on the wall.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Glass negatives],
[Series 2: Photographs from glass negatives],
[Series 3: Photographs],
[Series 4: Diaries, 1867-1892],

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