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Julius J. Estey Papers

 Collection
Identifier: mss-638

Scope and Contents

Collection consists mainly of oersonal and business bills and receipts. Letters written to Jacob and Julius Estey of Brattleboro, concerning the Estey organ business, pigeon breeding, Baptist church business, and personal affairs are also present.

Dates

  • 1869-1897

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

Jacob Estey was born in 1814 in New Hampshire. He ran away from an orphanage and became a plumber's apprentice in Worchester, Massachusetts. In about 1835 he bought a plumbing shop in Brattleboro and went on to become a partner in plumbing, lumber, slate, and marble businesses. He married Desdemona Wood of Brattleboro in 1837. They had two children: Abby Emily Estey (1842-1929, married Levi K. Fuller (1841-1896) in 1865) and Julius Jacob Estey (1845-1902, married Florence Gray ((b. 1848) in 1867).

In the early 1850s, Estey became involved with a company that manufactured musical instruments. In 1855, he and a partner took over the business. In 1863, he became its sole owner and began selling pipe organs. Three years later, his son-in-law Levi Fuller worked as vice-president and his son Julius worked as the secretary while Jacob himself was its president.

Jacob Estey was an economic force in the region and also served in state government, representing Brattleboro in the Vermont General Assembly and Windham County in the State Senate. He was a founder and supporter of the First Baptist Church of Brattleboro.

Jacob died in 1890 whereupon Julius took over the role of president. The business continued to be run by family members for four generations. In 1953, Rieger Organ Inc. of New Jersey purchased the majority of its shares. In 1960, operations in Brattleboro ended when the new parent company moved to California. The manufacturing complex in Brattleboro was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Several members of the Estey family were supporters of Shaw University in North Carolina, the oldest Historically Black University in the South. Jacob was a major donor to the 1873 construction of what is reputed to be the first building ever erected for the education of African-American females. Named Estey Seminary (later Estey Hall) in his honor, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Extent

0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)

Abstract

Collection consists mainly of bills and receipts relative to the Estey Organ Company. Letters written to Jacob and Julius Estey of Brattleboro, Vermont concerning the Estey organ business, pigeon breeding, Baptist church business, and personal affairs are also present.

Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact uvmsc@uvm.edu for access.

Related Materials

The Levi K. Fuller Papers, also held by University of Vermont, Special Collections, may relate to topics or people documented in the Julius J. Estey Papers.

The Estey Organ Museum in Brattleboro, Vermont documents the history of the business.

Creator

Title
Guide to the Julius J. Estey Papers
Status
Completed
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)