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Rixford Axe Company Records

Identifier: mss-039

Scope and Content Note

The Rixford Axe Company Collection consists of 21 cartons of papers, 1 carton of small bound volumes, 46 additional bound volumes, and a wooden box containing samples of Dovetail Glue Joints. This material is almost exclusively concerned with the period when Oscar S. was president of the Company, although there are occasional pieces from earlier and later years.

Of the 21 cartons of papers, 19 contain Correspondence. These 19 cartons include the following categories: "Money Letters" (1875-1904), 8 1/2 cartons; "Letters" (1879-1910), 4 cartons; "O.S.R.'s Files" (1858-1910), 4 cartons; "O.S.R.'s Files, Receipts" (1841-1910), 1/2 carton; "Agents" (1887-1890), 1 1/2 cartons; and "O. L. Hind's Files" (1889-1890), 1/2 carton.

As the designation implies, the series "Money Letters" deals with money. The material in these cartons is largely comprised of notes recording remittances sent in by Rixford customers. The "Letters" seriew is concerned with such things as customer inquiries about prices, orders for goods, and complaints about faulty merchandise. This series also includes correspondence between Rixford Axe and its suppliers of raw materials, and correspondence relating to O. S. Rixford's interest in the Atwood Manufacturing Company in Swanton, Vermont. "O.S.R.'s Files" contain much of the same material as the "Letters" cartons. In addition these files contain material relating to O. S. Rixford's private enterprises, especially his orchard of Fameuse apples. The "O.S.R.'s Files, Receipts" category consists of receipts for goods and services purchased by O. S. Rixford, both for the business, and for personal use. The "Agents" category contains correspondence from Rixford Axe Company's travelling salesmen, reporting orders received and problems encountered. Finally, the "O. L. Hind's Files" include the correspondence of Oscar L. Hind, for whom Rixford Axe at one time produced axes. These files contain one year of correspondence pertaining to this business relationship.

Carton 20, which also contains papers, consists of the "Subject File," a mixture of miscellaneous material, some dealing with the business, and some dealing with the personal lives of various members of the Rixford family, such as Luther, Oscar H. and his wife Elizabeth Leach, and Susan K. and Mary E. (Mrs. Norman Knight) Rixford daughters of Oscar S. The material in this carton includes deeds, family photographs, bank statements, and legal papers, and ranges in date from 1804-1951. Box 20a contains invoices, correspondence, and other material pertaining to Rixford Mfg. Co.'s Store Department.

The collection also contains 98 bound volumes, 52 of which are filed in carton 21. The volumes in this carton consist of small pocket journals belonging to O. S. Rixford, dating from 1864 to 1914. Also included is one similar journal belonging to O. H. Rixford, 1880-1884.

The remaining 46 bound volumes are shelved after Carton 21. These include 3 folio journals, 19 Letterbooks, 8 Ledgers, 3 Cashbooks, and 13 Miscellaneous bound volumes. The dates on these additional bound volumes range from 1852 to 1951.

The final item in the collection is the box of sample Dovetail Glue Joints, manufactured by the Linderman Automatic Dovetail Glue Jointer. Correspondence relating to those samples dates the box as 1910-1911.


  • 1804-1951



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

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

Historical Note

The Rixford Axe Company, which originally manufactured only scythes, was founded in East Highgate ca 1837 by Luther Rixford. Later his sons Luther P. and Oscar S. became partners in the company. Oscar S., who was born in Winchester, New Hampshire on March 2, 1828, received his education at St. Abans and Bakersfield academies. After being a partner for several years, he became sole proprietor of the company. In 1868, Oscar S. established a large scythe factory in Bedford, Quebec. This plant started producing axes as well in 1874, and the East Highgate factory followed suit in 1880. The business was incorporated as the O. S. Rixford Manufacturing Co. in 1882, and was reincorporated in 1900 as the Rixford Manufacturing Company. Oscar H. Rixford, son of Oscar S., succeeded his father as president of the company. Three more generations of Rixfords--Oscar A., Oscar T., and Stephen--were involved in the Rixford Axe Company before it closed in the mid 1950's.


26 Linear Feet (22 cartons which include 98 volumes)

Language of Materials



The Rixford Axe Company was established in East Highgate, Vermont, by Luther Rixford; closed 1950s. Collection includes chiefly business correspondence,(19 letter books, 55 journals, 5 ledgers, 3 cashbooks, and 7 miscellaneous vols.) together with miscellaneous personal and business papers including legal papers, deeds, bank statements, and family photos of Luther Rixford, Oscar H. Rixford and his wife Elizabeth (Leach) Rixford, and Susan K. Rixford and Mary E. (Rixford) Knight, daughters of Oscar S. Rixford.


Library Research Annex; contact for access.

General Physical Description note

22 cartons which includes 98 volumes

Guide to the Rixford Axe Company Records
Finding aid prepared by Mary Gelinas
1981 May
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Funded with the assistance of the National Endowment for the Humanities

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

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