J.M. Van Dusen Ledgers

5 volumes
Call no.: MS 188
rotating decorative images from SCUA collections

Tinsmith and plumber from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Mentions items he repaired and cleaned (stoves, furnaces, pots, pans, tinware, glassware, and crockery), goods sold (lamps, wash basins, kitchen utensils, shovels, fuel, and furnaces), occasional mention of payment with goods, lists of suppliers, and lists of customers, many of whom were prominent people in the community.

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Scope of collection

J.M. Van Dusen established his tinsmith and plumbing business in 1845. He provided plumbing for steam, hot water, and furnace heating and sold stoves, tinware, glassware, and crockery. Van Dusen repaired such items as well. Among the goods sold were lamps, wash basins, various kitchen utensils, a porcelain tub, chamber pails, a solar burner, shovels, crockery, a fly killer, and oil, wood, and coal for stoves, furnaces, and lamps. Stoves and furnaces were repaired and cleaned as were smaller items such as pots and pans. While records of payment are generally not included in these books, an occasional mention of payment with rags, farm produce, or draft is entered. Beginning in the 1890s, olds stoves, tin, asbestos, etc. were received.

Van Dusen was supplied by several companies from the area and across the country. C.S. Merrick of Brooklyn provided much of the plumbers' and tinsmiths' supplies. Other chief suppliers included Richardson and Boynton, Robbins, Ganwell & Co., Berkshire Mill Supply Co., and Scranton Stove Works. Significant payments were also made to C.C. Henry, Loring Lane, and J.F. Schorer.

Several prominent people in the community were customers of Van Dusen. Among them were legal reformers Henry Dwight Sedgewick and Rev. David Dudley Field, Jr.; banker C.H. Willis; County Commissioner J.B. Hull; C.E. Callender of Hunter Paper Co.; W.B. Clarke; S.P. Lincoln; S.W. Sedgewick, and Charles Hoffman. New Yorkers who owned homes in Stockbridge include C.F. Southmayd and C.E. Butler. The name of William Burghardt appears twice in 1866. Women of the Massachusetts Indian Association of Stockbridge include Fanny Brewer, Mrs. William Nettleton, Mrs. W.B. Clarke, Mrs. Comstock, Mrs. Averill, Mrs. H.D. Sedgewick, Mrs. Lawrence, Mrs. Byington, Mrs. Hoffman, Mary Lincoln, and Mrs. Alexander Sedgewick.

In the mid-1920s, Edward C. Van Dusen became the manger of his father's estate. It is not known if the business operated long after J.M. Van Dusen's death.

The collection includes five cash books: volume 1, 1865-1866; volume 2, 1889; volume 3, 1894; volume 4, 1896-1897; volume 5, 1894-1910, and a ledger book of suppliers.

Administrative information


The collection is open for research.


Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Processing Information

Processed by Kimberley Foster.




Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: J.M. Van Dusen Ledgers (MS 188). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms


  • Business enterprises--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--History--19th century--Sources.
  • Heating--Equipment and supplies--History--Sources.
  • House furnishings--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--History--Sources.
  • J.M. Van Dusen Plumbing and Heating Co.
  • Plumbers--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--Economic conditions--19th century--Sources.
  • Plumbing--Equipment and supplies--History--Sources.
  • Stockbridge (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century--Sources.
  • Tinsmiths--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--Economic conditions--19th century--Sources.
  • Van Dusen, J. M.


  • Van Dusen, J.M. [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Account books.

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