J. Russell Hardware Co. Photo Album - Holyoke, MA - 1933
Russell, Henry Lucius. Remarkable photo album filled with 17 original silver gelatin photographs of the J. Russell Hardware Co. and warehouse, which at one time was one of the oldest and most successful continuously, owned and operated family businesses in the area. The images show counter displays, hardware displays, paint advertisements, the office workers, hardware & millwork, scales, electric motors, General Electric lighting, fencing, tools, and the exterior of the building at 44-48 Main Street. Holyoke, MA: J. Russell & Co., ca. 1933. 8 x 5.75 in. 17 leaves (unnumbered) of thick black paper, with 17 silver gelatin photographs tipped-in, sized 5 x 7 in. Contemporary limp black decorated boards post-binder, sewn at gutter margin with silver-gray silk braid, white lettering & illustration on front cover. Minor wear, rubbing, minor bumping to corners, still in vg condition with photos all with excellent sharpness and strong contrast. This unique commemorative photo album offers an essential visual record of the displays, products, and employees of the J. Russell & Co. Hardware store in Holyoke, Massachusetts during the opening years of the Great Depression. These splendid photos show the vast range and variety of items sold by the company including China, silverware sets, pneumatic rivet guns, drill presses, grinders, unfinished chairs, push mowers, and extensive varieties of Corbin Hardware, with many display cases devoted to lock sets, handles, door pulls, and many different window and counter displays. The lighting section is well stocked with General Electric lighting fixtures, lamps, light bulbs, as well as a large selection of Hygrade light bulbs, a Massachusetts based and founded company which has now become Sylvania. In addition, the warehouses show racks of wire cordage, blocks for rigging, wheelbarrows, fencing, Dietz lamps, wheels for factory pulley systems, nails, roofing, and more. In addition, there is an excellent photograph of the exterior of the 44-48 Main Street warehouse, with 1932 Ford Model BB truck setting in the entrance way, and license plate dated 1933, with Ford coupes parked on either side, showing the signage, and even circus posters plastered to the wall to the left of the building. The photos depict that the majority of office staff were women, who appeared to have occupied much of the upper floor of J. Russell Co. The building still stands and as recently as a couple years ago was leased to Ortiz Used tires on the ground floor, with all of the lower rows of windows bricked up. Originally founded in 1848 by Joel Russell (1808-1883), he would be followed in succession by his sons and grandsons who would greatly expand the Holyoke institution through the beginning of the 20th Century. Henry Russell (1861-1935) substantially expanded the business founded by his grandfather, and by the 1930s had built the business into three different divisions, including the retail store which was located in the ground floor of the Holyoke House later known as the Hotel Hamilton in 1911, and after World War II became government offices, the warehouse operations depicted here, and manufacturing. See: Scott Laidlaw, Holyoke's Depot Square and the Richardson Train Station. A Study of the District's History and Historic Buildings (2012); Hardware Dealers' Magazine, Vol. 51 (1919), p. 804; Leonard J. Los -- Holyoke History (Feb. 20, 2013); Newton Genealogy, Genealogical, Biographical, Historical (1915), p. 417.