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Horner Woolen Mills records

Identifier: 00148

Scope and Contents

The Horner Woolen Mills collection consists primarily of correspondence and financial records, the bulk of which date from 1903 to 1919.

The correspondence series, including general correspondence, letterpress copies of outgoing letters, and quotations and estimates, relate mostly to the mill's activities between 1907 and 1914. These partially document daily operations; the company's investment in real estate in Michigan and Oklahoma; and its interest, as contract creditors to the Southern Ballast Co., in the development of the Frisco Railroad at Mill Creek, Oklahoma. Another contractor, the Southern Surety Co., also represents the Horner Woolen Mills as stockholders.

The letterpress copies of outgoing letter are in chronological form, indexed by correspondent. The other correspondence series are arranged by subject or correspondent.

The bookkeeping records are incomplete and do not document one common time span. However, the information is presented in a manner consistent with modern accounting principles. The general ledger accounts show aggregate daily transactions, while the control accounts detail orders, sales, accounts receivable, and accounts payable by customer. The General Journal is the first book of entry, recording transactions chronologically by date.

Occasionally these records include unusual items. For example, an employee accident report is found on page 476 of the Order Copybook. The 1904 General Journal includes an inventory pricing list illustrating historical gross margin on a sales per pound basis; the 1952 General Journal contains supplementary financial worksheets. Insurance costs for the period 1909-1912 are itemized in the Inventory and Fixed Assets Journal. The monthly Sales Journals list no customer names.

Most blueprints are of a planned dormitory. There is no evidence in the collection that it was completed. Another blueprint, showing how a fire-proof window is constructed, was sent compliments of the manufacturer.


  • Creation: 1892 - 1961

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Historical Note

In 1880, Samuel Horner, an English immigrant and professional spinner, purchased from John and William Gallery a small Eaton Rapids, Michigan mill built in 1844. Assisted by his entire family, Horner developed a prosperous business processing locally produced wool, and by 1883 operations were substantially expanded with additional machinery for carding, spinning, weaving and finishing. Manufacture of cloth blankets began in 1885, and in 1887 the company contracted to furnish uniforms to the Vocational School of Lansing. Innovative electrical technology brought about subsequent modernization in 1888, and a new mill was erected in 1900.

In 1918 the company was incorporated as the Eaton Rapids Woolen Mills; in 1937 it was renamed Horner Woolen Mills. During World War I, its first government contract ordered spun khaki fabric, and new knitting machines were installed to increase output. During World War II, the mill again produced various products for military use. By the end of the 1940s it had established a nationwide reputation for quality.

Source: W. Scott Munn, The Only Eaton Rapids on Earth: The Pioneer History of Eaton Rapids and Hamlin Township with Reminiscences (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edward Bros., 1952).


5.5 Cubic Feet (, 49 volumes (36 boxed; 13 on shelf).)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Albert Clegg, 1979-06-18.

Gift of Inis Horner, 1976-06-20.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Horner Woolen Mills Records
4 Published And Cataloged
A. Miller
March 1980
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US