The Winterthur Library

 The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera





Creator:          C. Dodge Furniture Company.                                     

Title:               Records

Dates:             1841-1965, bulk 1900-1960.

Call No.:         Col. 258          

Acc. No.:         67x128, 67x129, 67x130

Quantity:        14 boxes, 7 volumes

Location:        15 L 1-2 and oversize boxes along back wall






Born in Manchester, Massachusetts, in 1817, Cyrus Dodge, the grandson of the cabinetmaker Moses Dodge (1737-1776), entered the furniture industry as an apprentice to John Perry Allen in 1830.  After completing journey work, he went into business for himself in 1841, when he bought a shop from Samuel Stone.  Cyrus hired eleven chairmakers and two upholsters and established C. Dodge Furniture Co. in Manchester.  In 1847, he built a large mill, which at full productivity employed thirty-five workers.  In the early years, Dodge specialized in the manufacture of mahogany parlor chairs in the Victorian style.  As time went on his product line expanded and the firm became deeply involved in the production of colonial revival pieces.  Dodge's wares were available by mail order to individual customers and in the showrooms of retailers, primarily in Boston, Massachusetts.


In 1846, Cyrus Dodge married Julia Elizabeth Coes; they had three sons who survived to adulthood: Cyrus Melville, John Marshall, and Charles Coes.  Charles Coes began to take control of the furniture firm in the 1870s.  Charles Coes never married and in 1922, he convinced his nephew, Charles Ernest, to join the firm.  In 1926, Charles Ernest assumed responsibility for its operations.  C. Dodge Furniture Co. remained in existence under his leadership until the mid-1960s.




The collection consists of 283 photographs and 84 drawings of furniture manufactured by Dodge; 22 account books, memoranda books, and other financial records of the firm's activities; 8 boxes of templates and full size patterns for making and repairing furniture; 21 photographs of the Dodge workshop and workmen (ca. 1900-1949); and miscellaneous advertisements produced for the firm.  The items document the range of furniture produced by the company as well as the activities associated with making and selling its furniture.            





The collection is arranged in the following series: photographs, drawings and patterns, printed material, account books, and furniture templates.





Purchased from Burklins Books.  Templates transferred from Winterthur Museum.






                        Dodge, Cyrus, 1814-1887.

                        Dodge, Charles C. (Charles Coes), d. 1926.

                        Dodge, Charles E. (Charles Ernest).



            Furniture - Photographs.

                        Furniture - Drawings.

                        Furniture - Prices.

                        Furniture industry and trade - Massachusetts - Manchester.

                        Colonial revival (Art)

                        Furniture design - Drawings.

                        Furniture - Styles.

                        Furniture making.

                        Wages - Furniture workers.

                        Shipment of goods.


                        Lumber trade.

                        Mills and mill-work - Massachusetts - Manchester,





                        Upholstered furniture.

                        Cabinetmakers - Photographs.

                        Chair design.

                        Dwellings - Maintenance and repair.

                        Building materials.

                        Business records - Massachusetts - Manchester.

                        Manchester (Mass.) - Commerce.

Photographic prints.


Account books.





Patterns (design elements).

Furniture makers.




Additional author:

            Dodge Furniture Co.





Location: 15 L 1-2 and oversize boxes along back wall



Box 1: Photographs


Note: Most are stamped "Return to C. Dodge Furniture Co., Manchester, MA." on the back.  Pencil notations on the back of some of the photographs regard wood type, staining, price, availability, and customer names. The majority of the pieces represented are in the colonial revival style.  The Victorian style is also present.


All photograph accession numbers begin with 67x128.


.1-17                Beds (2 folders)

.18-21              Footstools

.22-23              Benches

.24-28              Cheval mirrors

.29-31              Looking glasses

.32-47              Sideboards (2 folders) (see also .124-.128)

.48-54              Tilt top tea tables, tea tables

.55-78              Dining tables, both round and rectangular

.79-84              Gate leg tables, Queen Anne drop leaf table     

.85-91              Dressing tables with looking glasses

.92-96              Dressing tables (no mirror attached)

.97-101            Card tables

.102-107          Work tables

.108-.123         Sewing machine table, nest of tables, miscellaneous tables, stands

.124-128          Sideboards (see also .32-.47)

.129-154, .159   Desks and secretaries (2 folders)

.155-158          High chests

.160-181 (and others)  Chests of drawers (2 folders)

.182-189          Windsor chairs

.190-194          Chamber chair, Corner chairs

.195-198          Rocking chairs



Box 2a: Photographs


.199-215          Matching arm and side chairs, arm chairs (2 folders)

.216-257          Side chairs (3 folders)

.258-267          Miscellaneous forms

.268-283          Groups of furniture

.284-289          Photographs of the workshop and workmen



Box 2b: Glass plate negatives


Have negatives for the following prints.  The negative sleeve gives the folder title.


67x128.37c      sideboard

67x128.40       sideboard

67x128.217c    side chair and drop leaf table

67x128.273     table and side chair

67x128.279a-b            rocking chairs, arm chair with footstool, side table

67x128.280a-b            dining room table, chairs, sideboard

67x128.281     Forbes bureau and fluted leg work table

67x128.281     Forbes bedstead

67x128x283? (see note on negative envelope)  Windsor chair, Forbes chiffonier, shaving mirror

68x128.283?    ladder back chair and taper leg dressing table (CAUTION: BROKEN)

no number        a house



Box 3: Photographs and oversize materials


67x128.290-.296         Photographs of the workshop and workmen


67x129.20                   Drawing of desk and bookcase


67x129.88                   Newspaper article about the company, from the Gloucester Daily Times, Nov. 7, 1956



Box 4: Drawings and patterns; account books


The accession numbers for all drawings and patterns begin with 67x129.  All drawings are in pencil unless otherwise noted.


.1         Arm chair--front view

.2         Queen Anne style side chair--front and side views

.3         Matching arm and side chairs (pen and ink)--front view

.4         Oak arm chair with dimensions; loose cushions; carving on the arm

.5         Mahogany side chair with rush seat

.6         Oak side chair with cane back--front and side views

.7         Mahogany swivel chair with leather back and seat (pen and ink)

.8         Upholstered chair designed by R & J Adam, and English furniture maker from 1765 to 1796, for the home of the Earl of Morley, sketched by J.R. Roberts

.9         Two upholstered chairs, 1765 also by R & J Adam ...

.10       Empire style sideboard

.11       Butterfly table

.12       Table featuring a section drawing of a leg and instructions for making it (pen and ink)

.13       Table for Mrs. Frank E. Drew; cross section of the top and side rails along with a depiction of the turnings in its legs

.14       Mahogany serving table

.15       Queen Anne Style table

.16       Marble top table from Mrs. N.A. Falk with dimensions and cross sectional view.  Dated Dec. 22, 1956

.17       Mahogany drop front desk with some directions for making its drawers

.18       Desk "Sketch no. 8"

.19       Desk showing front and side elevations with dimensions

.20       Secretary with glass tops (oversize drawing, in Box  3)

.21       Wardrobe with mirror, includes dimensions

.22       Wardrobe in S. Carr’s house, featuring sliding doors, includes dimensions

.23       Desk (paper torn)

.24       Same as .20 with front and side elevations and dimensions

.25       Break front cupboard

.26       Cupboard

.27       Mahogany china closet

.28       China closet

.29       China cabinet with sliding doors

.30       Cupboard with glass doors and two drawers at the bottom

.31       China closet

.32       China closet featuring front and end views

.33       Wall cabinet with front and end views (pen and ink)

.34       Six drawer chest

.35       Desk with glass top

.36       Dressing table

.37       Four drawer bureau, front and side elevations

.38       Dressing table with mirror and accompanying rush seat stool for Mrs. C.E. Coming

.39       Three drawer chest with oval mirror

.40       Mahogany chest with square mirror

.41       Chest and dressing table both with bevel mirrors

.42       Birch high boy

.43       Chest with mirror

.44       Mahogany book case, front and side elevations (watercolor)

.45       Shelving unit for Mr. Eaton H. Berkin

.46       Box with handle on top for Henry Meyer

.47       Furnishing dining room featuring table, side boards, and two chairs

.48       Mirror

Three envelopes with pencil notes about furniture


Designs for furniture: These items were found in a folder labeled "Plans. Will make again."

Most have the names of customers and dates.  Some are sketched on the verso of upholstery

fabric, price lists, and wood prices.  All accession numbers begin with 67x129.


.49       Salem table

.50       Desk with front and side views and dimensions

.51       Serving table

.52       Dressing table

.53       Cupboard, front and side views

.54       Secretary

.55       Low boy

.56       Chest of drawers

.57       Four drawer chest with oval brass pulls

.58       Shaving mirror

.59       Empire style side board

.60       Card table

.61       Table

.62       Dining table with extra leaves

.63       Leaf support

.64       Table

.65       Several views of a table and its legs

.66       Bed with a full size depiction of its leg and rails on reverse

.68       Pattern for the edge of a flat top table

.69       Dining room table and chairs

.70       Bed side table

.71       China case, front and side views and a close-up of the leg

.72       Table

.73       Long table

.74       Norwood Hall, buffet china closet and corner chest

.75       Table with two leaves and three sets of tripod legs

.76       Desk, several views

.77       Credenza

.78       Dressing table with mirror

.79       Table

.80       Letter with a sketch of a Hepplewhite sideboard

.81       Wood chest

.82       Rough sketch of a bureau?

.83       China closet

.84       Whitewood cabinet with sketch of its drawer


Printed material:


.85                   Article about Dodge from Yankee magazine, Nov. 1955

.86-.87a-b       3 brochures issued by C. Dodge Furniture Co., 1938. Features depictions of furniture made by Dodge

.88                   Page on Dodge from the Gloucester Daily Times, Nov. 7, 1956 (oversize, in Box 3)


Account books: All accession numbers begin with 67x130.


.1         Dodge, Cyrus. Daybook, Journal, and Ledger, 1841-1846

            Opens with mentions of tools and materials purchased by Dodge at the inception of his furniture making business.  Records debits and credits accrued by Dodge for making a variety of furniture types, repairing furniture, wharfage fees, for ash and maple plank, pine boards, door bolts, locks, escutcheons, planes, tools, etc.  Individuals received credit for making "half French chairs" and sawing.


.2         Dodge, Cyrus. Daybook, 1860-1862

            Records information on groceries, raw materials, cash paid out, pieces of cloth, silver plate, and copper purchased.  One section is labeled "Memoranda" and lists orders, notes due, the contents of an attic, furniture and who it was sent to, and a list of supplies purchased.  Recipes for polish are also included.  A measured drawing for a chair is on the end paper.


.5         Dodge, Charles C.  Account book, 1881-1886

            Records wood and hardware purchased, freight accounts for furniture, repairs made to furniture, accounts for millwork, rent paid, costs of advertisements placed in newspapers, credits given to agents, business expenses, and a variety of transactions with Boston merchants.  Some household accounts are also included.  Loose accounts kept from 1878-1889 are laid in.  There is a name index in the front of the volume.


.6         Dodge, Charles C.  Account book, 1905-1908

            Noted are furniture finishing, making and repairing furniture, hardware, freight charges, wood purchased, etc.  Household accounts document groceries and repair to a house.  A blacksmith, Isaac R. Richardson, is mentioned.  Five percent discounts given to customers are noted.  There is a name index in the front of the volume.




Box 5: note cards, ca.1930-1960


There are three sets of note cards in this box.  The first set has two parts: names with addresses, and what appear to be inventory cards.  The second set records purchases of supplies, such as coal, turpentine, canvas, lumber, and hardware.  The third set is divided by type of furniture (bureaus, chairs, tables, etc.).  The cards record the costs of making each piece and for how much the piece was priced.  Sometimes the buyer is noted.  The cards in the second and third sets match with records in the day books for the period.




Account and memorandum books on shelf (not in a box):


.7         Dodge, Charles C.  Account book, 1907-1916

            Consists of furniture accounts, including repairing, painting, making, and upholstering.  Entries list customers and specifics about the pieces of furniture ordered.  Several indicated that photographs were sent and returned.  There is a name index in the front of the volume.


.8         C. Dodge Furniture Co.  Account book, 1916-1920

            Continuation of .7.  Also includes a name index.


.9         C. Dodge Furniture Co.  Account book, 1921-1925

            Continuation of .8.  Materials for making furniture pieces, including fabric, labor, and shipping costs are noted in each entry.


.10       Dodge, Charles C.  Account book, 1919-1927

            Accounts for supplies and shipping, including goods bought from O.D. Baker Co., supplies for the upholstery department, supplies for the shop, expressage paid in cash, and sewing bills of Mrs. John Scott.


.11       C. Dodge Furniture Co.  Ledger, 1924-1927

            Arranged alphabetically by client with a name index preceding each letter of the alphabet.  Lists customer name, furniture made, and costs of labor and fabrics.


.12       C. Dodge Furniture Co.  Daybook,  1926-1947

            Records amounts received and disbursed.  Payroll expenses are included.  No detail or itemized list of the reason for the amounts is given.


.13       C. Dodge Furniture Co.  Daybook, 1948-1960

            Continuation of .12


.14-.24             Dodge, Charles E.  Memoranda books, 1949-1957

            Notes regarding furniture orders and shipments.  Addresses, vital data, and information about vehicles are also included.



Furniture templates: (in oversize boxes along back wall):

8 boxes of templates transferred from the museum collection, includes a wide assortment of curves, legs or brackets, decorative bosses, knobs, spindles, turning patterns, finials, splats, crest rails, and other patterns.  A list of the templates is available at this repository.








Roessel, Elizabeth Harding. "'The Way We've Always Made It' : The C. Dodge Furniture Company and the Cabinetmaking Industry of Manchester, Ma." (thesis), University of Delaware, 1987.


Photographs of Dodge made furniture are also found in the Decorative Arts Photograph Collection, Winterthur Library.