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J. Howard Catlin papers


Identifier: 1961-40-0


The J. Howard Catlin papers (1961-40-0) consist of: Glass negatives of the Northfield area. Prints are filed with the negatives as Series 2. Currently housed in 5B section 1. Photographs donated at the same tiime as the glass negatives. Currently housed in 5B section 1. Six pocket diaries kept by J. Howard Caltin in 1867, 1868, 1873, 1874, 1880, and 1892. Catlin's entries are brief and generally chronicle his daily activities. He regularly notes the weather, and in several of the diaries keeps a cash account of his personal spending. Currently housed in 3A Box 1A.


  • Other: Date acquired: 01/11/1961


Biographical or Historical Information

J. Howard Catlin was born in March of 1847 to John and Laura Humaston Catlin of Northfield, Connecticut. As a young man he became involved with the Northfield Knife Company with his brother Franklin and he also became active in his community of Northfield; acting as a notary public during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1871 he married Josephine (Josie) Wooster of Connecticut, and the couple had two children. He passed away on March 30, 1933. The Northfield Knife Company was established in 1858 and soon became prosperous, producing the first cast iron handled knives in 1862. In 1865 ownership control of the company passed to Franklin H. and J. Howard Catlin of Northfield. The success of the company led the Catlin brothers to expand through the purchase of several of the area's smaller knife companies. The American Knife Company of Plymouth Hollow was purchased in 1865 and the Excelsior Knife Company of Torrington was purchased in 1884. The company's sucess was evidentĀ  at the 1901 Pan American Exposition where their exhibit displayed over one thousand different knife styles. In 1919 the Northfield Knife Company was sold to Clark Brothers Cutlery of St. Louis, Missouri, and the company was declared bankrupt in 1929.

Note written by


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Language of Materials


Physical Access Requirements

Original glass negatives are not available due to fragility. Use printed photographs.

Source of Acquisition

Mrs. Albert M. Turner

Method of Acquisition


Accruals and Additions

January 1962 - 17 plates and 1 transparency. Gift of Mrs. Albert M. Turner April 2011 - Diaries found in collection.

Existence and Location of Originals

Related Materials

Albert M. Turner papers (1961-02-0). Early Litchfield photographs printed by Ken Carter in 1975. Prints from J.Howard Catlin papers - Series 1: Folders 1, 11, 16, and 18.

J. Howard Catlin papers
Lee S. Cook
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Litchfield Historical Society Repository

7 South Street
P.O. Box 385
Litchfield CT 06759
860-567-3565 (Fax)