The Business of Glass: Bringing to Light Two Centuries of Glassmaking History through Company Records


This project will make accessible approximately 8,000 historical documents generated by glassmaking firms in the course of daily business. Dating from the second half of the 18th through the first half of the 20th centuries, this collection includes advertisements, correspondence, glasshouse workers' currency, invoices, stock certificates, and other assorted records. The firms are mostly located in the main glass production centers for this timeframe. In addition to the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest states, western Europe (primarily England, France, Germany) is also represented. With a focus on glass companies, and therefore of interest to glass scholars, the collection is an equally rich resource for business historians and researchers in labor and industrial relations. Because the bulk of the materials date from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries, they open a unique window to the post-Civil War, turn of the century, and World War I eras. They also have value for local and regional historians. And finally, the Rakow Library is the world's premier source for information on the art and history of glass. While this business collection, in development since the Library's founding in 1951, enhances, substantiates, and adds an important dimension to these principle areas of focus, it also informs the object collection on display in our parent organization, The Corning Museum of Glass.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



The Corning Museum of Glass / The Juliette K. and Leonard S. Rakow Research Library


  • Lori Fuller

Collection Size

8 linear feet, 8000 objects

Date Range

1775 - 1950

Geographic Scope

U.S.: New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest states. Europe: England, France, Germany.