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Special Home > Guide to the Cotton Mills of Dover Exhibit Materials, 1815-1987

Guide to the Cotton Mills of Dover Exhibit Materials, 1815-1987

Collection number: VC 88

Size: 2 binders and 1 box
(0.33 cu.ft.)

About the Cotton Mills of Dover, 1815-1937

Along with Taunton, Lowell, and Fall River, all in Massachusetts, Dover, New Hampshire pioneered the large-scale printing of cotton fabric in the 1820s. Dover’s first mill was built in 1815 on the Upper Falls of the Cocheco River. The Cocheco Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1827, and new management brought tighter rules for employees, resulting in 1828 in the first women’s strike in the United States.

The Cocheco Manufacturing Co. became a force in American textile manufacturing, and in the 1870s the water wheels were replaced by modern turbines and the original mill structures renovated. However, like other northern textile mills, Dover experienced a decline in the early 1900s. The Cocheco Manufacturing Company was bought out in 1909 by the Pacific Mills Co., which discontinued all operations in Dover in 1937.

For additional information on the Dover mills, see Cathleen Beaudoin’s article “A Yarn To Follow” and others at Dover Public Library’s website.

About the Cotton Mills of Dover Exhibit Materials

This collection contains copy negatives and contact prints of the photographs lent to the UNH Library by the Dover Public Library and Mr. Robert Whitehouse for use in a summer 1986 exhibit entitled “Promise For A Future of Prosperity: The Cotton Mills of Dover, N.H.” Also included in this collection are the background materials used by Jody Fernald and Terri MacGregor in researching the subject prior to the exhibit.


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Cotton Mills of Dover Exhibit Materials, 1815-1987, VC 88, Milne Special
Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Donation: Dover Public Library, and anonymous, December 15, 1986 – August 20, 1987 (Accession numbers: 8656, 8677, 8710)


Collection Contents


Series I: Explanatory Materials, 1986

Binder 1 Explanatory materials for the Cotton Mills of Dover Exhibit, 1986-1987

Permission letter from the Dover Public Library for UNH to make copies of the photographs borrowed from them for the Summer 1986 (1p)

August 13, 1986 press release about the exhibit (1p)

Exhibit “blurbs” (5p)


Series II: Contact Prints

Binder 1 Contact prints (17p)

001-002: “Cocheco Manufacturing Co., Dover, N.H. Lawrence & Co., Selling Agents D. H. Hurd & Co., Publishers, Boston.” Architectural sketch of the mills complex.

003: “Pacific Mills ‘Cocheco Dept.’ (Cotton Mill and Print Works) Dover, N. H.” Architectural sketch of the mills complex. Architectural sketch of the mills complex.

004-009: Aerial views of the various mill buildings

010-011: Distant views of the mill buildings and Cocheco River

012: “Central Square ca. 1909”

013-014: Demolition/ Reconstruction

015-018: Cocheco River and dam

019-020: Bridge over the Cocheco River

021-025: Postcards of the mill complex

026-028: Early transportation of goods

029-033: Mill people

034-043: Mill interiors

044-048: During the 1907 fire

049-064: After the 1907 fire

065-066: Interior after the 1907 fire

Binder 1 Copies of reproduced photographs appearing in newspaper articles (011, 028) (2p)
Binder 1 Copy of stereopticon views in the order in which the Dover Public Library has them arranged on their panel (035-043) (5p)
Binder 1 Newspaper articles and typescripts borrowed from Robert Whitehouse (65p):

“Recalling when Cotton was King”

“Bellamy Falls and Mills 1649-1916.”

“Sawyer Woolen Mills, 1824 – ” “American Woolen Co”

“History of the Cocheco Mills” by Gisella Mennel

“Mrs. Burn’s story”

“Upper Factory”

“Upper Factory – Mrs. Courser’s story”

“John Williams – founder of the Dover Cotton Manufacturing Industry”

“The Early Career of John P. Hale”

“An Act to enlarge the capital of the Dover Cotton Factory and Alter the Name thereof”

“Captain Moses Paul”

“Factory Corner Stones” (also news article with picture of the many cornerstones)

“Cocheco Department of the Pacific Mills – 1916”

“Dover Cotton Factory’s Wood Yard”

“Cocheco Print Works 1827-190”


Series III: Documents and Reproductions

Binder 1 1903 and 1905 letters regarding the Velvet/Velveteen production in Dover; 1922 children’s playground (9p)


Series IV: Newspapers

Binder 1 Newspaper articles and images (21 p)

Fosters Daily Democrat, May 2, 1956 on the 1907 Fire.

“Cocheco Print Works” by James E. Bressor

“Sawyer Woolen Mills”

Transcript, May 20, 1986 – Dover’s renewal

Fosters Daily Democrat, May 22, 1986 on the new facility

Fosters Daily Democrat, January 24, 1987. p. 5. “Dover’s Oil Soaked Mill Floors not a Fire Hazard.”

Fosters Daily Democrat, “ShowCase,” January 29, 1987. Part 4 of The Mills Come To Dover.

Fosters Daily Democrat, “ShowCase,” February 12, 1987. Part 6 of The Mills Come To Dover.


Series V: Brochures

Binder 1 Brochures relating to the cotton mills (19p)

Heritage Walking Tours brochures 1979-1983, June 1984, June 1985

Cocheco Falls Mill Works glossy brochures

Friends of the University Library, Notes, no. 13


Series VI: Book and Magazine Exceperts

Binder 2 Books and magazine excerpts, some copies and some originals, arranged alphabetically by author, 1844-1975:

Abbott, Edith. Women in Industry. D. Appleton, 1910. p. 88-91, 108-147, 374-379.

Annett, Albert. History of Jaffrey, N.H., Vol. I, 1937. p. 384-391.

Baxandall, Rosalyn et al. America’s Working Women. Vintage Books. “The Strike, or Turn-out” [1820] p.57-60.

Bayles, George James. Woman and the Law. Century Co., 1901. p. 260-261.

Bell, Charles H. History of Exeter. Heritage Books, 1979. p. 332-333.

Chandler, Charles H. The History of New Ipswich, 1735-1914. p. 144-147.

Clark, Victor S. History of Manufactures in the United States, 1860-1914. 1928.

Dover, N. H. Centennial Celebration. “Some Disastrous Fires in Dover, N. H.” p. 51.

The Factory Girls, edited by Philip S. Foner. University of Illinois Press, 1977. p. 4-15,126-127, 266-273, 342-349.

The Factory Girls Garland, Vol. I no. 19, September 14, 1844.

Friedman, Jean E. Our American Sisters: Women in American Life and Thought. Allyn and Bacon. p. 82-95.

Granite Monthly, Vol. 55 no. 8. August 1923. “How Dover Grew” 4pp.

Hadley, George P. History of Goffstown, N. H. 1733-1920, Vol. I. p. 324-329.

Hanaford, Mary E. Neal. Annals of Meredith, N.H. 1932, p. 20-21, 252-253.

Hareven, Tamara K. Amoskeag. Pantheon Books, p. 114, 120-121, 214-215,235-235, 266-267, 391-395.

Josephson, Hannah. The Golden Threads, Russell and Russell. p. 100-101, 228-249, 310-317.

Journal of Economic and Business History. Vol. II, 1930. p. 685-705. “Early Factory Magazines in New England” by Bertha Monica Stearns.

Keene History Committee. “Upper Ashuelot”: A History of Keene, N.H. 1968. p. 464-467.

Moore, F. A. Gems For You: From New Hampshire Authors. Fisk, 1850. p. 222-225.

Nye, A. E. G. Dover, N.H. Its History and Industries, 1898. Abstracts.

Old New England, p. 39-51. “The ‘Great Factory’ at Dover, N.H.: The Dover Manufacturing Company Print Works, 1825″ by Richard Candee.

Pillsbury, Hobart. New Hampshire, Vol. IV, 1927. p. 1224-1225.

Scales, John. Historical Memoranda Concerning Persons and Places in Old Dover, N. H., 1900. p. 418-421.

Scoresby, William. American Factories and Their Female Operatives. Burt Franklin, 1968. p. 1-136.

Speare, Eva A. Stories of New Hampshire, 1975. p. 156-159.

Sumner, Helen L. History of Women in Industry in the United States, Vol. I, p. 291-297.

Thompson, Mary P. Landmarks in Ancient Dover, 1892. Abstracts.

USWPA American Guide Series. New Hampshire. 1938. p. 54-57, 140-145, 148-151.

Wadleigh, George. Notable Events in the History of Dover, NH 1913, pp. 200-203, 210-215, 220-223, 234-235, 240-241, 246-249, 254-255, 260-261, 266-277, 278-279. Plus abstracts.

Ware, Caroline F. The Early New England Cotton Manufacture. Houghton-Mifflin, 1931. p. 16-17, 26-27, 36-37, 80-83, 88-89, 94-95, 98-90, 116-117, 134-135, 144-149, 180-183, 198-205, 220-221, 246-247, 246-247, 256-257, 264-265, 270-275.

Weiner, Lynn Y. From Working Girl to Working Mother. University of North Carolina, p. 16-19.

Wheeler, Edmund. The History of Newport…1766-1868. p. 90-101, 104-109.


Series VII: Copy Negatives

Box 1
Box 1, Envelope 001 “Cocheco Manufacturing Co., Dover, N.H. Lawrence & Co., Selling Agents D. H. Hurd & Co., Publishers, Boston.” Architectural sketch of the mills complex.
Box 1, Envelope 002 “Cocheco Manufacturing Co., Dover, N.H. Lawrence & Co., Selling Agents D. H. Hurd & Co., Publishers, Boston.” Architectural sketch of the mills complex.
Box 1, Envelope 003 “Pacific Mills ‘Cocheco Dept.’ (Cotton Mill and Print Works) Dover, N. H.” Architectural sketch of the mills complex.
Box 1, Envelope 004 Aerial views of the various mill buildings
Box 1, Envelope 005 Aerial views of the various mill buildings
Box 1, Envelope 006 Aerial views of the various mill buildings
Box 1, Envelope 007 Aerial views of the various mill buildings
Box 1, Envelope 008 Aerial views of the various mill buildings
Box 1, Envelope 009 Aerial views of the various mill buildings
Box 1, Envelope 010 Distant views of the mill buildings and Cocheco River
Box 1, Envelope 011 Distant views of the mill buildings and Cocheco River
Box 1, Envelope 012 “Central Square ca. 1909”
Box 1, Envelope 013 Demolition/ Reconstruction
Box 1, Envelope 014 Demolition/ Reconstruction
Box 1, Envelope 015 Cocheco River and dam
Box 1, Envelope 016 Cocheco River and dam
Box 1, Envelope 017 Cocheco River and dam
Box 1, Envelope 018 Cocheco River and dam
Box 1, Envelope 019 Bridge over the Cocheco River
Box 1, Envelope 020 Bridge over the Cocheco River
Box 1, Envelope 021 Postcards of the mill complex
Box 1, Envelope 022 Postcards of the mill complex
Box 1, Envelope 023 Postcards of the mill complex
Box 1, Envelope 024 Postcards of the mill complex
Box 1, Envelope 025 Postcards of the mill complex
Box 1, Envelope 026 Early transportation of goods
Box 1, Envelope 027 Early transportation of goods
Box 1, Envelope 028 Early transportation of goods
Box 1, Envelope 029 Mill people
Box 1, Envelope 030 Mill people
Box 1, Envelope 031 Mill people
Box 1, Envelope 032 Mill people
Box 1, Envelope 033 Mill people
Box 1, Envelope 034 Mill interiors
Box 1, Envelope 035 Mill interiors
Box 1, Envelope 036 Mill interiors
Box 1, Envelope 037 Mill interiors
Box 1, Envelope 038 Mill interiors
Box 1, Envelope 039 Mill interiors
Box 1, Envelope 040 Mill interiors
Box 1, Envelope 041 Mill interiors
Box 1, Envelope 042 Mill interiors
Box 1, Envelope 043 Mill interiors
Box 1, Envelope 044 During the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 045 During the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 046 During the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 047 During the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 048 During the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 049 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 050 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 051 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 052 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 053 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 054 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 055 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 056 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 057 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 058 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 059 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 060 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 061 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 062 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 063 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 064 After the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 065 Interior after the 1907 fire
Box 1, Envelope 066 Interior after the 1907 fire

4 Responses to “Guide to the Cotton Mills of Dover Exhibit Materials, 1815-1987”

  1. Jean Kestel Says:

    I am trying to find out if the Coheco Mfg Co. ever had a factory in Lawrence, N.Y. (Long Island). Thank you. Jean M. Kestel

  2. Bill Ross Says:

    In looking at sources here, I could find no evidence that the Cocheco Mfg. Co. or its successor, Pacific Mills, had a factory in Lawrence, NY. I also found a textile directory (see below) from 1917 that does not list any factory in Lawrence, NH. That’s about all I can come up with. Bill Ross http://www.archive.org/details/officialamerican1917bost

  3. Florence J. Rohwer Says:

    Just a question: when year did Sawyer’s Mill move to Phladelphia,Pa.? I am trying to find my Grandmother in the census and she moved with the Mill when it moved. I can be reached at:florence3857@gmail.com
    Thank you in advance….Florence J. Rohwer

  4. Roland Goodbody Says:

    Sawyer Mills was originally operated by the Cocheco Manufacturing Co. and was sold to Pacific Mills of Lawrence MA in 1909. It ceased operation as a mill in 1937, but I can´t verify that it moved to Philadelphia after that. If you are sure that this is where it went, then I ‘d say 1937 is your answer.