C.F. Hovey Company
Business Records, 1837-1920

Mss: 776

Historical Note:

In 1841, Charles Fox Hovey entered into a partnership with Washington Williams and James H. Bryden. Calling themselves Hovey, Williams and Company, the three men worked as importers and wholesale dealers in dry goods, with offices located at 65 Water Street, Boston. Hovey, however, developed an interest in the retail side of the business, and in 1846, Hovey, Williams and Company joined Richard C. Greenleaf and John Chander, who already owned a retail dry goods store on Washington Street. Within a short time, the establishment moved to 13 Winter Street, the first commercial firm to locate in the area. Eventually the company settled on Summer Street. In 1848 the company was renamed C. F. Hovey and Company.

C. F. Hovey and Company became an innovator in department store merchandising. Plainly marked goods with a one-price system, the adoption of early closing hours, profit-sharing for employees, and a credit system, utilizing monthly bills, were just some of the now-standard practices first appearing in Hovey's. In addition to the store in Boston, the company maintained offices in New York and Paris.

After Hovey's death in April 1859, the store continued to bear his name. C. F. Hovey and Company was noted for the quality of its merchandise as well as for the longevity of its management and partners. William Endicott, Jr., Henry Woods and Samuel Johnson, hired in 1846, became partners in 1851. Woods and Johnson remained with Hovey's until their respective deaths in 1902 and 1899; Endicott retired in 1910 after a remarkable sixty-four years in the business. Jordan Marsh took over the company in 1947.

Scope and Content:

The collection consists of department sales books, a cash book, statements, receipts, and calculations. Department sales volumes contain names of the salesmen; daily, weekly and monthly sales for both individuals and departments. Remark columns include comments on weather, political and civic events, and personnel news. Cash book contains monthly sales volumes. Statements show accounts payable and receivable for C. F. Hovey on a monthly basis. Box 13, folders 9-16 contain material removed from volumes and original location is noted on folder. Index to ledger/account book, n.d. in folder 17 does not appear to be related to any of the volumes in this collection.

Provenance : Gifts of Walter M. Stone, 1927; C.F. Hovey Company; Jordan Marsh Company, 1947

Amount: 12 volumes, 1 box

Container List:
Vol. 1. Sales book, Fancy Silk Department, February 1867-October 1889
Vol. 2. Sales book, Black Silk Department, February 1866-February 1881
Vol. 3. Sales book, "B S" Department, May 1901-August 1917
Vol. 4. Sales book, "V" Department, November 1909-December 1920
Vol. 5. Sales book, "S" Department, August 1895-January 1903
Vol. 6. Sales book, "14" Department, February 1903-April 1913
Vol. 7. Sales book, February 1884-July 1892
Vol. 8. Sales book, February 1901-January 1914
Vol. 9. Sales book, Department 6, August 1897-July 1907
Vol. 10. Department 6, August 1907-July 1917
Vol. 11. Sales book, February 1914-December 1920
Vol. 12. Cash book, February 1863-February 1886
Box 13. Statements, 1837-1876, 1882-1895
Folder 1 -- Statements, February 1847-August 1849
Folder 2 -- Statements, February 1850-August 1854
Folder 3 -- Statements, February 1855-August 1859
Folder 4 -- Statements, February 1860-February 1864
Folder 5 -- Statements, February 1865-August 1869
Folder 6 -- Statements, February 1870-February 1876
Folder 7 -- Statements, August 1882-August 1889
Folder 8 -- Statements, February 1890-August 1895
Folder 9 -- Calculations, ca. 1900
Folder 10 -- List of employee deaths, 1912
Folder 11 -- Price marker, Green Silk Muslin, n.d.
Folder 12 -- Receipts, 1922
Folder 13 -- Blotter, Theodor Salfner, 1915
Folder 14 -- Application form/articles of incorporation, C. F. Hovey Mutual Benefit Association, n.d.
Folder 15 -- Notice/need for identification for charges, 1916
Folder 16 -- Summary for 1914 [blank], 1914
Folder 17 -- Index to ledger/account book, n.d.
See Also:
Tribute to the Memory of Charles F. Hovey, Boston, 1859
The History of the House of Hovey, containing some interesting reminiscences of almost three quarters of a century, Boston, 1920.