1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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 E. Morgan and Sons Records

 Patent medicine manufacturer, Providence, R.I.

 Records, 1886-1951

 Size: 3 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1013

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, January 1998

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Ebenezer Morgan of Groton, Connecticut began the manufacture of patent medicines in Providence, R.I. circa 1878, in partnership with James S. Pidge. The firm of Morgan & Pidge was disbanded in 1886, and Morgan formed a partnership with his son William H. Morgan (1853-1910) and son-in-law Franklin P. Marsh (1853-1928). Ebenezer Morgan ceased to be active in the firm circa 1892, but the name "E. Morgan & Sons" was retained. It was around this time that the firm's address changed from High Street to more permanent quarters at 350 Weybosset Street. After William H. Morgan died without any children in 1910, Franklin P. Marsh assumed sole control of the company. Upon his death in 1928, he was succeeded by his widow Lavinia (Morgan) Marsh and their son Ebenezer M. Marsh (grandson of the founder). Ebenezer M. Marsh of Longmeadow, Warwick, R.I. appears in the city directories as proprietor of E. Morgan & Sons through 1961. After that date, both he and the firm disappear, and the factory building at 350 Weybosset is listed as vacant.

            This company was engaged mainly in the production of two patent medicines: "Dr. Haynes' Arabian Balsam", and the less popular "Miller's Vegetable Expectorant". These two products were marketed to wholesalers and pharmacies; a few loyal consumers purchased the Arabian Balsam directly from the company. The precise recipes for these medicines have not been found, but the company's purchasing book shows invoices for salad oil, licorice root, lobelia herb, turpentine, flour, guar gum, "gum myrrh", nitrous ether, camphor, "oil origanum" (oil of red thyme), molasses, and alcohol.


"W.H. Morgan Dead at his Island Home", Providence Journal, August 16, 1910

"Franklin Marsh, Manager of Medicine Firm, Dead", Providence Journal, Feb. 20, 1928

Providence City Directories

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Scope and content:

            This collection includes eight volumes of miscellaneous account books covering 1886 to 1937; and numerous files of correspondence and invoices from 1913 to 1951.

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            These records were purchased from Warwick book dealer Mildred Longo in 1997, and were probably obtained from the estate of a family heir.

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Processing note:

            The correspondence files were found in rusty metal binders. They were removed from these binders and placed in acid-free folders. The original arrangement was to have one binder cover a period of several years. Within this span, the arrangement was first by the initial letter of the correspondent, and then in chronological order for each letter. This original order has been maintained, although it was necessary to break down many of the binders into several different folders. Some of these files overlap in time periods; some contain mostly invoices rather than actual correspondence; and several files must have been lost over the years.

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Box 1:

Day book, 7/1897 - 8/1905

Day book, 9/1905 - 11/1914

Day book, 12/1914 - 7/1927

Journal C, 1/1900 - 9/1908

Journal E, 3/1921 - 2/1933

Purchase invoice book, 1/1900 - 12/1937

Box 2:

Sales book, 1/1886 - 4/1892

Sales book, 5/1892 - 2/1903

Free product receipts, 1911

Dividends received and supply inventory, 1931

Correspondence, 1913-1914

Correspondence, 1919-1926   A-Bl; Bo-Bz; C

Correspondence, 1919-1930 D-E; F-G;

Correspondence, 1924-1931 H-J; K; L

Correspondence, 1925-1927 B-E; F-L; M-Z

Correspondence, 1927-1930 A-F; G-N; O-Z

Box 3:

Correspondence, 1930-1934 A-K; L-M; N-Z

Correspondence, 1932-1934 A-G; H-L; M-O; P-Z

Correspondence, 1935-1937 A-F; G-M; N-Z

Correspondence, 1935-1937 A-G; H-L; M-N; O-Z

Correspondence, 1938-1940 A-E; F-L; M-N; O-Z

Correspondence, 1948-1951 A-K; L-N; P-Z

Correspondence, 1951 A-Z

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Haynes' Arabian Balsam

Marsh, Ebenezer

Marsh, Franklin P. (1853-1928)

Miller's Vegetable Expectorant

Morgan, Ebenezer

Morgan, William H. (1853-1910)

Patent medicine - Rhode Island - Providence

Providence, R.I. - Business records

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