1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 William Coates Papers

 Lace weaver, West Warwick, R.I.

 Papers, circa 1935-1958

 Size: 2.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 356

 Processed by: Cindy Bendroth, 1991. Finding aid by Rick Stattler, January 1997

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            William Coates (1871-1937) was born in Derby, England, and settled in West Warwick, R.I., working as a skilled lace weaver. He served as secretary of the Riverpoint Branch #7 of the Amalgamated Lace Operatives of America. Clarence W. Coates and C. William Coates Jr. (apparently William's son and grandson) were also lace workers in West Warwick.


"William Coates, Lace Weaver, Dies at Fall River Hospital", Pawtuxet Valley Daily Times, September 10, 1937.

West Warwick directories.

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Scope and content:

            The bulk of this collection consists of lace sample books, and lace pattern drawings. The drawings are actually codes written out on a grid used for setting up lace machinery. These items are not signed or dated, and may be from any of the three generations of Coates lace workers. This collection includes few written records. There is one interesting folder of correspondence of William Coates as union secretary, and a few scattered notebooks that seem to be from C. William Coates Jr. dating through at least 1958.

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Processing note:

            Some sample books from this collection are housed in the Museum Division. The pattern drawings were initially accessioned into the Graphics Division, but were transferred to Manuscripts in 1996.

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Box 1.

            Amalgamated Lace Operatives of America correspondence, 1935-1936.

            Notebook, 1949.

            Notebook, 1955.

            Miscellaneous technical information, undated.

            Two lace sample books.

            Loose patterns and samples.

Box 2.

            Lace pattern drawings. Unprocessed.

Oversized volume: Lace sample book titled "Torchion and Cluny Laces".

Oversized folder: Lace pattern drawings.

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Amalgamated Lace Operatives of America

Lace and lace making - Rhode Island

Trade unions - Textile workers - Rhode Island

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