1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 David C. Scott Family Papers

 Bankers and industrialists, of Providence, R.I.

 Papers, 1891-1948 (bulk 1912-1936)

 Size: 2.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 956

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, June 1995

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            James M. Scott (1850-1925) was born in Fall River, Massachusetts to English natives Joseph and Elizabeth Scott, and settled in Providence in 1871. He became prominent in insurance circles, and then retired from this field in 1891. His second career was in the field of banking and investment. He served as director of thirteen different companies, including the Industrial Trust Company. He also served as trustee, president or officer for many others. His most notable achievement was his role in reviving the Union Trust Company in 1908. That same year, he set up a banking and investment partnership with former Lt. Governor Frederick H. Jackson (1847-1915). Scott was also elected a state representative in 1888 and 1898. He married Angia Lyon (d.1913) and had three children, including sons Henry L. Scott (1878-1928) and David C. Scott.

            David Cook Scott (1884-1951) was a manager at his brother's business, H.L. Scott & Co., from an early age. The firm produced testing machinery for textile and other industrial use. David became president and primary stockholder by 1936. The firm's name became Scott Testers Inc.; it was one of the leading companies in its field, and was sold to the Bendic Corporation in the 1960's.

            David was active in many professional and fraternal organizations, most notably the American Society for Testing Materials and the Freemasons. He married Susie Mowry Sherman (daughter of Oliver P. Sherman) of Centerdale, R.I. in 1907. They had three children, James M. Scott II, David C. Scott Jr., and Diana, who married W. Chesley Worthington. The Scotts lived in Centerdale until 1918, when they moved to Providence. The Scotts eventually came to own several houses in Providence, which they leased to tenants.

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Scope and content:

            This collection consists mostly of the personal papers of James M. and David C. Scott. The contents of several letter boxes from non-continuous years comprise the James M. Scott papers, and include records of his estate administration from 1900 to 1907, as well as extensive personal correspondence and bills from 1912-1913, 1917, 1920-1922 and 1924-1925. Also included are land records from 1891 to 1897, and records of the Woodbury Chapel Memorial Organ Fund. There is also a photocopy of the extensive autobiographical notes he compiled between 1915 and 1925.

            The David C. Scott papers are similar in scope, and include complete personal papers and bills for 1917-1918, 1920-1922, 1924-1926, 1935-1936, and 1948. There are a few papers for 1919, and only bills for 1929-1932. There are also some papers for the same years dealing with his role in the family business; in the later years, the line between business and personal became quite blurred. His personal bills have been arranged topically, and provide a good detailed look at the lifestyle of a successful upper middle-class Providence industrialist and his family.

            Examples include correspondence relating to a feud with neighbors in 1921, a vaudeville act Scott was involved with staging in 1922, extensive documentation of his Masonic activities, purchase of camping and boating supplies, lists of telephone toll calls, correspondence with tenants and contractors, Prohibition-era alcohol consumption (including a receipt from a chemist who tested a batch of Scotch whiskey for safety), bills for shopping sprees, Shriner parties (see 1919-1921), and much more.

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            The papers were a gift of William C. Worthington Jr., grandson of David C. Scott, in 1995. Papers of Oliver P. Sherman, part of the same gift, now comprise Mss 955. Nine additional items were donated in 2002 by the estate of W. Chesley Worthington via his daughter Constance Worthington, including letters and paid bills of James M. Scott dated 1914 and 1915.

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Processing note:

            The original organization of these papers was by year. Personal papers were separated, including correspondence. The bills for James M. were kept chronologically, while for David C. they were arranged topically. An effort was made to date undated items in pencil. Some printed material was removed to the Graphics and Printed collections, none of it personal.

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James M. Scott

Box 1: Estate administration, 1900-1909

Armington & Sims, ca. 1900

Barker, Henry R. and Stephen Tripp, 1903

Cady, Shubael, 1903

Campbell Mills and John P. Campbell, 1902-1905

Fletcher, Joseph, 1909

Lewis, Sylvanus, 1900

A.B. Pitkin Machine Co., 1902

Remick, Dr. A., 1905

Rhode Island National Bank, 1903 and Roger Williams National Bank, 1900

Waters, Hardin C., 1903

Deeds, etc. to land in Seekonk, 1891-1897

Woodbury Chapel Memorial Organ Fund, 1903

Box 2: Personal

Autobiography, 1915, with supplements through 1925

Letters received, 1912

Letters received, 1913

Letters received, 1915

Letters received, 1917

Letters received, 1920-1922

Letters received, 1924-1925

Bills, 1912

Bills, 1913

Bills, 1914

Bills, 1917

Bills, 1920-1922

Bills, 1924-1925

Estate, 1926 (from David Scott's files)

David C. Scott

Box 2: Personal

Personal, 1917-1918

Personal, 1919-1921

Personal, 1921-1922

Personal, 1922

Personal, 1924

Personal, 1925

Personal, 1926

Personal, 1935

Personal, 1936

Personal, 1948

Personal, undated notebook, including notes for speech

Box 3: Professional, Bills, etc.

H.L. Scott & Co., 1917-1918

H.L. Scott & Co., 1920

H.L. Scott & Co., 1921-1922

H.L. Scott & Co., 1922-1925

H.L. Scott & Co., 1926

H.L. Scott & Co., 1936

H.L. Scott & Co., 1935-1936 bills (some may be personal)

Scott Testers, Inc., 1948

American Society for Testing Machines, 1926

Diana Sherman Estate, 1926

John F. and George A. Hawkins Estates, 1921-1922

Bills - Automotive, 1917-1931

Bills - Banking records, 1924-1926

Bills - Banking, investments, legal, mortgages, 1917-1948

Bills - Banking - Samples of discarded financial records

Bills - Charitable, 1918-1948

Bills - Clothing, etc. - Callender, McAuslan & Troup Co., 1917-31

Bills - Clothing, etc. - Gladding's, Inc., 1919-1931

Bills - Clothing, etc. - Shepard Company, 1917-1948

Bills - Clothing, etc. - Miscellaneous, 1917-1932

Bills - Clubs and societies, 1917-1948

Bills - Florists, 1922-1948

Bills - Food and drink, 1917-1948 (mostly ice, dairy, catering)

Bills - House (furnishing, repairs, decorating, etc.), 1917-1926

Bills - House (furnishing, repairs, decorating, etc.), 1929-1948

Bills - Insurance, 1917-1948

Bills - Laundry - Louttit Co., 1917-1924

Bills - Laundry - Misc., 1917-1948 (includes tailors)

Bills - Leisure - Vacation and summer camp, 1918-1948

Bills - Leisure - Education (tutoring, lessons, school), 1919-31

Bills - Leisure - Newspaper subscriptions 1919-1936

Bills - Leisure - Reading (bookstores, libraries, etc.) 1919-35

Bills - Leisure - Boating 1917-1936

Bills - Leisure - Misc., 1917-1948 (art, theatre, baseball, etc.)

Bills - Medical (includes dental, optometrist), 1917-1948

Bills - Miscellaneous (watches; landscaping; fabric; etc.) 1917-48

Bills - Tilden-Thurber Corp., 1920-1931

Bills - Property tax, 1917-1948

Bills - Utilities - Telephone, 1917-1936 (with lists of toll calls)

Bills - Utilities - Narragansett Electric, 1917-1936

Bills - Utilities - Providence Gas, 1917-1948

Bills - Utilities - Oil, coal and wood, 1917-1948

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American Society for Testing Machinery

Bankers - Rhode Island - Providence

Prohibition - Rhode Island - Providence

Providence, R.I. - Social life and customs

Scott, David C., 1884-1951

Scott, Henry L. & Co.

Scott, James M., 1850-1925

Sherman, Diana, 1851-1925

Testing equipment industry - Rhode Island

Textile machinery industry - Rhode Island

Titanic (ship)

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