In moving the filing cabinets yesterday we also revealed some stickers stuck to their sides.  Having just discovered the B.F. Drake collection of letters in our archives, we are all about the Salem Iron Works these days.

The Salem Iron Works was started by B. F. Drake along Front St. in Salem in the 1860s.  It manufactured iron parts for a variety of purposes and the name shows up all sorts of places around town from lamp posts to manhole covers.  Here at the mill, we have a set of gear and boiler grate templates that were used at Salem Iron Works for casting parts for the mill’s machinery.

Recent cleaning also uncovered a variety of heretofore unprocessed materials in our archives related to B.F. Drake, including family photographs, a suitcase and a series of family correspondence.  Our marvelous volunteer Doug has just finished a finding aid for this last collection, which includes 104 letters received by B.F. Drake while he was living and working in Salem from family members across the country.  They span the latter half of the 19th century and talk about everything from a cousin he had who died in the Taunton Insane Hospital to views on politics during the Civil War and Salem area businesses.  You can see what it’s all about here: Drake Letters, X2012.011.0001.