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December 2007


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David Palmquist <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 3 Dec 2007 12:45:51 -0500
text/plain (133 lines)
Dear Alice:

Although not a bankruptcy court record, I think an excellent source of
information on George Hyde Clarke's financial affairs and bankruptcy
would be the R. G. Dun Credit registers, the originals of which are at
Harvard University's Business School, Baker Library.  Note, the end date
of this collection is 1892.  

See this excerpt from their web site,


R.G. Dun & Co. Collection

 Founded in 1841 by Lewis Tappan, the Mercantile Agency—later known
as R.G. Dun & Co.—was the first commercial reporting agency in America
and dominated the field well into the twentieth century. These volumes
contain a wealth of business history information on hundreds of American
communities during the period 1841—1892.

The sources of the company's evaluations were its local correspondents
who prepared credit reports on businessmen and women. By the early
1850s, the firm employed 2,000 correspondents throughout the U.S. and
Canada. At least twice a year, credit reports were sent to Dun's New
York City office where they were entered in large ledger books, arranged
by state and county. Dun & Bradstreet donated these volumes to Baker
Library in 1962.

The R.G. Dun & Co. Collection consists of 2,580 volumes of handwritten
credit reports on individuals and firms from the United States, the
western territories, Canada, and the West Indies. Entries include
information on the duration of the business, net worth, sources of
wealth, and the character and reputation of the owners, their partners,
and successors.

Access Information

The collection is open to all visitors who are engaged in scholarly
research. Because of our limited staff and preservation concerns, the
collection is not available for genealogical research.

Researchers must read and sign an application, which states the terms
for using and citing the collection. Receipt of a signed paper copy is
required before access will be granted.

Locating Materials

Use the guide to the R.G. Dun & Co. Collection to identify volumes
relevant to your research project.

Common Abbreviations used in the R.G. Dun & Co. credit reports. Please
review this list prior to visiting the Reading Room, to maximize your
on-site research time.

Planning a Visit

If you wish to visit, please notify us as far in advance as possible.

Limit of 15 volumes per patron per day.

Checklist for visitors


Research services

Photoduplication Due to their fragile condition, R.G. Dun & Co. volumes
may not be photocopied.

Permission to Publish. 

Contact Historical Collections

>>> NYHISTLED <[log in to unmask]> 12/03/07 10:45 AM >>>
Posted by request.

--Moderator, NYHIST-L

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The research team at Hyde Hall in Cooperstown, the state's least-known 

and best documented National Historic Landmark and New York State  
Historic Site (see website, in need of post-season updating, but  
generally very good) is used to having most questions answered by our 

incredible archive (materials from 1704 until 1966, the full range of 

Clarke family history in New York, fully indexed, housed by Cornell  
University Kroch Special Collections Library) has drawn a frustrating 


The late 1880s bankruptcy proceedings against George Hyde Clarke,  
involving property liens and debts of over $1 million -- among the, if 

not the, largest bankruptcy in the country to date (that's what we've 

heard, per contemporary newspaper reports, but haven't figured out how 

to confirm)-- must be documented in some courts archive, but we can't 

figure out where. The properties were scattered throughout Central New 

York and down into the Hudson Valley, but his lawyers were in Utica  
and Cooperstown; Oneida and Otsego counties claim not to have the  

Anybody have any idea where we should look next? Anyone want to help  
us explore this? We have a mix of excellent and determinedly diligent 

volunteers working on this, led by the chief of our seasonal  
interpretive staff, Larry Smith.

Please post to the list, or reply to [log in to unmask] with  
questions, information or comments.

And if you haven't been here lately, come to Hyde Hall next time you  
get a chance -- LOTS of new fantastic "new" (original to house, from  
the too-long-stored collections) things on exhibit as the restoration 

nears completion. Tell the guys at the Park Gate (enter through  
Glimmerglass State Park) that you are heading up to Hyde Hall, and  
they will not charge the beach/campground admission fee.

Thanks very much.

Alice Smith Duncan
Hyde Hall executive director