Key Resources

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Books

 

The library of the Carriage Museum of America houses approximately 1,200 books on the carriages and related subjects. These include books on stables and carriage houses, horse training, management, diseases, breeds and breeding, as well as those on proper driving etiquette, whip and harness making, bridles, bits and horse shoeing. A number of early travel histories and travel guides are also available.

libraryLadder_BThe library collection of Thomas Ryder, a leading international expert on driving and carriages, was purchased by the Carriage Museum of America. Major contributions have also been made to the collection from the Paul Downing Collection, Richard Harrington, Ken Sowles, Jack Pemberton and others.

The library is non-circulating, but is open to the public by appointment. Many classic carriage texts have been digitized and are available at no cost online. Please see our Recommended Reading page for more information.

A portion of our collection can be searched online. Feel free to search our catalog to learn more about what the library has to offer.

Archives

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Just a few of the resources found inside an archival box labeled “Coaching and Fashion”

In addition to the library, the Carriage Museum of America maintains a large archival collection. The archives are extremely diverse, holding materials ranging from calling cards to calendars, newspapers to sheet music. We maintain vertical files with clippings on key people, carriage accessories, driving, harness types, and much more. We also have a large graphics library, with hundreds of prints and photographs arranged by subject.

If you are researching a particular type of vehicle or specific element of carriage culture, there’s a good chance that we have something relevant in our archive. Feel free to come look through the materials yourself, or contact us for more information.

American Carriage Directory

The American Carriage Directory was published annually, and lists every carriage, wagon, and sleigh manufacturer doing business that year. Organized by city and state, the Directory also includes listings for vehicle dealers and repairers, as well as manufacturers of carriage related products such as axles and coach lace.

Our library is fortunate to have copies of the American Carriage Directory for 1888, 1891, 1898, and 1903. This directory is a valuable resource in helping to pinpoint the legal name of a manufacturer, the years it was doing business, its location, and its relative size.

Carriage Catalogs

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Cover of the 24th Annual Catalog of the Kalamazoo Carriage & Harness Co. of Kalamazoo, MI. This catalog is not dated, which was common.

To promote their products to customers, carriage manufacturers and dealers published catalogs of their work. These catalogs not only featured vehicle styles and prices, but also included information about the company’s factory, sales and shipping procedures, patented components, and available options and accessories.

The CMA collection includes original or reproduction catalogs for over 200 vehicle manufactures. We also have a large collection of harness and hardware catalogs.

A number of carriage catalogs have been digitized and are viewable online. You can see a list of those catalogs here.

Trade Journals

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Advertisement for The Bentel & Margedant Co., The Hub, June 1887. p. 218. Many companies advertised their products in both trade journals.

During the height of the carriage era, there were two primary trade journals responsible for disseminating information to carriage manufacturers, draftsmen, dealers, and the interested public. The New York Coach-Makers’ Magazine was published by Ezra Stratton in New York City beginning in 1858, and in 1871 the name was changed to The Hub.  It was published under this name until 1919. The Coach-Makers’ International Journal was founded in Philadelphia in 1865 by Isaac Ware, and in 1873 the name became The Carriage Monthly. It was published until March 1916 under this name.

Each of these publications was printed monthly. The content was divided into sections on wood, smith shop, paint, trimming, shop news, and carriage anecdotes. The publications also ran many pages of advertisements for horse and carriage related products.

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One of many cover designs used by The Hub. New Year’s Number, 1884.

Each issue included eight fashion plates, displaying images and descriptions of new styles of vehicles being manufactured around the country and even internationally. At the time, these fashion plates helped designers stay up-to-date on current styles. As we research vehicles in the modern day, these fashion plates help us to track changes in carriage styles over time.

These journals provide great insight into the technology, styles, and key people and places of the time. The Carriage Museum of America is pleased to hold a large archive of both The Hub and The Carriage Monthly, in addition to issues of other related journals and serial publications.