Table of Contents
A Guide to the collection at the Connecticut Historical Society
Through many generations, the Rudd and Holley families contributed to the history of Lakeville, Connecticut and the state’s northwest corner. The first generation represented in this collection is Luther Holley (1751–1826). Luther was the founder of a successful iron business as well as a farmer and merchant. Luther’s son, John Milton Holley (1777-1836) joined the family business, L. Holley and Son. In 1810, John went into business with John Churchill Coffing, forming the partnership of Holley and Coffing.
Sarah “Sallie” Holley (1818-1893), abolitionist and educator, was born to Myron, brother of John Holley, and Sally House Holley in Canandaigua, New York. Myron was a minister and a Canal Commissioner, who worked to create the Erie Canal. His antislavery beliefs and religious liberalism had a great impact on his daughter. Sallie attended Oberlin College, worked on behalf of the American Anti-Slavery Society, lectured regularly on behalf of abolition and wrote articles for William Lloyd Garrison’s Liberator.
John Holley’s son, Alexander Hamilton Holley (1804-1887) founded Holley Manufacturing Company in 1843 on the site of the Salisbury Furnace, which was operated by Holley and Coffing until 1832, after which it sat idle. Holley also served a one year term as Governor of Connecticut from 1857-1858.
Maria Coffing Holley Rudd (1842-1914) was the daughter of Alexander H. Holley and his second wife, Marcia Coffing Holley. She was the wife of General William Beardsley Rudd (1838-1901), who joined the United States Army in 1861. In 1865 Rudd was appointed adjutant of the 107th regiment, National Guard, State of New York, his home state. William and Maria married in 1865 and in 1866 Rudd joined Holley Manufacturing Company, serving as secretary, treasurer, general manager, director, and stockholder. Rudd was very interested in state politics and in 1889 he received a gubernatorial appointment as Quartermaster of the State. The Rudds had five children, Alexander Holley Rudd (1867-1949), Fanny Rudd Cantine (1869-1936), George Robert Rudd (1872-1877), Malcolm Day Rudd (1877-1942), and Charles Edward Rudd (1881-1950).
Malcolm Day Rudd (1877-1942), was the third son of Gen. William B. Rudd and Maria Coffing Holley Rudd. He attended the Robbins School (Norfolk, Connecticut), the Hotchkiss School (Lakeville, CConnecticut) and entered Yale College in the fall of 1896. Illness forced him to leave Yale in February 1897, but in the fall he enrolled as a special student at Harvard College. Ill health forced him to abandon his studies once again.
Malcolm worked in real estate and was appointed chief clerk to the Supervisor of the 1900 Census of the State of Connecticut. In 1901, he was made treasurer and general manager of the Holley Manufacturing Company, offices he held until his death on 21 January 1942.
Malcolm was interested in his family’s and his community’s history. He was involved in the work of patriotic and historical societies including the Connecticut Division, Sons of Veterans, the Grand Army of the Republic Association, the Connecticut Society of Sons of the American Revolution, the Connecticut Historical Society, the American Historical Association, and the Salisbury Association, Inc. He wrote several books on local history and served as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Department of War Records of the State of Connecticut.
A Republican, Malcolm served as a representative to the Connecticut General Assembly, chairman of the Committee of Military Affairs, and State senator and Senate Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. He served as a trial justice of the peace for Salisbury, CT and a member of the Salisbury Board of Finance. Malcolm also served as a captain in the Connecticut State Guard, secretary of the Selective Service Draft Board number 19, and chairman of the Salisbury War Bureau. He was deputy State tax commissioner, deputy commissioner of motor vehicles, and was appointed chief examiner of the Connecticut Bureau of Old Age Assistance in 1935.
Charles Edward Rudd (1881-1950) was the younger brother of Malcolm D. Rudd. He graduated from the Hotchkiss School, (Lakeville, Connecticut) and Yale College. On April 25, 1905, Charles married Emma Sands Rees. The Rees family owned Hans Rees’ Sons Inc., a manufacturer of industrial leather belting, with corporate offices in New York City and tanneries in Asheville, North Carolina. Charles served as general manager of the Asheville tannery for many years, becoming involved in local organizations such as the Asheville Country Club and the local hospital board. As a member of the family, Charles was involved in Holley Manufacturing Inc. as a director throughout his life.
When not working, Charles enjoyed fishing and golf. Charles, Malcolm Rudd, and their friend Floyd L. “Doc” Jennings, formed the O.Y. and O.N. Club, (Oh Yes and Oh No Club.) For more than 30 years, these three friends took an annual fishing trip, recording their adventures and their catch in both diaries and photographs.
Emma Sands Reese (1884-1965) was the daughter of John K. Rees, a noted professor of astronomy at Columbia University, and Louise Rees. She attended Vassar and had one son, John Krom Rudd, with her husband Charles. Another notable member of the Rees family is William Coffin, husband of Emma’s sister, Mabel Sands Rees. He worked in the mercantile business in from 1894-1906 when he passed the examinations for consular service. He held numerous posts throughout Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, his last being as Counsel General in Berlin, Germany where he died of cardiac arrest in 1927.
John Krom Rudd (1917-2010) was educated at the Asheville School (Asheville, North Carolina) and Princeton, where he majored in mechanical engineering. After graduation, John joined Curtiss-Wright Corporation in Patterson, New Jersey, where he worked until 1947 when he joined Richardson Scale Company in Clifton, New Jersey. John was responsible for restoration and improvements to Holleywood, after his retirement in 1971 when he moved to the family home in Lakeville, Connecticut. John married Virginia Burchfield with whom he had a son, John Holley Rudd, the donor of this collection.
Henry Seymour Wilson (1856-1931) who was called “Rush” by Charles E. Rudd, was a business acquaintance of the Rudd family. Wilson was secretary of Holley Manufacturing Company, secretary for the Salisbury Congregational Church Society, and clerk for the Congregational Church.
The two main organizations represented in this collection are Hans Rees’ Sons, Inc. and Holley Manufacturing Company. Hans Rees’ Sons, Inc. was founded in 1846 as Rees & Hoyt. The firm operated until 1854 when the firm was dissolved. In 1861, Hans Rees formed another partnership named Rees & Hoyt which operated until 1863 when it was dissolved. In 1865 Hans took his son, Norman, into the business and the name became Hans Rees & Son. Arthur Rees joined his father and brother in the business in 1868, when its name changed to Hans Rees & Sons. Hans Rees retired in 1874 and the name changed to Hans Rees’ Sons, which operated until ca.1946.
Holley Manufacturing Company was founded in 1843 by Alexander Hamilton Holley and George Merwin as Holley and Merwin. The Company claimed to be the oldest manufacturer of pocket cutlery in the United States. The company name was later changed to Holley & Company and in 1854 it was incorporated as the Holley Manufacturing Company. It was a family-operated business with Alexander H. Holley as president, George B. Burrall, treasurer, and William B. Rudd, secretary. William Rudd's son, Malcolm D. Rudd, succeeded him as treasurer and general manager, serving in that position until 1942.
The papers document six generations of an important Connecticut family and their contributions to the life of their community and the state. For clarity, some series were created that contain material from multiple generations. Some of the journals and ledgers were used by more than one generation as was common in the 19th century. In that case, they were filed under the last person to use them. If there is only one file or item for an individual, his or her papers are filed with their parent, spouse or sibling as appropriate.
Series I consists of the papers of Luther Holley and includes correspondence, legal deeds, and a scrapbook assembled by Luther’s son, Orville L. Holley.
Series II contains the papers of John M. Holley and consists of correspondence and financial records from his son, George Washington Holley.
Series III contains the papers of Alexander H. Holley and consists of account books and diaries, correspondence, financial documents, deeds, and a booklet by his first son, Alexander Lyman Holley, titled “Holley on Chemical and Physical Analyses of Phosphoric Steel.” This series also contains a commonplace book assembly by Holley’s daughter, Marcia Coffing Holley.
Series IV contains the papers of Sarah “Sallie” Holley and consists of a commonplace book and scrapbooks. One of the volumes includes a list of places where she lectured in support of abolition in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Delaware. Others include newspaper clippings of her writings and her editorials.
Series V contains the papers of General William B. Rudd and consists of correspondence and financial records associated with Rudd’s involvement with the Connecticut National Guard in 1890. These include forms for uniform compensation, officers’ compensation, payroll, care of arms, care of public property, transportation, and freight and expenses. These documents are from the armories in Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, and New London.
General Rudd’s wife, Marcia Coffing Holley Rudd is represented in Series VI. The bulk of her papers are daily financial records detailing purchases for Holleywood and her family and documents related to her estate. There is some correspondence, a diary, a commonplace book with artists’ biographies, and a notebook with commentary on surveys of her property.
Series VII is one of the larger series and contains the papers of Malcolm D. Rudd. Personal and business correspondence was culled by Malcolm in 1933, possibly when it was removed from his office. There is a small amount of financial material. The largest part of this series consists of genealogical materials including family histories and notes compiled by Malcolm. Family names represented in this collection include Bellows, Birch/Burch, Brewster, Cook, Holley, Holley-Olmstead, Holley-Williams, Hopkins, Lawrence, Moore, Porter, Rudd, and Sands. As a keeper of local history, Malcolm collected historical materials from local businesses. These include materials related to Hezekiah Bradford, the estate of Robert Bostwick, and business records of Henry Fitch, Solomon Bierce, and (?) Reed.
Series VIII is the largest series and contains the papers of Charles E. Rudd. Rudd’s incoming correspondence from his wife, Emma, spans from the beginning of their relationship in 1902 to 1939. Rudd’s correspondence from Emma includes correspondence from their son, John K. Rudd, when he was a small child. Correspondence from John K. Rudd as a young man onwards has been separated into its own folder within the series. Additional correspondents include his brothers, Alexander H. Rudd and Malcolm D. Rudd, and other family and friends. There are extensive financial files containing correspondence, bills, and receipts spanning from 1895 to 1952, including materials related to the building of his home in Asheville, NC; material on leases of homes; and income tax forms and supporting documentation.
Materials on organizations with which Charles was associated reflect his interests and include minutes from the O.Y. and O.N. Club (Oh Yes and Oh No Club), the Asheville Country Club, an unidentified fife and drum corps, and the Salisbury Bicentennial Committee. Materials from the Asheville Country Club are filed in both his personal correspondence as well as in his business letterbox files, depending on where the materials originally were filed by Charles himself.
Charles was a prolific diary keeper and his papers include a complete run from 1900-1949, the year before his death. Specialized diaries range from a camera account book from 1895 to a 1938 diary detailing a fishing trip. There are four diaries detailing surveys he made of the roads between Lakeville and Hotchkiss School, Lime Rock and Salisbury, and around Falls Village. Whenever possible, papers inserted into diaries by the creator were left in situ in the diary. If there was a large amount of paper inserted in the front or back of the diary, it was removed, foldered separately with a note about its original location, and filed immediately after the diary.
Series IX contains the papers of Emma S.R. Rudd, Charles’ wife. Her papers include incoming correspondence from Charles, 1902 to 1949; incoming correspondence addressed to both Emma and Charles, from their son, John K. Rudd, 1935-1951; incoming correspondence from her parents, John K. and Louise Rees, 1900-1904; incoming correspondence from family and friends, 1900-1950; and a small number of copies of undated outgoing correspondence. A scrapbook from Vassar offers an interesting look at the life of a college student at the turn of the 20th century. While the series contains diaries, it is interesting to note that Emma was not a diary keeper of any note until one year after her husband’s death. There is an incomplete diary from 1919, but Emma did not regularly start keeping a diary until 1951. She continued to keep diaries until 1964, the year before her death.
Series X contains the Rees family papers that were originally part of Charles Rudd’s papers. Charles served as executor for the estates of various in-laws and worked in the Rees family business, which explains the extensive files regarding the Rees family. There is legal correspondence and documents regarding the estates of William Coffin, Benjamin F. (Frank) Rees, John K. Rees, Louise Rees, Norman Rees, and other members of the Hutchinson, Rees, and Rudd families. This series also contains an extensive run of diaries from Hans Rees, founder of Hans Rees’ Sons, Inc. (1866-1883) and his son, Norman Rees (1858-1910). The diaries cover both family- and business-related topics and include a diary kept while Norman toured Europe.
Series XI contains the papers of John K. Rudd, son of Emma and Charles Rudd. It consists of incoming correspondence from Charles (1926-1946) and incoming correspondence from Emma (1940-1943), both in reverse chronological order; and other incoming personal correspondence (1921-1946, 1985). John worked on restoring Holleywood and his papers contain materials related to the restoration of the family homestead and construction of the boat house (1940-1989) Like his father and Uncle Malcolm, he was very interested in the family history and his papers contain genealogies for the Holley, Rudd, Sands, and Williams families (1888, 1976-2001).
John was also a diarist and his papers contain an extensive run of diaries, 1927-2004 inclusive. Diaries for 1950 and 1985 were retained by John’s son, John Holley Rudd “for sentimental reasons.” John K. Rudd’s son, John Holley Rudd was born in 1950 and his grandson, Brian John Rudd, was born in 1985, possibly explaining why John Holley Rudd wished to retain those two years. This series also contains some school-related material, memorabilia from John’s youth, and a postcard album (1920-1925).
Series XII contains business records relating to organizations represented in the family papers. There is extensive material related to Hans Rees’ Sons Inc. including company history, financial inventories, tanning formulas, ledgers, notebooks, and special reports from Charles E. Rudd as Vice President and General Manager of the Asheville, NC tannery (1864-1948).
The series also contains materials related to various businesses that predated Holley Manufacturing Company including Holley and Coffing, the Star Pit Ore Bed and Fitch Ore Bed, Holley & Merwin, and A. H. Holley & Company. These materials include correspondence, ledgers, and account books (1825-1910).
Holley Manufacturing Company is well-represented in the series by correspondence, financial records, catalogs, order postcards, cancelled checks, and blank stationery (1873-1944). Of particular interest are the various ledgers and account books, including an early ledger for the workmen (1850-1854).
Because Hans Rees’ Sons, Inc. and Holley Manufacturing were family businesses, personal correspondence occasionally was included in business files by the creators. Typically this correspondence relates to settling estates or meetings of the board of directors of a business, but personal matters are discussed as well.
Series XIII contains the records of Henry S. Wilson who was a colleague of the Rudds and very involved locally. Organizations represented in these materials include Holley Manufacturing Company, the Congregational Church of Salisbury, Lakeville School district, Litchfield Northwest Sunday School Union, Robbins School, Taconic School, and the Union Choral Society (Lakeville, Connecticut). This series consists of correspondence, bank books, and ledgers for the various organizations with which Wilson was involved (1878-1911).
The collection is arranged into thirteen series by family member or organization. Within the series, material is arranged by type and chronologically within each type. Undated materials remain with the topically arranged materials and are filed at the end of the dated items.
There are no restrictions on access to the collection.
Use of the material requires compliance with the Connecticut Historical Society's Research Center regulations.
Holley, Alexander Hamilton
Holley, John Milton
Holley, Marcia Coffing
Holley, Sarah (Sallie)
Rudd, Charles Edward
Rudd, Emma Sands Rees
Rudd, John Krom
Rudd, Malcolm Day
Rudd, William Beardsley
Wilson, Henry Seymour
American Anti-Slavery Society
Hans Rees Sons' Inc.
Holley & Company
Holley and Merwin
Holley Manufacturing Company
Iron industry and trade--United States--History
Leather industry and trade--New York
Leather industry and trade--North Carolina
Item, Rudd and Holley Family Papers, 1788-2006, MS 100906, (Box #, Folder #). Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Connecticut.
In the spring of 2010, the archivist was contacted by John Holley Rudd about a donation of material. The Archivist went to Holleywood, Lakeville, Connecticut and retrieved approximately 30 cartons of material. A gift form was signed transfering all materials to CHS.
Collection was processed by VivianLea Solek and Barbara Austen in 2013.
EAD Finding Aid created July 2013.
To Asheville School
2 hand books, papers written by John K. Rudd while a student, programs for plays and concerts, and a program for the dedication of the William Spencer Boyd Memorial Chapel.
To CHS Graphics
Approximately 9 linear feet of family and travel photographs.
Holley family papers, 1747-1914, MS 54147. Irving B. Holley collection of family papers, 1777-2008, MS 100894 Malcolm Day Rudd papers, MS 93793 Box 21
There are additional materials related to other Holley family members and allied families such as Coffing and Rudd which can be accessed through the CHS Online Catalog.
Holley Manufacturing Company Records, MSS 19800028, Thomas J. Dodd research Center, University of Connecticut.
Malcolm Day Rudd Papers, 1980.0033, Dodd Center, University of Connecticut.
Sallie Holley and Caroline Putnam letters in Wendell Phillips Papers, MS Am 1953, Houghton Manuscript Library, Harvard University.
John Milton Holley (1777-1836) Papers, 1793-1799, MSS#: MC33, Williams College Archives and Special Collections.