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Guide to the Peterson Grocery Store Records,​ 1881-​1920

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Summary Information

Title: Peterson Grocery Store Records

Inclusive Dates: 1881-1920

Creator: Peterson Grocery Store (Eau Claire, Wis.)

Call Number: Eau Claire Mss W

Quantity: 15.2 c.f. (38 archives boxes)

Repository: Housed at the Area Research Center, William D. McIntyre Library, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, Library-Archives Division

Archival Locations: UW-Eau Claire McIntyre Library / Eau Claire Area Research Ctr.

Abstract: Records of a Wisconsin grocery store and its predecessor firms, consisting mainly of financial records including invoices of wholesale purchases and daily customer orders. Also included is a small amount of business and personal correspondence, 1888-1920, in Danish and English; wholesaler's price lists and advertisements, 1879-1920; and “poor orders” listing the grocery orders filled for the city's poor, 1897-1909.

Language: English, Danish

Biography/History

In 1881, Hans Mason and his brother-in-law, Hans Peterson, formed a partnership to operate the Mason and Company Grocery Store at the corner of Seventh and Water Streets (642 Water Street) in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The store later was known as Mason and Peterson's Grocery, and, when Peterson bought out his partner after a few years, as the Peterson Grocery Store. Peterson continued to operate the business until his death of a heart ailment on September 2, 1920.

Born near Copenhagen, Denmark, August 29, 1843, Peterson married Kirsten Peterson in 1866. In 1868, the couple immigrated to Eau Claire where during his first thirteen years in America, Peterson worked at the Steven Marston Saw Mill and later at the Empire Lumber Company before going into the grocery business.

Peterson was an alderman representing Eau Claire's Seventh Ward, and, at one time, President of the Common Council of that city.

There is no information at hand on the disposition of the store after Peterson's death in 1920.

Scope and Content Note

The records extant of the Peterson Grocery Store, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1881-1920, consist mainly of financial records, e.g. orders, invoices, receipts, account books, and day books. There is also one folder of general correspondence written both in Danish and English, and a general file of miscellaneous business records. These files are often incomplete.

This collection is representative of a retail grocery store operation, 1880-1920, in a small community (17,800) in west central Wisconsin, consequently the records have been retained in their entirety, except for duplicates and obvious ephemera. However, considerable selection was apparently practiced in preservation of the records by Hans Peterson, his heirs, or consignees before their donation to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

The CORRESPONDENCE, 1888-1920, is general and scanty, both personal and business, some written in Danish (not translated). There is one letter, dated February 20, 1905, from Wisconsin Assemblyman Chris N. Saugen of Cleghorn, Eau Claire County, referring to the “Dells dam question.” The Correspondence is in chronological sequence.

The GENERAL FILE consists of Advertisements and Price Lists of miscellaneous wholesalers, 1879-1920; blank forms used in the operation of the store; a few papers relating to the Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association - Mortuary Calls, 1890-1892; “Poor Orders,” 1897-1909; and miscellaneous business papers, cards, and customer orders.

The “Poor Orders” list, by name, those of the city's “poor” for whom Peterson was grocer, and the amount of each order. There is also a tabulation for the year 1909, by month.

Filed under Miscellaneous Business Papers, 1890, 1896, 1908-1909, is a “Claim For Rebate Under the Act of December 15, 1890, of Taxes Paid on Tobacco and Snuff;” two printed items on the Sugar Tariff, 1908; and a list of tares compiled by the Wisconsin Wholesale Grocers' Association for the “retail trade.”

The Miscellaneous Business Cards are for accounts, orders, receipts for shipment, and salesmen's appointments. Miscellaneous Customer Orders are loose single sheets and two small order pads, which do not fit readily with the Day Books, in which most of the customer orders are recorded.

Folders of manuscripts included in the General File are in alphabetical order by type of material. The Advertisements and Price Lists are separated into two periods, 1879-1892 and 1900-1920, and arranged alphabetically by advertiser within each time period. The Blank Business Forms are in alphabetical sequence. The other categories of the General File have a chronological arrangement.

The bulk of the collection are the FINANCIAL RECORDS consisting of Invoices and Receipts, 1885-1920; Railroad Freight Bills, 1897, 1910, and 1919; Account Books, 1881-1917; a Cash Book, 1893-1910; a Journal, 1893; a Ledger, 1887-1894; and Day Books, 1884-1919.

There are only scattered invoices and receipts for the years 1885, 1887-1892, 1894, 1897, 1908-1912, and 1914 through June 1917. From 1893 to 1910 invoices have been preserved in account with Girnau and Dohrman, an Eau Claire “wagon and carriage works,” with itemized listings of parts and repair costs. For the years of United States involvement in World War I, 1917-1918, and the following year, 1919, probably the majority of invoices sent to the Peterson Grocery Store have survived. For 1920 there are only three statements, January to April, of Peterson's account with Franklin MacVeah and Company of Chicago.

Peterson recorded customer accounts in two account books, 1881-1883 and 18831889. Thereafter, for the period 1889-1917, these records are kept in individual customer account books. He also kept a cash book, 1893-1910; a journal, 1892; and a ledger, 1887-1894. The mainstay of Peterson's records was the daybook, in which individual customer's purchase orders, with prices, were recorded daily. There are some gaps in these records and some duplication of concurrent day books, especially for the latter half of the period documented in these records, 1884-1919.

The order of arrangement of the Financial Records has been determined by the original progression of usage from invoices on wholesale purchase and freight bills to the account books, cash book, journal, and ledger. However, the thirty-three archives boxes of day books have been placed at the end of the collection, because of the large number of volumes in this classification. Within the individual categories of this series the arrangement is chronological.

Administrative/Restriction Information

Acquisition Information

Presented by Thomas Barland, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, June 26, 1963 and August 16, 1963. Accession Number: M63-133, M63-133-1

Processing Information

Processed by Joanne Hohler, September 8, 1972.

Search Terms/Subject Terms

  • Grocery trade—Wisconsin—Eau Claire
  • Poor—Wisconsin—Eau Claire
  • Eau Claire (Wis.)—Commerce
  • Mason and Company Grocery Store (Eau Claire, Wis.)
  • Mason and Peterson’s Grocery (Eau Claire, Wis.)

Contents List

Box 1
Folder 1

Series: Correspondence, General, 1888-1920 Note: In Danish and English

Series: General File

Advertisements and Price Lists, Miscellaneous Wholesalers

Box 1
Folder 2

1879-1892

Box 1
Folder 3

1900-1920

Box 1
Folder 4

Forms, Blank Business, 1880-1900

Box 1
Folder 5

Insurance, Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association, Mortuary Call, 1890-1892

Box 1
Folder 6

“Poor Orders,” 1897-1909; undated

Miscellaneous

Box 1
Folder 7

Business Papers, 1890, 1896, 1908-1909

Box 1
Folder 8

Cards and Customer Orders, undated

Series: Financial Records

Invoices and Receipts

Box 2
Folder 1

1885; 1887, January-December

Box 2
Folder 2

1888, January-June

Box 2

Folder 3

1888, July-December

Box 2
Folder 4

1889

Box 2
Folder 5

1890, January-May

Box 2
Folder 6

1890, June-December

Box 2
Folder 7

1891

Box 2
Folder 8

1892, 1894, 1897

Box 2
Folder 9

Girnau and Dohrman - Eau Claire Wagon and Carriage Works, 1893-1910

Box 2
Folder 10

1908-1912

Box 2
Folder 11

1914-1916

Box 2
Folder 12

1917, January-May

Box 2
Folder 13-18

1917, July-December

Box 3
Folder 1-12

1918, January-December

Box 4
Folder 1-11

1919, January-November

Box 4
Folder 12

1920

Railroad Freight Bills

Box 4
Folder 13

1897, March-June

Box 4
Folder 14

1897, July-December

Box 4
Folder 15

1910, July-November

Box 4
Folder 16

1919

Account Books

Box 5
Folder 1-2

Book #1, Pages 1-428 (some gaps), 1881-1883

Box 5
Folder 3-4

Book #2, Pages 1-332, 1883-1889

Box 5
Folder 5
Individual Customer Accounts, 1889-1917

Box 5
Folder 6

Cash Book, 1893-1910

Box 5
Folder 7

Journal, 1893

Box 5
Folder 8

Ledger, 1887-1894

Day Books

Box 6
Folder 1

1884, April 11-June 27

Box 6
Folder 2

1884, June 27-August 26

Box 6
Folder 3

1884, August 27-October 19

Box 6
Folder 4

1884, October 20-December 26

Box 6
Folder 5

1885, January 1-March 25

Box 6
Folder 6

1885, March 26-May 14

Box 6
Folder 7

1886, September-1887, February 17

Box 6
Folder 8

1887, October 4-November 10

Box 6
Folder 9

1887, November 10-December 31

Box 7
Folder 1

1888, January 2-February 25

Box 7
Folder 2

1888, February 25-April 7

Box 7
Folder 3

1888, April 7-May 15

Box 7
Folder 4

1888, May 15-June 15

Box 7
Folder 5

1888, June 15-July 16

Box 7
Folder 6

1888, July 16-August 17

Box 7
Folder 7

1888, August 17-September 18

Box 7
Folder 8

1888, September 18-October 22

Box 7
Folder 9

1888, October 22-December 6

Box 7
Folder 10

1888, December 7-1889, February 2 1889

Box 8
Folder 1

1889, February 2-April 20

Box 8
Folder 2

1889, April 20-June 14

Box 8
Folder 3

1889, June 14-August 5

Box 8
Folder 4

1889, August 5-September 23

Box 8
Folder 5

1889, September 25-November 20

Box 8
Folder 6

1889, November 20-1890, February 5

Box 9
Folder 1

1890, March 24-May 24

Box 9
Folder 2

1890, May 24-July 11

Box 9
Folder 3

1890, July 11-August 27

Box 9
Folder 4

1890, August 27-October 14

Box 10 Folder 1

1890, October 14-December 1

Box 10 Folder 2

1891, February 21-April 24

Box 10 Folder 3

1891, April 24-June 11

Box 10 Folder 4

1891, June 11-August 10

Box 11 Folder 1

1891, August 10-October 19

Box 11 Folder 2

1891, October 19-November 30

Box 11 Folder 3

1891, December 1-1892, February 5

Box 11 Folder 4

1892, February 5-April 7

Box 11 Folder 5

1892, April 7-May 19

Box 12 Folder 1

1892, May 20-June 28

Box 12 Folder 2

1892, June 29-August 5

Box 12 Folder 3

1892, August 6-October 4

Box 12 Folder 4

1892, October 4-December 23

Box 13 Folder 1

1892, December 23-1893, March 26

Box 13 Folder 2

1893, March 27-May 28

Box 13 Folder 3

1893, May 28-July 20

Box 13 Folder 4

1893, July 20-September 9

Box 14 Folder 1

1893, September 9-November 6

Box 14 Folder 2

1893, November 6-1894, January 23

Box 14 Folder 3

1894, January 23-April 4

Box 14 Folder 4

1894, April 4-May 28

Box 14 Folder 5

1894, May 28-July 8

Box 15 Folder 1

1894, July 18-September 5

Box 15 Folder 2

1894, September 5-October 10

Box 15 Folder 3

1894, October 30-1895, January 10

Box 15 Folder 4

1895, January 10-March 25

Box 15 Folder 5

1895, March 25-May 21

Box 16 Folder 1

1895, May 21-July 13

Box 16 Folder 2

1895, July 13-September 7

Box 16 Folder 3

1895, September 7-November 7

Box 16 Folder 4

1895, November 7-1896, January 27

Box 16 Folder 5

1896, January 27-April 11

Box 17 Folder 1

1896, April 11-June 13

Box 17 Folder 2

1896, June 13-August 11

Box 17 Folder 3

1896, August 11-October 13

Box 17 Folder 4

1896, October 13-1897, January 16

Box 17 Folder 5

1897, January 16-April 17

Box 18 Folder 1

1897, April 17-June 29

Box 18 Folder 2

1897, June 29-September 8

Box 18 Folder 3

1897, September 8-November 22

Box 18 Folder 4

1897, November 22-1898, February 12

Box 18 Folder 5

1898, February 14-April 23

Box 19 Folder 1

1898, April 23-June 27

Box 19 Folder 2

1898, June 27-August 24

Box 19 Folder 3

1898, August 24-October 28

Box 19 Folder 4

1898, October 28-1899, January 11

Box 20 Folder 1

1899, January 11-March 31

Box 20 Folder 2

1899, March 31-June 5

Box 20 Folder 3

1899, June 5-August 5

Box 20 Folder 4

1899, August 5-October 6

Box 21 Folder 1

1899, October 6-December 22

Box 21 Folder 2

1899, December 22-1900, March 23

Box 21 Folder 3

1900, March 23-May 31

Box 21 Folder 4

1900, May 31-July 28

Box 22 Folder 1

1900, July 28-September 24

Box 22 Folder 2

1900, September 24-October 23

Box 22 Folder 3

1900, October 23-December 24

Box 22 Folder 4

1900, December 24-1901, March 8

Box 23 Folder 1

1901, March 8-May 8

Box 23 Folder 2

1901, May 8-July 11

Box 23 Folder 3

1901, July 11-October 5

Box 23 Folder 4

1901, October 5-November 19

Box 24 Folder 1

1902, January 11-March 10

Box 24 Folder 2

1902, March 10-May 30

Box 24 Folder 3

1902, May 30-August 12

Box 24 Folder 4

1902, August 12-October 28

Box 24 Folder 5

1902, August 11-November 7

Box 24 Folder 5

1902, April 30-1903, February 11

Box 25 Folder 1

1902, October 28-1903, January 27

Box 25 Folder 1

1902, November 7-1903, February 16

Box 25 Folder 3

1903, January 25-May 2

Box 25 Folder 4

1903, February 16-June 15

Box 25 Folder 5

1903, May 12-July 20

Box 26 Folder 1

1903, June 15-October 31

Box 26 Folder 2

1903, July 20-October 12

Box 26 Folder 3

1903, October 12-1904, January 14

Box 26 Folder 4

1903, November 3-1904, March 15

Box 26 Folder 5

1904, January 14-April 20

Box 27 Folder 1

1904, March 15-July 1

Box 27 Folder 2

1904, April 20-July 12

Box 27 Folder 3

1904, July 1-October 21

Box 27 Folder 3

1904, December 6-1905, April 14

Box 27 Folder 3

1905, April 14-August 15

Box 27 Folder 4

1905, August 16-December 16

Box 27 Folder 4

1905, December 19-1906, April 18

Box 27 Folder 5

1906, January 1-April 21

Box 28 Folder 1

1906, April 19-August 28

Box 28 Folder 2

1906, April 21-June 27

Box 28 Folder 3

1906, June 27-September 1

Box 28 Folder 4

1906, September 1-November 12

Box 28 Folder 5

1906, November 12-1907, January 31

Box 29 Folder 1

1907, January 31-May 10

Box 29 Folder 2

1907, May 10-August 9

Box 29 Folder 3

1907, August 9-November 8

Box 30 Folder 1

1907, November 8-1908, February 19

Box 30 Folder 2

1908, February 19-May 22

Box 30 Folder 3

1908, May 22-August 19

Box 31 Folder 1

1908, August 19-November 20

Box 31 Folder 2

1909, March 8-June 19

Box 31 Folder 3

1909, June 19-September 21

Box 32 Folder 1

1909, September 21-December 24

Box 32 Folder 2

1909, December 24-1910, April 8

Box 32 Folder 3

1910, April 8-July 9

Box 33 Folder 1

1910, July 9-October 5

Box 33 Folder 2

1912, September 12-December 29

Box 34 Folder 1

1914, May 18-September 8

Box 34 Folder 2

1914, September 8-1915, January 8

Box 35 Folder 1

1915, January 8-May 19

Box 35 Folder 2

1915, May 19-September 23

Box 36 Folder 1

1915, September 23-1916, March 2

Box 36 Folder 2

1916, March 2-June 12

Box 37 Folder 1

1916, June 12-October 24

Box 37 Folder 2

1917, March 13-August 1

Box 37 Folder 3

1918, January 19-June 13

Box 38 Folder 1

1918, June 13-October 16

Box 38 Folder 2

1919, August 21-December 27

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