Guide to the Blake General Store Daybooks (Kensington), 1853-1910

Collection number: MC 319
Size: (9 items) (3 boxes)

About Blake General Store

All nine volumes belonged to members of the Blake family of Kensington, NH. The first three were created by Col. John Tuck Blake (17 April 1806-11 September 1883), the second three by George Blake (7 November 1831-3 May 1892), and the last three by Mary Ester (Blake) Warner (3 November 1840-1912). Mary Esther (Blake) Warner was a businesswoman and postmaster from Kensington, NH. Her parents were John T. Blake (1806-?) and Mary Ester Moulton (1807-?).

The Blake General Store was a general store/tavern and boot manufacturing business in Kensington from approximately 1828 through the early 20th century. It was owned by a succession of men from the Blake family, including George and several Johns. The general store was on the first floor of Blake’s Store, while the factory for making “course and fine boots” was on the second. The boot business employed at least 40 people by 1840, many of whom were women working from home. By 1888 the boot factory employed over 100 people. Mary herself took ownership of the store in 1892, but in March of 1894 all of the upper story burned in an early morning fire. The lower story was apparently saved, as business resumed shortly thereafter.

Shortly before the fire, Mary became postmaster of the Kensington Post Office, a post she assumed on the 26th of January 1894. She held this post until sometime between 1900 and 1910. Her daughter Esther Blake Warner ran the store after her mother’s death in 1912.

For more information, see Roland Sawyer’s “History of Kensington” (1946).

About the Blake General Store Daybooks (1853-1910)

John Tuck Blake’s portion of the of the collection consists of two daybooks and a ledger, dated 1853 + 1859-1868, 1853 + 1861-1867 (ledger), and 1867-1870 (unsigned, probably J.T.B.). General store items include food (drygoods, fish, meat, eggs, candy dairy, etc.), oil and chimneys for lamps, cigars and tobacco, chocolate, small clothing items such as gloves, phosphorous fertilizer, and the like.

George Blake’s three volumes are dated 1873-1875, 1878-1879 (unsigned), and 1878-1882. They are all daybooks (listing items and customers chronologically) rather than ledgers (listing sales on each customer’s personal account page).

Mary Warner’s portion of the collection consists of three daybooks dated 1894-1898, 1901-1902, and 1908-1910. They are filled with transactions from both the Blake Store and Mary Warner’s job as the Kensington post master. It appears the post office may have been housed in the store, as the first two volumes list stamps, envelopes, and paper along with the store items. The 1908-1910 volume does not list postal items, suggesting that she may have retired from her role as post master by 1908. Familiar local names include Blake, Lamprey, Peacock, Austin, and Prescott.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder Number], [Box Number], Blake General Store Daybooks (Kensington), 1853-1910, MC 319, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Gift of Thomas Young, ca. 2015

Collection Arrangement

Arrangement is chronological.

Collection Contents

Box 1
John Tuck Blake Daybooks, 1853-1870
  • Daybook, 1853-1868
  • Daybook, 1853-1867
  • Daybook, 1867-1870
Box 2
George Blake Daybooks, 1873-1882
  • Daybook, 1873-1875
  • Ledger, 1878-1879
  • Daybook, 1878-1882
Box 3
Mary Esther (Blake) Warner Daybooks, 1894-1910
  • Daybook, 1894-1896
  • Daybook, 1901-1902
  • Daybook, 1908-1910