Amzie Moore Papers, 1941-1970

Contents List

Container Title
Mss 453
Part 1 (Mss 453): Original Collection, 1885-1943
Physical Description: 2.6 cubic feet (7 archives boxes) 
Scope and Content Note

The papers provide an incomplete overview of Thordarson's life, touching on his library, his inventions, and his business. The collection has little about Thordarson's accomplishments as an inventor and as a collector of rare books. Nor does the collection document Thordarson's association with the men of power and renown whose friendship he cultivated. The papers are arranged into eight series: CORRESPONDENCE, ROCK ISLAND, THORDARSON LIBRARY, INVENTIONS, BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL RECORDS, EXHIBITIONS, PRINTED ARTICLES, and PERSONAL.

The CORRESPONDENCE series is arranged by subject and then chronologically. The General Correspondence is almost exclusively related to Thordarson's business, but it is not possible from this file to get a picture of the significant developments in his business career. In one brief letter from Edward Bennett, a University of Wisconsin professor of electrical engineering in the 1930s, it is noted that Thordarson's company was taken over by the Burgess Company in the 1930s, however other letters concerning the business are less informative.

Material on ROCK ISLAND is fragmentary. The Correspondence consists almost exclusively of letters to and from Thordarson relating to routine maintenance of the island. Filed here is the only evidence in the collection of Thordarson's close friendship with Chicago Mayor William “Big Bill” Thompson: a copy of a letter from Thordarson to Thompson dated 5 December 1924 in which Thordarson agreed to construct a cabin on Rock Island for Thompson's lifetime use. The Construction - Correspondence and Orders file concerning construction of the early log buildings and the later Icelandic-style stone buildings, is not extensive or substantive.

Documents pertaining to the THORDARSON LIBRARY are likewise unrevealing. The Bibliographies in the collection may be a list of Thordarson's books. The Correspondence is primarily to and from people interested in visiting the library or in selling privately-owned books to Thordarson. There is little that documents Thordarson's important association with the Chicago book dealer Walter Hill or his friend J. Christian Bay, librarian of the John Crerar Library. Much of the material in this section consists of copies of drawings and poems in Old English from the library's collections.

The INVENTIONS series is in the form of patents and patent applications, drawings and blueprints (usually unidentified), and notebooks in Thordarson's own hand about his experiments. The data in the notebooks is sketchy.

There is no orderly set of records documenting Thordarson's personal business and financial affairs or those of the Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Company. The Bankbooks of the BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL RECORDS series give only figures and do not indicate the company's sources of income or expenses. Payroll records are fragmentary lists of workers and wages paid. The Company Reports are scanty. Flyers are leaflets and information or instruction sheets; these concern company products, as do the Catalogues.

Material relating to Thordarson's participation in two major EXHIBITIONS does not reveal much about the electrical inventions he exhibited there.

There is very little documentation of a personal nature in the collection. The PERSONAL series offers virtually no information about Thordarson's wife, Juliana Fridriksdottir (Gilson) Thordarson or of their two sons, Dewey and Trygve. However, there are a number of letters from Thordarson's brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews.

Series: Correspondence
Box   1
Folder   1-9
General, 1900-1943, undated
Box   2
Folder   1
Chicago, University of (especially with J. Paul Goode), 1920-1936
Box   2
Folder   2-3
Pacific Electric Metals Company, 1917-1919
Box   2
Folder   4-5
Pertaining to library, 1908-1941, undated
Pertaining to Rock Island
Box   2
Folder   6-8
1907-1919
Box   3
Folder   1
1920-1942, undated
Series: Rock Island
Box   3
Folder   2
Datebook for trips to Rock Island, 1928
Box   3
Folder   3
Construction - correspondence and orders, 1912-1943, undated
Box   3
Folder   4
Architect's specifications for boathouse and casino
Box   3
Folder   5
Contract for construction of log cabin for use by Chicago Mayor William “Big Bill” Thompson, 1924
Box   3
Folder   6
Notebook of hours worked by laborers, 1930
Series: Thordarson Library
Box   3
Folder   7
Bibliographies (possibly of books in Thordarson Library); List of books sent for binding, 1931
Box   3
Folder   8
Correspondence and bills pertaining to library expenses
Box   3
Folder   9
Copies of poems from library
Box   3
Folder   10
Miscellaneous papers
Box   3
Folder   11
Greeting cards sent to friends by Thordarson, 1919-1927, undated
Box   3
Folder   12
Printed poems and drawings from library
Series: Inventions
Patents
Box   3
Folder   13
United States Patents, Trademark and patent applications for Thordarson, 1905 March 14-1929 September 12, undated
Box   4
Folder   1-2
Foreign patents for Thordarson, 1914 November 17-1922 October 3
Box   4
Folder   3
Assignment of Thordarson patents, 1916-1917
Box   4
Folder   4
Patent applications by other inventors, 1880-1933
Drawings and blueprints
Box   4
Folder   5
Charts, graphs, and tables pertaining to Thordarson inventions
Box   4
Folder   6
Notebook on experiments, 1904
Box   4
Folder   7
Notebook of mechanical drawings with notes on experiments, 1909 October-1911 March
Box   4
Folder   8
Datebook with mechanical drawings, wages and receipts, notes, and Thordarson calling card, 1912
Box   4
Folder   9
Datebook of mechanical drawings, wages paid, receipts, travel notes, 1913
Box   4
Folder   10
Notebook of reference materials for electrical inventions, undated
Box   5
Folder   1
Photographs of Thordarson? inventions
Box   5
Folder   2-3
Blueprints and drawings
Series: Business and Financial Records (Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Company)
Box   5
Folder   4
Articles of incorporation
Financial records
Bankbooks and ledgers
Box   5
Folder   5
Northwestern National Bankbook, 1899 March-1900 August 8
Box   5
Folder   6
Corn Exchange National Bankbook, 1906
Box   5
Folder   7
Workmen's weekly timebook, 1910 February 26-May 14
Continental and Commercial National Bankbooks
Box   5
Folder   8
1915 September 2-1920 September 20
Box   5
Folder   9
1917 June 20-1918 September 23
Box   5
Folder   10
1918 March 25-1920 September 8
Box   5
Folder   11
Checkstubs, 1919 September 12-1920 March 10
Box   5
Folder   12
Ledger number 1, undated
Box   5
Folder   13
Payroll, lists of workers, labor costs, 1927, 1928, 1932, undated
Box   5
Folder   14
Invoices, 1898-1942, undated
Company reports
Box   6
Folder   1
Internal, 1898-1943, undated
Box   6
Folder   2
1942 Operations
Box   6
Folder   3
Treasurer's Report, 1942
Box   6
Folder   4
Advisory engineering report by Bradshaw and Weil, Chicago, undated
Box   6
Folder   5
Stock certificates, Western Meter Manufacturing Company
Box   6
Folder   6
Flyers
Box   6
Folder   7
Catalogs
Box   6
Folder   8
Photographs and drawings of company products
Series: Exhibitions
Panama Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, California, 1915
Box   6
Folder   9
Correspondence, 1913 August 8-1916 February 14, undated
Box   6
Folder   10
Exhibit blueprints and printed material
Box   6
Folder   11
New York World's Fair, 1939
Series: Printed Articles
Box   6
Folder   12
Related to library
Box   6
Folder   13
Historical
Box   6
Folder   14
By J. Christian Bay, 1918-1934
Box   7
Folder   1
Scientific
Series: Personal
Box   7
Folder   2
Correspondence, bills, birth certificate of wife, marriage license, memberships
Box   7
Folder   3
Childhood diary, 1885
Language:
Icelandic
Physical Description: Photocopy 
Box   7
Folder   4
Thordarson's John James Audubon painting, “English Pheasants Surprised by a Spanish Dog”
Box   7
Folder   5
Correspondence from Thordarson relatives, 1903-1938, undated
Box   7
Folder   6
American Magazine biographical article on Thordarson, 1926 December
Box   7
Folder   7
Newspaper clippings, 1915-1933, undated
PH Mss 453
Part 2 (PH Mss 453): Additions, undated
Physical Description: 55 photographs and 2 drawings 
Scope and Content Note: Photographs related primarily to the buildings built by Thordarson on Rock Island, including exterior images of the various buildings and the interiors of the boathouse and main lodge, in addition to portraits of Thordarson.
PH 304
Part 3 (PH 304): Additions, undated
Physical Description: 58 photographs 
Scope and Content Note: Additional photographs related primarily to the buildings built by Thordarson on Rock Island; including exterior images of the various buildings and the interiors of the boathouse and main lodge.
PH 3374
Part 4 (PH 3374): Additions, 1966
Physical Description: 17 photographs 
Scope and Content Note: Photographs of details on hand-carved furniture from the proposed Thordarson library to be built on Rock Island, photographed by Paul Vanderbilt, 1966.
PH 6067
Part 5 (PH 6067): Additions, circa 1960s
Physical Description: 17 photographs and 17 negatives (2 folders) 
Scope and Content Note: Black and white negatives and corresponding photographs, circa 1960s, of remodeling of a boathouse owned by Thordarson on Rock Island, Door County, Wisconsin.
M89-209
Part 6 (M89-209): Additions, undated
Physical Description: 114 photographs and 169 drawings 
Scope and Content Note: Photographs and drawings of Thordarson Electric products.
M97-130
Part 7 (M97-130): Additions, circa 1906-1945
Physical Description: 4.8 cubic feet (12 archives boxes), 1333 photographs, and 152 negatives (in 6 archives boxes, 1 negative box, and 1 oversize folder) 
Scope and Content Note: Additions, circa 1906-1945, including business and personal correspondence, a small amount of family and biographical information, files concerning his library of rare books and his estate on Rock Island, and material about the Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Company (including correspondence, catalogs, manuals, et cetera). Also included are family photographs; images of Rock Island, Washington Island, and Door County; and Thordarson Electric product photographs. Included in the correspondence are some letters in Icelandic including 5 letters from poet Stephan G. Stephansson, dating from 1911-1915.
Series: Correspondence, circa 1906-1943
Box   1
Folder   1
A
Box   1
Folder   2
Acme Wire Company
Box   1
Folder   3
Allegheny Steel Company
Box   1
Folder   4
Aplin, Ben J.
Box   1
Folder   5
B
Box   1
Folder   6
Baker (G.A.) Company
Box   1
Folder   7
Bay, J. Christian (John Crerar Library)
Box   1
Folder   8
Bay State Sheet Copper Company
Box   1
Folder   9
Baldwinson, B.L.
Box   1
Folder   10
Belden Manufacturing Company
Box   1
Folder   11
Bertschinger, J.F.
Box   1
Folder   12
Brandson, Dr. B.J.
Box   1
Folder   13
Burger Boat Company
Box   1
Folder   14
Burgess, C.F. (Burgess Laboratories, Inc. and Burgess Battery Company)
Box   1
Folder   15
C
Box   1
Folder   16
Central Scientific Company
Box   1
Folder   17
Century of Progress
Box   1
Folder   18
Chicago
Box   1
Folder   19
Chicago Norske Club
Box   1
Folder   20
Cleveland Tractor Company
Box   1
Folder   21
Colin B. Kennedy Corporation
Box   1
Folder   22
Commonwealth Edison Company
Box   1
Folder   23
Cory, Harvey
Box   1
Folder   24
Crane Company
Box   1
Folder   25
D
Box   2
Folder   1
Dahlstrom Metallic Door Company
Box   2
Folder   2
Dan-American Archives Society
Box   2
Folder   3
Darby and Darby (Attorneys)
Box   2
Folder   4
Dee (William E.) Company
Delta Hardware Company
Box   2
Folder   5
1924-1926
Box   2
Folder   6
1927-1930
Box   2
Folder   7
Bills and Receipts, 1929
Box   2
Folder   8
D. Hill Nursery Company
Box   2
Folder   9
Door County, Wisconsin
Box   2
Folder   10
E
Box   2
Folder   11
Elmhurst, Illinois
Box   2
Folder   12
Ernst Hertzberg and Sons
Box   2
Folder   13
Escanaba Hardware Company
Box   2
Folder   14
F
Box   2
Folder   15
Fair Store
Box   2
Folder   16
Fenn, Dr. George
Box   2
Folder   17
First National Bank of Chicago
Box   2
Folder   18
Foley Greenhouse Manufacturing Company
Box   2
Folder   19
Fredbloom, A.C.
Box   3
Folder   1
Freudenreich, William F.
Box   3
Folder   2
G
Box   3
Folder   3
General Accident Assurance Company, Inc.
Box   3
Folder   4
General Electric
Box   3
Folder   5
Geographic Society of Chicago - Anna Conwell
Box   3
Folder   6
Goode, J. Paul
Box   3
Folder   7
Goodman, John - Goodman Manufacturing Company
Box   3
Folder   8
Goodrich Transit Company
Box   3
Folder   9
Good Roads Machinery Company
Box   3
Folder   10
Gothic Type - Letters
Box   3
Folder   11
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company
Box   3
Folder   12
Grimson, Judge Gudmundir
Box   3
Folder   13
Gunnarson, Robert
Box   3
Folder   14
H
Box   3
Folder   15
Hall, William L. (Patent Lawyer)
Box   3
Folder   16
Hanson, Rasmus
Box   3
Folder   17
Harris Brothers Company
Box   3
Folder   18
H. Channon Company
Box   3
Folder   19
Heating and Ventilating Magazine - P.S. Fenster
Box   3
Folder   20
Herrmann, U.J.
Box   3
Folder   21
Hewett Grocery Company
Box   3
Folder   22
Higgins, Dean
Box   3
Folder   23
High Potential Direct Current Generator
Box   3
Folder   24
Hill, Walter M.
Box   3
Folder   25
Hill-White Transit Company
Box   3
Folder   26
Holand, H.R.
Box   3
Folder   27
H.H. Hooker Glass and Paint Company
Box   4
Folder   1
Hubbard, C.H. (Lighthouse Service)
Box   4
Folder   2
I
Box   4
Folder   3
Illinois Athletic Club
Box   4
Folder   4
Industrial Commission of Wisconsin
Box   4
Folder   5
J
Box   4
Folder   6
Jackson, Thorstina (Walters)
Box   4
Folder   7
K
Box   4
Folder   8
Kahlenberg Brothers Company
Box   4
Folder   9
Kahlmann, Karl W. (Taxidermy)
Box   4
Folder   10
Kelly Brothers Nursery
Box   4
Folder   11
Knight, C.S.
Box   4
Folder   12
L
Box   4
Folder   13
Lake Shore Athletic Club
Box   4
Folder   14
Louer (W.B.) Company
Box   4
Folder   15
Ludowici-Celadon Company
Box   4
Folder   16
M
Box   4
Folder   17
Mandel Brothers
Box   4
Folder   18
Mann, George O.
Box   5
Folder   1
Marsh and McLennan (Insurance)
Box   5
Folder   2
Marston, Annie G. (C.H. Thordarson's First School Teacher)
Box   5
Folder   3
Mc
Box   5
Folder   4
McCauley, Captain Charles
Box   5
Folder   5
Mid-West Tractor and Equipment Company
Box   5
Folder   6
Memorial of Leif Erikson in America
Box   5
Folder   7
Miscellaneous Correspondence
Box   5
Folder   8
Museum of Science and Industry
Box   5
Folder   9
N
Box   5
Folder   10
National Geographic Society
Box   5
Folder   11
National Grocer Company
Box   5
Folder   12
Nelson, Anton
Box   5
Folder   13
New-Way Motor Company
Box   5
Folder   14
New York Athletic Club
Box   5
Folder   15
New York Public Library
Box   5
Folder   16
Nurseries
Box   5
Folder   17
O
Box   5
Folder   18
P-R
Box   5
Folder   19
S
Box   5
Folder   20
Sawyer-Stoll Timber Company
Box   5
Folder   21
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur
Box   5
Folder   22
T-V
Box   5
Folder   23
Thompson, William Hale
Box   5
Folder   24
Thordarson, Dewey C.
Box   5
Folder   25
Thordarson Relatives
Box   5
Folder   26
Thordarson, Theodore
Box   5
Folder   27
Thordarson, Trig
Box   5
Folder   28
Thordarson, William
Box   5
Folder   29
W-Z
Box   5
Folder   30
William J. Burns International Detective Agency
Box   5
Folder   31
Williams, H.G.
Series: Personal Papers
Box   6
Folder   1
Account Book, 1926-1928
Box   6
Folder   2
Bills, 1911-1932
Box   6
Folder   3
Clubs and Societies - Membership and Stocks
Box   6
Folder   4-5
Icelandic Letters, 1910-1943
Stephansson, Stephan G.
Box   6
Folder   5
1911 April 1
Box   6
Folder   5
1914 January 17
Box   6
Folder   5
1914 April 30
Box   6
Folder   5
1914 August 24
Box   6
Folder   5
1915 May 3
Stephansson, Ulga (wife of Stephan)
Box   6
Folder   5
1933 December 11
Box   6
Folder   5
1937 September 29
Box   6
Folder   5
1940 March 2
Benediktson, Rosa S. (daughter of Stephan)
Box   6
Folder   5
1941 February 17
Box   7
Folder   1-2
Icelandic Letters, 1910-1943
Box   7
Folder   3
Medical Bills, 1934-1935
Box   7
Folder   4
Miscellaneous Papers
Box   7
Folder   5
Receipts, et cetera, 1912-1930
Box   7
Folder   6
Taxes, 1918-1935
Box   7
Folder   7
Thordarson Family Tree Information
Box   7
Folder   8
Chester H. Thordarson Funeral, 1945
Box   8
Folder   1
Sympathy Letters, et cetera - Julia Thordarson
Box   8
Folder   2
Julia Thordarson Estate, 1948-1959
Series: Thordarson Library
List of Priced Books in Thordarson Library
Box   8
Folder   3
1934
Box   8
Folder   4
1935
Box   8
Folder   5
Bibliography
Box   8
Folder   6
Icelandic Books
Box   8
Folder   7-8
Booksellers, Miscellaneous - Bills, et cetera
Box   8
Folder   9
Correspondence - Booksellers - Unsorted, 1916-1943
Correspondence - Booksellers
Box   9
Folder   1
A.C. McClurg and Company
Box   9
Folder   2
Bernard Quaritch Ltd.
Box   9
Folder   3
Brentano's, Inc.
Box   9
Folder   4
Charles T. Powner Company
Box   9
Folder   5
Dr. George Engelke
Box   9
Folder   6
Henry George Fiedler
Box   9
Folder   7
G.A. Baker and Company
Box   9
Folder   8
G.W. Sheldon and Company
Box   9
Folder   9
Henry Sotheran and Company
Box   9
Folder   10-21
Walter M. Hill - Bills, 1904-1933
Box   10
Folder   1-3
Walter M. Hill - Bills, 1936-1943
Box   10
Folder   4-8
Walter M. Hill - Correspondence, 1904-1933
Box   10
Folder   9
Robert Riviere and Son
Box   10
Folder   10
Wilfred M. Voynich
Box   10
Folder   11
Frank Walters
Box   10
Folder   12
Wheldon and Wesley, Ltd.
Box   10
Folder   13
Catalogue Data (Books)
Box   10
Folder   14
Rare Book Catalogues
Box   10
Folder   15
Christmas and New Year Greetings
Box   10
Folder   16
Guest Book - Thordarson Library
Box   10
Folder   17
Clipping, 1931
Series: Rock Island
Box   10
Folder   18
Rock Island Historical Materials and State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1912-1918
Box   11
Folder   1
Account Book, 1926
Box   11
Folder   2
Specs for Buildings, Blueprints, Insurance Information
Box   11
Folder   3
Tom Guinen - Correspondence, 1913-1920
Box   11
Folder   4
Rock Island Correspondence, 1929-1944
Box   11
Folder   5
Rock Island Tax Receipts, et cetera
Box   11
Folder   6
Carving Tracings
Box   11
Folder   7
Rock Island - Editorial Mementos
Box   11
Folder   8
Guest Book - Rock Island
Series: Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Company
Box   11
Folder   9
Correspondence, et cetera, 1912-1943
Box   11
Folder   10
Sympathy Letters, 1945
Box   12
Folder   1
Thordarson-Meissner TV Replacement Guide
Box   12
Folder   2
General and Cost Accounting Practice, 1929
Box   12
Folder   3
Catalogues, Manuals, et cetera
Box   12
Folder   4
Transformers
Box   12
Folder   5
Notebooks
Series: Photographs
Box   13
Folder   1
Photos - Family
Rock Island
Box   13
Folder   2
Rock Island Buildings
Box   13
Folder   3
Rock Island - General
Box   13
Folder   4
Rock Island, et cetera - Negatives
Box   13
Folder   5
Door County
Box   13
Folder   6
Washington Island
Box   13
Folder   7
The First Girls Part to Rock Island, 1927 September 7
Box   13
Folder   8
Photos from “Rock Island Correspondence”
Box   13
Folder   9
Rock Island - General
Box   14
Folder   1-5
Rock Island - General (continued)
Box   15
Folder   1
Pottawatomie Island Photo Book
Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Company
Box   15
Folder   2
Products
Box   16
Folder   1-3
Products
Box   17
Folder   1-2
Products
Box   17
Folder   3
Products - Colored Photos
Box   17
Folder   4-5
Products
Box   18
Folder   1-3
Products - Colored Photos
Box   18
Folder   4
Electric Manufacturing Company - Interior
Box   18
Folder   5
Photos of Books
Box   18
Folder   6
Army-Navy Production Award - Thordarson Lake Shore Club, 1943 April 20
Box   19
Folder   1
Rock Island Map
Physical Description: Glass negative 
Box   19
Folder   2
St. Martin Island Map
Physical Description: Glass negative 
Oversize Folder  
Thordarson Direct Current Transformer
Oversize Folder  
Large Photographs
M2011-060
Part 8 (M2011-060): Additions, 1880-1944
Physical Description: 0.7 cubic feet (2 archives boxes and 1 oversize folder), 338 photographs, and 65 negatives in 1 archives box and 2 negative boxes 
Scope and Content Note: Additions, 1880-1944, consisting of business and personal correspondence, notably with Gene McDonald of the Zenith Radio Corporation, poet Lárus Sigurjónsson, and Chicago Mayor William “Big Bill” Thompson. Also included are miscellaneous financial papers, Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Company product booklets, and Thordarson's personal daybooks, and exposition programs. Photographs relate primarily to the construction of buildings on Rock Island, and glass plate negatives depict Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Company products and some portraits.
Box   1
Folder   1
Correspondence with Booksellers, 1905 October-1944 October
Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Company
Box   1
Folder   2
Correspondence, 1914-1921
Box   1
Folder   3
Products, 1916-1917
Box   1
Folder   4
Correspondence with War Production Board, 1915-1944
Box   1
Folder   5
Expositions, 1904-1933
Box   1
Folder   6
Financial Papers, 1898-1944
Correspondence
Box   1
Folder   7
Family, 1901-1943
Language:
English
Box   2
Folder   1
Family, 1880-1944
Language:
Icelandic
Box   1
Folder   8
First School Teacher (Mrs. Marston), 1918-1922
Box   1
Folder   9
Friends, 1886-1943
Box   1
Folder   10
Gene McDonald, 1923-1947
Box   1
Folder   11
U.J. “Sport” Herrman, 1929-1939
Box   1
Folder   12
Mayor William Thompson, 1929-1938
Box   1
Folder   13
Travel Passports and Daybooks, 1911 August-1929 June
Box   2
Folder   2
Order of the Falcon, 1917-1941
Box   2
Folder   3
Poetry (Lárus Sigurjónsson and others), 1932-1941
Oversize Folder  
Blueprints
Photographs
Box   3
Folder   1
Rock Island
Box   3
Folder   2
Boats
Box   3
Folder   3
Boathouse
Box   3
Folder   4
Dewey's House
Box   3
Folder   5
Friends and Guests
Box   3
Folder   6
Greenhouse
Box   3
Folder   7
Log Cabin Lodge
Box   3
Folder   8
Mayor Thompson's Cabin
Box   3
Folder   9
Other Buildings (Cookhouse, Machine Shed, et cetera)
Box   3
Folder   10
Stone Pillars
Box   3
Folder   11
Thordarson and Friends
Box   3
Folder   12
Thordarson's Library in Chicago
Box   4
Glass Plate Negatives
Box   5
Glass Plate Negatives and Acetate Negatives