Skip to main content

Harris Graphics Company Records

Identifier: 1989-0090

Scope and Contents

Spanning the years 1879 to 1979, the collection contains administrative and financial records, correspondence, notes, photographs, and artwork focusing mainly on C. B. Cottrell & Sons, which was later acquired by the Harris Graphics Company. These records include surveys, inventories, patent assignments for various printing related technologies, pamphlets for employees, and other materials tracking the operation of the company before C. B. Cottrell & Sons was acquired by Harris Graphics. Records of the early Cottrell Company and Harris Graphics are less prevalent in the collection.

Also included in the collection are approx. 150 glass plate negatives, undated but likely early 1900s, of printing presses and machinery manufactured by C. B. Cottrell & Sons>.


  • undated, 1879-1979


The collection is open and available for research. The glass plate negatives may be handled only under the supervision of reference desk staff.

Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.


The Cottrell Company was founded in 1855 by Calvert B. Cottrell and Nathan Babcock in Westerly, Rhode Island, to manufacture general machinery. In addition to cotton and woodworking machinery the company produced printing presses. By 1868, the Cottrell Company was producing printing presses exclusively, and Calvert Cottrell began to develop improvements to the form. Adapting his presses to new technology, Cottrell produced steam powered presses that improved the overall quality and speed of printing. The partnership between Cottrell and Babcock ended in 1880 when Babcock retired from the company.

Renamed C. B. Cottrell & Sons, Calvert brought his sons into the business and continued to develop new printing technologies to set his presses apart. One of Calvert's greatest technological innovations was the Cottrell Black Perfecting Web Press, which printed on both sides of a roll of paper without smudging the ink on either side. Introduced in 1890, it had a large impact on printing, and the printing of magazines in particular.

The company continued to grow and introduce innovative printing technologies. During World War II, C. B. Cottrell & Sons partnered with the Harris-Seybold Company of Cleveland to produce print materials for the U.S. Army. In 1953, Cottrell & Sons, by then a leader in supplying high-speed web letterpresses for mass circulation magazines, was acquired by the Harris-Seybold Company. The Westerly plant (actually located in Pawcatuck, Connecticut) then manufactured four-color web offset presses. The company, still called C. B. Cottrell & Sons, was sold again in the early 1980s to the Harris Graphics Group. The Harris Graphics Group continued to produce press machinery until 1989 when the factory was shut down due to a drop in the demand for new printing equipment.


14 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Harris Graphics Company Records consists of the administrative and financial records of the Harris Graphics Company and C.B. Cottrell & Sons, a printing press manufacturer bought out by Harris Graphics in the early 1980s.

Provenance and Acquisition

The collection was donated in 1989 by Harris Graphics Company>.

Harris Graphics Company Records
Archives & Special Collections staff
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US