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Harvey & Company Limited fonds

Harvey & Company Limited fonds | Harvey & Company Limited (Belleoram) fonds

2.5 metres of textual records, original material and photocopies

Administrative history

For more than three centuries, Harvey & Company Limited has been one of Newfoundland's most successful business enterprises. Eugenius Harvey came to St. John's from Bermuda in 1820 to work at one of the last surviving branches of the Bermuda Trading Company. Many other branches - possibly those at Demerara, Barbados, St. Lucia, Quebec, Baltimore, and New York - were either closed or taken over by local management when the company dissolved in 1767. At St. John's, the firm operated subsequently under a succession of names: Dunscombe and Company or Dunscombe, Harvey & Company; James Fergus and Company; Glen and Harvey in 1838; Harvey and Fox in 1850; and Harvey, Tucker and Company in 1861.

A.W. Harvey, Eugenius' nephew, arrived from Bermuda in 1860 to join Harvey and Fox, one year prior to the firm changing its name to Harvey, Tucker and Company. Joseph Outerbridge - related to the Harvey's through marriage - began his family's long connection with the business by joining the firm after moving to St. John's from Bermuda in 1862. Shortly thereafter, the firm became known as Harvey & Company Limited, and was incorporated under that name in 1913 with the following shareholders: Joseph Outerbridge, John Harvey, William G. Gosling, Herbert A. Outerbridge, and Norman A. Outerbridge. A. Harvey & Company Limited - a sister company formed by Alexander J. Harvey in 1865 - was incorporated in 1914 with Harvey, Joseph Outerbridge, John Harvey, Gerald C. Harvey, Herbert A. Outerbridge, Norman A. Outerbridge, and Reginald C. Harvey serving as directors.

Since the companies had many of the same shareholders, it is not surprising that they were closely linked even though their activities differed. In the early years, A. Harvey & Company Limited concentrated on shipping and manufacturing biscuits while Harvey & Company Limited was engaged in the fish trade, providing goods to fishers, often through agents or other intermediaries, and buying fish through the same sources for export. Harvey & Company Limited also pursued various manufacturing enterprises: it constructed Newfoundland's first pulp mill at Black River, Placentia Bay (1898); it operated a slate quarry at Britannia; and it was involved in the production of furniture, margarine, soap, matches, and tobacco.

In the last decade of the nineteenth century, Harvey & Company Limited became directly involved in the Fortune Bay fishery through its agent, R.G. Pike, who had been a purser on its south coast coastal boat. At the end of the decade, the firm became a major player in the south coast fishery by acquiring the mercantile premises of John Penney and Son at Belleoram. Harvey & Company Limited operated a fleet of fishing and coasting vessels from their Belleoram branch and shipped fish to foreign markets in Europe and the West Indies on their foreign-going vessels. In 1915, the firm constructed Newfoundland's first bait freezer at Rose Blanche and also built an artificial fish dryer at Belleoram in the 1920s. The firm also became the principal supplier to many smaller firms in Fortune Bay until 1937 when it closed the Belleoram branch.

During this period the firm owned extensive premises at 87-91 Water Street, on the north side of St. John's harbour. From this location they carried on business as shipowners and steamship agents, being the agents for the Red Cross Line, plying between St. John's, Halifax and New York; the Farquhar Steamship Lines, with sailings between St. John's, Halifax and Boston; and the Canada Steamship Lines, whose steamers ran between St. John's, Prince Edward Island and Montreal. Throughout the 1930s they were also Newfoundland's largest exporters of frozen fish.

In 1925 the Bay Bulls Development Syndicate was established as a subsidiary of Harvey's with the objective of setting up a fish freezer plant at Bay Bulls. This venture did not prove to be successful. Harvey & Company Limited was re-incorporated in 1937, with several new shareholders: Joseph, Herbert, and Leonard Outerbridge held 1430, 1420 and 450 shares respectively with Reginald C. Harvey, Claude Noonan and Herbert R. Brookes in possession of 1 share each. The Harvey family position in the firm was maintained, however, through A. Harvey & Company, Limited which held 1697 out of a total of 5000 Harvey & Company, Limited shares. Ten years later, the firm was again re-incorporated with some additional shareholders: Lilian Campbell, Herbert L. Outerbridge, Florence Outerbridge, Basil St. George Outerbridge, and Edward Craniford held 583, 358, 225, 135 and 2 shares respectively. A. Harvey & Company Limited continued to be the largest single shareholder, holding 2392 of 7500 shares, while Herbert A Outerbridge held 2358 shares and Sir Leonard Outerbridge held 993 shares.

After confederation, Harvey & Company Limited withdrew from the fishery and diversified its interests. The firm began a wholesale grocery business and, in 1953, opened a heavy equipment sales and repair business. The company abandoned the grocery trade in the 1970s but the heavy equipment business continued. Harvey & Company Limited formed Harvey's Travel Agency in 1935 as a subsidiary company and opened branch operations throughout Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada.

Meanwhile, A. Harvey & Company Limited moved in a different direction. In 1931, the company merged the biscuit factory with Gilbert Browning's bakery to form Browning, Harvey Ltd. Two years later the new company expanded into the production of candies and soft drinks. The extensive demand for soft drinks prompted the company to abandon other products and to concentrate on soft drink production and bottling. A. Harvey & Company Limited also diversified and expanded its shipping and marine interests, and, in 1996 -1997, refurbished its waterfront property at St. John's to accommodate an offshore oil supply base for the Hibernia oil field and other oil developments.

Sources: Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, Vol. II. St. John's: Newfoundland Book Publishers Limited, pp. 847-848; Who's Who in Newfoundland, 1927; St. John's Business Directories, 1890 and 1936; Dominix, Arthur, History of Belleoram, Student Research Paper, Maritime History Archive, 104-A-02-14; Matthews, Keith. Profiles of Water Street Merchants. Unpublished Manuscript, Memorial University, 1980; The Book of Newfoundland, Vol. II. St. John's: Newfoundland Book Publishers Ltd., p. 341.

Scope and content

The records of Harvey & Company Limited of St. John's in the Maritime History Archive is a small part of the entire fonds. The fonds covers at least two distinct periods in the firms evolution, and has been acquired at different times and from different sources. Most of the original material covers the post confederation period, and consists of correspondence, 1955-1956, and some loose leaf ledgers and journals. There are transcripts of two letter books dated 1902-1910 by W. G. Gosling, (1863-1930) a shareholder and long time manager for Harvey's. The letterbooks give valuable insight into both the business and other interests in Gosling's life. There is also a photocopy of a diary dated 1885. Other records relate to the Bay Bulls Development Syndicate, a subsidiary of Harvey's which was established in 1925. Despite the fragmentary nature of the collection it is valuable in establishing the nature of the business. The collection spans 1885-1968, and measures 2.5 metres.

The fonds is arranged in five series: Correspondence and diaries, 1885-1956; Financial records, 1925-1958; Legal documents, 1861-1925; Bay Bulls Development Syndicate, 1925-1934; Miscellaneous.

Custodial history

The custodial history of this collection is unknown, but the records obviously originate from a number of different sources. Most of the later material (1940s and 1950s) is original, and was acquired during the 1970s by Dr. Keith Matthews. The W.G. Gosling letter books are typed transcripts. The location of the originals is not known to us at this time. The 1885 diary is a photocopy and again we do not know the location of the original.


Supplied title based on the contents of the fonds.

Copyright is held by the creator or his/her heirs.

Maritime History Archive finding aid 80

Related material can be found in Ellis, Eric, Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, MG 7; Harvey, A. & Company Ltd., Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, MG 588;

Harvey and Company Ltd., Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, MG 497;

Winter, H.H. (Dick) Papers, Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, MG 79.

Location Bank 35, shelf 4, 5 and 6

List of Series and Sub-Series

Series 1.00 Correspondence.

Includes incoming and outgoing correspondence, telegraphs, letter books and diaries.

1.01 Incoming/Outgoing correspondence, 1948-1956 arranged alphabetically.

1.02 Correspondence with NAFEL (Newfoundland Association of Fish Exporters Limited), 1955-56.

1.03 Circulars, 1955-1956.

1.04 Diary, 1955

1.05 Letterbooks, 1900-1910. (Transcripts)

1.06 Diary, 1885

Series 2.00 Financial Records.

Includes miscellaneous ledgers, bank books and journals, 1925-1958.

2.01 Bank Payment Books, 1953-54, 1955 and 1957-58.

2.02 Journal, 1956.

2.03 Ledger # 4. Includes accounts which relate to fish, 1948-55 and 1949-56.

2.04 Ledger "Customer Accounts". Includes customer accounts divided by City/North/West" and arranged alphabetically, 1925-39 for "A & B" and 1916-36 for "P & S".

2.05 Ledger # 3. Includes accounts with suppliers divided by foreign/local and arranged alphabetically, 1927-40, 1948-55 and 1951-52.

2.06 Expense Ledgers, 1927-31, 1948-55 and 1951-52.

Series 3.00 Legal Documents.

Includes deeds, mortgages, deeds etc. related to property transactions with the business.

Series 4.00 Bay Bulls Development Syndicate.

Includes minutes, share certificates, accounts relating to the operation of the Bay Bulls Development Syndicate, 1925-26.

Series 5.00 Miscellaneous.

Includes a personal telephone directory for 1953 and correspondence relating to the retirement of W. Gosling.

Harvey & Company Limited (Belleoram) fonds, 1907-1939

2 metres of textual records

Scope and content

The records of the Belleoram branch of Harvey & Company Limited are fragmentary, covering the period, 1907-1939. They consist of correspondence and telegraphs, accounts, dairies and daily labour books and some shipping papers; manifests, clearance certificates, schooner accounts and disbursements. A fish accounts book gives accounts of people, mainly women, making fish, quintals made and payments. Accounts for the banking schooner Rita M. Cluett give the names of the sharemen and catches per dory. The daily labour books give a breakdown of the work being carried out on the premises.

The fonds is organized in four series: Correspondence, 1907-1932; Account books, 1909-1939; Diaries and daily labour books, 1923-1933; Shipping papers, 1907-1932, arranged chronologically.

Custodial history

The records were acquired in 1970 by Keith Matthews, through negotiations with a student, Arthur Dominix, of Belleoram. The records had been stored in an outside shed.


Supplied title based on the contents of the fonds.

Much of the material in this fonds is in a frail and dirty condition and is in need of conservation or copying.

Copyright is held by the creator or his/her heirs.

Maritime History Archive finding aid 80

Location Bank 35, shelf 1, 2 and 3

List of series and sub-series

1.00 Correspondence.

Included in this series are incoming and outgoing correspondence, and telegraphs, 1907-1932

1.01 Incoming correspondence 1908-1915, arranged chronologically

1.02 Letterbooks containing carbon copies of outgoing correspondence 1908-1916

1.03 Telegraphs 1910-1931

2.00 Account books.

Included in this series are order books, receipts, fish accounts and receipts, and a journal, 1910-1939

2.01 Order books, giving individual daily orders and the company store, 1912-1939, arranged chronologically.

2.02 Receipts for goods shipped to smaller firms operating in Fortune Bay and for cash received, 1910-1930.

2.03 Miscellaneous account books, including a journal, 1910, and various fish accounts, 1909-1927.

2.04 Stock books, containing an inventory of the stock held at the store, 1913-1916.

3.00 Diaries, 1914-1920, and daily entry books, 1923-1933

3.01 Daily diaries giving information on weather, vessel movement, general information on the fishery, employment, etc. 1914-1920

3.02 Daily labour books, 1923-1933, giving detailed accounts of the jobs being carried out on the premises.

4.00 Shipping papers, 1907-1932

Ship manifests, clearance certificates, schooner accounts and disbursements, insurance certificates.

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