A Guide to the Tredegar Iron Works Records, 1857-1935 Tredegar Iron Works Records, 1857-1935 26601

A Guide to the Tredegar Iron Works Records, 1857-1935

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 26601


Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia
800 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000
Phone: (804) 692-3888 (Archives Reference)
Fax: (804) 692-3556 (Archives Reference)
Email: archdesk@lva.virginia.gov(Archives)
URL: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/

© 2003 By the Library of Virginia.

Processed by: Renee M. Savits

Library of Virginia
Accession number
Tredegar Iron Works Records, 1857-1935
Physical Characteristics
.45 cu. ft.
Physical Location
Business Records Collection, Acc. 26601

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Tredegar Iron Works. Records, 1857-1935. Accession 26601, Business records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of the heirs of Mrs. A.P. Bourland, through, H.W. Holt, Richmond, Virginia, 3 November 1966.

Biographical/Historical Information

Tredegar Iron Works was chartered in 1837 in Richmond, Virginia, to produce high-quality iron products. In 1848 Joseph R. Anderson purchased the company and developed it into one of the most important and largest iron making factories in Virginia and the Confederacy. The company produced horseshoes, munitions, and railroad products, along with owning several furnaces and timber lots. During the Civil War, Tredegar produced artillery pieces, cannons, shot, and weapons for the Confederacy, including the iron plates for the CSS Virginia (Merrimac). After the war the company continued to grow and supplied iron bridges, rails, and spikes to rebuild the southern railroads.

As iron gave way to steel in the 1870s and 1880s, Tredegar found it did not have the capital necessary to make the production conversion. Tredegar continued to make iron products, producing munition for the Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II. Spikes, horseshoes, rail fastenings, and car wheels were constant sellers and led to expanded facilities. In 1957 the company sold its Richmond plant to the Albemarle Paper Manufacturing Company, and moved some of its rolling mill equipment to Chesterfield County, Virginia. In 1986 operation of the rolling mill in Chesterfield County was discontinued and the machinery was sold to the Cleveland Track Material in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2003 the Tredegar National Civil War Center Foundation was created to operate a museum on the original site of the foundry in Richmond, Virginia.

Joseph Reid Anderson (1813-1892), was the youngest of nine children of William and Anna Thomas Anderson of Botetourt County, Virginia. He graduated West Point in 1836 and worked as an engineer in Virginia. He married Sally Archer in 1837, daughter of Dr. Robert and Frances Williamson Archer. By 1841, he had acquired an interest in the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond which supplied iron products to railroads and the U.S. government, and he became owner of the company in 1848. When the South seceded, Anderson offered his services to the Confederate Government as an infantry officer and was commissioned a brigadier-general in September 1861, serving meritoriously in North Carolina and Virginia. After being wounded at the battle of Frazier's Farm in 1862, Anderson resigned in mid-July to return to Tredegar Iron Works where his talent was needed more than on the battlefield. The company operated throughout the war, but after the surrender of Richmond, the U.S. government confiscated Tredegar Iron Works. Upon Anderson's request to President Johnson for a pardon in the fall of 1865, the Works were returned to him. Anderson continued to head Tredegar Iron Works and remained active in state, city, and local affairs until his death in 1892.

Archer Anderson (1838-1919), eldest of twelve children of Joseph Reid and Sally Anderson, was born in Ft. Monroe, Virginia. He served as chief of staff to General Joseph E. Johnston during the Civil War and married Mary Anne Mason, daughter of John Young Mason, in 1859. He was president of Tredegar Iron Works from 1892 to 1918. Archer Anderson, Jr. (1866-1942), third of seven children of Archer and Mary Anne Anderson, was born in Richmond, Virginia. He served as president of Tredeger Iron Works from 1918, until his death in 1942.

Scope and Content Information

Records, 1857-1935, of the Tredegar Iron Works of Richmond, Virginia. Includes receipts, 1857-1870, for axles, rails, engines, spikes, chairs, and wheels bought of Tredegar by the Baltimore and Ohio, Blue Ridge, and Rogersville and Jefferson railroad companies, and receipts from the Anderson family for purchases of family supplies such as paper, cotton, and clothing. Includes a daily report from the rail and chair mill, dated 25 March 1868; deed for land in Goochland County, "Beaver Dam", from Corbin and Margaret Warwick, 11 December 1862; and a memorial booklet for Archer Anderson, published by Tredegar Company in 1918. Also includes statements to stockholders of Tredegar, dated 10 January 1868, and 8 July 1876, which includes a statement on the reorganziation of the company; an undated price list of Tredegar Iron; price list for A.S. Whiton (NY) of 15 June 1865; and notes relating to a case in the U.S. Circuit Court at Richmond, of Page and Company vs. Talbot and Brothers, 1860, regarding patent rights.

Includes correspondence, 1860-1894, from Archer Anderson, Joseph R. Anderson, Zerah Colburn, William Glasgow, L.W. Hopkins, W.S. Jackson, W.J. Norris, James S. Patton, and John F. Tanner. Topic includes the sale of cotton and timber and organization of the company. Many of the letters are from Joseph R. Anderson to his son, Archer Anderson, regarding business matters. Of note is a letter 20 November 1860, from J. R. Anderson regarding the possible secession of South Carolina; a letter, 21 March 1868, from J. R. Anderson acquiring offices in New York for the company; and a letter, 1 July 1892, from Archer Anderson, regarding his opinions on an article in the Atlantic magazine (1892 January) entitled "Greed of the Old South".

Of note is an envelope on which is a detailed sketch of a piece of machinery at Tredegar, with a note indicating that the sketch was used in advertisements for the company in France, Belgium, and England. Also of note are the photographs of Archer, Archer Jr., and St. George Anderson, c. 1910-1920, in the offices and on the grounds at Tredegar.

A pamphlet entitled "The Founding of the Eastern Shore: An Address by Bradley T. Johnson", 1888 July 26, was separately cataloged in the library. (see F187 E2 J6)

Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1
Accounts and receipts, 1857-1870
Box 1 Folder 2
Correspondence, 1860-1867
Box 1 Folder 3
Correspondence, 1868-1894
Box 1 Folder 4
Correspondence, nd
Box 1 Folder 5
Daily report, Rail and chair mill, 1868 March 25
Box 1 Folder 6
Deed, 1862 December 11
Box 1 Folder 7
Envelope containing sketch of Tredegar machinery, nd
Box 1 Folder 8
Estimate, nd
Box 1 Folder 9
Memorial for Archer Anderson, 1918
Box 1 Folder 10
Miscellaneous, 1865-1935
Box 1 Folder 11
Page and Company vs. Talbot and Brothers, U.S. Circuit Court, Richmond (Va.), 1860
Box 1 Folder 12
Personal expense account book, 1865 Setptember-1866 March
Box 1 Folder 13
Photographs, c. 1880
Box 1 Folder 14
Statements to stockholders, 1868-1876
Box 1 Folder 15
Tredegar price list, nd
Box 1 Folder 16
A.S. Whiton, Price list, 1865 June 15