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Inventory of the Oxford Paper Company Records, 1915 - 1983

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Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Through sales and mergers, the Oxford Paper Company of Rumford and Mexico, Maine, came under the control of Mead Corporation, which formed MeadWestvaco.
The collection includes materials related to the forestry and paper milling operations of the formerly independent Oxford Paper Company of Maine, which Mead Corporation acquired in the mid-1990s prior to merging with Westvaco. The collection includes resource survey reports containing numerous charts of land inventory data with executive summaries conducted by the James W. Sewall Company for the Oxford Paper Company; records pertaining to Oxford Paper Company forestry operations in New Brunswick (Canada), Alaska, New Hampshire, Maine, and other northeastern states; statistical data on pulpwood production costs and wood usage; and topographical maps, most likely of company properties.
Title: Oxford Paper Company Records, 1915 - 1983
Creator: Oxford Paper Company
Repository: Forest History Society Library and Archives
Call Number: 7340
Language of Material: Material in English
Extent: 1.5 linear feet
(1 record carton, 1 map tube)

Historical Note

In 1888, William Luke and three of his sons founded the Piedmont Pulp and Paper Company in West Piedmont, West Virginia, with the intention to produce wood pulp using the sulphite process. Over the next few years, they acquired more land in West Virginia and Maryland and constructed additional mills for manufacturing both wood pulp and paper. In 1897, the various operations were consolidated to form the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company. Over the 20th century the company acquired timberlands and mills in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Texas, and Brazil, often by purchasing smaller companies. In 1919, the company hired its first industrial forester, and over time expanded its forest management research. In 1929, the company opened a headquarters office in New York City. In 1969, West Virginia Pulp and Paper changed its name to Westvaco to represent its diversified interests; by then it was producing not only a wide range of pulp and paper products, but also many specialty chemicals derived from pulp and papermaking processes.

In 1967, Oxford Paper Company of Rumford and Mexico, Maine, was sold to Ethyl Corporation of Virginia that produced gas, chemicals and oil. In 1976, the Oxford paper mill in Rumford was sold to Boise Cascade. In 1996, the Rumford mill and accompanying woodlands were sold to the Mead Corporation of Dayton, Ohio.

In January 2002, Westvaco merged with the Mead Corporation, to form MeadWestvaco.

Note: Historical sketch drawn from the following sources: (1) Dadisman, Don, ed. A History of Westvaco's First HUNDRED Years 1888-1988. S.l.: Southern Woodlands, Timberlands Division, Westvaco Corporation, 1989; (2) "The Story of West Virginia Wood: Westvaco (West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co.) Lights 100 Candles." A four-part series printed in The West Virginia Hillbilly (29 December 1988, p. 5; 5 January 1989, pp. 6-7; 12 January 1989, pp. 18-19; 19 January 1989, pp. 16-17); (3) Beckley, "Thomas M. Pluralism by Default: Community Power in a Paper Mill Town."Forest Science 42 (1) 1996: 35-45.


Collection Overview

The collection includes materials related to the forestry and paper milling operations of the formerly independent Oxford Paper Company of Maine, which Mead Corporation acquired in the mid-1990s prior to merging with Westvaco. The collection includes resource survey reports containing numerous charts of land inventory data with executive summaries conducted by the James W. Sewall Company for the Oxford Paper Company; records pertaining to Oxford Paper Company forestry operations in New Brunswick (Canada), Alaska, New Hampshire, Maine, and other northeastern states; statistical data on pulpwood production costs and wood usage; and topographical maps, most likely of company properties.

Collection Arrangement

1. James W. Sewall Company Reports, 1929-1976

2. Public Land Swap Documents, 1982-1983

3. Oxford Paper Company Wood Usage and Production Cost Documents, 1915-1962

4. Maps



Subject Headings

  • Atkinson (N.H.) -- Maps
  • Forests and forestry -- Northeastern States -- History
  • Franklin County (Me.) -- Maps
  • Gilmanton (N.H.) -- Maps
  • Mead Corporation
  • MeadWestvaco (Firm)
  • Oxford County (Me.) -- Maps
  • Oxford Paper Company
  • Pulp mills -- Maine -- History
  • Pulpwood industry -- Alaska -- History
  • Pulpwood industry -- Maine -- History
  • Pulpwood industry -- New Brunswick -- History
  • Pulpwood industry -- New Hampshire -- History
  • Pulpwood industry -- Northeastern States -- History

Detailed Description of the Collection

1. James W. Sewall Company Reports, 1929-1976.

Includes eight resource survey reports conducted for the Oxford Paper Company by the James W. Sewall Company. James Wingate Sewall founded the consulting firm in 1880 to provide forest inventory, surveying, and mapping services to the lumber industry in northern Maine and Canada. The reports in this series contain tables, charts, maps, and textual summary information about timber resources and the pulpwood industry in New Brunswick, Alaska, Maine, and other northeastern states. Most are internal documents that were never published; they are bound in either paperback or more commonly in hardback format. Reports rest loosely in the container carton in chronological order.
   Item 1
Southeastern Alaska Pulpwood Possibilities, 1929
   Item 2
Report on Brown Company Lands in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, 1937
   Item 3
Timber and Pulpwood Resources of Maine for Oxford Paper Company, 1944
   Item 4
Timber and Pulpwood Resources of New Brunswick for Oxford Paper Company, 1945-1946
   Item 5
Forest Practice Survey Report, 1952
   Item 6
Forest Resource Inventory of Area Within 50 Mile Radius of Rumford, Maine for Oxford Paper Company, 1956
   Item 7
Report on So-Called "Stetson Lands" in Maine, 1956
   Item 8
Report on Oxford Paper Company Timberlands and Wood Supply, 1976

2. Public Land Swap Documents, 1982-1983.

Includes records related to a plan for the exchange of selected land parcels between the state of Maine and private landowners, most of whom are timber, lumber, or pulp and paper companies. The materials in this series relate specifically to Boise Cascade Corporation
   Folder 1
Public Land Swap Documents
A single file folder containing copies of an undated newsclipping, ten maps of various sizes, eight aerial photographs, correspondence between representatives of Boise Cascade Corporation and representatives of the state of Maine, and the 1982 proposal by Maine Governor Joseph E. Brennan dated May 1982 that outlines plans to consolidate the state's public reserved lands via land exchanges between the state and the private sector. The first land swap occurred in December 1974 when the state exchanged certain parcels of scattered lots for consolidated parcels of land owned by Great Northern Paper Company.

3. Oxford Paper Company Wood Usage and Production Cost Documents, 1915-1962.

Includes handwritten and typed statistical records compiled primarily in chart format pertaining to labor costs, monthly production numbers, wood transportation, and other aspects of the pulpwood production operations of Oxford Paper Company from 1920 to 1950.
Items were originally housed in two faded green-cloth three-ring binders; during processing, pages were removed from each binder and re-housed in two acid-free folders.
   Folder 2
1920-1948
   Folder 3
1915-1962

4. Maps, undated.

Includes six undated maps of various sizes containing topographical information pertaining to forest lands located in Maine and New Hampshire. Some or all of the maps may be duplicates of early maps that were printed at a later date. A number of the maps in this series contain information originally documented by forester Austin Cary (1865-1936), who worked as a land cruiser and topographical surveyor in Maine and New Hampshire in the late 1890s and early 1900s.
Map of Atkinson and Gilmanton Academy Grant
Map of lands in Atkinson and Gilmanton, New Hampshire, surveyed and explored in 1888 by James A. Pike.
Map of Township Letter D, Franklin County, Maine
Cartographic representation of lands in Franklin County, Maine, surveyed and explored in 1888 by James A. Pike.
Map of Grafton, Oxford County, Maine
Topographical map on lands in Grafton, Maine, by Austin Cary in 1899.
Map of Township 5 R. 3. Oxford County, Maine
Map showing allotment and topography for this region of Oxford County in Maine by Austin Cary in 1901.
Map of Spring Tract T 5. R 7., Oxford County, Maine
Topographical map showing land contours in this region of Oxford County, Maine, by Austin Cary in 1904.
Map of Millsfield, New Hampshire
Description: Topographical map of lands in Millsfield, New Hampshire, by Austin Cary.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Forest History Society's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Forest History Society claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Oxford Paper Company Records, Library and Archives, Forest History Society, Durham, NC, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Received from Sidney E. Balch in November 2003. Sidney "Si" E. Balch was the Technical/Planning Superintendent of the New England Region Forestry Division of MeadWestvaco Corporation in Rumford, Maine. The materials include items of a historical nature collected by the division that were not subject to the company's records management retention policy.

Processing Information

Processed by Emily Wakild, June 2004

Encoded by Amanda Ross, February 2009

These materials were initially described as the MeadWestvaco Records, Sidney E. Balch Collection. The collection has been renamed the Oxford Paper Company Records, per provenance principles.

Funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission supported the encoding of this finding aid. Support for digitization and outreach provided by the Alvin J. Huss Endowment.