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Special Collections: Guide to the Lubec Sardine Industry Business Records

Collection title: Lubec Sardine Industry Business Records
Collection number: MS 1338
Dates of collection: 1896-1991

Size of collection: 314 ledgers
Restrictions on access and use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval


The collection contains records of five companies involved in the sardine industry in Lubec, Maine: the Columbian Packing Company, the Columbian Canning Company, the American Can Company, the Johnson’s Bay Canning Company, and the Lubec and Eastport branches of the Booth Fisheries Corp.

The Columbian Packing Company was founded in 1892 by John P. McCurdy, James J. McCurdy, and J. McGonigal. The company manufactured sardines and also smoked herring. By the 1950s its letterhead indicated the company was also a wholesale and retail grocer and dealt in wood and coal as well.

The Columbian Canning Company existed from 1903-1924, with James J. McCurdy serving as president and John P. McCurdy as treasurer and manager. Its letterhead lists the company as “packers of fancy and standard domestic sardines.” In 1910 the company’s factory burned and was replaced. The company closed in 1924.

The American Can Company built a plant in North Lubec in 1899 to manufacture cans for the sardine industry. The plant burned in 1907 and the company built a new plant in Lubec; this plant closed in 1972.

The Johnson’s Bay Canning Company was purchased by John P. McCurdy in 1924 and was dismantled in 1931.

The Booth Fisheries Sardine Co. bought the factories of the Lubec Sardine Co. in 1917 and operated them in Lubec until 1985. The company was sold to Lyon Food Products in 1985.

Scope and Content Note

Records of the Columbian Packing Company date from 1896-1926 and include petty cash account books, daybooks, ledgers, bank account ledgers and check registers as well as a sales book from 1916-1919. Records of the Columbian Canning Company, 1907-1930, include copies of incoming telegrams, ledgers, daily cash and charge records, a fish account book, a sales book, and payroll records. Some of the ledgers, check registers, etc., appear to have been used by both companies, leading to an overlap in some of the records.

Records of the American Can Company include payroll records from 1905-1909. Also found in the collection is a check register dated 1924 for the Johnson's Bay Canning Company, and a few records from the Lubec and Eastport branches of Booth Fisheries Corp.

Contents of Collection

Records of Columbian Packing Company

Ledger 1 Cash paid out, 1896-1911
Ledger 2 Petty cash, 1912-1920
Ledger 3-9 Daybooks, 1918-1923 (may include Columbian Canning Co.)
Ledger 10-15 Ledgers, 1896-1923
Ledger 16 Ledger, 1940-1944
Ledger 17-24 Ledgers, 1950-1964
Ledger 25-30 General ledgers, 1925-1927, 1960, 1964
Ledger 31 Bank accounts, 1911-1917
Ledger 32-40a Check registers, 1909-1926 (may include Columbian Canning Co.)
Ledger 41 Sales book, 1916-1919

ecords of Columbian Canning Company

Ledger 42-50 Copies of incoming telegrams (may include Columbian Packing Co.)
Ledger 51-52 Petty ledgers, 1916-1917, 1920-1923
Ledger 53 Daily cash and charge record, 1918-1920
Ledger 54-55 Ledgers, 1907-1913, 1921-1923
Ledger 56 Fish account book, 1914-1918
Ledger 57 Ledger: Edgings and edgers, 1918-1919
Ledger 58-60 Sales books, 1911-1924
Ledger 61-62 Payroll, 1922-1930

Records of American Can Company

Ledger 63-311 Distribution and payroll, July 4, 1905-Dec. 21, 1909

Records of Johnson’s Bay Canning Company

Ledger 312 Check register, April-June, 1924

Records of Booth Fisheries Division, Lubec and Eastport Branches

Ledger 313 Payroll journal, 1986
Ledger 314 Account book, 1984-1991
Folder 1 Booth Fisheries, Eastport Branch reports, 1953, 1983-1984
Folder 2 Miscellaneous


Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/18/2015
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