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Special Collections: Guide to the Arthur B. Richardson Papers

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
February 2010

Collection title: Arthur B. Richardson Papers
Collection number: MS 434
Dates of collection: 1915-2000 
Size of collection: 1 document box
Provenance: Gift of John Woolverton in 1999, 2000 and 2003


Arthur B. Richardson was born in Rockland, Maine, on March 20, 1889, the son of Charles R. and Frances Barlow Richardson. He was a member of the class of 1911 at the University of Maine but did not graduate; the university awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1956.

Richardson married Annah Parkman Butler, also of Rockland, in 1914. In that year he also joined the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company and was assigned to Moscow as manager of the company’s office in Russia, arriving there in 1915. His wife joined him later in the year and their first son was born there. After several years in Russia, the Richardsons left Moscow in January 1918, traveling by train across Siberia to China and eventually home to Rockland, a journey that is described in a newspaper article contained in the collection. Richardson had a long career with Chesebrough, serving as manager in Russia, China and England for over 20 years, then becoming a company director, vice-president, president, and chairman of the board before retiring in 1960. The Richardsons lived in Owls Head, Maine, after his retirement. Arthur Richardson died on March 4, 1979.

Annah Richardson, born on October 27, 1888, was the daughter of Albert W. and Jennie Cobb Butler of Rockland. She graduated from Smith College in 1911 and worked as a social worker at the Henry Street Settlement House in New York before marrying Arthur Richardson in 1914. She accompanied him to Russia shortly after their marriage. The Richardsons had four children: Albert B. Richardson, Frederick F. Richardson, Charles A. Richardson and Margaret Richardson Woolverton. Annah Richardson died in February 1983.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains an account of the life and travels of Arthur and Annah Richardson written by their daughter Margaret Richardson Woolverton in 1999 as well as newspaper clippings about both Arthur and Annah. Of particular interest are letters written by Arthur Richardson in 1915 and 1916 to his mother-in-law Jennie Cobb Butler describing his journey to Moscow early in 1915, his preparations for his wife to join him there, and two letters written at the time of the birth of their first child in Moscow. Various documents from the Richardsons’ time in Moscow as well as a newspaper article about their trip out of Russia in 1918 are included.

The collection also contains letters between Richardson and his son-in-law John Woolverton written between 1950 and 1978 and describing the early married life of John and Margaret Woolverton, letters from the Richardson grandchildren, and family photographs. Genealogical information about the Cobb and Snow families and Stephen Hopkins, probably compiled by John Woolverton, as well as a small amount of correspondence from other members of the Richardson family is also found in the collection.

Box List

Box 1


1 Account of life and travels of Arthur and Annah Richardson by Margaret Woolverton, 1999

2 Newspaper clippings, obituaries, etc.

3 Letters to Jennie Cobb Butler from Arthur Richardson, 1915-1916, undated

4 Telegram to Jennie Cobb Butler from F.S. Fales, Nov. 20, 1917

5 Letter to Fred Fales from Arthur Richardson, Feb. 14, 1917

6 Documents from Russia, 1917

7 “Out of revolutionary Russia: Arthur B. Richardson and family reach home after an 18,000 mile journey … ;” article from Courier-Gazette, Rockland, Maine, June 18, 1918

8 Arthur Richardson letters from China, 1918, 1919

9 Knox County consumer’s sugar card, July 20, 1918

10 Letters to Arthur Richardson, 1916, 1924

11 Letters to Arthur Richardson from John Woolverton, 1950-1978

12 Letters to John Woolverton from Arthur Richardson, 1951-1964

13 Letter to Arthur Richardson from director of Central Intelligence Agency, July 27, 1974 [photocopy]

14 Letters to Arthur and Annah Richardson from grandchildren, 1957-1972

15 Family photographs

16 Certificate of appreciation from Chesebrough-Pond’s, March 18, 1964

17 Woolverton correspondence, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993

18 Genealogy: Cobb family

19 Genealogy: Stephen Hopkins

20 Genealogy: Snow family

21 Correspondence of Albert B. Richardson re vessels of Cobb, Butler Co. shipyard, 1970, 1971

22 Email to Peter Richardson re Richardson family, July 20, 2000


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: 03/23/2015
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