James Matthew Demarest
Papers, 1854-1898; bulk, 1880-1898

SC22822

Quantity: 11 boxes (ca. 3.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research.
Acquisition: Purchase: Carmen D. Valentino, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Philadelphia, P.A., 2004.
Processed By: Abigail Stambach Student Assistant, State University of New York at Albany, March 2011

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Biographical Note:

James Matthew Demarest was born circa 1834 in Rochester, New York, to Nicholas and Eliza Demarest. He had two brothers, Charles and Augustus, and one sister, Louisa (Cook). The family moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, about 1860. James married Martha Day sometime between 1860 and 1868, the year they purchased a home in Jersey City. They had two children, Charles, born circa 1869, and Mabel, born circa 1872. In 1880, James, Martha, and their children moved back to Rochester. According to the Rochester City Directory from 1902, James died on December 4, 1901.

James Demarest operated a wholesale liquor distribution business mostly out of Rochester but also out of Boston, Massachusetts. He traveled extensively, selling whiskey, rum, and rye.  His business was run in conjunction with the whiskey and foreign liquor supplier, Gordon, Fellow & McMillan, based in New York City. His brother-in-law, Martin R. Cook, was a principal of the firm. In the late nineteenth century, the company was re-named M.R. Cook & Co. and, later, Cook & Bernheimer.

Scope and Content Note:

The James Matthew Demarest Papers contain letters, receipts, bills, legal documents, accounts, order and memoranda books, reports, insurance policies, postcards, telegrams, business and calling cards, manuals, and photographs. Letters make up the majority of the collection with most of the letters relating to Demarest’s business as a wholesale liquor distributor but there is material that is personal in nature. The collection dates from 1854 to 1898 with the bulk of the items dating between 1880 and 1898. It is arranged into five series: Personal Correspondence and Papers; Bills and Receipts; Telegrams; Business Correspondence, and Financial Records.

The Personal Correspondence and Papers Series consists chiefly of letters addressed to James Demarest. The series also includes letters written to his wife, Martha, his children, Charles and Mabel, his parents, Nicholas and Eliza, his mother-in-law, Minnie, and his siblings, Charles and Louisa. The letters mainly discuss family news but they also contain news about friends, health, weather, household matters, travel, and holidays. In addition to the letters, there are calling cards, invitations and business cards, which are arranged alphabetically. In Box 3, Folder 11, there are several business cards for Demarest’s business as well as for Cook & Bernheimer. The series also contains papers related to the Humane Society of Rochester dating from the late 1880s to the early 1890s. Martha Demarest was an active member of the organization and there is correspondence to Martha from members of the organization, a constitution of the American Humane Association, a manual for the prevention of cruelty towards animals, letters appealing for donations, newspaper clippings and legislative notices regarding animal rights bills. Martha also served as a delegate to the general convention of the American Humane Association held in 1890 and the series contains a “Delegate’s Certificate” as well as travel information. There are photographs in this series but identification is minimal; it is presumed the people in the photographs are family members. While most of the photos were taken by photographers in New York City, there are some that were taken by photographers in Rochester.

The Bills and Receipts Series contains bills and receipts for goods and services purchased by the Demarest family between 1851 and 1898, with the bulk of the receipts dating to the 1890s. There are receipts for groceries, clothing, shoes, laundry services, furniture, glass, china, masonry work, home repair, hotels, a post office box, state and county taxes, and water, gas and electric bills.  The vast majority of the receipts are from grocers in the Rochester area. These items offer a glimpse of the material culture of the time period.

The Telegrams Series contains business and personal telegrams, dating to the 1880s, mostly sent to James Demarest. The business ones were sent by Cook & Bernheimer. They typically gave Demarest instructions, approval for a sale, or asked questions regarding his sales or travel. The personal telegrams were sent by his wife, Martha, and sister, Louisa, and informed Demarest of their travel, confirmed receipt of his telegrams and/or letters and other personal matters. The telegrams were sent to Demarest while he was traveling and also while he was at home in Rochester.

The Business Correspondence Series consists chiefly of incoming letters to James Demarest relative to his wholesale liquor distribution business. Most of theses letters were from Cook & Bernheimer. The letters generally discuss sales, financing, transportation, and distribution of goods to business clients.

The Financial Records series contains small pocket notebooks that Demarest used to keep track of his orders and accounts while conducting business. Through these notebooks, it is possible to track his travels since they provide customers’ names and addresses. It is also possible to track his sales since the notebooks list spirits ordered and prices. These account memorandum books date from about 1855 to 1894. The memorandum books contain similar information found in the order/account books. The series also contains lists of taxes he paid on his whiskey inventory, a list of his clientele arranged by city, his account with Gordon, Fellows and McMillan from the late 1860s, and a couple of United States Internal Revenue Service forms. Box 11, Folder 9 contains insurance policies Demarest took out on his business and personal property. The folder also contains some receipts confirming payment of the insurance premiums. The majority of these policies are for fire protection. The series also includes land titles and other records related to real estate holdings in Rochester and Jersey City. One of these items is the deed for the house James and Martha bought in Jersey City in 1868.

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Description
Personal correspondence and papers
1 1 Letters to J.M. Demarest, March 21, 1858 – November 21, 1858 (4 items)
1 2 Letters to J.M. Demarest, January 10, 1859 – August 21, 1859 (13 items)
1 3 Letters to J.M. Demarest, September 7, 1859 – December 31, 1859 (14 items)
1 4 Letters to J.M. Demarest, January 1, 1860 – December 24, 1860 (16 items)
1 5 Letters to J.M. Demarest, April 2, 1861 – December 20, 1866 (19 items)
1 6 Letters to J.M. Demarest, January 8, 1867 – May 7, 1868 (15 items)
1 7 Letters to J.M. Demarest, June 6, 1868 – December 28, 1868 (11 items)
1 8 Letters to J.M. Demarest, January 25, 1869 – December 23, 1869 (16 items)
1 9 Letters to J.M. Demarest from Charles Demarest (brother), ca. 1860s (10 items)
1 10 Letters to J.M. Demarest, January 24, 1870 – March 27, 1871 (17 items)
1 11 Letters to J.M. Demarest, April 6, 1871 – December 16, 1879 (12 items)
1 12 Letters to J.M. Demarest, January 26, 1880 – December 29, 1883 (15 items)
1 13 Letters to J.M. Demarest, February 6, 1884 – August 12, 1884 (14 items)
1 14 Letters to J.M. Demarest, September 21, 1884 – December 2, 1884 (11 items)
1 15 Letters to J.M. Demarest, January13, 1885 – December 17, 1885 (14 items)
1 16 Letters to J.M. Demarest, January 26, 1886 – December 2, 1886 (12 items)
1 17 Letters to J.M. Demarest, January 7, 1887 – April 17, 1888 (19 items)
2 1 Letters to J.M. Demarest, May 11, 1888 – November 20, 1889 (16 items)
2 2 Letters to J.M. Demarest, ca. 1880s (2 items)
2 3 Letters to J.M. Demarest, April 29, 1890 – November 11, 1892 (9 items)
2 4 Letters to J.M. Demarest, June 5, 1894 – June 5, 1895 (9 items)
2 5 Letters to J.M. Demarest, June 1, 1896 – November 28, 1897 (10 items)
2 6 Letters to J.M. Demarest, n.d. (15 items)
2 7 Letters written by J.M. Demarest, April 11, 1858 – February 22, 1898 (14 items)
2 8 Postal cards to J.M. Demarest, 1879-1898 (25 items)
2 9 Postal cards to J.M. Demarest, n.d. ( 4 items)
2 10 Letters to Martha Demarest, December 28, 1886 – December 3, 1891 (14 items)
2 11 Letters written by Martha Demarest, ca. 1880s-1890s (13 items)
2 12 Letters to Charles and Mabel Demarest, September 29, 1882 – October 30, 1894 (5 items)
2 13 Letters to Minnie Day, July 25, 1860 – April 28, 1888 (13 items)
2 14 Letters to Minnie Day, June 14, 1889 – April14, 1892 (17 items)
2 15 Letters to Minnie Day, ca. 1880s-1890s (4 items)
2 16 Letters to Eliza Demarest, August 7, 1858 – November 16, 1889 (9 items)
2 17 Letters to Eliza Demarest, ca. 1850s (12 items)
2 18 Letters to Eliza Demarest, ca. 1860s (4 items)
2 19 Letters written by Eliza Demarest, ca. 1879 (20 items)
2 20 Letters written by Eliza Demarest, ca. 1880s-1890s (28 items)
3 1 Letter to Nicholas and Eliza Demarest from Augustus B. Demarest, June 14, 1854
3 2 Letters to Louisa Demarest Cook, August 9, 1857 – March 14, 1880 (21 items)
3 3 Letters written by Louisa Demarest Cook, ca. 1860s (5 items)
3 4 Letters to Charles Demarest, January 30, 1860 – February 23, 1863 (11 items)
3 5 Letters to Charles Demarest, January 2, 1865 – December 30, 1865 (12 items)
3 6 Letters to Charles Demarest, January 8, 1866 – February 20, 1866 (12 items)
3 7 Letters to Charles Demarest, March 9, 1866 – May 31, 1866 (12 items)
3 8 Letters to Charles Demarest, June 12, 1866 – 1870 ( 9 items)
3 9 Letters to family members, December 15, 1858 – September 3, 1891 (13 items)
3 10 Letters to family members, n.d. (7 items)
3 11 Letters, incomplete (24 items)
3 12 Calling cards, invitations and business cards, A-M (35 items)
3 13 Calling cards, invitations and business cards, N-Z (23 items)
3 14 The Humane Society, Letters, October 5, 1889 – August 8, 1890 (14 items)
3 15 The Humane Society, Letters, September 3, 1890 – June 18, 1892 (13 items)
3 16 The Humane Society, Manual of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
3 17 The Humane Society, Constitution, 1890
3 18 The Humane Society, newspaper clippings (7 items)
3 19 The Humane Society, invitations and appeal for donations (6 items)
3 20 The Humane Society, legislation notices, reports and convention materials (9 items)
3 21 Photograph, Mrs. [Minnie?] Day, 1883
3 22 Photograph, J. Heath Gregor
3 23 Photographs, unidentified (8 items)
Bills and Receipts
4 1 Tops of Receipts, n.d. (70 items)
4 2 No date (20 items)
4 3 1851, 1856 -1857 (23 items)
4 4 1858 – 1859 (20 items)
4 5 1860 – 1864 (29 items)
4 6 1865 – 1869 (38 items)
4 7 1870 (22 items)
4 8 1871 (18 items)
4 9 1872-1874, 1877, and 1879 (15 items)
4 10 ca. 1880s (20 items)
4 11 1880 – 1882 (30 items)
4 12 1883 and 1884 (33 items)
4 13 1885 (60 items)
4 14 1886 (43 items)
4 15 1887 (48 items)
4 16 1888 and 1889 (45 items)
4 17 ca. 1890s (20 items)
4 18 January – June 1890 (60 items)
4 19 July – December 1890 (47 items)
4 20 January – June 1891 (60 items)
5 1 July – December 1891 (70 items)
5 2 January – June 1892 (50 items)
5 3 July – December 1892 (30 items)
5 4 1893 (62 items)
5 5 1894 (52 items)
5 6 1895 (60 items)
5 7 1896 (68 items)
5 8 January – June 1897 (51 items)
5 9 July – December 1897 (35 items)
5 10 1898 (35 items)
Telegrams
5 11 1850s (3 items)
5 12 1860s (7 items)
5 13 1870s (21 items)
5 14 1880 – 1884 (30 items)
5 15 1885 (17 items)
6 1 1886 – 1887 (27 items)
6 2 1890s (22 items)
Business Correspondence
6 3 Letters, February 22, 1858 – December 19, 1859 (11 items)
6 4 Letters, January 6, 1860 – December 30, 1864 (10 items)
6 5 Letters, May 4, 1865 – November 22, 1866 (9 items)
6 6 Letters, July 15, 1867 – July 28, 1868 (9 items)
6 7 Letters, October 19, 1868 – December 28, 1868 (9 items)
6 8 Letters, January 6, 1869 – August 31, 1869 (7 items)
6 9 Letters, ca. 1860s (2 items)
6 10 Letters, February 25, 1870 – September 30, 1870 (17 items)
6 11 Letters, October 1, 1870 – October 31, 1870 (6 items)
6 12 Letters, November 3, 1870 – November 26, 1870 (10 items)
6 13 Letters, December 3, 1870 – December 30, 1870 (9 items)
6 14 Letters, January 16, 1871 – February 25, 1871 (13 items)
6 15 Letters, March 2, 1871 – March 31, 1871 (13 items)
6 16 Letters, April 3, 1871 – June 21, 1871 (13 items)
6 17 Letters, July 3, 1871 – July 28, 1871 (7 items)
6 18 Letters, August 14, 1871 – August 25, 1871 (6 items)
6 19 Letters, March 12, 1872 – December 7, 1878 (12 items)
6 20 Letters, January 23, 1879 – December 31, 1879 (21 items)
6 21 Letters, ca. 1870s (2 items)
6 22 Letters, January 7, 1880 – May 1, 1880 (14 items)
6 23 Letters, September 6, 1880 – October 30, 1880 (13 items)
6 24 Letters, November 17, 1880 – December 20, 1880 (13 items)
6 25 Letters, February 3, 1881 – December 22, 1881 (8 items)
7 1 Letters, January 3, 1882 – May 9, 1882 (11 items)
7 2 Letters, May 27, 1882 – July 13, 1882 (11 items)
7 3 Letters, August 12, 1882 – December 14, 1882 (18 items)
7 4 Letters, January 16, 1883 – April 14, 1883 (13 items)
7 5 Letters, May 4, 1883 – May 26, 1883 (11 items)
7 6 Letters, June 19, 1883 – August 30, 1883 (11 items)
7 7 Letters, September 1, 1883 – November 26, 1883 (9 items)
7 8 Letters, December 4, 1883 – December 31, 1883 (10 items)
7 9 Letters, January 12, 1884 – March 29, 1884 (17 items)
7 10 Letters, April 7, 1884 – May 24, 1884 (9 items)
7 11 Letters, June 2, 1884 – July 9, 1884 (11 items)
7 12 Letters, August 5, 1884 – October 10, 1884 (11 items)
7 13 Letters, October 15, 1884 – December 26, 1884 (13 items)
7 14 Letters, January 5, 1885 – April 8, 1885 (11 items)
7 15 Letters, May 18, 1885 – August 29, 1885 (9 items)
7 16 Letters, September 8, 1885 – October 14, 1885 (12 items)
7 17 Letters, October 19, 1885 – December 14, 1885 (10 items)
8 1 Letters, January 8, 1886 – March 27, 1886 (13 items)
8 2 Letters, April 5, 1886 – August 3, 1886 (11 items)
8 3 Letters, September 6, 1886 – November 12, 1886 (8 items)
8 4 Letters, November 16, 1886 – December 22, 1886 (10 items)
8 5 Letters, January 5, 1887 – March 28, 1887 (15 items)
8 6 Letters, April 30, 1887 – August 25, 1887 (13 items)
8 7 Letters, September 6, 1887 – October 11, 1887 (13 items)
8 8 Letters, October 24, 1887 – December 28, 1887 (13 items)
8 9 Letters, January 3, 1888 – March 30, 1888 (14 items)
8 10 Letters, April 1, 1888 – June 29, 1888 (10 items)
8 11 Letters, July 27, 1888 – December 7, 1888 (10 items)
8 12 Letters, January 2, 1889 – June 30, 1889 (10 items)
8 13 Letters, July 2, 1889 – December 16, 1889 (11 items)
8 14 Letters, ca. 1880s (3 items)
8 15 Letters, April 25, 1890 – September 22, 1891 (4 items)
8 16 Letters, January 3, 1892 – May 20, 1892 (15 items)
8 17 Letters, July 25, 1892 – October 27, 1892 (8 items)
9 1 Letters, November 3, 1892 – December 20, 1892 (12 items)
9 2 Letters, January 23, 1893 – August 4, 1893 (8 items)
9 3 Letters, May 18, 1894 – September 30, 1894 (12 items)
9 4 Letters, October 19, 1894 – December 31, 1894 (18 items)
9 5 Letters, January 1, 1895 – March 25, 1895 (8 items)
9 6 Letters, April 5, 1895 – May 28, 1895 (10 items)
9 7 Letters, February 21, 1896 – April 20, 1896 (11 items)
9 8 Letters, May 6, 1896 – September 23, 1896 9 (11 items)
9 9 Letters, October 3, 1896 – December 12, 1896 (13 items)
9 10 Letters, January 20, 1897 – April 23, 1897 (14 items)
9 11 Letters, July 16, 1897 – August 25, 1897 (12 items)
9 12 Letters, September 11, 1897 – December 11, 1897 (13 items)
9 13 Letters, January 21, 1898 – October 26, 1898 (23 items)
9 14 Letters, ca. 1890s (4 items)
Financial records
10 1 Account Memorandum Book, ca. 1855
10 2 Account Memorandum Book, 1857-1858
10 3 Account Memorandum Book, 1863-1864
10 4 Account Memorandum Book, 1865
10 5 Account Memorandum Book, 1866-1867
10 6 Account Memorandum Book, 1882
10 7 Account Memorandum Book, 1883
10 8 Account Memorandum Book, 1884
10 9 Account Memorandum Book, 1886
10 10 Account Memorandum Book, April-June 1894
10 11 Account Memorandum Book, Demarest account with Charles M. Frank, grocer, 1881
10 12 Account Memorandum Book Book, November 3 – April 2 (no years)
10 13 Account Memorandum Book, n.d.
10 14 Account Memorandum Book, n.d.
10 15 Account Memorandum Book, n.d.
10 16 Account Memorandum Book covers (2 items)
10 17 Memorandum and Account Book, 1892
10 18 Memorandum Book, ca. 1865
10 19 Memorandum Book, n.d.
10 20 Memorandum Book, n.d.
11 1 Accounts written on sheets of paper, 1856-1875 (30 items)
11 2 The Mercantile Agency, introduction to the offices of the agency, 1878
11 3 Cook & Bernheimer Company, First Annual Report, 1892
11 4 Lists of taxes paid on whiskey inventory, 1879-1891 (7 items)
11 5 Accounts with Gordon, Fellows and McMillan, 1865-1869 (15 items)
11 6 United States Internal Revenue Service Income Tax Forms, 1866, 1870, 1871 (3 items)
11 7 Inventory of Property taken at Rochester, August 19, 1855
11 8 Land titles, 1856-1869 (4 items)
11 9 Insurance Policies, 1860-1897 (14 items)
Last Updated: May 27, 2011