Title and statement of responsibility area
James Reid fonds
General material designation
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Title statements of responsibility
Level of description
CA ON00239 F02866
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Statement of scale (cartographic)
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- James Reid Limited
Physical description area
7.56 m of textual records
Publisher's series area
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Archival description area
Name of creator
James Reid Furniture, now James Reid Limited, was founded in 1854,* by James Reid (1829-1900), an Irish immigrant of Scottish descent. While still an infant, Reid arrived in the Kingston area in 1831. He would first work on a farm on the Gore Rd. located north of Barriefield before taking up furniture making, possibly after apprenticing with cabinet maker Elijah Conklin (also spelled Conklan), whose daughter, Christianna, Reid would marry in 1856.
Reid established his business in a former tavern at 254-256 Princess St., with a furniture showroom on Princess St., and his workshops and storehouses filling in the back part of the lot towards Brock St. In addition to being an upholsterer and manufacturing and selling furniture, Reid was a casket-maker, undertaker and embalmer. The company would later also provide ambulance services. The business would expand to the neighbouring building, the Orpheum/Griffin Theatre at 250-252 Princess St in 1922 and, in 1973, James Reid opened a second funeral home, followed by a second furniture store in 1979, both on John Counter Boulevard (then known as Counter St.), in the village of Cataraqui, located then just outside the Kingston city limits, but now part of the amalgamated city. The Princess St. funeral home closed in 1990 and fine furniture showroom expanded into that space.
James and Christianna Reid had 12 children, six boys and six girls, all of whom worked for the family business. Following the death of James Reid in 1900, their eldest son Robert J. Reid would run James Reid Ltd. for a year before opening his own furniture shop and undertaking business at 222 Princess St. in 1901. The business was then run by three other of James Reids sons - Samuel (1868-1934), Francis C. (Frank) (1870-1955), and Frederick C. Reid (1880-1968). Fredericks son James W. (1914-1997) would be brought into the business, followed by his children James [aka Jim] F. Reid, David W. Reid & Barbara J. Reid (d. 2004). Since 1997, Jim Reid serves as the company president and David W. Reid is the vice-president. Jim Reids daughter Sarah Hedberg works in the Funeral Home in Bereavement Support program.
These records were stored in the attic of the historic Princess St. store. There they were exposed to vermin and soot, resulting in the loss of a portion of the company archives. The salvageable records were transferred from there to the University Records Centre by Queen's University archivists in April 2014.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of the business records of James Reid Ltd., including documents relating to the manufacturing and selling of furniture, the provision of funeral services, and the company's ambulance service. The records deal primarily with the affairs of the business, but do include some personal records. The fonds includes detailed financial documents, correspondence, customer accounts and orders, employee payroll records, income tax records, and documents relating to the estates of the proprietors. While some 19th century records are included in this fonds, as well as some records dating from the 1980s, the documents date primarily from the early to mid- 20th century (ca. 1913-1969). The fonds is arranged into 11 series: Frank C. Reid receipts and letters (1 Jul. 1913-25 Jul. 1953), Cancelled leases (14 Apr. 1925-2 May 1959), Letters and contracts (1934-1969), Real estate (1907-1965), Estate records (1878-1939), Taxation and financial records (1917-1951), Stock legers (1909-1934), Cabinet and upholstery order books (1922-1953), Delivery books (10 Jan. 1933-15 Aug. 1964), Journals and ledgers (1913-1983), Funeral and ambulance (1937-1974), and James Reid history and other records ([19--]-1990).
These records have been exposed to soot many are extremely dirty and require conservation treatment. The correspondence files were largely protected by the binding cases in which they were stored but much of the rest of the fonds particularly the covers and edges of the ledgers are covered in soot. Records that were not in binding cases or in ledgers were frequently rolled tightly and require conservation treatment to relax the pages.
Immediate source of acquisition
For the majority of the records the original order was discernable and was maintained. The exact arrangement of the full run of journals could not be precisely identified, so journals of similar types were arranged together. Otherwise, documents that were bundled together or otherwise stored in a particular order were kept together, with the exception of the Plans & Specifications documents and the Treleavans Annuity file which, as noted in the series description, were stored together but do not appear to be linked and have been arranged into different series.
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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
No further accruals are expected