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Identifier: MC 1390

Lenox, Incorporated Records


  • 1889-2005

Scope and Content Note

The corporate records of Lenox, Incorporated, comprising approximately 248 cubic feet of documents, span from the company's founding as the Ceramic Art Company to manufacture porcelain artware, in 1889, through its transformation into a diversified dinnerware operation with a complementary gift line in the decades before its acquisition by Brown-Forman, Inc., in 1983, until its eventual sale, in 2005, to Department 56 (later renamed Lenox Group, Inc.) after a change in focus to emphasize gifts. The records document various aspects of Lenox's china operations including product design and creation, advertising and promotion, sales practices, financial history, and changes in corporate structure and ownership.

While most of the Lenox, Incorporated, records pertain to the eventual department, and later subsidiary, known for many years as Lenox China (subsequently Lenox China and Crystal), there are some records present from the later years which relate directly to the parent company, Lenox, Incorporated, both as a sovereign corporation and as a subsidiary of Brown Forman, Inc., and to its non-china subsidiaries, such as Gorham, Kirk Stieff, Alladin Plastics and Hartmann Luggage. Thus, while much of the documentation from the later twentieth century focuses on Lenox's core products, such as china dinnerware, china and crystal giftware, and crystal bar and stemware, other product lines, such as silver flatware, melamine dinnerware, candles, plastic housewares and luggage, are also represented to a limited degree.

he collection is composed of various formats of documentation, including traditional office documents such as incoming and outgoing letters and memoranda, handwritten notes, annual reports, financial documents (including tax returns and account books), corporate publications (including newsletters and product catalogs), press releases, market surveys, press clippings, etc. Also included is a wealth of non-textual and oversize materials, including original china pattern drawings, china body designs, decals of various formats, advertisement and printing mock-ups, scrapbooks (primarily of advertisements), promotional display posters and counter cards, photographs, slide and larger format transparencies, architectural drawings and audio-visual materials, including motion picture film, video cassettes and audio recordings in various formats.

The collection is organized into thirty-five record series by either document type or creator.

Two series, ANNUAL REPORTS, 1963-2003, and NEWSLETTERS, 1952-1956 and 1968-2003, offer a succinct introduction to Lenox, Incorporated, its operations and employees. Two additional series set the historical and physical context of the company. FINANCIAL RECORDS, 1889-1987, tracks the financial development of Lenox from its founding in 1889 through its initial public offering as a publicly traded company in 1963 to its operation as a subsidiary of Brown-Forman in the 1980s and 1990s. ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS, 1908-1909, 1930, 1952-circa 1955, 1962-1969, 1988-1989 and undated, tracks the physical development of Lenox, from its roots in Trenton, New Jersey, through its expansion to Pomona and Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Eight series detail the design and production process for Lenox's china products. SHAPE RECORDS, 1907-1953, 1965-1973 and 1977 and undated, pertains to china body design and includes drawings and small photographs of undecorated china pieces, as well as drawings of production tools. DESIGN DRAWINGS, 1904 (or earlier)-1989, consists of original design drawings, primarily by chief Lenox designer Frank Graham Holmes. Designs supplied to Lenox by customers can be found in MONOGRAMS AND SUPPLIED DESIGNS, 1909, 1917-1949, 1952-1954, 1959 and undated. In order to physically decorate the china body, designs were translated into decals, as illustrated in DECALS AND ENGRAVINGS, 1904-1981 and undated, which includes color transfer decals and templates for decal production. DECORATING SPECIFICATIONS, 1922-1972, includes instruction guides for the application of colors and various design elements to china pieces, as well as for the creation of certain colors. The final product is illustrated in PATTERN RECORDS, 1904-1952, which consists of photographs of actual china pieces, as well as small-scale drawings of patterns. DESIGN SOURCES, circa 1893-1927, 1977-1981, 1987 and undated, consists of publications and photographs that served as inspiration for pattern designs. Finally, COST ANALYSIS DOCUMENTS, 1946-1961, pertains to production costs, and estimated and approved prices, for the completed product.

Three series pertain to sales and dealer materials. CATALOGS AND PRICE LISTS, 1891-2005, consists of trade, dealer and consumer catalogs, and price lists. Additional samples of catalogs, along with smaller promotional leaflets, brochures, correspondence and memoranda can be found in DEALER MAILINGS, 1947-1977 and 1983-1984. SALES CONFERENCE AND DISTRICT MANAGER FILES, 1959-1997, consists of more comprehensive merchandizing aids and sales policy documents distributed to district managers, either directly or through sales conferences.

Three series relate to company executives and other high level employees, including the President of Lenox, Incorporated, (FILES OF JOHN M. TASSIE, 1946-1969) and Vice President of Advertising and Sales Promotion for Lenox China (FILES OF ROBERT J. SULLIVAN, 1952-1956 and 1964-1984). Certain files relating to other positions, including General Counsel, Controller, Product Manager, Manager of Lenox Showrooms, etc., can be found in SELECTED FILES OF LENOX EMPLOYEES, 1954-1998. Closely related to the records kept by Robert J. Sullivan is the market research material, located in MARKET STUDIES, 1961 and 1976-1998.

Seven series detail Lenox advertising and company printing, as well as their genesis. Completed samples and tear sheets of local newspaper and national magazine advertisements are found in PROMOTIONAL SCRAPBOOKS, 1922-1990. The creation process for local newspaper advertisements can partially be discerned from ADVERTISING PORTFOLIOS AND AD SLICKS, 1958, 1965, 1975-1982, 1986-1992 and undated. Promotional posters and counter cards for sales, store events and specific products are found in POSTERS AND DISPLAY MATERIALS, 1983-2002. Promotional materials for the launch of new product lines, primarily for distribution at trade shows, can be found in NEW PRODUCT PRESS KITS, 1977-1997 and 2000. The in-house design of many of these advertising and printing items by Lenox, Incorporated's central Creative Services department, as well as of smaller items such as postcards, is documented in PRINTING RECORDS, 1979(1993)-1999, and in ADVERTISING AND PRINTING DESIGN RECORDS, 1997-2005. Additional publications and printed items, such as product instructions, sales clerk literature, product labels and smaller counter cards, along with two books (Lenox China: The Story of Walter Scott Lenox by George Sanford Holmes, 1924, and The Lenox Book of Home Entertaining and Etiquette by Elizabeth K. Lawrence, 1989) are housed in EPHEMERAL PUBLICATIONS, 1945-2005.

Closely related to promotional materials and publications are formal public relations records (primarily related to Lenox China and Crystal) represented by the FILES OF ALICE J. KOLATOR (Director, Public Relations and Training), 1979-1996, and by those of her associate, the FILES OF MARGE EXTON (Coordinator, Special Events), 1950-1995. While containing some samples of printed promotional material, these two series focus more heavily on public relations events and the employees involved in them.

Working closely with Kolator and Exton was a part-time historical/curatorial consultant and archivist, whose records comprise the FILES OF ELLEN PAUL DENKER, 1981-2005. Denker, in addition to penning a manuscript history of the company, kept records documenting and tracking Lenox's archival holdings and museum pieces. Additional historical information in the form of reference books, magazine articles, scrapbooks and vertical files is located in COMPANY HISTORY SUBJECT FILES, 1908-2004.

The remainder of the collection is of a primarily non-textual nature, dominated by photographs and audio-visual materials. PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS, 1889-1999, comprised of prints (and some negatives) of varying size and format, offers depictions of finished products, physical facilities, production processes, retail and non-retail displays and events, and company personnel. Additional product images, largely for promotional and printing use, are located in LARGE FORMAT TRANSPARENCIES, 1981-1998. Other images of products, personnel, facilities, production practices and promotional materials are found in the context of slide presentations for personnel, investors and customers in SLIDE TRANSPARENCIES, 1982-1993. Promotional films, commercials, training films, staff interviews and television clips featuring Lenox products and personnel, and represented in various audio, video and motion picture formats, are located in AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIALS, 1945-2005. Other non-textual material, classified as REALIA, 1989-1990, 1999 and undated, consists of items such as store banners, buttons, plaques and minor production tools, including a porcelain paint palette and china marking pencils.

In addition to historical information regarding Lenox, Incorporated, as a company, the collection offers insight into other research areas, such as the evolution of the china manufacturing process, changes in design aesthetics over the course of the twentieth century and the development of marketing and advertising strategies, especially on a national, mass consumer scale. The collection also offers insight into the development and import of the bridal market, the rise and decline of Trenton, New Jersey, as a manufacturing center and corporate trends such as diversification and conglomeratization. The records are also a source of biographical information for key personnel, such as Walter Scott Lenox, John M. Tassie and Frank Graham Holmes, and, in addition, reference influential figures in Trenton society, such as the Kuser and Roebling families.

Several aspects of company administration are notably underrepresented or not represented at all within the records of Lenox, Incorporated. Notable documentation gaps include the files of executives, with the exception of the limited materials that survive for John M. Tassie and Robert J. Sullivan. Absent are files of Lenox Presidents, such as Walter S. Lenox, Harry Brown, Leslie Brown and Safford P. Sweatt. Also of note is a general lack of financial documentation after the 1960s, as well a drop off in the design records after the tenure of Frank Graham Holmes, with the exception of certain commissioned or limited edition giftware items. Finally, regarding Lenox, Incorporated, subsidiaries, with the exception of some product catalogs (during periods of Lenox ownership) and of limited documentation for Alladin Plastics patents, the collection is largely devoid of records pertaining to their operation.


248 Cubic Feet (523 boxes of various sizes)

Physical Location

Advanced notice is required to consult this collection, as it is stored offsite. Viewing of audio-visual materials included is dependent both on their condition and on the availability of appropriate playback equipment.

Language of Materials



Records of the New Jersey-based firm of Lenox, Incorporated, which was known until 1906 as the Ceramic Art Company. The records primarily relate to Lenox's china dinnerware and giftware operations, including product design and creation, advertising and promotion, sales practices, financial history, and changes in corporate structure and ownership, together with some product, sales and marketing information for Lenox crystal (a product line added in the mid-1960s). Also present is partial documentation for other aspects of the company, especially after it began to diversify its operations, including limited information on subsidiaries such as Alladin Plastics, Gorham, Kirk Stieff and Hartmann Luggage and on product lines such as lamps, melamine dinnerware, candles and silver flatware.

Historical Chronology

On May 16, the Ceramic Art Company is founded, by Walter Scott Lenox, Jonathan Coxon, Sr., William S. Hancock and Joseph Rice, for the production of porcelain artware, primarily in the form of undecorated whiteware. Coxon serves as the company's first President, with Lenox serving as Secretary and Treasurer.
On August 12, the company's pottery at Mead Street and St. Joseph's Avenue in Trenton, New Jersey, officially opens.
On October 17, the firm exhibits its first produced wares.
In February, announces arrangement with LeBoutillier and Company as the sole retailer of its wares.
In May, announces publication of its first product catalog.
In the Fall, New Jersey Governor Leon Abbett appoints Walter S. Lenox Secretary of the New Jersey World's Fair Commission for organizing the American ceramics display at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
In January, employs its first traveling sales representative.
Erects a new building for storage.
Harry A. Brown begins working as a bookkeeper.
Erects a third building for production purposes.
In May, Jonathan Coxon retires as President, with Walter S. Lenox replacing him. Joseph Rice also resigns, assigning his single share of stock to Harry A. Brown.
Reportedly produces campaign buttons, perhaps for William McKinley
In June, a second catalog is issued, exhibiting approximately 350 new shapes.
Sponsors the National China Painters Bowl Competition.
Sells its first ever museum piece to the Smithsonian Institution.
Glen Iris line of painted floral decoration is introduced.
On April 10, more land is purchased for additional expansion of the Trenton pottery.
Production of bone china (white) service plates is initiated on a custom order and design basis.
Ledgers indicate the company employs two salesmen, one to handle New England, the other to handle all sales west of Chicago.
In March, workers move into a new three-floor addition, built as part of the conversion to dinnerware production.
Hires Frank Graham Holmes as chief designer, partially in response to Walter S. Lenox's deteriorating eyesight.
Begins marketing tableware under the brand name Lenox China.
On February 1, the Ceramic Art Company votes to change its name to Lenox, Incorporated.
Around October, the original kiln shed is expanded and a new kiln is built.
China Color and Fire, by Walter S. Lenox, a manual for painting and firing china, is released, distributed as part of a marketing campaign for whiteware.
In April, an advertisement for Lenox china appears in International Studio, possibly representing the company's first retail advertisement.
Begins marketing dinnerware with a belleek (cream-colored) body, a china body previously reserved for the company's artware.
Around November, James W. Johnston is appointed Vice President and replaces William Hancock on the Board of Directors following Hancock's death
Isaac Broome creates a parian bust of Walter S. Lenox. A few years earlier, Broome had been put in charge of the materials laboratory.
Mandarin and Ming, the first dinnerware patterns using the decal decorating process (decalcomania), are introduced.
On March 30, an order for the Wilson White House china service is placed through the firm of Dulin and Martin, the first White House service ever produced by an American manufacturer.
On August 22, company by-laws are amended to increase the Board of Directors from three members to five. Col. Anthony R. Kuser and John L. Kuser become members of the board.
Autumn, pattern code S1, is introduced.
On January 11, Walter Scott Lenox dies; he is subsequently interred at Riverview Cemetery in Trenton.
On February 27, the Board of Directors approves the construction of six new buildings, containing two continuous gas tunnel kilns (replacing several older periodic kilns) as well as a new showroom (with the intention of inviting buyers to Trenton, rather than keeping displays in the New York market).
John L. Kuser is elected Treasurer.
Harry Brown becomes President following the death of Walter S. Lenox.
Pattern V40 is created for display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, most likely for the Fifth American Industrial Art Exhibition.
On December 6, the Board of Directors votes to remove the word belleek from the company's trademark.
In April, the National Museum of Ceramics at Sèvres, France, accepts a gift of thirty-four Lenox pieces for its collection.
Mrs. Ferdinand W. Roebling, Jr., places the first of three orders for serving plates depicting Roebling built and supplied suspension bridges, to be painted by William and George Morley, who were primarily known for their decorated plates depicting pheasants, orchids and fish.
Lenox representatives begin holding traveling exhibits or "road shows" at retail establishments as a marketing scheme to "educate" the consumer base.
In August, success in producing lamps, lighting fixtures and giftware novelties is announced at a shareholder's meeting.
In the Fall, begins use of a previously experimental "Walking Beam" kiln developed in part by the Rutgers University Ceramics Department.
In November, an announcement is made of the commissioning of the Roosevelt White House china service, to be produced by Lenox and purchased through W. H. Plummer and Company of New York City.
In January, Roosevelt White House service is delivered.
Russian-born artist Simon Lissim is commissioned to create several museum pieces.
Issues a Fiftieth Anniversary Catalog (revised in 1942), which attempts to chronicle Lenox's 3,000 shapes and 4,000 decorations produced to date.
Produces service plates and after-dinner cups and saucers for the Federal Building at the New York World's Fair. The set, which includes dinner plates manufactured by Theodore Haviland of New York, was later donated to the White House.
Begins producing ballerina figurines designed by Patricia Eakins, which are manufactured intermittently until 1954.
In February, hires the New York advertising firm of Geyer, Cornell and Newell to conduct a nationwide campaign.
In March, a new gas-fired test kiln is installed for research on low-loss ceramic suitable for the impending war effort.
In May, John Tassie and William Siesel join Lenox to help produce steatite for use in electrical, radar and radio equipment.
In June, the Board of Directors approves reorganization to accommodate the Lenoxite division and its production of steatite. In addition, Lenox would produce dials for Liberty Ships, Victory Ships and the Army and Navy.
John Tassie is promoted to general manager of the Lenoxite division.
The Making of Fine China motion picture is produced by Lenox, along with teachers' materials for class discussion of the film.
In the Spring, the Lenoxite division is sold to American Lava Corporation.
In November, Leslie Brown becomes President after the retirement of his father, Harry. John Tassie is named superintendent of the china works.
John Tassie discontinues 390 patterns, ending Lenox's policy of not retiring patterns.
Only 47 patterns are produced, mostly designs created after 1932. Of the earlier patterns, Ming, Autumn, Mystic and Blue Tree survive.
The number of regional sales managers increases from three to eight.
The number of Lenox retailers reaches 767, up from 250 in 1938.
Institutes a loan exhibit program for retail stores entitled Command Performance, exhibiting special order plates (including White House china and the elaborate pattern V40B) often accompanied by a showing of The Making of Fine China.
Advertising firm Benton and Bowles of New York is retained to produce Lenox's national year-round ad campaigns.
The number of patterns increases to 79, with 51 readily available. Truman White House china, consisting of 120 place settings, is delivered.
In July, John Tassie hires Winslow Anderson to succeed Holmes as chief designer.
Frank Graham Holmes designs his last china pattern for Lenox, entitled West Wind.
In April, Frank Graham Holmes dies.
On June 1, a new Lenox factory opens in Pomona, Atlantic County, New Jersey.
Kingsley, pattern X445, is introduced, exhibiting a solid-color border, a new concept for Lenox borders and designs.
The inaugural National Table Setting Contest, sponsored annually by Lenox, is held.
The word giftware replaces artware in Lenox catalogs.
The slogan "You get the license, I'll get the Lenox" is introduced (created by Phyllis Condon of D'Arcy, which took over Geyer, Cornell and Newell's ad account).
The Art of Selling Lenox China is published for use by retailers.
Begins issuing catalogs for business (executive) gifts, such as desk sets, cigarette boxes and ash trays, marketed separately from the standard line of giftware.
By the mid-1950s advertising focus begins to shift from wares to use and context (eventually shifting to selling based on style or prestige, with ad campaigns such as "Art is Never an Extravagance"). Additionally, the five-piece place setting is introduced to reduce set prices for the middle class. Bridal Registries are also promoted as a means of marketing china.
Lenox claims over 50 percent of the domestic fine china dinnerware market.
Lenox acquires Hellmich Manufacturing Company for the purpose of producing melamine plastic dinnerware.
In November, plastic Lenoxware is introduced.
In January, the Sculpture shape is introduced to complement the Standard and Coupe shapes.
In April, Leslie Brown retires as President and becomes Chairman of the Board. John Tassie becomes President and CEO.
In the Spring, production begins on Oxford Bone China, Lenox's first bone china since the 1920s.
A production plant opens in Mexico, producing Lenoxware for Latin America, which is eventually marketed under the Lenox Mexicana name.
On April 22, Lenox stock is made public, with the initial offering resulting in 1,300 stockholders.
Lenox china is featured in the House of Good Taste at the New York World's Fair.
Following the purchase of the previously leased Pomona plant property, the production facilities are expanded, and all remaining manufacturing operations are moved from Trenton.
The Dimension shape is introduced.
The Holiday giftware pattern is introduced, one of the few giftware items to be decal decorated at the time.
Bryce Brothers crystal of Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, is acquired; its products are initially sold separately from Lenox Crystal stemware, introduced the same year.
Lenox de Centro America, S. A., is formed in El Salvador, and begins producing Lenoxware by late October.
The original Bryce crystal line is merged into Lenox Crystal.
Market share for domestic china manufacturers rises to over 70 percent.
In December, Paragon Products Corp., a wax manufacturer, is acquired. Paragon subsidiary Victrylite Candles becomes Lenox Candles, Inc.
Ralph Steiner's film Of Earth and Fire, detailing the manufacturing process for Lenox china and crystal, is produced.
Alladin Plastics, a California-based plastic kitchen item and furniture manufacturer, is acquired.
In October, Plata Elegante, a Mexican flatware producer, is acquired.
Lenox china and Oxford china achieve over a 50 percent market share.
The Pomona plant is expanded by an additional 30 percent.
The Innovation shape is introduced.
Lenox Crystal obtains a 25 percent market share.
Acquires Kaumagraph of Wilmington, Delaware, a specialty printing company, with the initial intention of producing china decals.
Candle and soap producer Carolina Company, Inc., of Southern Pines, North Carolina, is acquired.
In October, a modern crystal manufacturing plant opens in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania.
J. R. Wood and Sons, Inc., the largest U.S. manufacturer of wedding rings, is acquired. Products of the newly acquired company are then sold under the name ArtCarved.
Lenox, Incorporated, is restructured as a holding company with wholly-owned subsidiaries, among which are Lenox China, Lenox Crystal and Lenox Plastics.
First edition of the Boehm Bird limited edition plate series is introduced.
In February, company shares begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
In December, the Imperial Glass Corporation of Bellaire, Ohio, a manufacturer of pressed glass, is acquired.
Temperware, Lenox's casual dinnerware, is introduced.
H. Rosenthal Jewelry Corporation of New York is acquired.
Lenox Plastics, the North American producer of Lenoxware, is sold, along with the St. Louis Lenoxware factory. Lenoxware would continue to be produced in El Salvador for the Central American market through 1989.
Acquires Sheridan Silver Company, Inc., a manufacturer of hollowware, and rebrands it as Taunton Silversmiths Ltd.
Acquires John Roberts, Inc., of Austin, TX, largely a class ring manufacturer, a subsidiary of which (Morgan's, Inc.) is rebranded as Lenox Awards in 1975. John Roberts class rings are then sold under the name ArtCarved.
Market share for Lenox and Oxford china reaches 53 percent.
Alladin Plastics is sold.
John Tassie retires as President. John Chamberlain of General Electric, a former Lenox VP, takes over as President and CEO.
Columbia Wax Products, a candle manufacturer, is purchased.
In July, Kaumagraph Company, Inc., is sold.
In November, a new corporate headquarters in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, is dedicated. The Trenton facility continues to be used, primarily for its showroom and storage facilities.
A. H. Pond, a leading manufacturer of diamond engagement rings marketed under the Keepsake brand, is acquired and added to the jewelry group.
The Smithsonian Collection of giftware, which reproduces historical porcelain pieces in the museum's collections, is introduced.
Imperial Glass is sold.
A new White House china service is ordered by the Reagans, to be paid for by a private foundation.
The Standard Shape is renamed the Presidential Shape and adds several patterns named after former Presidents.
The Cosmopolitan shape is introduced.
In January, acquires Hartmann Luggage.
Brown-Forman Corporation, owner of Jack Daniels, Korbel and Southern Comfort, acquires Lenox, Incorporated, which becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary with the same management in place.
A new division known as Lenox Collections is formed, which markets giftware, produced primarily overseas, by direct mail.
The National Table Setting Contest is discontinued.
Taunton Silversmiths is sold.
Lenox Merchandising is created to sell discounted Lenox goods that do not meet first quality standards, opening its first outlet store in May.
The 50th Presidential Inaugural Committee commissions Lenox to create one plate and one crystal jar as gifts for President Reagan.
Safford Sweatt is named President of Lenox China.
In January, opens a manufacturing plant in Oxford, North Carolina, and shifts giftware production to the new facility.
Chinastone is introduced to replace Temperware, after abortive attempts to introduce a successor casual dinnerware under the names Lenox Every Day, Cuisine and Lantana.
In July, the Keepsake line of jewelry is liquidated.
Safford Sweatt is named President of Lenox China and Crystal.
In April, ArtCarved jewelry is sold.
All wax subsidiaries are sold.
In the Spring, the Trenton property is put up for sale; it is sold to Circle-F Industries in September.
In November, the sales administration, consumer services and creative services departments expand from the corporate headquarters into additional office space in Ewing, New Jersey.
Lenox Decor, a line of hotelware, is introduced.
The Classics Collection, a line of bone china to replace Oxford, debuts.
On October 21, the exhibit "Lenox: Celebrating a Century of Quality, 1889-1989," opens at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. Centennial celebrations also include the December awards ceremony for the Lenox sponsored Create-A-Plate contest for school children.
Lenox Merchandising begins experimenting with "first-quality" stores to sell regular Lenox direct to consumers. Several such stores, designed by architect Michael Graves, open in shopping malls over the next few years.
In February, the Lenox Awards division is sold.
In March, Lenox acquires the Kirk Stieff Company, silversmiths and pewterers of Baltimore, Maryland.
In May, opens a new fine china dinnerware manufacturing plant in Kinston, North Carolina.
In July, Brown-Forman acquires Dansk, a housewares firm, and its subsidiary, Gorham Silver of Rhode Island, to complement the Lenox line of products.
On March 1, a corporate reorganization places Gorham and Kirk Stieff under Lenox China and Crystal, makes Dansk a standalone unit, and splits and subsumes Lenox Merchandising into Lenox China and Crystal and Dansk.
In March, Dansk moves its corporate headquarters from Mt. Kisco, New York, to White Plains, New York.
Domestic fine china market share rises to 41 percent from 36 percent.
Kirk Stieff production facilities in Baltimore, Maryland, are closed.
In November, the Clinton White House china service is unveiled. It is the first Lenox White House service to feature an image of the White House instead of the Presidential Seal.
In April, the closure of the Gorham manufacturing plant in Smithfield, Rhode Island, is announced. Gorham silver production is then transferred to Lenox facilities in Pomona, New Jersey.
Production facilities in Kinston, North Carolina, are expanded by 50,000 feet to accommodate production formerly undertaken at the manufacturing plant in Oxford, North Carolina.
In March-April, the original Lenox factory buildings in Trenton are razed, leaving only the office building (which housed Lenox's ornate showroom) and portions of the adjoining structures from the early 1920s remaining.
On July 21, Brown-Forman announces its intention of selling Lenox, Incorporated, to collectible manufacturer Department 56 for $190 million.
On November 14, china production at the manufacturing plant in Pomona, New Jersey, ceases and is transferred to Kinston, North Carolina. Additionally, thirty-one, out of sixty-one, Lenox retail stores close.
The corporate archives, which was not purchased by Department 56, is donated to several repositories, including the gift of china-related materials to Rutgers University Libraries and the historical china collection to the Newark Museum and the New Jersey State Museum.
On January 17, Lenox Group, Inc. (formerly Department 56), announces that Lenox headquarters will relocate from Lawrenceville, New Jersey, to Bristol, Pennsylvania.
The Pomona, New Jersey, facilities are sold by Lenox Group, Inc., following the cessation of all production there.

Arrangement Note

While some of the record series and sub-series possessed an inherent arrangement scheme, much of the overarching organizational structure of this collection was necessarily imposed during processing. Record series have been loosely grouped together to keep like items and subject areas together, such as groupings of records related to product design, sales, and advertising and public relations, with photographs and audio-visual materials placed together as well.

A variety of box types have been used in housing the collection. In addition to several box sizes that accommodate letter or legal file folders, the containers employed include phase boxes (for individual items such as scrapbooks), binder boxes (primarily for loose-leaf pages with photographs), oversize boxes (primarily for flat items in sizes up to 22x28), card boxes (usually for 4x6 index cards) and document tubes (for most rolled items). These box types have been employed and numbered as required to present the record series together in a reasonable order, instead of with the many unusual and oversize boxes grouped together at the end of the collection. For this reason, portions of the container list occasionally appear to be out of order when, instead, the materials in a record series are merely grouped together by size in different types of containers.

Related Material

Almost all of the historical china collection and related museum pieces formerly held by Lenox, Incorporated, were donated by Brown-Forman to the Newark Museum (Newark, New Jersey) and the New Jersey State Museum (Trenton, New Jersey).

Archival collections relating to certain Lenox, Incorporated, subsidiaries can be found in repositories in the states where those subsidiaries were originally based. Documentation relating to Bryce Brothers, including early catalogs, stock certificates and journals, can be found at the Library & Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center operated by the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Documents pertaining to Gorham, including product catalogs, drawings and photographs, can be found in the extensive Gorham Company Archives at Brown University's John Hay Library. Additional Gorham material, including historical silver pieces and the company's design library, were donated to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. The Maryland Historical Society is in possession of the records of Kirk Stieff predecessor, Samuel Kirk and Sons, Inc., of Baltimore (MS 2720).


Brown-Forman Corporation Annual Report. Louisville: Brown-Forman Corporation, 1984-1996. Denker, Ellen Paul, "History of Lenox." (unpublished manuscript), 1989. Lenox, Incorporated, Records, MC 1390, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries. Denker, Ellen Paul, China: Celebrating a Century of Quality, 1889-1989. Trenton, NJ: New Jersey State Museum, 1989. Holmes, George Sanford, Lenox China: The Story of Walter Scott Lenox. Trenton, NJ: Lenox, Incorporated, 1924. Klapthor, Margaret Brown, Official White House China: 1918 to the Present., Trenton, NJ: Lenox, Incorporated, 1984 (excerpted from Official White House China: 1789 to the Present, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975). Lenox, Incorporated, Annual Report. Trenton and Lawrenceville, NJ: Lenox, Incorporated, 1964-1983. Trenton Potteries: Newsletter of the Potteries of Trenton Society,, Volumes 2-7, 2001-2006.
  • Brown-Forman Corporation Annual Report. Louisville: Brown-Forman Corporation, 1984-1996.
  • Denker, Ellen Paul, "History of Lenox." (unpublished manuscript), 1989. Lenox, Incorporated, Records, MC 1390, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries.
  • Denker, Ellen Paul, China: Celebrating a Century of Quality, 1889-1989. Trenton, NJ: New Jersey State Museum, 1989.
  • Holmes, George Sanford, Lenox China: The Story of Walter Scott Lenox. Trenton, NJ: Lenox, Incorporated, 1924.
  • Klapthor, Margaret Brown, Official White House China: 1918 to the Present., Trenton, NJ: Lenox, Incorporated, 1984 (excerpted from Official White House China: 1789 to the Present, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975).
  • Lenox, Incorporated, Annual Report. Trenton and Lawrenceville, NJ: Lenox, Incorporated, 1964-1983.
  • Trenton Potteries: Newsletter of the Potteries of Trenton Society,, Volumes 2-7, 2001-2006.
  • Brown-Forman Corporation Annual Report. Louisville: Brown-Forman Corporation, 1984-1996.
  • Denker, Ellen Paul, "History of Lenox." (unpublished manuscript), 1989. Lenox, Incorporated, Records, MC 1390, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries.
  • Denker, Ellen Paul, China: Celebrating a Century of Quality, 1889-1989. Trenton, NJ: New Jersey State Museum, 1989.
  • Holmes, George Sanford, Lenox China: The Story of Walter Scott Lenox. Trenton, NJ: Lenox, Incorporated, 1924.
  • Klapthor, Margaret Brown, Official White House China: 1918 to the Present., Trenton, NJ: Lenox, Incorporated, 1984 (excerpted from Official White House China: 1789 to the Present, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975).
  • Lenox, Incorporated, Annual Report. Trenton and Lawrenceville, NJ: Lenox, Incorporated, 1964-1983.
  • Trenton Potteries: Newsletter of the Potteries of Trenton Society,, Volumes 2-7, 2001-2006.


The Lenox, Incorporated, records were processed by David A. D'Onofrio, with significant contributions by Barbara Ryan and additional contributions by Jesse Traquair and Albert C. King.

Processing Note

Square brackets, and occasional folder notes, have generally been used to indicate interpolations added during processing, but for a few series the use of square brackets was not so employed.

Inventory to the Lenox, Incorporated Records, 1889-2005 MC 1390
Edited Full Draft
David A. D'Onofrio
June 2008
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.
The arrangement and description of these records was funded in part by a grant-in-aid received from the Brown-Forman Foundation. In addition, this project was assisted by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. Trademarks cited in this document are the property of the respective trademark holders.