John M. Batchelder, 1894-1951
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Brief Description:

The Batchelder Collection documents the collected correspondence of John M. Batchelder and his son, John K. Batchelder from 1894 to 1951.  The collection includes both business and personal correspondence.  The business correspondence includes letters to business partners, business customers, sales staff and clients.  Also contained in the papers are invoices, business receipts, business telegraphs, transport records and bills.  There are several hundred oversized documents in the collection, which include blueprints, pencil and ink drawings of monuments, memorials, a complete layout of land parcels sold by the Gulf Coast Development Company, and a large family tree.  These supplemental materials are stored separately from the letter files in the oversized map cabinet.  The collection also contains a book that lists the monument companies registered in the United States in the year 1920.  The personal correspondence includes love letters, letters from various relatives, and a notable, long standing correspondence with a business partner and friend named Claude Bacchus.  Mr. Bacchus  managed the affairs of the Gulf Coast Development Corporation.  During the 1920s, Mr. Bacchus traveled extensively in Japan, China, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India and Hawaii and conducted his correspondence with J.M. Batchelder from there.  The collection also includes personal receipts, bills, tax returns, personal business correspondence, and personal correspondence.

The papers document a longstanding land acquisition deal and development plan centered in Algoa, Texas called the Gulf Coast Development Corporation.  For a time, John M. Batchelder was the president of the corporation.  The development plan existed from at least 1910 through the year 1951.  This documentation includes lists of the shareholders in the plan, maps of the properties involved, and some of the correspondence in regards to it.  A full obituary of J.M. Batchelder is on page 18 of The American Stone Trade Monthly in Box 34, Folder 39.

Held at:
Northern Illinois University
Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-1779
Email: rhcua [at]
Record Series Number: RHC/RC/322
Volume: 36.75 Linear Feet
Acquired: 05/21/2012.

The bulk of the correspondence is organized both chronologically and alphabetically.  The papers are dated backwards with the most recent dates at the beginning of the folders.  The papers are also loosely alphabetical in that the businesses are generally amassed within a range of letters.  This chronological and alphabetical system that Mr. Batchelder utilized staggers the dates, therefore it might be necessary to look in several places for a particular piece of correspondence.  Also, there are some pieces of correspondence which do not adhere to the order due to the fact that they are in reference to other letters within the folders.  The receipts are organized strictly chronologically.  There are documents that cannot be described as correspondence, such as genealogical records, artifacts and photographs that are included at the end of the collection.  In so far as possible, these documents are arranged in chronological order unless it is noted otherwise.  The correspondence for the years between 1910 and 1913 were arranged slightly differently from the rest of the collection in that they were collected enmasse rather than in smaller increments.  These papers are organized in alphabetical folders that range in a longer span of time than the others and some of the businesses represented have their own folders.

Oversized materials have been separated.  The oversized materials that supplement the correspondence are indicated within the main collection upon a half sheet of paper behind the correspondence that they refer to.  The oversize collection is in strict chronological order.

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.
Subject Index
Algoa Orchards
Bacchus, Dr. Claude
Batchelder, John M.
Batchelder Family
Bathcelder, John K.
Dixon (Ill)
Dixon School Board
Family Life.
Gulf Coast Development Company
Quarries and quarrying
War memorials.
Genres/Forms of Material
Rights/Use Restrictions: Property rights in this collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.
Acquisition Notes: Janette A. Clay  Janette A. Clay of Dixon, Illinos donated the John M. Batchelder Collection to the Northern Illinois History Regional History Center on May 21, 2012.