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Kable Printing Company Records (Mt. Morris)


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

General Financial Data

Labor and Personnel Records


Stock Certificates



Addendum 1

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Kable Printing Company Records (Mt. Morris), 1898-1974 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Kable Printing Company Records (Mt. Morris), 1898-1974

ID: RHC/RC/020

Extent: 13.75 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 02/16/1979. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Agriculture, Kable Printing Company, Mt. Morris (Ill.), Printing Industry

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Kable Printing Company records document the business operations of the Kable Brothers Company and its successor the Kable Printing Company of Mt. Morris, Illinois from 1903-1974. These records primarily consist of ledgers and account books.  Six series can be defined: General Financial Data, Labor and Personnel Records, Inventories, Stock Certificates, Internal Publications, and Photographs.

Series one, General Financial Records, is made up of appraisals, capital equipment records, financial reports, loans, daily sales and cash flow books as well as profit/loss accounts. The volumes in this series cover the years from 1904-1966.

Series two consists of labor and personnel records. These volumes include performance of workers and numbers of hours per task both for men and machines (1933-1974). Another set of records pertaining to labor is employee and building loans (1923-1939).

Inventories form a third series of documents. These volumes record the value of all items owned by the company for the years 1903-1957. Property listings and capital equipment reports replace the inventories in 1957 and continue until 1969.

A fourth series is made up of stock certificates and debenture notes. Included are preferred, capital and common stock shares as well as debenture notes (1941-1945, 1952) and common stocks notes.

Internal publications, The Kablegram, (1929-1973) and the Hot Slug, (1960-1974) form the fifth series of material. These volumes are of three types. The Kablegram was a compendium of advice, humor, and self-help information. Over the years the Kablegram became more technical in nature discussing printing methods, customers, and plant problems. The Hot Slug is more along the lines of a company organ-it tells of hirings, retirements, promotions, and visitors.

The last series is photographic material. These photographs (430) document the changes in machinery, personnel and plant over the more than seventy years of the Kable Printing Company’s existence.

Collection Historical Note

Founders of the Kable Printing Company, Harry G. (1880-1952) and Harvey J. (1880-1931) Kable were born in New Lanark, Illinois, the sons of John and Elizabeth (Speicher) Kable. At two they moved to Mt. Morris where they spent the rest of their lives. After a public school education Harvey went to Mount Morris College, graduating in 1898. Both men were active in their community with Harry being a member of the Masons, Moose, Kiwanis Club, and the Lutheran Church, as well as serving on the board of the Mount Morris Building and Loan Association.

In 1898 the brothers began their successful venture into the printing business. This firm, known as Kable Brothers Printings, began in an attic loft. By 1901 they were able to take on a partner, A.H. Rittenhouse; in 1904 these men incorporated the Kable Brothers and Rittenhouse Company with an initial capitalization of $15,000. The partnership lasted only two years. During the years prior to the 1929 Depression the Kable Brothers Company specialized in printing fraternal society papers, developing techniques and services which made the company well-known in this field. While attempts were made to diversify by selling electrical current through the Mount Morris Electric Light Company from 1909-1912, and by printing waxed bread wrappers in 1913, the brothers found that the printing of magazines and journals was more profitable.

Following the Great Depression the Kable Brothers Company continued its expansion moving into rotogravure printing to meet growing demands. To facilitate distribution of its products, the company started the Kable Printing Company, expanding into new markets. In 1957 the Kable Printing Company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Publishing Company in Racine, Wisconsin. This gave Kable further exposure with offices in New York and Chicago.

Today the Kable Company is a large concern printing magazines such as Sports Afield, Women’s Day, and Family Circle; journals including The Vinceation, the Voice of St. Jude, The American Lutheran, and the War Cry; catalogs stamp collecting books and books and stamps as well as other publications.

Over the years the Kable Company has renamed itself and is now referred to as Kable Media Services, Inc. While Kable Media Services, Inc. are still a top distributor of magazines and periodicals, the company continues to grow and now have eleven services that comprise their marketing and circulation.

Subject/Index Terms

Kable Printing Company
Mt. Morris (Ill.)
Printing Industry

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Accruals: Additional records were donated on November 3, 1997 by Howell Herman.

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection are held by the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Mr. William E. Shaw,  Howell Herman

Acquisition Method: Mr. William E. Shaw of Mount Morris, Illinois, donated the records of the Kable Printing Company to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on February 16, 1979.Additional records were donated on November 3, 1997 by Howell Herman.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: General Financial Data],
[Series II: Labor and Personnel Records],
[Series III: Inventories],
[Series IV: Stock Certificates],
[Series V: Publications],
[Series VI: Photographs],
[Addendum 1],

Series II: Labor and Personnel Records
Box 5
Volume 1: Labor Records (4 volumes), 1933-1966, 1959-1966, 1963-1967,1967-1974
Box 6
Volume 1: Employee and Building Loans (2 volumes), 1923-1933, 1933-1939, 1926- 1939

Browse by Series:

[Series I: General Financial Data],
[Series II: Labor and Personnel Records],
[Series III: Inventories],
[Series IV: Stock Certificates],
[Series V: Publications],
[Series VI: Photographs],
[Addendum 1],

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