Some of the following circulars, letters, photos were given to Henry D. Paxson of Philadelphia by Major Lewis Downing, Jr. He was amassing research material for a book on transportation he was going to publish. It looks like he wrote Mr. Downing asking for information and in response he was sent a wealth of information, photos and circulars from the companies achieve. I am starting out with six items and eventually will post the remaining seventeen items that include an Abbott-Downing 1872 catalog, letters written to Henry Paxson, letter and prints supplied by the Smithsonian, photograph of the yard at Abbott Downing one of which shows a hearse and other articles pertaining to wagons they made.
Below is the first of many items, a 7 x 5 cabinet card of Lewis Downing Sr. & Jr. personal carriage that gave them faithful service for 50 years at the time the photo was taken. As the information on back relays Downing used this from 1849 at the time of California gold rush to 1865 at the end of the Civil War, and is autographed by Lewis Downing, Jr.
This business card below has printed front and back with information on the company. Front of card displays current information at time of printing 1898. Reverse of card shows the first advertisement bought from New Hampshire Patriot, August 3, 1813 by Lewis Downing, Sr.
This is an amazing wonderful circular was put out by Abbot-Downing Company on their Fiftieth Anniversary showing how they supplied a large order to Wells, Fargo & Co. The shipment was made on April, 1868 to Wells, Faro & Co., to Terminus Union Pacific Railroad consisting of 30 Mail Coaches, 4 Carloads of Repairing Material, and Harnesses for the entire outfit. It was sent on a special train and conductor to Omaha in 7 days. Stagecoaches were still needed to travel between train terminal and outlying areas.
This is 1 of 3 interesting correspondence between Major Downing and Mr. Henry D. Paxton as they because friends with a deep love for stagecoaches and its history. The letter dated January 4, 1901 begins: Dear Sir, Yours of the 2nd received and in reply would say no have no skeleton of the Conestoga wagon and never made them, though we have made almost every other kind of carriages. Alice Morse Earle has just issued a book, the “Stage Coach and Tavern days,” in which you will find pictures of the freight wagon referred to, with nearly 150 other illustrations and probably all the information you want. Mr. George G. Crocker a Lawyer of Boston Mass and Chairman of the Boston Transit Commission has just issued a pamphlet of private circulation, “From the stage-coach to the rail road train and the street car,” which gives much information on transportation of the country. We are the oldest carriage company in the United States, having been in continuous business from 1813, when it was conceived here by my father to the present time, say 88 years, our principal business being the Concord Wagon, Concord Coach and express and freight wagon, etc. I enclose with this some photos, and printed matter which may interest you. Yours truly, Lewis Downing Jr.