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The Conn Company Archive

Postcard view of Conn Factory, ca. 1915

Highlights of the Archive...

The NMM houses the world's largest collection of documentary materials and artifacts pertaining to the history and products of the Conn Company of Elkhart, Indiana. The Archive was assembled and is administered by the NMM's Curator of Musical Instruments, Dr. Margaret Downie Banks, who is currently writing a book about the company's history.

Assembling the archive has been a challenge, since all of the company's early records were destroyed in two factory fires in 1883 and 1910. Furthermore, almost all of the company's historic records since 1910 were systematically destroyed in the early 1970s, when Conn's corporate headquarters were moved out of Elkhart for the first time in the company's history.

The NMMs archive includes the following types of source material:
  1. More than 500 musical instruments and other products made by the Conn Company
  2. Published company catalogs and price lists
  3. Published company periodicals
  4. Annual Stockholder's reports
  5. Miscellaneous company photographs and films
  6. Correspondence
  7. Patents
  8. Microfilm copies of Elkhart city newspapers ca. 1870 to 1920
  9. The Dr. Earle Kent Department of Research Archives
  10. Secondary sources, including relevant books, articles, and dissertations

Many instruments from the NMM's Conn Collection are on display in the Everist Gallery. Others are available for examination by appointment (see guidelines for access to instruments) in the NMM's study-storage areas. Some material from the Conn Archives is available for examination by appointment (see guidelines for access to archival materials).

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Most recent update:   March 1, 2014

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