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C. H. Black Manufacturing Company collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S1436

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photocopies copies of autographed, signed letters in ink from the C. H. Black Manufacturing Company. Most of the letters are replies to potential customers asking about certain wagons which C. H. Black can build for them. A letter written on February 26, to "The Supply World, New York City," states that they do not want to place any advertisements at the price quoted, but would place an ad for $50 a year. A letter written December 17 to a doctor informs him that "We think we understand just what you want. We sold over 1,000 sets of harnesses last year retail and did not have one complaint."

There is also a letter book from C. H. Black Manufacturing Company in Indianapolis ranging from 1891 to 1893 regarding business transactions.


  • 1891-1893


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Charles H. Black (1852-1918) was a carriage maker and automobile pioneer, who was born in Hagerstown, Indiana but moved to Indianapolis, Indiana as a child. His younger brother, Edward E. Black, was the youngest Union soldier to serve in the U.S. Civil War at the age of eight and a half. Black had a carriage-making business at 44 Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis. In 1891, he tested his first steam-powered buggy. Later that year, he mounted a gasoline-powered engine on a carriage, and drove on Monument Circle and Delaware Street. Therefore, he was the first person to drive an automobile in Indianapolis. In 1892, his business card for the C. H. Black Manufacturing Company showed a picture of the first automobile he manufactured. However, it was not widely produced. He died in 1918 and was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis.


0.11 Cubic Feet (1 folder, 2 medium oversize folders)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a records donation.


No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Material

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

OB215: C. H. Black Manufacturing Company letter book

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2006/03 by Benjamin Clark. EAD finding aid created 2015/05/14 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield. EAD finding aid updated on 2021/09/13 by Lauren Patton.
C. H. Black Manufacturing Company collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.