In an earlier post, I promised more details would be forthcoming about Charles T. Askew and his career in the paper industry. Here is the information I have gathered so far:
The Alumni History of the University of North Carolina: Electronic Edition lists Charles Thompson Askew from Raleigh; born November 30, 1858; died Sierra Madre, California, December 31, 1923; resided in New York; student 1875-1878; paper manufacturer 1878-1880; merchant 1880-1923.
We know from his obituary that Charles left the University of North Carolina to help his father run the paper mill at the Falls of Neuse near Raleigh. If the alumni directory is correct, he left his father’s business in 1880. Where did he go?
The marriage notice for Charles T. Askew and Leila Dodson said their wedding took place in Baltimore. We are not certain, yet, if this is “our” Charles T. Askew but it makes sense to look for him there to see if we can find any clues. The University of Maryland Digital Collections has Baltimore city directories available to view online for various years from 1816 to 1920. City directories are great sources of information, and are especially useful for filling in the years between censuses. The first directory listing for Charles T. Askew is in the Woods’ Baltimore City Directory for 1883 on page 71. He is listed as a salesman, Lafayette and Gilmor. At this same location is Thomas S. Askew, clerk. Because I know that Charles had a brother named Thomas S. Askew, this must be the “right” Charles T. Askew. Furthermore, at this same address is listed Isaac Emerson, apothecary, who is known to be the brother-in-law of Charles and Thomas.
Charles is not listed in the 1884 or 1885 Woods’ directory. He is listed in 1886 on page 80 as a salesman, 406 Druid Hill Ave. The 1887 directory is not online. He does not appear in the 1888 R. L. Polk city directory. He is listed in the 1889 R. L. Polk directory on page 75. It lists him as a manager at 16 Hanover, and his home address is 336 Presstman. This is the last time I find him in Baltimore. Where did he go from there? His obituary says he joined the sales department of A. G. Elliot and Co. of Philadelphia, then J. Q. Preble & Co. and J. B. Sheffield & Co.
According to The American Stationer, Vol. 27, January 30, 1890, page 231:
Charles T. Askew will continue with J B Sheffield & Son and the Saugerties Blank Book Company, successors to J. Q. Preble & Co. as their Southern representative and will soon call on his friends and customers throughout his territory.
Unfortunately for Charles, Sheffield & Son and the Saugerties Blank Book Company were in the process of reorganizing debts that resulted from the partnership with J. Q. Preble, as reported in the New York Times on December 22, 1889. Charles soon left the company and started his own business.
From The American Stationer, Vol. 27, April 3, 1890, page 796:
Charles T. Askew well-known throughout the South, has resigned his position as a representative of J. B. Sheffield & Son and Saugerties Blank Book Company. He will start at once in the business of manufacturing tablets, locating his factory at 39 Vesey Street, New York, under the style the Manhattan Tablet Company. He will have associated with him W. R. Crump who has been at the head of the tablet department at Saugerties for six or more years. In addition to this business, Mr. Askew will sell paper and blank books on commission.
In 1892, again according to his obituary, he formed a partnership with Henry W. Dewey under the name Dewey and Askew, wholesale paper dealers, which he operated until 1898. Then, in 1899, Charles joins the newly formed Ulster Paper Mills Company in Saugerties, New York, according to an article in The Bookseller, Newsdealer and Stationer, Vol. 10, August 1, 1899, page 486. Charles is listed as manager of sales and Benjamin F. Crump is listed as manager.
At some point after this, Charles tries his hand at another new business which he calls The Askew Company. The New England Stationer and Printer, Vol. 16, April 1902, page 36, reports that he has joined this company with the Edward J. Merriam Company and will once again be calling on customers in the South. In 1905, Charles heads west.
The F. M Husted’s Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley city directory, Volume 1907, lists both C. T. Askew and the Merriam Paper Company at 1003 Broadway. Some time later, he goes to work for the Zellerbach Paper Company, founded in San Francisco, where he works until his death in 1923 according to his obituary.
Charles left quite a “paper trail!”