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Robert Garrett and Sons records

 Collection 0087-MDHC

This collection is comprised of the business records of Robert Garrett and Sons, a Baltimore firm involved in wholesale grocery, transportation, and hotel ventures. These records include correspondence, purchase orders, checks, account books, and receipts for goods and transportation. A significant portion of the collection relates to the firm's involvement in transportation concerns, among them the B & O Railroad, New Railroad Line, and the Patent Portable Car Body Line.


  • 1829-1902 and undated

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


2.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The Robert Garrett and Sons Papers cover the period from 1830 to 1902, with the bulk of the material dating between 1830 and 1863. Important subjects include: business and financial records, shipping and transportation records including consignments on packets, schooners and railroads, produce and foodstuffs handled by the firm, and Eutaw House transactions.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Garrett (1783-1857) was born in Lisburn, County Down, Northern Ireland. In 1790 he immigrated with his parents and five siblings to the United States. His father died on the voyage and after their arrival the family settled on a farm in Pennsylvania. In 1801 Garrett moved to Baltimore where he worked in a produce and commission house and later was a partner in the firm of Wallace and Garrett until 1812. In 1817 Garrett married Elizabeth Stouffer (1791-1877) of Baltimore. By 1820 with the help of Henry Stouffer, his father-in-law, he founded his own produce and commission house on Franklin Street. The firm later moved to Howard Street. Robert Garrett and Sons was formed in 1839/40. By this time his business had expanded into forwarding and he supported the use of railroads and canals to carry goods and produce from western Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to Baltimore. They were then shipped within Maryland and to New York, Virginia, and overseas. Robert Garrett and Sons was the American agent for several large European shippers and had connections with financial and exporting houses in Europe. In addition to his international business activities, Garrett pursued various economic opportunities in Maryland. He was the director of the Baltimore Gas Company, the Shot Tower Company, and the Savings Bank of Baltimore. In 1837, he organized the Western Bank of Maryland and in 1847 founded Eutaw Savings Bank. He purchased two hotels that became successful and popular: Eutaw House in 1845 and in 1850, an inn that was rebuilt as the Howard House. Names associated with the management and operation of Eutaw House include James Carroll, Robert Coleman, Hiram Cranston, Henry Jackson, John Manly, and John Shamburg. The Garretts had four children: Henry Stouffer (1818-1867), Robert Close (1819-1824), John Work (1820-1884) and Elizabeth Barbara (1827-1917). Following Garrett’s death in 1857, his son Henry maintained the commercial business in Baltimore and enlarged the firm’s financial interests. Garrett’s son John became President of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1858 and retained that position until his death in 1884. In 1872 the Maryland legislature created Garrett County in western Maryland in his honor, by dividing Allegany County. John’s sons Robert (1847-1896) and Thomas Harrison (1849-1888) followed their uncle Henry in the commercial firm. Eventually Robert Garrett and Sons became solely a banking and brokerage house. In 1974 Robert Garrett and Sons merged with Alex Brown & Sons.


This collection has been arranged into the following four series:

Series 1
Business Papers
Series 2
Series 3
Hotels and Other Properties
Series 4

Custodial History

The papers of Robert Garrett and Sons were purchased by the University of Maryland Libraries in 1979.

Related Materials

Researchers may consult the following works in the Maryland Room, Hornbake Library, at the University of Maryland Libraries: Howard, George W. The Monumental City: its past history and present resources. (Baltimore: J.D. Ehlers & Co./ 1873-1876) (UMCP HBK Maryland Room, Maryland Rare Stacks F189.B1H9). Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Western Maryland: being a history of Frederick, Montgomery, Carroll, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties from the earliest period to the present day. (Baltimore: Regional Pub. Co., 1968) (UMCP HBK Maryland Room, Maryland Reference F181.S4). Williams, Harold A. Robert Garrett & Sons Incorporated: origin and development – 1840-1865. (Baltimore: Press of Schneidereith & Sons, 1965) (UMCP HBK Maryland Room, Maryland Stacks HF3163.B2W5).

Processing Information

The materials have been placed in acid-free folders and stored in acid-free boxes.

Guide to the Robert Garrett and Sons records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742