Volunteers Wanted! Help Organize Dempster Archive

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Date: January 7, 2015

Homestead National Monument of America has launched a project to begin processing the Dempster Mill Manufacturing Company archival records. Volunteers are needed to help with this huge archival project. Work on the project will begin January 20, 2015 and will take place Monday through Friday, 9 am-noon or 1-4 pm, at the Education Center. No experience necessary; all training will be done on-the-job. If interested, apply at the Monument. Any time you can spend helping with this project is greatly appreciated.  

The Dempster Mill Manufacturing Company was founded in Beatrice, Nebraska in 1878 by Charles B. Dempster. Mr. Dempster knew that many families were heading west to homestead following the Civil War. So he created a company to provide the windmills, water pumps, and machinery they needed to prosper. The Dempster company quickly grew into one of the most successful windmill and pump companies in the nation. The company's records, dating back to the nineteenth century, have largely survived and provide a first-hand account of how Dempster's managers grew their business.

These records include product catalogs, board of director's meeting minutes, yearly financial reports, engineering bulletins, sales reports, photographs and much more. Preserving company records such as these for scholarly and public use is very rare and extremely valuable. These records will provide a valuable resource to scholars of business, history, economics, industrial and mechanical engineering, and others. Family historians will also be able to examine the records for their research.  

Volunteers will help with the preservation and processing of the Dempster records. Many of the records are dusty and need to be cleaned before they are put in the archives;volunteers will help by dusting and vacuuming the papers.  Volunteers will also help preserve these documents by removing staples, paper clips, and other items that could harm the paper over time. The records also need to be organized and volunteers will help label the folders and put them in order chronologically, alphabetically or numerically. Volunteers will also help identify duplicate pages, blank pages, and non-archival materials which don't need to be kept in the archival collection.

This project is expected to continue throughout 2015. Any former Dempster employees who wish to volunteer are especially appreciated since they can give insight into the records and will be especially helpful for the identification of products and people who worked at Dempster over the years.

Special thanks to Dempsters LLC and Dempsters Manufacturing LLC and their dedicated employees for preserving these records for Homestead National Monument of America. Ryan Mitchell and Glenn Bebee have been instrumental in the culmination of this donation. This project is funded by the Margaret and Martha Thomas Foundation.

For more information about the project please contact Amy Neumann at 402-223-1716 or e-mail us. If you are a new volunteer at Homestead or wish to set up a regular work shift please contact Susan Cook, Volunteer Coordinator, at 402-223-1712 or e-mail us.

Remember, Homestead National Monument of America has an exciting schedule of events planned for 2015. Keep up with the latest information by following us on Twitter (HomesteadNM), Facebook (HomesteadNM), and Instagram (HomesteadNPS).

Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska and 45 miles south of Lincoln. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free of charge. For additional information, please call 402-223-3514 or visit https://www.nps.gov/home/.

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Last updated: April 10, 2015

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Mailing Address:

8523 West State Highway 4
Beatrice , NE 68310

Phone:

(402) 223-3514

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