Fonds - M. Button & Sons fonds

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Title proper

M. Button & Sons fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Supplied title based on contents of the fonds

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1892-1964 (Creation)
    M. Button & Sons

Physical description area

Physical description

5.1 m of textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Administrative history

M. Button & Son was a Newfoundland family mercantile firm, located at New Melbourne, Trinity Bay, in the period 1843-1953. The company operated a general store and was deeply involved with the fishery.

M. Button & Sons was founded by Moses Button (d. 1901) who came to New Melbourne (formerly known as Russell's Cove) from Old Perlican in the 1860s as the community's first school teacher. He also fished and served as a Methodist lay preacher. In 1893, he was appointed as a justice of the peace, an appointment that was later bestowed upon his two sons.

In 1893, Button opened a store, M. Button & Sons, in partnership with his two sons, William (1891-1938) and Elisha. M. Button & Sons was involved in supplying the fishery and in general trading. In addition to the general store, the operation expanded to include a lobster canning factory, a cod-liver oil factory, saw mills, several wharves, stages, and other auxiliary buildings. At its peak, the firm had the largest general store between Hant's Harbour and Old Perlican, Trinity Bay. The firm had two schooners (used in the Labrador fishery and in coastal trade) and up to 26 cod-traps that were leased to fishermen. Like most Newfoundland outport firms, Buttons operated mostly on the truck, or credit, system, taking payments in fish, oil and other staple products for goods and supplies issued from their general store.

M. Button & Son suffered a financial decline in the 1930s but continued operations on a reduced scale until the 1950s. Following the death of Lucy Button in 1953, the family closed the business.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of personal papers of Moses Button and William Button, and business records of the firm of M. Button & Sons. The business papers consist of ledgers, account books and correspondence relating to the operation of the firm from 1892 to its closure in 1953. The personal material includes daily diaries kept by William Button which contain entries on weather, community events, births and deaths, and activities in St. John's and New Melbourne.

The fonds is arranged in five series: Correspondence, 1892-1951; Financial records, 1894-1951; Miscellaneous (legal records, lists and accounts, and published material) 1892-1964; Advertising and price lists, 1912-1942; Personal papers, 1892-1938.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Mrs. Nancy Button and Jennifer Button of New Melbourne in 1987.


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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No restrictions

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Copyright is held by the creator or his/her heirs.

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Finding aid is available.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created - May 8, 2013

Language of description

  • English

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