Frequently an item will pop up in the archive that highlights Glasgow’s international connections; whether it be from a business, brewing or university collection. The account of AF Stoddard’s life demonstrates the draw that Scotland holds for many, especially Americans.
The importance of Stoddard & Co cannot be underestimated. It produced carpets for a range of customers, from shipping lines to royalty. Famously Stoddard made the carpets for Queen Elizabeth II’s marriage (who was at the time, Princess Elizabeth). Their reputation for quality is undoubtedly why they were so successful internationally.
Stoddard first saw success abroad in the USA, where its eponymous founder Arthur Francis Stoddard had many connections. These connections helped the company grow; in 1867 seventy-five percent of production was exported to the USA. Arthur, born in the USA, maintained both commercial and personal ties to the country. One record of his life recalls his “delight” in escorting American relatives on trips on the Clyde (reference: STOD200/2/15/2/1).
General Sherman’s attendance at a Stoddard family wedding in Port Glasgow shows the significance of Arthur and the Stoddards in the USA. Indeed the families were linked through various marriages and the name Stoddard appears in General Sherman’s memoirs. It is thought-provoking to imagine this controversial Civil War General visiting St Mary’s Church in Port Glasgow.
The Stoddard-Sherman link shows the personality behind business archives; the brief mention of General Sherman in Glasgow gives us a glimpse into the personal connections that drove this business forward.
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