The records of this large national hardware distribution company were donated to the University Archives in 1986. The firm was one of Louisville's most important from the 1880s until the 1970s, when it experienced difficulties. Following two changes in management, the company finally ceased operations in 1985.
In addition to the board minutes, stockholder ledgers, annual reports, financial records, newsletters, photographs, and employee manuals, the donation included a selection of yearly catalogs of the company's wares and data collected about the firm's history. As a riverfront inhabitant, the company kept detailed records, including photographs, of the periodic Ohio River floods during the twentieth century.
The records date from 1847 (a single legal document) to 1985; the bulk of the material dates from 1880 to 1970. There are no restrictions on access to the records. They occupy 25 linear feet.
A series of portraits of board members includes 8 x 10 photographs of approximately 75 prominent Louisvillians.
The only important gap in the records is the volume of board minutes for the period 1940-1944.
The copyright interests in the Inventory of the Belknap, Inc. Records have not been transferred to the University of Louisville.
25 linear feet
Belknap Hardware was a large national distribution company headquartered in Louisville from 1840 to its closing in 1985. The company was a leading Louisville firm from the 1880s to the 1970s as well as a principal supplier for the region south of the Mason-Dixon line. Included in the Belknap, Incorporated records from 1847 to 1985 are minutes of the board of directors, stockholder ledgers, annual reports, financial records, newsletters, photographs, employee manuals, and catalogs. Among the photographs are images of periodic Ohio River floods taken near the company's riverside warehouses. This collection also includes architectural drawings of company warehouses along the Ohio River. The University of Louisville's Belknap Campus was named for the company's founding family.