Fonds MS-4-118 - Himmelman Supply Company fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Himmelman Supply Company fonds

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  • Cartographic material
  • Graphic material
  • Sound recording
  • Textual record

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  • 1928-1987, predominately 1955-1978 (Creation)

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Physical description

20.5 m of textual records. - 32 photographs. - 28 blueprints and diagrams. - 2 maps.

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Archival description area

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Administrative history

The Himmelman Supply Company was formed in 1923 by Ernest H. Himmelman (b. August 18, 1895 - d. March 21, 1981), and his brother Seth. Ernest had been an inspector at a shoe manufacturing plant in Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts but quit so he could return to Nova Scotia and work in the fishing and shipping industries. He married Winnie Wentzell on June 30, 1918 and was appointed Captain of the M/V "Kathleen Creaser" in 1919. Lawrence Himmelman was born on August 17, 1923.

In 1923, Ernest and his brother Seth purchased the "Helen G. MacLean," a 100-ton schooner. In 1926, the company purchased a 100-ton auxiliary schooner and named it "O.K. Service." This was the first of 12 ships that were operated by Himmelman Supply Company as the O.K. Service fleet. Himmelman Supply Company was officially incorporated in Nova Scotia in 1929.

The O.K. Service fleet pioneered the shipping of live lobsters from eastern Nova Scotia ports to Boston in the early 1930s and continued this operation until the mid-1950s when road transportation became feasible. The company shipped freight throughout Atlantic Canada, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. In addition to lobsters, the fleet shipped explosives, molasses, and other commodities from Canada and typically returned with rum and other cargo from southern ports. Vessels were typically purchased with financial support from shareholders and were eventually decommissioned, sold, or lost at sea. See the series description of each vessel for a detailed administrative history.

To help conduct his shipping operation, Ernest Himmelman founded several subsidiary companies, including O.K. Service Shipping Limited, which owned many of the vessels in the O.K. Service fleet, Himmelman Shipping Company, which was involved in chartering ships and ships' agency, and the Oakland Shipping Company, which was also involved in chartering ships and ships' agency. Ernest also operated a general store in LaHave, Nova Scotia. See the series description of these companies for a more detailed administrative history. Ernest's son Lawrence joined him in his business activities, eventually taking over the business operations.

In 1941, Ernest Himmelman began breeding Hereford cattle at his farm. He won national acclaim for the quality of his breeding operation. In 1960, his Hereford bull "Whittern National Velvet" was judged Canada's grand champion at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario. Ernest was appointed president of the Canadian Hereford Association in 1964 and was a member of the Board of Directors for a number of years.

Ernest and Lawrence were active members of the LaHave community, and were involved in the Bridgewater Curling Club, the local school and volunteer departments, the LaHave United Church, and other community groups. They also unsuccessfully attempted to acquire a cable television license.

Competition from larger freight agencies and the small size of the LaHave and Oakland ports made business increasingly difficult in the 1970s. LaHave Shipping Limited sold the M/V "O.K. Service XI" in 1972 and Himmelman Supply Company sold the M/V "O.K. Service X" in 1975. A large ship was purchased in 1975 and named the M/V "O.K. Service," a throwback to the original "O.K. Service" purchased in 1926, but this ship was decommissioned in 1983. The general store in LaHave, Nova Scotia was closed in 1977.

Ernest Himmelman died on March 21, 1981. Lawrence Himmelman continued to act as a shipping agent and broker into the 1980s. O.K. Service Shipping Limited was disbanded in 1985 and Himmelman Shipping Company was finally struck off the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies in 1992. Himmelman Shipping Company was struck off in 2000 and Oakland Shipping Limited was struck off in 2006. LaHave Investments was reorganized in 1989 and still exists as of March, 2010.

Custodial history

The materials were created by Himmelman Supply Company, LaHave Shipping Company, O.K. Service Shipping Company, and Himmelman Shipping Company. Records created by LaHave Investments Limited, Himmelman Supermarket Limited, Nova Hereford Farms, and Lawrence Himmelman are also found.

The materials were donated by Lawrence Himmelman in five donations. Approximately 70.5 metres of material were donated in total.

The first donation was made on May 31, 1977 and included company correspondence (1951-1973), vessel papers from M/V "O.K. Service IV" (1952-1963), M/V "O.K. Service V" (1952-1968), M/V "O.K. Service VI" (1952-1960), M/V "O.K. Service VIII" (1952-1967), M/V "O.K. Service X" (1956-1974), papers from the Yarmouth Boston Service (1952-1956), and miscellaneous papers (1946-1974). Approximately 30 metres of material were donated.

The second donation was made on June 14, 1977 and included vessel papers from M/V "O.K. Service XI" (1962-1972), invoices (1955, 1960, 1965, 1970), papers from Nova Hereford Farm, E.H. Himmelman, LaHave Investments, ICI Delonata Magazine 1964-1972, and papers relating to cable television in LaHave, Nova Scotia. Approximately 20 metres of materials were donated.

The third donation was made on October 1, 1982 and included various papers from Himmelman Supply Company, O.K. Service Shipping Company, Oakland Shipping Limited, LaHave Shipping Limited. Personal papers of E.H. Himmelman and Lawrence Himmelman were also donated. Approximately 4 metres of materials were donated.

The fourth donation was made on November 12, 1982 and included company correspondence (1975-1978), and business papers from Oakland Shipping Limited (1976-1978). Approximately 3 metres of material were donated.

The fifth and last donation was made on November 9, 1989 and included various business records of Himmelman Supply Company, Oakland Shipping Limited, Himmelman Shipping Limited, and O.K. Service Shipping Limited (1961-1989). Approximately 13.5 metres of material were donated.

The collection was appraised and processed as part of a 2009/2010 Nova Scotia Business Records project. Approximately 20.5 metres of materials were retained and 50 metres of non-archival materials were discarded.

Scope and content

Fonds contains the business papers from Himmelman Supply Company and several other companies owned or operated by Ernest H. Himmelman and Lawrence Himmelman. These include O.K. Service Shipping Company, Himmelman Shipping Limited, Oakland Shipping Limited, LaHave Investments Limited, Nova Hereford Farms, and Himmelman Supermarket Limited. The fonds contains a variety of business papers, including meeting minutes and administrative records, ships' vessel papers, correspondence, financial statements and ledgers, legal agreements and contracts, blueprints and maps, and photographs.

Some of the personal papers of Lawrence Himmelman are also included in the fonds, including correspondence with the LaHave School, the local fire department, and other groups, financial records, and contracts and agreements.

In 1954, a fire in the Himmelman Supermarket destroyed many of the business records. Most records in the fonds are from after this date, though some vessel papers and correspondence from before the fire survived. See individual series descriptions for more detailed descriptions of the scope and content of the fonds.

Fonds consists of 18 series. Administrative, Correspondence, Financial, and Vessel Papers Series contain records for Himmelman Supply Company and subsidiary companies. Additional records for subsidiary companies are found in series for Himmelman Shipping Company, O.K. Service Shipping Limited, Oakland Shipping Limited, LaHave Shipping Limited, and LaHave Investments Limited. Each vessel from the O.K. Service Fleet also has a series. See individual series descriptions for more detailed descriptions of their scope and content.

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  • English

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Restrictions on access

File MS-4-118, Box 30, Folder 9 is closed due to privacy restrictions. There are no other access restrictions on the fonds.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

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No further accruals are expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Himmelman Supply Company fonds, MS-4-118, Box [box number], Folder [folder number], Dalhousie University Archives and Special Collections, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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