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P. Bradley & Sons Ledger

Identifier: SC 0287
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The P. Bradley & Sons Ledger, 1901-1903, documents the business activities of P. Bradley & Sons, an iron foundry in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The ledger comprises an unpaginated alphabetic index of patrons (designated as both debtors and creditors) and 448 pages recording accounting information, sales, and prices for a variety of iron work including kettles, kettle stoves, plows, plowshares, grates, fire backs, etc. The ledger dates from May 13, 1901 to November 4, 1903.

Corporate patrons include Harrisonburg Harness Company, Branner Brothers (Broadway), Chesapeake Western Railway, J[oshua] Wilton & Sons, Franklin Tanning Company, First National Bank, Marshall & Downs Milling Company (Bridgewater), Orange Mills (Orange), Rockingham Milling Company (McGaheysville), Sugar Grove Bargain Store, Shenandoah Institute (Dayton), Spirit of the Valley, Vesuvius Plow Works, Walton & Walton, etc. Individual patrons include David Burkholder, Jacob Blosser, A.S. Hammack (Stokesville), John Liskey, Joel Moyer, L.W. Neff, P.R. Pulse, George W. Ritchie (Cootes Store), D.H. Ritchie (Singers Glen), Harry Schindler, A.J. Shoemaker (Genoa), James Shank, J.C. Sibert, C.G. Trumbo (Broadway), R.A. VanPelt, B.S. Wheelbarger, etc. Customers from Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania patronized the foundry. There is accounting information within the ledger for patrons not listed in the index and, as such, the index should not be considered exhaustive.

Five incomplete memoranda of agreement document an arrangement with P. Bradley & Sons to provide a second party with one portable circular saw mill, one tooth circular saw, two cant hooks, belt punch, saw hammer, and saw file. These agreements are blank in that the specific details relating to the identity of the second party and the financial particulars of the agreement are not provided.


  • 1901-1903


Access Restrictions

Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Administrative History

Harrisonburg's P. Bradley & Sons was established in 1856 by Philo Bradley (1829-1908) as an iron foundry specializing in manufacturing plowshares and other iron tools. The foundry was originally located on the east side of High Street, but relocated to South High Street after flooding issues at the original location. With its manufacture of iron farming implements, the foundry supported the local and state agricultural community, as well as farming communities along the eastern seaboard. Philo sold the business to his son, Schuyler (1860-1939), in 1886 for $7,500. Schuyler's brother, John S. Bradley (1857-1936), also helped to operate the foundry at this time. At some point, Schuyler's sons, Burns (1887-1966) and Bennett (1893-1962), and John's son, Richard (1900-1978), took over the business from their parents. Schuyler Bradley II (1913-1988) and Curtis Bradley, both great-grandsons of Philo Bradley, oversaw the foundry's operations beginning in the 1940s through its closure in 1962.

Over time, the foundry diversified its product line (stamped with a "PBS" maker's mark) to include reapers, kettles, polished wagon boxes, andirons, circular saw mills, road scrapers, municipal hardware, drain covers, and manhole lids. By the 1930s, P. Bradley & Sons began losing its market share to the more durable and mass-produced, steel plowshares. The foundry ceased operations in 1962. The five buildings that made up P. Bradley & Sons, located at 245 Old South High Street, were added to Harrisonburg's Historical District in 2017.


0.48 cubic feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The P. Bradley & Sons Ledger, 1901-1903, documents the business activities of P. Bradley & Sons, an iron foundry in Harrisonburg, Virginia.


The ledger remains bound and is arranged chronologically. The loose memoranda are foldered together.

Acquisition Information

The ledger was acquired at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates’ Winter Americana & Variety Auction on February 16, 2019.

Related Material

Bradley Foundry Ledger, 1856-1871, box 6, Shenandoah Valley Miscellaneous Ledgers, Minute Books, and Registers, 1804-1933, (bulk 1820s-1890s), SC 0079, on deposit from Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, Dayton, Va., housed in Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.


  • "Bradley Operations End After 106 Yrs.," Daily News-Record, August 4, 1962.
  • Monica Casey, "P. Bradley & Co. foundry added to Harrisonburg Historical District." WHSV, December 21, 2017, (accessed March 20, 2019).
  • Gabriel Camut, "Diverse Connections: the History of an Virginia Iron Foundry," James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA: Spring 2009, (accessed March 20, 2019).

Processing Information

Five incomplete memoranda of agreement were loose inside the ledger. They were removed and foldered.



A Guide to the P. Bradley & Sons Ledger, 1901-1903
Tiffany Cole
March 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

820 Madison Drive
MSC 1706
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612