H. & W. B. Drew Company and Drew Family Collection

Finding Aid

Collection Number: M10-2
Dates: 1888-2001
Size: 5.80 linear ft. (7 boxes)
Repository: Special Collections, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, University of North Florida.
Arrangement: Arranged by series, chronological within folder.
Language: English
Container List: View Container List

Abstract

The collection consists of printed materials, artifacts and memorabilia relating to the historic Jacksonville, Florida, printing company established by the Drew Family. The founder, Columbus Drew, came to Jacksonville in 1848 from Washington, D. C., and opened the eponymous Columbus Drew Stationery Printing Company in 1855, later renamed the H. and W. B. Drew Company. For well over a century, the Drew Company was known as one of the oldest businesses in Florida in continuous operation. Company artifacts in the collection include a rare Drew stationery box circa 1900, and early printed bills and receipts. Family items include awards, memorabilia, and photographs formerly owned by Horace Rainsford Drew, Jr., a fourth generation Floridian and great-grandson of Columbus Drew.

Acquisition

Access to the Collection

The collection is open for research. For additional information and to make an appointment to view the collection, contact (904) 620-1533 or e-mail lib-special@unf.edu.

Preferred Citation

H. & W. B. Drew Company and Drew Family Collection, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida.

Additional Guides

Related Materials

Drew, Columbus. Columbus Drew: Something of his life and ancestry, and some of his literary work. Jacksonville, Fla.: The Drew Press, 1910. Compiled by daughter Alice Jane Drew, this volume is dedicated to her father and provides unique biographical insight into his life and includes selected poems penned by Drew.

Drew, Rae Shelley. Cooking with Florida citrus. [Jacksonville, Fla.: Drew Orange & Fruit Co.], c1998.

Drew, Rae Shelley. Protest against war in the western theatre: fifth century B.C. and twentieth century A.D. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Florida State University, 1975.

Fairbanks, George R. History of the University of the South, at Sewanee, Tennessee, from its founding by the southern bishops, clergy and laity of the Episcopal church in 1857 to the year 1905. Jacksonville, Fla.: H. & W.B. Drew Co., 1905.

Lynch, Arthur Joseph. George Rainsford Fairbanks: a man of many facets. Los Altos, Calif.: Shambles Press, c1999.

Lynch, Rene. A Fernandina folly: the Fairbanks family in Florida. Los Altos, Calif.: Shambles Press, c2000.

Northeast Florida regional postcard collection. [189-?] A significant portion of the collection is published or printed by the H. &. W. B. Drew Company. Many of the postcards are issued as a part of the 'Florida artistic series.'

The full text of two Drew publications held by the Library, Proof of Faith in Florida and Our Story, are available at the Florida Heritage Collection web site. Horace Rainsford Drew, Jr., great-grandson of Columbus Drew, is the author of Our Story. He documents the saga of the Drew and Fairbanks families in Florida in the 1920's, 1930's and the World War II era. Appendices include: History of opthalmology in Duval County by William H. Houston (1955) -- Columbus Drew (1820-1891) book seller, stationer by Phillip S. May (1955) -- George Rainsford Fairbanks (1820-1906) by William Porcher Dubose (1906) -- Drew lineage -- Fairbanks lineage -- History of the H.& W.B. Drew Company.

Other selected Drew publications available online via the Florida Heritage Collection:

Historical / Biographical Note

The H. & W. B. Drew Company was a historic Jacksonville, Florida, printing company. The founder, Columbus Drew, was born to British parents, Solomon Drew and Elizabeth Glyuas, on January 6, 1820, in Washington, D. C. His early education and training was in journalism and printing. In 1844, he married Marietta Hume Robinson of Richmond, Virginia. Their first son, Columbus, was born on December 3, 1847. Drew brought his family to Jacksonville in 1848 to establish a newspaper, "The Florida Republican." The newspaper's plant was destroyed in 1854, and one year later, Drew opened the Columbus Drew Stationery Printing Company at the corner of Bay and Newnan Streets. The business was moved in a few years to 60 West Bay and later to 49 West Bay.

 

During the Civil War, Drew served in the Confederate Treasury Dept. in Richmond, Virginia. For a few months in 1862, his eldest son living at home, Horace, oversaw the business for his father until the family was forced to leave Jacksonville, due to war skirmishes, for Lake City. After the war, Drew returned to Jacksonville and began the rebuilding of his business, joined by son Horace. In 1876, upon his appointment to the position of Florida Comptroller by Governor George Drew (no relation), Columbus Drew sold the business to his son. At this time, Drew brothers William B., John Graeme and Julius joined Horace in a new printing plant on West Bay Street; the firm was named then "H. Drew" or "Horace Drew." Dr. Columbus Drew, a fifth brother, did not join the business.

 

In 1886, brother William became a full partner and the name of the firm was changed to "H. Drew and Brother," and operating on 49-51 West Bay Street. Two other major family events occurred during this time period: Horace Drew married Gertrude Fairbanks, the daughter of Major George Rainsford Fairbanks, and in 1891, Columbus Drew died and was buried beside his wife in Jacksonville's Old City Cemetery.

 

In 1893, the company was incorporated as "H. & W. B. Drew Company, Inc." Several years later, the Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901 destroyed the company's plant. A new two story building was soon erected at 45-47 West Bay Street. Horace Drew continued as Company President until his death in 1926. The business remained primarily in family ownership for most of the twentieth century. As a result, the H. & W. B. Drew Company was known as the "oldest family business" extant in Jacksonville. It provided engraved stationery and office supplies to professionals throughout the country. In 1997, Wells Legal Supply, Inc. acquired the Company to form The Wells & Drew Companies.

 

Many of the items in this collection belonged to Horace Rainsford Drew, Jr., a fourth generation Floridian and great-grandson of Columbus Drew. He was born on January 1, 1918, in Jacksonville. His father was Dr. Horace Rainsford Drew, a physician and grandson of Columbus Drew. Drew Jr. attended local schools, and graduated from the University of Florida in July 1941, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree and an LL.B. degree. After serving in the Army during World War II, he practiced law for fifty years until his retirement in 1994. An active civic and community leader, he was a founding member of the Southern Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences, a trustee of the Children's Home Society and of the American Cancer Society. He was also the family's chief genealogist. In his publication (1998), "Our Story," he documented the saga of the Drew and Fairbanks families in Florida in the 1920's, 1930's and the World War II era. Although active in law practice and a Lt. Col. of the Army Reserves, his first love was a family citrus grove in Cross Creek, Florida. He died on October 19, 2004.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of printed materials, artifacts and memorabilia relating to this historic Jacksonville, Florida, printing company. Business artifacts in the collection include a rare Drew Company stationery box circa 1900, and early printed bills and receipts dating to 1888. Family items include awards, memorabilia, and photographs formerly owned by Horace Rainsford Drew, Jr.

Index Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection:

     

  • Drew family.
  • Drew, Columbus -- 1820-1891.
  • Drew, Alice Jane -- 1849-1933.
  • Drew, Julius -- 1857-1919.
  • Drew, Horace Rainsford -- 1918-2004.
  • Fairbanks family.
  • H. & W. B. Drew Company.
  • Florida -- Genealogy.
  • Florida -- History -- 20th century.
  • Jacksonville (Fla.) -- History.