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Cohn and Bock Company records

Identifier: MS 1759


This collection contains 28 volumes of financial records from Cohn and Brock Company, dating from 1882-1934. Also included are two boxes of bills, checks and correspondence, as well as one letterbook.


  • 1882-1934


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Historical Note

Rudolph S. Cohn came to America from Austria at the age of 18. He joined an older brother who was already an established lumberman in Camden, New Jersey. In 1867 he came down to the eastern shore of Maryland setting up timber cutting and milling operations in the Nassawango and Pocomoke river area of what was then still part of Somerset County. The office was located in Princess Anne where there was both rail and water transportation and communications with the growing cities of the east with their great demand for the heavy timbers first produced. A stone grist-mill was erected to grind both flour and table meal for the surrounding community.

Thomas H. Bock was born in England of Dutch parents who were on their way to this country. He came to Maryland with the building of the railroad to Crisfield. In 1888 he became the partner of Rudolph S. Cohn, the business then trading as Cohn and Bock.

As times changed, items of manufacture changed. Mine props and heavy timbers gave way to a production of a multitude of wooden products. Framing, siding, and shingles were produced for building. During the era when Somerset County was the leading producer of strawberries, crates and boxes were manufactured. All the while, as the occasion demanded, railroad ties, telephone cross-arms were among the products made.

Shortly before the turn of the century, Albert E. Krause came from the Pennsylvania Dutch country as miller for the new steam powered roller flour mill erected at the site of the present feed mill. First by rail and horse and wagon, later by truck flour and table meal, wooden containers and building supplies were delivered up and down/the shore, New Jersey to Cape Charles.

Edward Herrman Cohn, son of the founder, after finishing at Hampden-Sydney on his 19th birthday and a term at Eastman school of business came back to Princess Anne and became active in the affairs of Cohn and Bock in 1902. On the death of his father in 1909, the partnership was consolidated and the firm was incorporated, its name under the charter the Cohn and Bock company.

Lumber, wooden containers and building supplies and during World War I reels for barbed-wire on the western front were produced while wheat flour, corn table meal and their milling by-products continued to be manufactured and sold on the lower peninsula.

It is interesting to note how a by-product of an industry sometimes becomes the key to a new one. This happened in the flour milling industry as wheat bran and middlings, by-products of flour, became the nucleus of a primitive hog feed, then poultry layer feed, and finally a feed for the production of broiler meat chickens. Neither of these products is used in any quantity in broiler feeds today, but they, together with a few other simple ingredients, once comprised a complete broiler feed.

Mr. Bock sold his interest in the company during the first World War and retired to devote his time to his church and other interests.

Robert C. Street came to Cohn and Bock in 1931 shortly before his 18th birthday. He was hired as bookkeeper and clerk and was charged to make himself generally useful in his spare time. During the beginning of the broiler industry he became a poultry serviceman and helped nurture the emerging chicken business to its present place in Delmarva's agriculture.

Stanley C. Street, his brother was hired in 1936 as assistant to the miller, which meant sacking flour and table meal and helping to mix and sack feeds for poultry and egg production. He, too, soon was on the road as feed sales and serviceman. The broiler industry was growing by tremendous strides. Thus, under the paternal guidance of Herrman Cohn, the company became one of the early few independent formula feed manufacturers on Delmarva, progressing with the industry and changing with the times.

Albert E. Krause died in 1952, after more than half a century at Cohn and Bock, leaving a heritage of Dutch thrift with the company.

In association with Winton D. Gouge, formerly of North Carolina, a baby chick hatchery was begun in 1957. This enterprise now furnishes up to one-third of a million chicks a week for the grow-out of broilers on Delmarva.

Herrman Cohn died in 1961, but not before plans were made for the present push-button feed mill which was started before his death and completed the following year.


3.42 Linear Feet (1 full Hollinger box; 3 flat boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Herrmann Cohn, August 1969.

Scope and Contents

The material in this collection is almost entirely concerned with the financial aspects of the firm: payments to it, balance sheets, and cash transactions.

Guide to the Cohn and Bock Company records
Under Revision
Ellen Lee Barker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2019-11-29: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States