Kirk & Nice, Inc. records
Kirk & Nice, Inc. is recognized as the United States' oldest continuously operating funeral establishment. Founded in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1761 by Jacob Knorr, originally the business was a carpenter shop that specialized in building furniture. Only on occasion was the request made for Mr.... Full description
|Collection Information:||Kirk & Nice, Inc. Records (#3414)|
|Corporate Author:||Kirk & Nice, Inc|
|Subjects and Genres:||
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36.88 Linear feet ; 4 boxes, 148 volumes
This collection is open for research.
Kirk & Nice, Inc. is recognized as the United States' oldest continuously operating funeral establishment. Founded in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1761 by Jacob Knorr, originally the business was a carpenter shop that specialized in building furniture. Only on occasion was the request made for Mr. Knorr to construct a coffin. The Civil War and death of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 revolutionized funeral services by popularizing the process of embalming the deceased along with encouraging citizens to outwardly mourn the passing of loved ones. In 1869 Jacob Knorr's business was re-named Kirk & Nice, after Benjamin R. Kirk and William Nice. During the 1860s and 1870s the carpentry shop gradually changed focus to funeral services, and the company continues to offer services to the residents of Philadelphia at two locations: Kirk & Nice, Inc. at George Washington Park in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, and Kirk & Nice Suburban Chapel Inc. at Sunset Memorial Park in Feasterville, Pennsylvania.
The collection consists of burial records that span from 1838 to 1969 along with administrative and financial records that span from 1831 to 1988. Administrative records include twelve ledgers that record services provided for the deceased, while the financial records include a payroll ledger, an index ledger that record payments from various clients, eight daybooks, and forty-six account books that record all services purchased by the families of the deceased.
The Kirk & Nice, Inc. collection consists of 148 volumes and four boxes of records that span the years 1831 to 1988 and covers multiple aspects of the funeral home's business. All four boxes and eighty of the volumes are dedicated to burial records from the business. These records include biographical information on the deceased, as well as information on services and items purchased by the family for the funeral and burial service. These records are organized chronologically and from 1886-1969 are comprehensive in nature. There are twelve record books for services which include dates and times for the services, but no financial data. These volumes appear to be organized chronologically by date of initial purchase (usually a coffin). The collection includes fifty-six financial books. Eight of the volumes record daily transactions, one volume contains payroll records and another contains an index of names along with a general list of services that were available. If a service was purchased by the family for the deceased, there are marks that indicate the transaction along with notes concerning the payment status. The final forty-four volumes are account books recording family purchases for the deceased. The material is organized by year and account, and each account contains all services purchased for the deceased by the family, regardless of date of transaction.