Scope and arrangement
The bulk of Maxim's papers date from the 1890s through 1927, the year of his death, and consist of correspondence; photographs, typescripts of speeches, books, and articles; patent specifications; recipes; account books; address books; and legal and other documents. These document his career as an inventor and explosives expert, experiments with soybeans and other foods, anti- Prohibition activities, involvement with Lake Hopatcong local affairs, and family and personal life.
The Hudson Maxim papers are arranged in twelve series:
A small section of early correspondence, 1890-1926, is divided-probably by Maxim himself or by his secretary-into categories: miscellaneous, personal, "good letters not sent", "amusing", and "important". The bulk of the correspondence dates from the last few years of Maxim's life, 1925-1927. Included are letters received by Maxim, and drafts and copies of letters he wrote concerning a wide range of topics. These include: his books and speeches; legal, financial, and real estate matters; family and household matters; Lake Hopatcong local affairs; the Hotel Durban, which was on Maxim's property at Lake Hopatcong; anti - Prohibition activities; and other professional, personal, and a vocational activities. His correspondents were friends, professional contacts, members of his own and his wife's family, admirers, employees, tradesmen, and others. Included are letters from: Luther Burbank, Gutzon Borglum, Francis I. du Pont, Lillian Gish (responding to his biography, 1925), his nephew Hiram Percy Maxim, Margaret Sanger (refusing a weekend invitation, 1925), Frank A. Tichenor, and George Sylvester Viereck.
Typescript speeches and outlines of speeches delivered by Maxim, 1907-1927. He spoke on aviation, explosives, Lake Hopatcong, the Morris Canal investigation, pacifism, poetry, politics, prohibition, war, women's rights, and a variety of other topics. See the index to speeches.
- circa 1911-1920
Notes, reports, correspondence, blueprint maps and charts showing explosion sites and damage, and legal documents, ca. 1911-1925. These document experimental explosions carried out by Maxim, and accidental ones he studied, particularly the explosion of a T. N. T. magazine at the Hercules Powder Co., Kenvil, New Jersey, 1918 (including photographs of the site), and the Black Tom explosions in New York Harbor, 1916. Transcripts of Maxim's testimony on behalf of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company in the legal cases resulting from the Black Tom explosions are included.
Maxim's correspondence with canning companies, seed merchants, and state and federal agriculture departments, 1917-1918, concerning his experiments with the preparation and canning of various foods, particularly soybeans. Also included are recipes, unused labels for Maxim's Baked-Bean-Butter, typescript copy for labels, and printed material, 1910s-1920s.
- circa 1880-1920s
Typescript drafts of an autobiography, parts of which were incorporated into Hudson Maxim: Reminiscences and Comments, by Clifton Johnson, pub. 1924; correspondence, 1910-1923, concerning The Science of Poetry and the Philosophy of Language with mailing lists of people to whom the book was sent; typescript drafts of Maxim's Primer of Science (probably not published) with related notes, clippings, and printed material, 1889-1921. Also included are copies of Maxim's letters to newspaper editors on various topics, 1919-1922; poems; and other writings, ca. 1880s-1920s. Anti-Prohibition speeches, articles, and letters to newspaper editors, with related clippings and printed material, 1920s, are included.
Specifications for Maxim's patents, 1880s-1910s. Also, a small file containing correspondence, minutes, and legal documents, 1915-1925, of the Maxim Munitions Corp.
Correspondence, legal and tax documents, and minutes, 1891-1919, of the Byram Cove Land Co., an organization that bought and sold real estate at Lake Hopatcong, of which Hudson and Lilian Maxim were directors; correspondence with the Colonial Motion Picture Company, 1914, and a list of shareholders (Maxim was one); an inventory of the Hotel Durban, 1909; correspondence, ca. 1899-1900 concerning his efforts to obtain patents in foreign countries for the Maxim Powder Torpedo; Maxim's correspondence, with related documents, 1913-1921, as President of the Inter-Municipal Park Commission, advocating the abandonment of the Morris Canal in New Jersey; and Christmas cards made by the Maxims, 1913-1921.
- circa 1890s-1930s
Twelve photograph albums (three postcard albums have been taken apart) kept by Hudson and Lilian Maxim contain snapshots, full-sized photographs, and photographic postcards dating from the turn of the century through the 1930s. Many of these show the Maxims with friends and family members at their house at Lake Hopatcong. Included is a large group of photographic postcards showing both town and lakeside views of Lake Hopatcong, ca. 1900s-1920s. These were removed from two postcard albums labeled "Souvenir of Lake Hopatcong". Early twentieth century interior and exterior views of the Maxims' houses at 891 Sterling Place and 698 St. Mark's Avenue in Brooklyn are also included.
Photographs include many portraits of Hudson and Lilian Maxim, and show Hudson Maxim working in his laboratory; cooking; boating; driving his car; boxing; playing tennis; costumed as Neptune at an Atlantic City, New Jersey pageant, 1921 and 1922; at an aviation meet in Asbury Park, New Jersey, 1910; and with the United States Naval Consulting Board, (called the Civilian Advisory Board at the time of the photograph), 1915. This photograph shows, among others. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Assistant Secretary Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Maxim, and Thomas Edison.
Portraits of Luther Burbank, and photographs of poet Edwin Markham and poet and western scout J. W. (Captain Jack) Crawford with the Maxims at Lake Hopatcong are included.
One album contains late nineteenth century tintype and cabinet card portraits of Maxim family members. Photographs post-dating Hudson Maxim's death document the activities of his widow.
- circa 1900s-1930s
Six account books contain both household and business accounts, ca. 1900s-1930s. Included are accounts of the Hotel Durban, 1908, and accounts Maxim kept with the U. S. Naval Consulting Board and with the du Pont Company. Also, two address books; an album containing calling cards gathered by Maxim, with notes; three books published by Maxim and Knowles in Pittsfield, 1880s; four memorandum and sketch books; a scrapbook containing clippings concerning Hiram Maxim's Maxim-Nordenfeldt Guns and Ammunition Co., 1880s, and clippings of advertisements for beauty products; an autograph album belonging to Lilian Maxim (including an autograph from Edwin Markham); a date book containing notes on the last few months of Maxim's life, 1927; a volume containing published specifications for patents held by Hiram Stevens Maxim; two volumes listing articles and pamphlets, possibly owned by Hudson Maxim; two volumes containing clippings and reprints of articles by or about Hudson Maxim; and a volume listing Hudson Maxim's patents and patent applications.
- 1888-1905, 1911-192552 ab, 2 rc
Correspondence and papers relating to Maxim's inventions; the Maxim gun and the Maxim Munitions Corp.; Maxim's opposition to Prohibition; the proposed abandonment of the Morris Canal; the Borough of Hopatcong and lands on Lake Hopatcong; the canning and merchandising of beans and other foodstuffs; the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce; Maxim's articles; and his book, Science of Poetry and the Philosophy of Language.