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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Edward C. Collins

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 327-328 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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The late Edward C. Collins, one of the founders of the Gloversville Knitting Company and its general manager until his death, was one of the men of the passing generation whose efforts to advance their own fortunes contributed substantially to the development of the community in which they lived. His memory will long be kept fresh in the minds of those who follow him by the industry he helped found and did so much to develop to its present size and prosperity. He spent practically his entire life in Gloversville, where he was born June 16, 1856, the son of Oliver C. and Celenda (Wilkins) Collins, who lived here throughout their married life and died here many years ago. The father was a native of Montgomery county, New York, while the mother claimed Fulton county as her birthplace. Oliver C. Collins spent all of his active life in the general contracting and building business and erected many of the buildings that are being used in this city today.

Edward C. Collins attended the Gloversville public schools in the acquirement of his early education and prepared for business life by taking a course in the Eastman Business College. Subsequently he was connected with the latter school as an instructor in banking and also taught school in Brockport and Wheelerville, New York. Meanwhile, the young man had learned the carpenter's trade under the direction of his father and worked at this occupation for a time. His first actual venture in the commercial world was in the lumber business in partnership with his father-in-law, Ralph Glasgow, their yards being near Wheelerville. After two years of successful business this enterprise was destroyed by a fire that wiped out the entire plant. Forced by this disaster to start anew, Mr. Collins engaged in the manufacture of stockings in a small way for a couple of years, but abandoned this venture to embark in the dry goods business in Gloversville, his store being located in the Collins block, which was erected by his father. He continued in the retail dry goods business until 1889, in that year becoming a salesman for the Daniel Hays Company, glove manufacturers. For several years he combined the two lines of work, running his store and working up a profitable glove trade as a representative of the Hays concern. Doubtless it was this line of work that drew his attention closely to the possibilities for advancement in the glove industry. At any rate he eventually took up the manufacture of leather and gloves himself, in partnership with William McDougal. In 1895 Mr. Collins was one of a group of Gloversville men who raised the capital and organized the Gloversville Knitting Company, which is today one of the leading industrial firms of the city. His associates in this venture were: Lucius N. Littauer, Henry C. Day, James S. Burr, Frank Burton, Seth C. Barton, D. S. Decker, Eugene Harrington, Edward S. Parkhurst, C. W. Rose, Alvah J. Zimmer and Erastus Darling. At the start the company was capitalized for fifty thousand dollars; now its capital is three-quarters of a million. Much of the credit for the growth of the concern is due Mr. Collins, who was its general manager from the time of its organization until his death on the 22d of December, 1922, a period of twenty-seven years. He drew the plans for the company's first building and from that first step on kept in close touch with all the details of his organization, as well as directing its general policy.

Mr. Collins was married to Loretta E. Glasgow, who survives him and makes her home in Gloversville. She was born in Lowville, New York, December 18, 1855, the daughter of Ralph Glasgow, her husband's former business partner. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Collins: Harris G., manager and treasurer of the Gloversville Knitting Company; Celenda, who died in October, 1921; Ralph O., secretary and superintendent of the knitting company; E. Lloyd, of the E. L. Collins Company, yarn manufacturers of Gloversville.

Throughout his active and useful life, Mr. Collins was closely identified with the club and fraternal life of this city and was regarded as a most valuable member of any organization to which he chose to give his support. He was a republican in Politics and always loyal to his party. During the time he was engaged in the lumber business he figured quite prominently in the political circles of his section and was instrumental in launching the Hon. Cyrus Drury upon his distinguished political career. In all things pertaining to civic life and social culture Mr. Collins was ever to be found on the side of progress and advancement and on more than one notable occasion gave the citizens of Gloversville substantial proof of his genuine interest in the welfare of the community.

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