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Faribault Woolen Mill Company, Faribault, Minnesota. Papers, 1867-1969

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SMHC Collection 0124

Scope and Contents

The Faribault Woolen Mill Company collection is arranged chronologically and topically by series.

Employment Records, 1894-1969: Records in this series are partially restricted and contain information on the company’s payroll, pension trust plans, pension trust agreements, correspondence, and personnel lists.

Finance Records, 1867-1966: This series contains bills and receipts, ledgers for accounts receivable and petty cash, check stubs, daybooks, payroll notebooks, reports, and account sheets.

Miscellaneous, ca. 1940-1966: Company histories and a warehouse guest ledger book are contained in this series.

Production Records, 1912-1967: These documents pertain to the company’s picking records, color assortment sheets, loom records, production records, and the amount of raw wool processed.

Volumes, 1904-1966: This series contains large volumes that pertain to production, employment, and finance records. A portion of these items are restricted. Included within are record books, registers, journals, ledgers, and payroll transfer sheets.


  • 1867-1969

Conditions Governing Use

Some restrictions apply to this collection please see/contact the archivist for more information about these restrictions. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Biographical / Historical

The Faribault Woolen Mill Company was founded in 1865 by Carl H. Klemer, a German-born cabinetmaker. During his twenty-seven years of ownership, the business was gradually expanded from a one-man carding operation to a large wool milling and distributing concern. During this period it had relocated twice (1882 and 1892) and suffered three fires (1888, 1890, and 1892). In 1892, two sons, Ferdinand L. and Henry F., were each given a third of the business and the company was then named C.H. Klemer & Sons.

In 1905, the business was incorporated under its present name with Ferdinand and Henry as senior officers and Frank H., Henry’s son, as secretary. During the following decade the company did not grow significantly and as a result the management of the business was turned over to Walter F. Klemer, Ferdinand’s son, Frank H. Klemer and Edward A. Johnson in 1913. The business lagged until 1917 when the Faribault Woolen Mill Company received federal government contracts to make army blankets for the war effort.

After the war the company continued to specialize in woolen blankets, selling them to various hospitals, hotels, Indian agencies, department stores, and specialty shops through the nation. During World War II, when the military contracts were renewed, the company began manufacturing blankets from synthetic fibers for civilian use. Widespread acceptance of these man-made blends triggered a postwar boom for the company and resulted in the installation of new machinery and the doubling of manufacturing space.

In 1949, Robert W. Klemer, son of Frank H., assumed the presidency of the company. During the 1950’s blanket sales became more diversified as the Faribault Woolen Mill expanded its outlets to mail order houses, advertising specialists, chain stores, and private institutions.

Today the Faribault Woolen Mill produces more than half of the new wool blankets made in the United States and is one of the few remaining woolen mills in the country.

Information was obtained from America’s Textile Reporter (8 June 1961) and “History of Woolen Mills 1865-1940” by Frank H. Klemer and other materials in the collection, and the Faribault Woolen Mill website


20.00 Cubic Feet (10 Hollinger Boxes 2 Archives Boxes 2 Oversized Boxes 51 Volumes (ledger books))

Language of Materials



The Faribault Woolen Mill Company papers consist of items collected since Carl H. Klemer founded the company in 1867 through the presidency of Robert W. Klemer during the late 1960s. The collection contains bills, receipts and volumes relating to the employees, production and financial records for the Faribault Woolen Mill Company. Materials included are annual inventories, bills and receipts, pension agreements, payroll lists, and production data. The firm manufactured blankets under the trade name "Faribo."

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Robert W. Klemer donated this collection in September 1973.

Faribault Woolen Mill Company, Faribault, Minnesota. Papers, 1867-1969
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Revision Statements

  • 2002-09: Jeff A. Jenson developed the finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Southern Minnesota Historical Center Repository

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Memorial Library
PO Box 8419
Mankato MN 56002-8419 US