I.B. Abel Anniversary History Book
I.B. Abel has a proud heritage. It started as a small electrical contractor in York, Pennsylvania, and has since grown into a multimillion dollar company. In the summer of 2012, however, President Patrick Kinsley was concerned. His company was about to enter its centennial year. Knowledge of the company’s history was slipping away with an older generation leaving, and a scant documentary record left behind.
Mr. Kinsley knew that it was a critical time to have a professional history prepared but did not know where to turn. His daughter, a student of historic preservation, recommended History Associates based on its reputation within her academic circle.
Uncovering New Research Sources to Tell the Story
When senior historian James Rife first met with Pat Kinsley and his management team in October 2012, no one was sure how much of a story could be told from the company’s surviving archives, which amounted to a couple of dusty bankers boxes filled with assorted news clippings and obituaries, accounting ledgers, Depression-era financial statements, and photo albums.
Mr. Rife coaxed a great deal of story out of those sources, supplemented with additional materials from local repositories and oral histories conducted with both current and retired employees – several of whom had joined the company in the 1950s and 1960s. The oral histories proved to be invaluable, with the old-timers providing first-hand information about its early management and operations and contributing their own personal photographs and documentary materials to the project. Mr. Rife was subsequently able to weave together the story of a company that survived and thrived in 100 years through loyalty to customers and employees, superior service, a tight-knit family atmosphere, and adaptation to economic change.
The resulting 42-page illustrated history book was proudly distributed to employees and clients to commemorate their centennial. “History Associates did a fine job researching and writing the history of I.B. Abel,” said Mr. Kinsley. “They worked with us to smooth out the inevitable bumps that arose, and the resulting book looks great.” The Kinsley family liked the book so much that History Associates also worked with them to produce a history of their general contracting business, Kinsley Construction Inc.
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