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Robert Moir Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Moir

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence regarding business, investment and banking matters, account statements, checks, receipts, and documents of a legal, financial, and personal nature, together with a few personal papers.

The bulk of the collection relates to the nationwide business interests of the Moir firm. These include papers bearing the names of prominent contemporary firms such as such as Carson, Pirie Scott, the Deering Harvester Company, Field, Leiter and Co., the Union National Bank, the Union Stock Yard National Bank, Armour & Co., Blair and Blair, the Erie Railways, the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, and the Illinois Central Railroad.


  • Creation: 1850-1909
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1866 - 1898



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Robert Moir Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Robert Moir Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Robert Moir

Oquawka (Ill.) businessman, merchandiser, and financier.

Robert Moir was born in Forres, Elginshire, Scotland, on October 30, 1824. He immigrated to the United States in 1832, residing in New York until 1849, when he relocated to Oquawka, in Henderson County, Illinois. Oquawka then was a thriving river town which was expected to become a great metropolis. In that year also he married Mary Nicol and soon after began the firm of Robert Moir & Co. The firm originally consisted of four brothers, of whom only Robert lived beyond 1868.

The firm prospered from its many and varied business interests throughout the Midwest and the East, as well as from the West - from investments in land, cattle, railroads, grain, hogs, whiskey, lumber, and mining. In addition, the firm operated a private bank with extensive business in the surrounding area and Chicago. It was also a middleman for merchandise such as farm machinery, clothing and other dry goods. Letters and documents from prominent contemporary firms attest to the wide-ranging interests and importance of the Moir firm.

Moir’s shrewd business judgment, integrity, and success gained him the respect of his peers. He was noted for his mental vigor, tireless energy, and courtliness. Moir died in 1904.


1.7 Linear Feet (4 boxes)


Professional correspondence, papers, and documents of Oquawka, Illinois, businessman Robert Moir, owner of Robert Moir & Co., a firm with wide-ranging investments in land, livestock, lumber, railroads, and other industries. Also a few letters from family and friends.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Illinois Business, 1850-1901
Box 1
Series 2: Chicago Business, 1860-1906
Box 2
Series 3: Grain, Cattle, Pork, 1850-1900
Box 3
Series 4: Railroads and Other Matters, 1855-1908
Boxes 3-4
Series 5: Miscellaneous Matters, 1856-1909
Box 4

Collection Stack Location

1 26 4


Purchase, Morris H. Briggs, Rare Books, 1948.

Processed by

Lenore Glanz, 2010.

Inventory of the Robert Moir Papers, 1850-1909, bulk 1866-1898
Lenore Glanz
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States