O.A. Cooper Company (Humboldt, Neb.) [RG4106.AM]


RG4106.AM: O.A. Cooper Company (Humboldt, Neb.)

Records: 1912-1980
Humboldt, Richardson County, Neb.: Feed and flour mill
Size: 1 box


In 1879, Orrin Alonzo Cooper, J.L. Linn, and L.B. Brinson established a flour mill operation in Humboldt, Nebraska. The original building of this firm, known as Linn, Cooper, and Brinson, was located in the southern portion of town near the Burlington Missouri Depot and cost fifty thousand dollars to construct. A grain elevator also operated in conjunction with the mill. Within a year, Mr. Brinson sold his interest in the company to the other two partners. The new firm of Linn and Cooper remained intact until 1890 when the partnership dissolved. For the next three years, Cooper alone was in charge of the operation. C.M. Linn, son of former co-owner Linn, became Cooper’s new partner in 1893 and remained in that capacity for the next fourteen years. By 1918, O.A. Cooper Company had attained corporate status and within a decade had diversified into mixed feeds. Subsequent growth necessitated acquisition of a feed mill in Beatrice in 1942. Soon thereafter, a new, larger plant and feed mill was constructed in Humboldt in 1944. A feed mill in Cozad was constructed in 1960.

By this time, the O.A. Cooper Company included the following as part of its operations: grain storage, feed and flour milling, and retail sales of various farm and petroleum products. Continued diversification and the need for increased production led to the construction of a more automated mill in South Sioux City in 1967. Two years later, Hammond Mills, Inc. of Oklahoma City became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cooper Company. The latter sixth and final feed mill was constructed in 1973-1974 at Abilene, Kansas. During this period, the company further expanded by building liquid feed plants at the Humboldt and Oklahoma City locations. By the late 1970s, the O.A. Cooper Company employed approximately 200 people and distributed its products throughout a ten-state area including Nebraska, Texas and South Dakota. In the summer of 1980, the O.A. Cooper Company fell victim to a takeover bid by the Central Soya Company, Inc. of Indiana.


This collection consists of the records of the O.A. Cooper Company, Humboldt, Nebraska, and is arranged in two series: 1) Reports, 1923-1979; and 2) Miscellany, 1912-1980. The first series 1) Reports, 1923-1979, is further divided into three subseries: 1) Annual Reports, 1960-1978; 2) Company Audit Reports, 1923-1979; and 3) Miscellaneous Audit Reports, 1923-1976.

The bulk of this collection contains manuscript materials pertaining to the ongoing business activities of the O.A. Cooper Company. The collection is predominately composed of a variety of business reports, mostly audits. These audit reports illustrate the company’s financial status from 1923 to 1979 (some years missing) and comprise the first subseries in Series 1, Reports. Another subseries in the first series is Annual Reports, 1960-1978 (some years missing). These printed documents, issued to stockholders and others, outline the company’s yearly progress within the business community. Another important series in the collection is Series 2, Miscellany, 1912-1980. This series is comprised of promotional materials, as well as listings of Cooper retail outlets, salesmen, and stockholders. Also included is a small amount of Cooper family correspondence, a small diary, a company newsletter (1979), and a prospectus of Central Soya Company’s stock exchange offer in 1980.


Series 1 – Reports, 1923-1979
Subseries 1: Annual Reports, 1960-1978

Box 1

  1. 1960
  2. 1961
  3. 1962
  4. 1963
  5. 1964
  6. 1965
  7. 1966
  8. 1968
  9. 1969
  10. 1970
  11. 1971
  12. 1972
  13. 1973
  14. 1974
  15. 1975
  16. 1976
  17. 1977
  18. 1978

Subseries 2: Company Audit Reports, 1923-1979


  1. 1923
  2. 1928
  3. 1942
  4. 1943
  5. 1944
  6. 1945
  7. 1946
  8. 1947
  9. 1949
  10. 1950
  11. 1951
  12. 1952
  13. 1953
  14. 1954
  15. 1955
  16. 1956
  17. 1960
  18. 1961
  19. 1962
  20. 1963
  21. 1964
  22. 1965
  23. 1966
  24. 1967
  25. 1968
  26. 1969
  27. 1970
  28. 1971
  29. 1972
  30. 1973
  31. 1975
  32. 1976
  33. 1978
  34. 1979

Subseries 3: Miscellaneous Audit Reports, 1923-1976


  1. O.A. Cooper Estate, 1923-1925
  2. Cooper Estate, 1925
  3. Hammond Mills, Inc., 1971
  4. Hammond Mills, Inc., 1976

Series 2 – Miscellany, 1912-1980


  1. Includes advertising, salesmen and stockholder lists, stock exchange offer information, 1912-1980
  2. Chart: Flour mill plansifter arrangement used by Lester Davis, a miller at O.A. Cooper Mill for 42 years (see OB063)

Subject headings:

Beatrice (Neb.) — Businesses
Cooper, Guy Lester, Jr.
Cooper, Guy Lester, Sr.
Cooper, Orrin Alonzo, 1849-1923
Cozad (Neb.) — Businesses
Grain trade
Humboldt (Neb.) — Businesses
Mills and mill work
O.A. Cooper Company (Humboldt, Neb.)
Richardson County (Neb.) — History
South Sioux City (Neb.) — Businesses

Revised 10-29-2007 TMM

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