By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend
The name “Behrend” was well known in the Erie region long before Penn State Behrend ever existed.
Hammermill Paper Company, one of the region’s largest employers for nearly a century, was owned by Moritz Behrend and his three sons, Ernst, Otto, and Bernard. Thousands of people worked for Hammermill from 1898 until 1984 when the company was purchased by International Paper Company.
To communicate with its employees, Hammermill published a newsletter, The Hammermill Bond, which is now digitized and archived as part of the Hammermill Paper Company Collection at the John M. Lilley Library at Penn State Behrend.
“It preserves it for eternity,” says Jane Ingold, reference librarian. “It’s also a big time-saver for us now.”
In the past, Ingold handled requests for old newsletters. Now, family members of former Hammermill employees can access them on their own. The newsletter is available to anyone; you do not have to be a Penn State user.
The Hammermill Bond was first published in 1917, and it continued through the 1960s. The only break in publication came during the Great Depression.
A step above traditional company newsletters, the publication included interesting feature stories, colorful covers, and rich photography. It was much more reminiscent of a modern-day magazine than a newsletter.
“They did some really cool things,” Ingold says. “In an early issue, Mr. Behrend wrote a letter to his employees, and they published it in Polish, Russian, German, English, and other languages just to make sure that he accounted for the different nationalities of his workers.”
The Lilley Library currently has a display commemorating The Hammermill Bond. Various issues are featured, including the issue that was printed following the death of Ernst Behrend in 1940. The display will remain at the Lilley Library through Monday, November 24.
To access the digital archives of The Hammermill Bond, click here.