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Penn State University Libraries

John M. Lilley Library @ Penn State Erie, The Behrend College


  • John M. Lilley Library
    Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
    4951 College Drive
    Erie, PA 16563

    Main Number: 814-898-6106
    Reference Desk: 814-898-6058
    Interlibrary Loan: 814-898-6259
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Hammermill Paper Company Collection

Hammermill Paper Company

In 1898, three brothers Ernst, Otto and Bernard Behrend along with their father Moritz, formed the Hammermill Paper Company along the shores of Lake Erie, in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The company thrived and became one of the region’s largest employers. Ernst Behrend, served as president and Otto as secretary, while Bernard left for Boston where he became a well-known mechanical engineer.

hammerhill factory


In 1984 Hammermill was purchased by International Paper Company which ran the Erie plant until its closing in 2002. 

The archival materials date from the founding through the takeover in the mid-1980’s and describe the growth of the company and changes in the papermaking process.  The papers also touch on topics of cultural interest  and local history such as the 1918
influenza epidemic, the pollution of Lake Erie, and the distrust of German-Americans and their companies during the Nazi regime. 

Go to the Hammermill Paper Company Collection



The collection contains several series:

  • Papers of Ernst Behrend, William Brust, and William Bromley

  • Annual reports and financial ledgers

  • Publications, including the company magazine The Hammermill Bond

  • Watermarks

  • Books related to paper-making and those published by the company

  • An extensive photograph collection

  • A poster collection printed on Hammermill paper

  • Artifacts reflecting plant operations and employee activities

Related collections include:

  • Frank Knauer Collection
  • The Penn State Behrend Archives Oral History Collection