George Curtis Rand

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George Curtis Rand

Birthplace: Danville, Vermont, United States
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Husband of Mary Rand; Almira Rand and Julia Rand
Father of Emma Curtis Richardson and Avery Rand

Occupation: Printer
Managed by: Anissa Keating
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About George Curtis Rand

Rand Genealogy p.109-12; Averys of Groton p.367; Groton Avery Clan p.504-05;

Boston Daily Globe, 28 Mar 1880,

appointed on 6 Mar 1865 to committee regarding publication of a history of Newton;

passport applications: 31 Mar 1863, 9 Apr 1867, 9 Mar 1876;

passenger list: printer, on RMS Persia, arr New York 20 Nov 1863, from Liverpool England, and Queenstown, Ireland.

City Directories -


1847 house 70 Pleasant,

1848 house 5 Marion,

1849 house 20 Oxford,

1851 house 26 Marion,

1852-59 house 20 Oxford;

1861 Rand George C. & Avery (Abraham), publishers and printers, 3 Cornhill, h. at

1878 Rand George C. removed to Newton Centre; Pacific National Bank, George C. Rand, Director


1868 Rand George C. printer (3 Cornhill, Boston), house Centre, corner Grafton N. Cen.

1871 Rand George C. printer (3 Cornhill, Boston), house Centre, corner HOmer, N. Cen.

Methodist Episcopal Church of Newton - George C. Rand, Trustee

1877/1879 house Centre near Homer, Newton Center

Middlesex County:

Justices of the Peace - George C. Rand, Newton

occupation: Printer: Apprentice c.1830 Homer and Beals, Boston; Apprentice c.1833 Boston Commercial Gazette, Boston; Printer, David H. Ela; 1842-1845 partner, Reid & Rand, No. 3 Cornhill, Boston; 1845-1854 printer, George C. Rand & Co., Boston; 1854-1867 printer George C. Rand, Avery & Co., Boston; 1867-1871 Rand, Avery & Frye, Franklin buildings, Franklin St., Boston; 1871-Apr 1878 printer, Rand, Avery & Co., Franklin buildings, Franklin St., Boston

A Chronology of a Boston Printing Company

census: 1820 John Rand; 1850 Geo C. Rand; 1860 George C. Rand; 1870 Geo C. Rand

death: Deaths from the New York Evening Post, 1801-1890 (NEHGS) 12/31/1878; Obituary Notes, New York Times, 1 Jan 1879; Boston City Directory 1879; Newton (MA) Journal: 4 Jan 1879, funeral notice and obituary, 25 Jan 1879 - announcement of probate

burial: gravestone(Photo), Section F East, Newton Cemetery, Newton Center MA

marriage(2): Barbour Collection, Thompson CT p.86: Doane, Almira, of Thompson, single, age 18, m. George C. Rand of Boston, Mass., widower, printer, age 25, Nov. 27, 1845, by Rev. B.R. Perce, at the home of her father.

marriage(3): MA Vital Records 1841-1910 Vol 54 p.310 (Wilbraham) and Vol. 56 p.5 (Boston) (NEHGS); Newton (MA) Journal 24 Jun 1882

Newton (MA) Journal appr. 1 Jan 1879: FUNERAL OF Mr. GEO. C. Rand

Funeral services over the remains of Mr. Rand were held at the First Congregational church at Newton, Thursday afternoon at one o'clock. A special train left Boston at 12:15, carrying a large number of friends and associates of the deceased, who braved the severe snow storm to show the last tribute of respect to one who had been so intimately connected with them for such a long period of years. A short service at the house was conducted by the Rev. Bradford K. Pierce, D.D., the life-long friend of Mr. Rand, after which the public services took place.

The remains, in a plain, black-covered casket, ornamented with silver, were placed in the chancel; a cross of exquisite white flowers stood at its head, another of green with white intermingled stood at the foot, and on the casket was a white pillow with the word "Rest" arranged in green, and long, trailing sprays of smilax fell from it to the floor. As the casket was brought into the church the organist, Mr. George H. Brenna, played an appropriate selection. The pallbearers were Mr. A.I. Benyon, Mr. E.M. Fowle, Mr. R.R. Bishop, Mr. E.F. Waters, Mr. W.H. Wardwell, Mr. Alden Speare, and Mr. C.W. Pierce.

The services were impressive from their extreme simplicity, and consisted of reading of the scriptures by the Rev. Mr. Jackson, an address by the Rev. Bradford K. Pierce, D.D., and prayer by the Rev. Dr. Furber. During the services the hymns, "Nearer, my God to thee," "Jesus, lover of my soul," and "Abide with me" were sung by the choir, Mrs. Clara L. Johnson, Mrs. William H. Pratt, Mr. Francis E. Tuffts and Mr. George M. Stone.

Among the persons present were Mr. H.O. Houghton, the Hon. Willard Rice, Mr. J.F. Edmands, Mr. S.D. Warren, the Rev. Mark Trafton, Mr. J.F.C. Hyde and Mr. J.S. DeWitt. Delegations were present from the DeMolay encampment, the Boston Lodge of Odd Fellows, the Franklin Typographical Society, the Newton and Watertown Gas Company, the Pacific National Bank and the Union Mutual Insurance Company.

Newton (MA) Journal 4 Jan 1879: THE LATE GEORGE C. RAND

Mr. Rand was until last April one of the heads of the firm of Rand, Avery & Co., of Boston. He was a native of Vermont, born at Woodstock [Other evidence indicates that he was born in Danville VT] December 13, 1819. His father was the well known Christian minister, John Rand, who married Miss Betsy Marden [other evidence indicates that John Rand married Betsy Babcock] of the Essex county Massachusetts family by that name. George Curtis was the fifth of eleven children.

When about eleven years old he made his way to Boston and found employment as boy with Homer and Beals. Here he learned the trade of a printer. As an apprentice he worked on the hand-bill which was printed in that office designed to inflame the populace against William Lloyd Garrison at the time Mr. Garrison was put in jail to save him from the rioters. Mr. Rand, at that time, shared the popular prejudice against abolitionists, but afterwards became an ardent and consistent anti-slavery man.

On the formation of the republican party he joined it, and was always to be depended upon to do his share. He would sometimes say, when giving for the cause, "Come again if you need more."

He went into business very soon after leaving his first employers, and with little capital. For some years his struggles were hard. The late W.J. Reynolds, and notably Mr. W.H. Hill, were his business friends and advisors. His first venture was with another graduate of the trade on a joint capital of $200, opening an unpretentious job office on the second floor back of No. 3 Cornhill.

Young Rand's frankness, his persistency in looking up "jobs," his close and quick competition on prices, the in those days astonishing promptness in delivery, with full count and perfect work, gave the concern a good start. Eighteen months after the formation of the partnership Rand, borrowing $100, bought out his partner, and for a time continued the business alone, gradually increasing it, until in 1851 it employed four men and kept busy three small presses.

In 1850 [they were married 16 Jan 1851] Mr. Rand married his third wife, the widow of the Rev. John Roper, and through this union formed the friendship of her brother, Mr. Abraham Avery. A year later Mr. Avery resigned his situation as a book-keeper with the shoe manufacturing firm of Allen, Harris & Potter, and entered into partnership with Mr. Rand, bringing to the concern experience, good judgment, cash and a thorough knowledge of financial management.

The firm, George C. Rand & Avery, at once took a leading place. The little 20x50 room was enlarged by leasing the whole second floor; the little high desk jammed under the stairs was set by a front window; a new Adams press was bought, steam power hired, new type purchased, and Mr. Rand's ambition was beginning to be realized.

Before Mr. Avery's advent the business had, in a small way, secured the confidence of one or two book publishers. One day in 1852 a gentleman still doing business in Boston, but then in charge of the book work of the publishing house of John P. Jewett & Co., brought in the manuscript of Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Toms' Cabin" for an estimate on a two and a five thousand edition. Mr. Rand after figuring a minute, passed his notes to Mr. Avery, who, after a brief close scrutiny, remarked: "That's all right, George, we can swing it."

A price was given and a time for delivery; these were accepted, and the result was that for six months, night and day, these printers were kept busy with this work. The editions followed each other with unexampled rapidity, and author, publisher and printer, reaped a golden harvest.

Messrs. Rand & Avery further extended their business, added new machinery, and showed tact, energy and steadfast honesty. It was not long before their shafting and beiting [sic] stretched from Brattle street steps in Cornhill down to Dock square. A large number of establishments, publishers, printers, electrotypers, binders, gilders, etc., hired power of them, or did work for them, or depended in some way upon them. They pushed out for business in every city of the Union, making a specialty of large orders as well as small.

When it was proposed to extend Washington street, the improvement cut right through their premises. They were in great anxiety about it. About this time they were burned out. They got their insurance, or a good portion of it, and they were finally bought off by the city for a considerable sum. They then removed to their new premises in Franklin buildings, Franklin street, at present occupied by their successors, Mrssrs. Rand-Avery & Co.

For the past fifteen years Mr. Rand has been an intense sufferer from neuralgia. He has tried every known remedy, and it might almost be said in every known clime, for he has been a great traveler. Of late years he has found some relief in subcutaneous injections of morphine, but so conscientious has he been that he would only allow himself to use the drug as administered by his physician in person.

At the time of the death of President Lincoln, Mr. Rand lay apparently at the point of death. He was saved by the use of vigorous remedies, and, among the rest, by the use of hot water in bottles, which, becoming displaced, were the means of burning his limbs most terribly; but the burns produced the reaction that saved his life.

Amid all his sufferings he retained his interest in public affairs, his kind and neighborly feelings, his strong interest in religious and reformatory movements, and his own sweet and firm religious faith. He was a Methodist of the old school; simple and unpretending, and never thinking of hiding his faith or dodging his responsibility.

Mr. Rand by his first wife had one daughter, now the wife of a woolen commission merchant, by his second wife his son, George C. Rand, now of the New York house, Hurd & Rand; and by his third wife Avery L. Rand, of the present firm of Rand, Avery & Co., and also has two daughters. Mr. Rand was also step-father to Mr. John Roper of Towel [sic] & Roper, Chicago.

Obituary Notes, New York Times, 1 Jan 1879: George Curtis Rand, senior member of the large printing firm of Rand, Avery & Co., of Boston, died at his residence, in Newton Centre, Mass., yesterday, at the age of 57 years. Mr. Rand printed the first edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin, of which 300,000 copies have been issued.

Rand Genealogy p.109–11: In 1825 his father removed to Trinity MA, and the common schools of this town furnished the groundwork of his education. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed in the office of the Boston Commercial Gazette, where he served the full term of his apprenticeship. He made a record there as a compositor of 1500 ems an hour. At the expiration of his apprenticeship, he spent one year at an academy in Newbury VT. Afterwards he returned to employment in the printing office of David H. Ela.

In 1842 he formed with Mr. Andrew Reid the partnership of Reid & Rand, at No. 3 Cornhill. The two partners constituted the working force, and a single handpress, with a small quantity of type, forming the plant. The firm shortly afterwards purchased The Sunday School Messenger, and later The Sunday School Teacher, both of the publications being sanctioned by the Methodist-Episcopal Church, and they were later on sold to the Methodist Book concern of New York City. At the end of three years, Mr. Rand purchased Mr. Reid's interests and continued under the firm name of George C. Rand & Co.

In 1852 he secured the printing of Uncle Tom's Cabin, the great demand for which necessitated constant enlargement of his facilities -- 800,000 volumes of these were printed at this time. The undertaking involved the running of the office night and day, requiring Mr. Rand's presence the greater portion of the time. Although the work at this time gave him a leading position in the trade, and was undoubtedly the foundation of much of his future success, yet it was gained at the expense of his health, and the overtaxing of his energies developed a physical trouble which for years rendered him a invalid, and which in the end materially shortened his life.

In 1854 his brother-in-law, Mr. Abraham Avery, was admitted to partnership, and from that date until 1867 the imprint of the firm name, George C. Rand & Avery, was known all over New England, and, in fact, in most of the cities of the east where books were published. The entire block, extending from No. 3 Cornhill to Dock Square, and from Cornhill to Brattle Street, a building six stories in height, was required for the business.

In 1867 the firm was changed to Rand, Avery & Frye, by the admission of Mr. Rand's nephew, Mr. Orrin F. Frye, and in 1871, following Mr. Frye's death, to Rand, Avery & Co., another nephew, Mr. John C. Rand, and a son, Mr. Avery Lewis Rand joining the firm. At this time Mr. Rand was compelled by ill health to retire from the active management of the business.

His was the brain to plan, his the energy to execute. A man of strong determination, he made the opportunity to establish himself in business, and he was in no wise daunted by his lack of capital, or by the many obstacles that confronted him.

With deep religious convictions, and with unswerving integrity he began his life work, and these qualities, with his vigorous energy, his evident business ability, and his power to make friends enabled him to establish and maintain his credit equal to his needs. His obligations were always met, many times at great sacrifice, but each successful struggle only strengthened his position.

He served his apprenticeship at a time when all the operations of the business were carried on in one room, and he became thorough master of his trade, so far as it had advanced. He was a growing printer, ever ready to try new methods, adopting such as proved of value, thus keeping in the foremost rank of his profession.

He took great interest in the artistic printing of wood engravings, and spared neither pains nor expense in doing his share towards the highest attainment then possible. An illustrated edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin, with drawings by Hammatt Billings, and engravings by John Andrew, two of the foremost artists in their times, bear testimony to the excellence of work that was performed by Mr. Rand at a time when wood engravings and their printing were very crudely executed.

Patient, persistent, giving unremitting attention to details, he enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing the business grow until it became one of the largest printing offices in the country. His life was given to his work, and only when failing health made it necessary for him to seek to regain it did he relinquish the burden, but so long as he lived, his interest in it never slackened.

Mr. Rand at an early date joined the Methodist-Episcopal Church in Boston, continuing his membership in that denomination until his death. He was a charter member of the Boston Lodge of I.O. of O.F., a member of the DeMolay Encampment of Knight Templars, a director of the Union Mutual Insurance Company, and various other institutions. He never held a political office.

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George Curtis Rand's Timeline

December 13, 1819
Danville, Vermont, United States
- 1845
Age 22
Reid & Rand
October 22, 1860
Age 40
Newton Center, Norfolk, MA, United States
Homer and Beals
Boston Commercial Gazette