No. 4219

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Book Title         

Portable and Prefabricated Houses of the Thirties The E.F. Hodgson Company 1935 and 1939 Catalogs  An Unabridged Reprint


Paul H. Tedesco and James B. Tedesco

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The E. F. Hodgson Company of Dover, Massachusetts, calling itself “America’s First Prefabricator,” was one of a number of companies who used specialty mail-order catalogs to advertise and sell sectional and ready-cut houses. From a small New England town, the Hodgson Company competed with such economic giants as Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward to catch the eye of a growing America in the 1890s. Using the railroad to market, the specialty house mail-order catalog companies competed all over the United States. There is still a good case for the idea that the Hodgson Company was in the market before Sears and equaled them in production. But even so, Hodgson also became better known outside of the United States in such places as Belgium, Italy, France, Newfoundland, and Jerusalem.  We hope that the reproduction of these 1935 and 1939 Hodgson Houses catalogs—long lost to history—will reintroduce to America this fascinating company and its portable houses. From 1892-1944, the Hodgson Company was the most important economic force in a simple agricultural community. It is one the best examples of how small businesses played, and still play, an important role in the United States economy and that of the New England region.

About the Authors

Paul H. Tedesco is an author, educator, and local historian. Dr. Tedesco is professor emeritus at Northeastern University and adjunct professor at the University of Maryland University College-European Division. He is currently president of the Dover Historical Society. He has been president of the New England History Teachers’ Association and the Bay State Historical League. He has written, lectured, and taught American and New England history, and local history for over fifty years. An innovative historian, he holds the A.B. degree in history from Harvard College, A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Boston University, and an advanced graduate degree from Northeastern University. Other books published by Paul H. Tedesco