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Old 08-20-2008, 09:35 AM
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Default Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation

Folks, I'm posting this on behalf of Ray and Sheryl Cheely. Please ask any questions you might have here and those of us who are members of this new organization will attempt to answer your questions quickly and promptly. Several of the guys who frequently contribute to this section of the S&W Forum have already joined.

For those of us who collect pre 1950 Smith and Wessons this new foundation is going to have significant benefits in terms of tracking and researching our individual guns. I urge those interested to join up as quickly as possible and support the work already underway.


The Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation


So, what is the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation (SWHF) and why to do we
need it? The SWHF is a charity established to ensure the long-term availability
of Smith and Wesson’s paper records. At present the bulk of these records,
roughly 700,000 documents, are stored at the Connecticut Valley Historical
Museum. They are kept in many hundreds of boxes and are not accessible to
collectors. The SWHF intends to digitize these paper records in such a way that
they can be searched and reproduced through the use of a computer database. As
the project progresses a process will be established to enable collectors to
request information relating to specific guns, probably in the form of letters.

What progress has been made so far? The SWHF was formally introduced at the 2008
annual SWCA meeting in Sturbridge. An initial batch of 2,000 documents has
already been scanned and a demonstration computer software package is
operational. Several dozen collectors have already joined and substantial
donations have been made.

Why would we want to be members of the SWHF? We are establishing a system that
will enable our current “factory letter” process to continue after the current
arrangement is no longer available. Factory letters are an essential part of
our collecting and SWHF will insure that they will always be available. In
addition, the digital reproduction of the factory records means that we will be
able to get copies of any historical document related to our guns. Imagine
being able to have copies of the original invoice, order form, owner
correspondence… Who knows what else might be in the records?

What approach is the SWHF taking? Obviously, digitizing 700,000+ documents is a
massive undertaking. Since the records are filed by date, we have decided to
break the records down into logical groups of years. The first such group has
already been selected, the factory correspondence records from 1935-1941. The
2,000 record test database is a part of this information. Before this project
has been completed we will have prioritized a list of subsequent groups and be
ready to start work on them.

How much will all this cost and how long will it take? These 2 questions are
closely related. The company handling the work is a commercial organization and
must be paid. We estimate that the total cost of digitally preserving the
records will be in the region of $1.5 million. There is a finite speed at which
the company can work. But, if the money were available today, we estimate
roughly 2 years work would be required to completion. The amount of money
available will ultimately dictate the time to completion. Because this is a
massive and expensive undertaking, the SWHF needs your support. Ask yourselves,
if we don’t do it, WHO WILL? And remember, all donations/memberships are tax
deductible!

Does anyone make any money out of this? Other than the company providing the
digital scanning and software, NO! No member of the SWHF board or anyone
assisiting it is receiving any payment.

Who are the people behind the SWHF? The Board of Trustees of SWHF is made up of
some of the most influential historians and collectors of Smith & Wessons that
could be assembled. A full list is provided at the bottom of this post. All
board members are dedicated to making this project happen.

Ray Cheely
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation

If you would like more details please post your question on this thread or email
me at skc102@...



Smith & Wesson Factory Records Project

The original factory records of Smith & Wesson are comprised of approximately
700,000 documents that are preserved at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum
(CVHM). These documents include correspondence, production records, invoices
and many other interesting items. Smith & Wesson Collectors Association (SWCA)
has provided significant funding over the last several years for the
preservation of these records. Currently, access to the records is limited to
hand-searching through boxes by date. Whenever a factory letter is requested
CVHM staff research invoices in these records. It is a time consuming process
and involves fragile documents.

The Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation has begun the process of digitally
reproducing and indexing these records. This will provide a database that will
have information accessible through various index keys such as serial number,
names, dates, etc.

A company specializing in digital reproduction has completed a sample box of
2,000 records. Some records are a single page and others have several attached
documents. The information found in this one box is extremely interesting. A
random search resulted in information regarding guns given to a friend of Doug
Wesson, Father Hubbard, also referred to as “the Glacier Priest”. The
information included the invoice (at no charge to Father Hubbard), order forms,
and various correspondence detailing shipment to Nome, Alaska. Also included
was the accounting entry where Smith & Wesson charged off the cost of the guns
to advertising expense, $11.74 each for four first model K-22s and $17.00 each
for six Registered Magnums. To our knowledge, this is the first reference we’ve
seen to the cost price of these 2 historical guns, and it came from a random
search on only a tiny piece of the information that will eventually be available
to us.

As this project moves forward, any information included in the years that have
been digitized will be available by a letter request. For example, if a request
was made for information regarding the index key “serial number 45768”, all
digitized material related to that serial number in the records would be
available—digital copies of the correspondence, order forms, invoices or
whatever was available for that index key.

The system for requesting a Foundation Letter is currently being developed. All
of this information is tentative. When the letters become available, details
will be announced.

Funding for this project will be provided by tax deductible donations and
memberships to the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation as well as fees from
future letter requests. The following text of the brochure outlines the
different levels of memberships available. We are always willing to work with
you on contributing to the Foundation over time.

Below is the text from the SWHF brochure, copies of which can be obtained by dropping us an email to the address above:

Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation


A tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3)

SMITH & WESSON has a long and storied history as one of the premiere firearms
manufacturers in the world. IN 1852, Horace Smith and D.B. Wesson started the
company whose name still today stands for high quality and leading design
technology. Along the way, the rich history of the company has provided a
source of fascinating archival information and firearms treasured by collectors
around the world.

OUR MISSION is to provide funding and guidance for research, preservation and
display of historical materials of Smith & Wesson. The Foundation will work
closely with Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, Smith & Wesson Collectors
Association and Smith & Wesson to attain our goals.

Significant Activities of the Foundation Include:

· Funding the digital reproduction and indexing of the Smith & Wesson
factory records at Connecticut Valley Historical Museum.

· Working with Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and Smith & Wesson
to insure a continuous flow of “factory letters” and other access to research
information.

· Purchasing historically significant Smith & Wesson materials for
preservation at Connecticut Valley Historical Museum.

· Funding of specific research, publication, preservation or display
projects.

FUNDING of our activities will be provided by memberships and other donations.
All memberships and donations are fully tax-deductible as we are a public
charity under Section 501(c)(3).

Membership Categories:

· Member. $100. Available at any time.
· Founding Member. $1000. Available only within our first year of
operations (prior to June 30, 2009).
· Life Member. $1000. Available at any time after June 30, 2009
· Benefactor Member. $10,000. Available at any time.

Donations of any size, bequests from estates, or other forms of financial
assistance are always welcome. In addition, arrangements can be made to make
membership payments over time.

Members will receive semi-annual updates on the progress being made. They, as
well as members of the S&WCA, will receive a discounted rate when letters become
available.

To become a member, send your check with your name, address and email address.
If you need additional information, please contact us at:

Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation
PO Box 1494
Great Bend, KS 67530
skc102@...

History of the Foundation

The Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation was organized on April 18, 2007 by Ray
and Sheryl Cheely. As avid Smith & Wesson collectors for over 30 years, they
felt there was a great need to provide a funding method for the activities now
being pursued by the Foundation. Their hope is to insure that the rich history
of Smith & Wesson and its’ products will continue to captivate collectors and
historians for many generations to come.

Board of Trustees
Ray A. Cheely, Chairman
Certified Public Accountant

William R. Cross, Vice-Chairman
President, Smith & Wesson Collectors Assn.

Sheryl K. Cheely, Secretary
Former S&WCA Administrative Assistant

Roy G. Jinks
Author and Smith & Wesson Historian

Joseph Carvalho III
President, Springfield Museums Association

Tom Taylor
Vice-President of Marketing, Smith & Wesson

Jim Supica
Author and President of Old Town Station, LTD

Peter DeRose
Noted Smith & Wesson Collector
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:01 AM
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Everyone,
This is a SIGNIFICANT and worthwhile undertaking. I have already joined as a Founding Member, and I hope to do more as time progresses.
This is a wonderful way to secure the future of the factory letters, and to enhance the availability of incidental knowledge about a particular gun or person, or a Model in general.

I have seen the test database, and it is AWSOME! Imagine being able to pull up every document with a particular serial number or NAME on it.

I urge you all to join at whatever level suits your circumstances.
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:50 AM
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A very worthwhile organization. Any one that would like to see the history of Smith & Wesson preserved for future generations should join…
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:19 AM
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The Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation needs and deserves the support of all persons who collect or are interested in the history of Smith & Wesson and its products. The digitization and indexing of S&W's paper records will enable SWHF to search these records for documents that relate to a specific firearm. These documents can be provided to collectors on a fee basis (fee structure has not been determined) as additional provenance about the origin and configuration of their S&W.

Bill
SWHF Founding Member
Life Member, S&WCA
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:19 AM
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I could say a whole lot more but will keep this short..

This is a project with a potential end result that many of us dreamed about for years, and that I personally have itched to see underway since Ray first began to talk with me about it a year ago. My commitment to financially support this effort was made during our first discussion. I encourage all of you to consider joining with us in this very worthwhile endeavor.

Guys and gals, there's really only one good way to say how important this project is to the future historical research and collecting of S&W's: NOW (and in the future, too) is the time to put your money where your mouths have been for so long !!

What Dave, Lee and Bill said, too..


David Carroll
Life Member S&WCA # 464
S&WHF Benefactor Member
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:59 AM
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this is great, i'll be sending out my money today. this is a no-brainer guys. i have only been collecting for a short time and have learned so much about S&W and there guns. this is also about preserving the history of the company and our firearms. looking forward to the future of the S&WHF...
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:10 AM
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I'm in.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:12 AM
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This is a project of exceptional vision & scope, and we all owe a huge debt to Ray & Sheryl Cheely for their remarkable donation of time, effort and resources to make this a reality.

I know of nothing remotely comparable in the field of historical firearms research.

Membership in the foundation is an investment in the future of gun collecting in general and S&W collecting in specific.

I support this 100%, and hope other forum members will too. -- Jim
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:07 AM
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I've done some of that kind of work, in another field, and can tell you it is worth a LOT to have someone else do all the scanning and organizing. It is a lot of very tedious work, and can be mind numbing unless you are really interested in the subject matter.

Good luck. Whatever is being charged to do this is well worth it.

Your opinions and experience may vary

rayb
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Old 08-23-2008, 06:38 AM
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I really thought this thread would get more comment or questions.
People, please realize THIS is the ONLY viable future for S&W letters.
If there are any questions, some of us will be happy to answer them.
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Old 08-23-2008, 09:00 AM
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Sounds good to me.
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Old 08-23-2008, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by handejector:
If there are any questions, some of us will be happy to answer them.
No questions here. Check went out a few days ago.
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by merlindrb:


Membership Categories:

· Member. $100. Available at any time.
· Founding Member. $1000. Available only within our first year of
operations (prior to June 30, 2009).
· Life Member. $1000. Available at any time after June 30, 2009
· Benefactor Member. $10,000. Available at any time.
I don't understand the membership pricing. what the difference between member and Benefactor member (other than $9,900). As stated, they both can access the SWHF at any time.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:10 PM
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I would also encourage Forum members to join in this worthy cause. Together, we can insure the success of this venture and provide for the continuation of access to the historical records vital to our interests as Smith & Wesson collectors.

Jerry
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:30 AM
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rickjames...There is no difference between the levels of membership in terms of benefits. Different membership levels are available so a person can contribute various amounts to the SWHF and be recognized for it. All memberships and donations are tax deductible.

The SWHF and its projects will play a vital role in the future of the collecting of S&W firearms and memorabilia and is worthy of any level of support a person can provide.

Bill Cross
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:49 PM
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Ladies and Gentlemen, the establishment of this Foundation is probably the most significant event in the history of Smith & Wesson collecting.

Every one of us who enjoys this hobby and wishes to see it perpetuated should join. Join at whatever level that you can and at a level that you can be comfortable with, but join.

If you need a selfish reason to join, just think of the investment in your collection that you now have. How will that collection appreciate over time if future collectors have no access to the historical information that relates to your guns. Without that historical perspective, the pool of future collectors will diminish in time.

Thanks to all the men and women who have worked so hard to make this dream a reality.

Bob
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Old 09-02-2008, 11:27 AM
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Just a quick note to let everyone know that I am sending a bunch of membership cards and tax receipts out today to those who have generously joined the SWHF. I am sorry for the delay, but Ray has had a few health issues that we have had to pay attention to.

I appreciate everyone's kind words. This is a project that has been in Ray's mind (and heart) for quite a while. Thanks to all who have joined and we hope that we will have many more do so!

If you would like a brochure, you can email me at skc102_@_hotmail.com (remove the underscores when sending the email) and I would be happy to send one to you.

Thanks to Dave Ballantyne for the original post!

Sheryl & Ray Cheely
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Old 09-09-2008, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by vintagesmith:
If you would like a brochure, you can email me at skc102_@_hotmail.com (remove the underscores when sending the email) and I would be happy to send one to you.
Just mailed off a bunch of brochures. If you emailed me and don't receive one let me know.

If anyone else wants one, just email at the address above. Thanks to everyone for their interest.

Sheryl & Ray
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Old 09-17-2008, 07:00 PM
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Thanks to all who are requesting info and sending in their memberships. I am running a little behind getting them out, but hope to do so this weekend.

Again, just email me if you need info on the Foundation or have any questions.

skc102_@_hotmail.com (leave out the __)

Thanks.

Sheryl
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Old 09-22-2008, 04:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by vintagesmith:
Thanks to all who are requesting info and sending in their memberships. I am running a little behind getting them out, but hope to do so this weekend.

Again, just email me if you need info on the Foundation or have any questions.

skc102_@_hotmail.com (leave out the __)

Thanks.

Sheryl
Good morning, all! Just completed a batch of membership letters and requests for brochures. If you do not receive yours in the next few days, let me know! Thanks for all the interest. If you haven't requested a brochure or become a member--just contact me at the email above! Thanks again!!

Sheryl & Ray
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:59 AM
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Just my .02. I will be joining. Sounds like a good thing to do. Has the NRA been contacted about support, and a mention in the American Rifleman. Just a thought.
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:36 AM
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Cartouche...We are working a getting an article in the NRA publications. Your thought is appreciated.

Bill Cross
Vice Chairman, SWHF
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Old 09-26-2008, 09:37 PM
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Sounds like a worth while project. I will be joining soon.

Thank you
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Old 10-05-2008, 08:39 PM
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I assume there will be a charge for the information (such as the current letter fee) in addition to the membership fee. Is that correct?
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Old 10-06-2008, 05:12 AM
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The fee structure has not been determined, but there will be a charge for the documents provided.

Bill
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:06 PM
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This is probably going to sound silly or even maybe stupid but there are those of us with computer and database experience just sitting on our duffs retired. I know I would be willing to do database entry work pro-bono. I don't know if it's possible, but with computers and the Internet, I would think some of the load could be done off-site. My database experience is with Microsoft's Access software. I would think chunks of information could be photocopied and sent to people willing to do this type of work. I've built and maintained databases for the company I worked for and for the American Fan Collector's Association. It would probably take an IT guy to figure out just how to share the software and the legality of the idea. Just a thought for getting a huge project done in a lot less time...
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:59 PM
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Riptrack44 - that's a very kind offer.

I know that Ray and the board did look at this option, in fact I offered my own services when the foundation was first discussed. Ray explained that the pure numbers of documents involved, plus the secure and "environmentally friendly" conditions under which they are stored, somewhat negated the opportunity for individuals to assist unless they happened to be local to Springfield.

Since that time we've come to realize the complexity of the scanning and manual keyword categorization processes. We now know it's a job for a specialist agency. That's precisely what Ray selected, probably the best outfit there is at this kind of work - even our Government use them I believe.

It's a pity as I'd have liked to be much more involved. But I do understand the situation and hope you can also.
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:34 AM
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Good morning, everyone. Hope you all are having a great weekend. I just finished getting out membership cards to you all who applied this last couple of weeks. If you don't receive them shortly, let me know. Also if you would like info on the Foundation you can email me at skc102_hotmail.com (replace the - with @).

We really appreciate all those who are becoming members and requesting information. We think this will be a very worthwhile endeavor.

Thanks again!

Sheryl & Ray
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:39 PM
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Hi, all! Just a note to tell you that we will be at the Tulsa show this weekend, around the A4 area, if you have any questions or would like a brochure, just ask!

See you there!

Sheryl & Ray
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by vintagesmith:
Hi, all! Just a note to tell you that we will be at the Tulsa show this weekend, around the A4 area, if you have any questions or would like a brochure, just ask!

See you there!

Sheryl & Ray
It was great seeing so many of you in Tulsa. We had several new members sign up. I just finished processing the memberships and those that joined should have your cards shortly. If anyone else would like information, please contact me at skc102@hotmail.com. Thanks so much!

Sheryl & Ray
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:45 PM
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Checking to see what the backlog is on receiving a membership card.Sent my money in on 10/25 and my card has not landed.Would appreciate some feedback.

Thanks

Louis
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by buffalo4star:
Checking to see what the backlog is on receiving a membership card.Sent my money in on 10/25 and my card has not landed.Would appreciate some feedback.

Thanks

Louis
Louis,
Drop Sheryl an email at:

skc102@hotmail.com

I am sure she will fix it up for you.
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:30 PM
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Card landed.Thank you Sheryl.

Louis
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:15 AM
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Who is replacing Tom Taylor on the BOD? (Perhaps a S&W executive, so the Foundation will have a factory voice for input there from?)
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Old 12-14-2008, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by opoefc:
Who is replacing Tom Taylor on the BOD? (Perhaps a S&W executive, so the Foundation will have a factory voice for input there from?)
Ed, we will be looking into this after the first of the year. We hope to have someone from S&W back on the board to replace Tom. Thanks for the inquiry.

Ray & Sheryl
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Old 12-14-2008, 04:30 PM
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Just a reminder. All contributions to the SWHF are tax deductible as it is a 501(c)(3). If you need a deduction for 2008, send your contribution/membership today!

Thanks.

Sheryl
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:22 PM
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Good evening! Just processed a group of memberships and they will be mailed out tomorrow. One was a neat idea--mom bought a membership for her son!

After the first of the year we will have an update on the process for you.

Take care and everyone have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
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Old 12-18-2008, 01:55 PM
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I support this effort 100% and became a founding member at the S&WCA meeting in June. This effort is critically important to those of us who collect. The data base should protect and even enhance knowledge and values. This effort is much preferred to what we get from Colt
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:31 PM
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This deserves to go to the top again, ....and, again, ... and, again... You get the idea. If you're at all serious about understanding, collecting, and sharing S&W history and ownership, please get involved at whatever level you can afford.

Thanks!

Jerry
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:16 AM
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Happy New Year, almost!

We have received a number of memberships over the last few days. I will be processing them shortly. There is still time to have a deduction for 2008--just be sure that your check is dated in 2008 and your envelope postmarked the same and I will make sure your receipt says 2008!

Ray and I really appreciate all those who have completed memberships this year. We will be sending out an update in January.

Thanks and we hope everyone has a happy, healthful and safe New Year!

Sheryl & Ray Cheely
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:53 PM
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bttt, and could someone e-mail me info. Many thanks.
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:11 PM
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Good for you, Mike.
You'll never find an organization run by such superbly-qualified folks.
I look forward to 're-upping' every year!
Don
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:28 PM
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Mike, most of the info is in Dave B's intro, but I would be happy to mail you a brochure if you would like. Email me at skc102@hotmail.com with your address and I'll get it out this weekend! Thanks so much for your interest!

Sheryl & Ray
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by vintagesmith:
Mike, most of the info is in Dave B's intro, but I would be happy to mail you a brochure if you would like. Email me at skc102@hotmail.com with your address and I'll get it out this weekend! Thanks so much for your interest!

Sheryl & Ray
Duh??? ALL of the info is in the intro, no wonder I never could get promoted off those civil service exams.
I will respond asap.
Thank you.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:24 PM
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If you find that you have any questions, don't hesitate to email us!

Thanks.

Sheryl & Ray
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Old 01-20-2009, 07:30 AM
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The next bill to cross my hands will be slated for membership.

A very worthwhile cause.

Bless you Sheryl and Ray.

Regards ,,,Al
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:18 PM
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Mailed my check DBY -- an excellent cause.

David W.
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Old 02-17-2009, 06:00 PM
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Good evening all! We had a beautiful 75 degree day today! Unbelievable for Kansas in February!!

I just finished processing some memberships and contributions and thought I would pass along a couple ideas that were brought up. One existing Founding Member did a memorial gift to the Foundation for a deceased friend. Another requested extra brochures to hand out at his gun club. Both are excellent ideas and ways to help make the Foundation grow! We also processed two other Founding Members who are completing their memberships by making monthly payments. We appreciate everyones help with this huge project and are happy to work with you in any way.

Thanks everyone for your support. If you have any questions, please email me at skc102@hotmail.com

Sheryl & Ray Cheely
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Old 03-14-2009, 01:30 AM
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Thought I would post the latest update on the Foundation. Any questions or if you need a brochure, please email me at skc102@hotmail.com. Thanks. Sheryl & Ray

Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation

March 7, 2009

Re: SWHF Update

Greetings to all members:

I would again like to personally thank everyone for all of their support. I am pleased to report we are making good progress towards our funding and project goals. We have currently raised in excess of $100,000 and have substantial commitments yet to come.

We have particularly good news in that we have found an alternate firm to perform the digital reproduction project at a significantly reduced cost. The initial estimate for digitally reproducing Smith & Wesson’s records from 1935 to 1941 was $300,000. The estimate is now approximately $225,000. Please keep in mind this estimate is subject to change as the final charge will be based on the exact number of documents digitized, software requirements, etc. We anticipate the run of digitizing the first fifteen boxes of documents will be completed within the next 30-60 days. Following completion of this initial run and evaluation of the results, we will begin working with the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum (CVHM) to formulate the procedures for requesting letters and documents from the SWHF.

My deepest thanks go out to Vice-Chairman Bill Cross for all of his help with this project, as my health has imposed substantial limitations on my time.

I will continue to keep you informed as we make progress.

Many thanks,

Ray Cheely
Chairman, SWHF

PS. Hope to see many of you next month in Tulsa!!
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:19 PM
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Check going out today. Get to support a worthy cause AND get a tax deduction for it.
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