The jewelry firm of Shreve, Crump & Low Company dates from the days of John McFarlane, who in 1809 came from Salem, to Boston and purchased the business of Fletcher & Gardner at 43 Marlborough street. His name appears in the first Boston Directory published in 1796 as keeping a shop at 51 Marlborough street, the Washington street of to-day. After buying out Fletcher & Gardner and continuing business at their store for a short time, he removed to 59 Cornhill. His business was finally purchased in 1813 by Jabez Baldwin of Salem, who formed a firm under the name of Baldwin & Jones and continued the business for one year at 59 Cornhill, after which they moved to 37 Market street.
Among other apprentices who learned the trade in those days were John J. Low and Edward Putnam, who, under the firm name of Putnam & Low, started business for themselves at 33 Cornhill. Three or four years later they separated and the firm of John J. Low & Co. appeared. In 1839 the firm name became Jones, Low & Ball, and the year afterward there was another change, the firm becoming Low, Ball & Co. In 1846 the firm changed again and became Jones, Ball & Poor. Several more changes occurred, until in 1860 the firm of Shreve, Stanwood & Co. was formed, which was succeeded by the firm of Shreve, Crump & Low. In 1888 the firm was incorporated as Shreve, Crump & Low Company, under the laws of Massachusetts, with Benjamin Shreve as president, George D. Low as vice-president, C. H. Crump as manager, and W. P. Shreve as treasurer. The old store was located at the corner of Washington and Winter streets until the Boston fire of 1872, when the company removed to temporary quarters at 158 Tremont street, where it remained a year and then removed to 432 Washington street. Owing to the death of the owner of the property, the firm was obliged to move again and selected the corner of West and Tremont streets for the location of its new building of six stories, which was occupied July 1,1891.
This is, in brief, the development of this firm, which to-day is one of the leading jewelry firms in New England. Some of the various features of the business of this company are a large stock of jewelry and silverware, watches, chains, plated ware, britannia ware, japanned trays, military goods, papier mache, glass, china, astral lamps, and watchmakers' tools. The company also owns and operates a factory where not only gas and electric fixtures are made, but also mural tablets and all varieties of high-grade metal goods upon order. In 1875 a stationery department was added. But the unique feature of the stock of to-day is the antique department that has grown up in the last few years. In it are to be found furniture, tapestries, paintings, china, glassware, bronzes, mirrors, engravings, and fabrics.
Source: Commercial and Financial New England - Boston Herald - 1906