Salem Essex institute.

Annual report. 1898/99-19 online

. (page 6 of 16)
Online LibrarySalem Essex instituteAnnual report. 1898/99-19 → online text (page 6 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Salem Public Library and the Salem Fraternity for files
of Salem newspapers.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


Effort has been continiied to increase the special Essex
County collection, and it has already outgprown the three
rooms assigned to it, so that it has become necessary to
remove the cases of drawers which were in the north-
western room to permit the building of additional shelv-
ing, increasing the space by 288 running feet A partic-
ular effort has been made to secure, through the co-opera-
tion of the Librarians of the various towns in the county,
the local material such as reports, programs, circulars, and
other ephemeral printed matter. An interesting Salem
item purchased was a copy of Felt's Annals in parts as
issued with annotations by William Gibbs.

It is hardly necessary to repeat that the library partic-
ularly invites donations of Essex County and ^Salem
material, imprints of all kinds, reports, programs, circu-
lars, etc. Salem directories are especially welcome for
exchange with other libraries, and members will confer a
favor by sending the old Salem directory to this Library
each time a new one is received, or upon notification the
Institute will be glad to send for such donations.

The most notable addition to the manuscript collections
for many years is the large accumulation of genealogical
material gathered together in England by the late Henry
Pitz-Gilbert Waters and Lothrop Withington, and pur-
chased at auction sale in London by the Essex Institute.
To make these papers available for consultation they will
be carefully arranged and many of them bound together,
and the Institute is very much indebted to Mr. Henry W.
Belknap, who has taken charge of this work. This ac-
cession will be described at length in the report to be
made by the Curator of Manuscripts, and the growing
importance of the manuscript collections will be shown.

Other manuscripts have been received as follows : —

From Senator George Peabody Wetmore, of Newport,
K. I., about six hundred ship papers of great value, includ-
ing papers of the ** Grand Turk," the *' Astrea," the ketch
'^ John," and the brigantine ^* Nancy," all owned by Elias
Hasket Derby. The merchants of Salem were among the
first to explore new channels of trade, and they entered
boldly into competition with the powerful East India

Digitized by VjOOQIC


Company. The ^* Grand Turk/* one of the most famous
ships ever owned in Salem, cleared for China in Novem-
ber, 1785, and returned in June, 1787, with a cargo of
teas, silks and nankeens, completing the first voyage from
New England to the Isle of France, India and China.
At the Peabody Museum there is a punch bowl brought
from Canton commemorative of the voyage. On the
side and in the centre of this bowl are pictures of the
ship, with the inscription <* Ship Grand Turk at Canton,
1786." The ship "Astrea" arrived from Canton in
1790 with a cargo of tea, paying over 927,000 as duties.
The «* Astrea " made some of the early voyages to India,
and in 1798 was seized by the Sultan of Pegu for
use as a transport for stores for his troops in Siam.
Captain Gibaut and his mate were held as hostages.

From Mrs. Ethel (Roosevelt), wife of Dr. Richard
Derby of New York, a collection of Derby family letters,
including letters from Mrs. Jacob Crowninshield to her
Aunt Derby, giving an intimate picture of her home life
beginning with her wedding ; letters from the Princes in
St John to John Derby of Salem. Mrs. Prince was the
daughter of Richard Derby and a sister of Elias Hasket
Derby and John Derby. She and her husband went to
the British provinces as refugees during the Revolution
and remained there until 1802, when their son, who had
married a daughter of E. H. Derby and risen to affluence,
invited his parents to return.

From Mr. Stephen W. Foster of Dorchester, papers
relating to the California pioneers ; from Mr. Winfield S.
Nevins, the original manuscript of his book on witch-
craft ; from Miss Mary Cleaveland, forty-five manuscript
sermons of Rev. John Cleaveland of Chebacco; from
Mrs. Walter Leslie Harris, an epitome of the probate
records of Essex County from 1816 to 1840 ; from the
estate of Mrs. Anna M. Pickford, Ames' Astronomical
Almanac for 1761 to 1768, containing the diary of Rev.
Samuel Chandler of Gloucester. It is interesting to note
that the Institute already possessed the interleaved alma-
nacs containing Mr. Chandler's diaiy for the years 1746
and 1749 to 1768 inclusive, and a typewritten copy cov-

Digitized by VjOOQIC


ering the years 1769 to 1772 ; from Miss Martha C. Cod-
man of Washington, D. C, Pickman ledgers and accoant
books, Benjamin Pickman and Richard S. Rogers corre-
spondence, and a collection of anto^ph letters, including
letters of Lafayette, John Qnincy Adams, etc.

From William C. Waters, jr., family correspondence and
legal papers of Judge Joseph 6. Waters, account books
of Joseph Linton Waters, bills of Capt. Thomas Deane
from 1786 to 1776, etc.

The following manuscripts have been placed on deposit :
the records of the Marblehead Marine Insurance Compa-
ny, the proprietors' records of the Essex Merrimack
Bridge, and records of other insurance companies.

The Essex County newspaper collection has been
largely increased during the year. An opportunity to
purchase large additions to the files of the Newburyport
Herald resulted in securing twenty-five entire years and
parts of twenty-five other years needed in our set. This
paper was published from 1798 to 1916, and the Institute
has a good working set with very few gaps, and redou-
bled efforts will be made to complete the set as soon as
possible. Another Newburyport newspaper, the Essex
Journal and New Hampshire Packet for 1786-7 has been
placed in the library on deposit, also nine numbers of
Green and Russell's Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser,
ranging in date from 1769 to 1766. Large additions
have been made to the file of the Essex County Mercury,
and the Ipswich Register for 1888-1840 was secured at an
auction sale. The latter paper was the first one published
in Ipswich and is very difficult to obtain. By exchange
with the Library of Congress, forty-five issues of various
Boston newspapers from 1763 to 1780 were received.

An interesting discovery has been made concerning the
Salem Gazette and Newbury and Marblehead Advertiser,
which was published in Salem by Ezekiel Russell in
1 774-6 for a few months. It has sJways been supposed
that the last issue was that of April 14, 1776, but Mr.
Brigham of the American Antiquarian Society, in com-
piling his recently published check list of American news-
papers before 1820, has discovered that a copy of the
issue for April 21, 1776, is in the possession of the Brit-

Digitized by VjOOQIC


ish Museum. It seems strange that a copy of this issue
should be preserved in the mother country and none
saved in the colonies. It will be desirable to secure a
photostat copy of this issue for binding with our set, so
that a complete file may be available in Salem, the place
of publication.

An important acquisition by purchase is a set of pho-
tostat copies of the Boston News-letter, made by the
Massachusetts Historical Society for a few subscribers
from the originals in the possession of the American An-
tiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society,
and other libraries. Of some issues only one copy is
known, and as it would be necessary to visit many differ-
ent libraries to consult all the issues, the desirability of
having an entire file in one library is apparent. At the
present time copies of all known issues from the first of
April 24, 1704» to December 27, 1714, have been received,
and when completed this will fill the early period of Bos-
ton newspapers before any files in the Institute collection.

The classification and cataloging has progressed nor-
mally, all current additions to classes already cataloged
being completed to date. One of the catalogers, Miss
Mabil W. Farris, who had done most excellent work in
the library for five years, has resigned to take charge of
the South Branch of the Salem Public Library. It is a
pleasure to express my appreciation of the cordial and
hearty co-operation of the members of the staff.

During the summer months the United States govern-
ment documents were re-arranged, and the departmental
reports were classified and numbered according to the
scheme used in the Libraiy of Congress.

In closing, a paragraph from one of the reports of the
Librarian of Congress is so appropriate that it is here
quoted : ** The Library can indeed hope to attract gifts
only by three means ; First, by a building which will
house them safely and commodiously. Second, by admin-
istration which will safeguard them and render them
useful. Third, by considerable expenditui*e8 of its own in
the acquisition of material which will bring the material
given into honorable company and will attract notice to
it by increasing the reputation of the general collection."

Digitized by VjOOQIC


It was eleven years ago (May, 1905) that the late
William P. Upham, then Curator of Manuscripts, sub-
mitted a full report as to the treasures in that department
of the Institute, and since then the number has greatly
increased, and the room and facilities for their accom-
modation are now suitable. The Secretary recently
made a count of the manuscripts and found over 2600
bound volumes, and in addition 1250 log books and
a large mass of unmounted and unbound material be-

The figures I have just read have probably made no
impression on your minds, and as they are rather essential
to an understanding of this report, let me call attention
to them. As to the bound volumes of manuscripts, 2600
of them, suppose a searcher were to examine them at a
rate of fifty volumes a week, a large average by the way,
it would require an entire year for the undertaking. And
at the same rate of examination, six months would be
consumed in going over the unparalleled collection of
1250 log books. From its size alone the manuscript col-
lection of the Essex Institute must be called large.

Suppose for present purposes we define the word, man-
uscript, as a paper inscribed more or less formally with a
personal message or with a record, the result of a combi-
nation of circumstances. For instance, a paper upon
which today was hastily made a memorandum for tempo-
rary purposes, or a letter written in the routine of the
day's worky may each at some time in the future become
a manuscript of value, just as have thousands of similar
papers, now in the fireproof vault, which reproduce the
life of the past with startling exactness.

The reasons for these manuscripts being gathered to-
gether are many and diverse. Between the generous


Digitized by VjOOQIC


impulses of those who are glad to share with others the
enjoyment of their treasures, and the unimaginative atti-
tude of such as see in old manuscripts only waste paper
saleable at so much per pound, may be discerned a wide
range of motives. Yet whatever the motive, the accu-
muktions are now in the possession of the Institute, and
the romance — and the tragedy as well — of their coming
would supply the material for many a story.

One instance will suffice. In 1916 a volume of letters
elegantly bound was received from an elderly gentleman
in Canada, who wrote: *<As I have no children, I
thought these memorials had better be kept by the Insti-
tute, as the letters relate largely to Salem." The result
of his thoughtf ulness is that we now have some delight-
ful records of Salem life and people. On the other hand,
there are many items that actually were taken from the
junk pile.

It may give some conception of how varied and inter-
esting is the character of the contents of the fireproof, if
some brief notes are submitted showing what was found
during a few hours spent among the shelves.

A spirited sketch of the boat '^ Nancy " is seen on one
side of a small piece of paper, while on the other is a bill
for hauling twenty-four loads of gravel for the ** Road
through South Salem " in 1808.

As geographical boundaries count for little in the
fireproof, here is a California item : A long, beautifully
written list of parties who paid duties to the military
authorities in California between the time of the Treaty
of Peace and the extension of the Revenue Laws over
the State in 1848.

Salem ships and shipping naturally figure extensively
in the collections. There is a package of the letters of
instructions from the owners of vessels to their captains,
some dated prior to the Revolutionary War. A certain
form was frequently used at the beginning of the letters,
such as is found in one to Captain Nathaniel Silsbee in
1780 : — '* The ship Benjamin, of which you are master,
being ready for sea, I do advise and order you to come
to sail and make the beet of your way for the Gape of
Good Hope."

Digitized by VjOOQIC


In a bound volnme is the concise report of a captain
to bis owners in 1808 about the capture of his ship by a
French privateer and her subsequent rescue by an English
frigate, the commander of which asked and received as
salvage one-eighth of the value of the cargo.

Here is an example of an act that through constant
repetition became a fixed habit : A programme of a
farewell concert by Adelina Patti in 1888.

This next item was the work of that delightful racon-
teur, Francis H. Lee : Three volumes of material, in-
cluding photographs, for a history of Chestnut Street.

Was the reason for the issuing of this document a de-
sire to protect from annoyance the Salem man who used
it, or was it to give him a standing in the metropolis? It
is a formal document from the Secretary of the Common-
wealth of Massachusetts granting permission to a Salem
man to go to New York in September, 1862.

The list might be continued indefinitely, but enough
has been given to show how varied is the material, some
dating from the earliest times in Salem, while other items
have nothing whatever to do with Salem, or even with
Massachusetts. If a catalogue by subjects were made of
all the items in an issue of a newspaper of today, it could
not contain more disconnected entries than would a simi-
lar compilation of the contents of the fireproof, and for a
similar reason, because these accumulations represent life
in all its aspects, and life at first hand without amend-
ment or revision ; truly a wonderful collection.

It may be said, and said truthfully, that what have
been selected are not the items of value which give the
collections their high standing among students. But a
searcher for witchcraft items among the Putnam papers
would not give a second look at the wealth of shipping
material in the Derby papers. And the specialist on
commerce would disregard a volume whose label showed
it to be letters from a father to his son in Tale College
two centuries ago, even though the writer expressed in
the old style handwriting such present day thoughts as,
** I am sending you some money ; why don't you write
us ? " And moreover, none of these investigators would

Digitized by VjOOQIC


think he ooald find anything of significance in an old
stereoscopic view of a dozen children in their perambu-
lators, on the reverse of which the photographer, in his
exaltation, had printed : —

A Photographic Feat Unparalled

The photographing of so many babies in one group, and
getting them ALL STILL, is a thing probably never before
accomplished. (B. B. Lewis, Hudson, Mass., 1874.)

The thought that is uppermost in the mind on learning
of these treasures is. How can they be made available
and their contents become known ? The cabalistic com-
binations — dear to the heart of the cataloguer — such as
PQR 49 Z and ST 1860 X, might be affixed to each of
the manuscripts, but it would take much time, and for
some of us it might be eternity, before the listing could
be completed. And even then the algebraic formulas
would give no intimation of the dramatic force latent in
some time-stained sheet bearing names of men not only
forgotten, but so far out of mind that it might take days
to search out enough to allow an understanding of what
they wrote.

The Secretary called my attention one day to a bundle
of manuscript, a diary of three hundred pages, that had
been in the Institute for fifty years. The name of the
diarist had been known only a few months when he spoke
of it The result for me was a delightful personal expe-
rience of eighteen months' study of that manuscript, for
it led to the revivifying of a strong character, a Lynn
Quaker, Zaccheus Collins, who died in 1770. There are
many items waiting for development by those who may
be so fortunate as to find the particular lines of investiga-
tion that appeal to their individual taste.

The Waters-Withington manuscripts, through the ardu-
ous, faithful work of one especially well fitted for the
task, Mr. Henry W. Belknap, are being made available
for investigators. Their acquisition will result in a sub-
stantial increase in the number of those resorting to the
Institute for research and study, though the number con-
sulting manuscripts in libraries is small as compared with
those using books.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Digitized by VjOOQIC



From the portrait by I. H. Caliga, now in the potsottion of the Essex Institute.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


A volame of manuscripts cannot be examined with the
same assurance one has when he consults a dictionary.
Neither can a man expect to receive desired information
when he says in the same breath that he wants to know
what were the commercial relations between Salem and
Timbuctoo and that his train leaves in twenty minutes.

The study of these manuscripts takes time and patience.
Rigid rules regarding their use, such as are in force
wherever manuscripts are kept for study, will have to be
made and observed, for though a book that is lost or
damaged may be replaced, a manuscript lost is lost for-

In conclusion, the purpose of this report is not to
relate in detail what the fireproof contains, for that is a
matter of library administration that is being well cared
for. The object is rather to affirm again that the Institute
has safely in its fireproof an accumijQation of manuscript
material, comprehensive, diversified, and in some lines
almost complete.

Therefore, whatever your line of investigation and
study, make sure, before you make your summary, that
you learn what the Essex Institute contains on the subject.

John Albbbe.

The Watebs-Withington Genealogical

The recent acquisition of the entire collection of man-
uscript notes and typewritten copies of wills, parish
registers, and other sources of genealogical information,
representing the result of over forty years of research by
our most eminent Essex County genealogist, Mr. Henry
Fitz-Gilbert Waters, and his successor in the work, Mr.
Lothrop Withington, a native of Newburyport, puts the
Essex Institute in possession of the largest showing of
unprinted English genealogical material tnat can be found
in this country. It should assist all searchers who visit
the Institute for research in that line and attract many

Digitized by VjOOQIC


from all parts of the oonntryi who otherwiae would nerer
he seen here.

The wills of which some fourteen thousand are type-
written copiep, cover more or less fully most of the probate
jurisdictions of England and to some extent those of
Scotland, Ireland and Wales. In some cases they represent
complete files for years at a time, in others only such
were selected as seemed probably diose of connections of
American immigrants. These copies are being arranged
for binding in two series, one according to volume and
page of each court, and hence practically in order of date
in that court. The other series according to family name
and alphabetically by christian name under the family
heading. The latter series is therefore self-indexed.

In passing over these wills, while it has not been possi-
ble to examine them very closely, many names have been
noted that are very suggestive in connection with our
early New England and Virginia settlers, and not a few
contain direct references to relatives across the sea. Of
course among them are a number which have previously
been copied for the compilers of various family genealo-
gies, but it seems certain that in some instances supple-
mentary information can be found and also a good deal as
to famUies intermarried with those of the emigrants.

The probate districts covered number about sixty in all,
and in most of these there are several jurisdictions, such
as consistories, archdeaconries, etc.

As the great Prerogative Courts of Canterbury and
York cover between them all of England and Wales, the
wills proved in these courts are very numerous, while a
large number are to be found in sundry jurisdictions of
County Essex.

Since this work was carried on both by Mr. Waters and
Mr. Withington very largely in the interest and through
the support of the late Mr. James J. Goodwin of Hart-
ford, in his search for Goodwin ancestry, it is but natural
that the greatest volume upon any one name concerns that
of Goodwin, but others, such as Abbot, Adams, Allen,
Armstrong, Arnold, HiUs, Morgan, Palmer and Stokes,
are largely represented, and in all of them there is much

Digitized by VjOOQIC


to be learned about other fttmilies. It rapplements rery
matly the two volumes of Mr. Waters' Gleanings and
Register Soame of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
for 1620, copied by Mr. J. Henry Lea.

The period covered is roughly from the fifteenth to the
eighteenth centurieSt but much the greater number are
wUls of the early seventeenth century, when the tide of
colonists was setting most strongly in this direction.

Apart from purely genealogical interest, there are many
wills notable for peculiar and quaint verbiage, interesting
bequests, such as the one in which the testator leaves to
his executor ten shillings per annum, <^ as long as my poor
parrot shall live *\ and references to places or things of
historic association; for example, the will of Thomas
Pope of St. Savior's, County Surrey, proved in 1604, in
which he bequeaths his title in <* the Playhouse called The
Globe, in the parish of St Saviors.''

Next in importance to the wills are the copies of Par-
ish Registers. Chief of these is a copy of the Tran-
scripts at Bury St Edmunds, running approximately
from 1580 to 1600 and covering scores of parishes. There
are also an index to the Lowestoft Registers, alphabeti-
cally arranged, a copy of the important one to Americans
of Bocking, County £ssex, from 1661 to 1689, and more
or less full extracts from some hundreds of parishes in
all parts of the kingdom, being those not in print, unless
a few may have since been published.

There are many indexes to Court Registers, Act Books,
etc., a large quantity of depositions, indentures, and vari-
ous court papers, a descriptive index to the papers in the
Muniment Room of Guy's Tower, Warwick Castle, from
tempo Elizabeth to Charles 11, covering all leases of lands,
marriage settlements, and other items connected with the
estates. Likewise there is a Calendar of the Rotuli &
Cartae Antiquae of the Earl of Warwick from tempo
Henry II to Mary, consisting of land-grants, quit-claims,
and other such documents.

Copies of the Act Books of Counties Essex, Norwich
and Sudbury, of the Close Rolls of Elizabeth, James I,
Charles I and others, form a considerable mass of mate-
rial, partly in manuscript form.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


Next mast be noted a vast quantity of manusoript notes
on many families and sundry files of correspondence with
actual or potential clients, in which there are often yalu-
able hints on genealogical matters.

It is impossible to itemize fully the range of the collec-
tion, but an important part remains to be mentioned in
connection with the English material, namely, a complete
file in manuscript (not type-written) of all wills in the
Prerogative Court of Canterbury from 1605 to 1619.
This it will be noted is further extended for the year 1620

1 2 3 4 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibrarySalem Essex instituteAnnual report. 1898/99-19 → online text (page 6 of 16)