The Abraham Bell papers contain correspondence and financial documents related to Abraham Bell & Co., an early 19th-century New York City shipping firm owned by Abraham Bell.
1.5 linear feet
Collection processed and finding aid created by Erin Platte and Meg Hixon, October 2011
Scope and Content:
The Abraham Bell papers contain correspondence and financial documents related to Abraham Bell & Co., an early 19th-century New York City shipping firm owned by Abraham Bell. The majority of material in the Correspondence series is addressed to either Abraham Bell or to his company, and relates to various business affairs, often concerning payment or delivery of goods. Many of the letters originated from European firms, including a letter from Collman, Lambert & Co. in Liverpool, written on stationery that includes a printed list of current prices for cotton and related goods (February 8, 1837).
The Receipts and financial papers series consists of non-correspondence items related to the operation of Abraham Bell & Co. throughout the early and mid-1800s. These include records of payment and lists of cargo carried aboard Bell's ships, as well as several documents relating to loads of street manure in 1839. Several early items within this series pertain to the ship Josephine.
Fifteen Account and receipt books provide information about Bell's financial endeavors throughout the period in explicit detail, covering the years 1840-1868. A letter book contains copies of letters written by Abraham Bell between October 16, 1833, and August 15, 1834.
Miscellaneous items in the collection include an indenture for land in New Jersey belonging to the Budd family (December 25, 1812), and a record of fiscal accounts between Abraham Bell & Co. and [Malionson] Bell & Co. (June 30, 1836).
Biographical / Historical:
Abraham Bell was born in Ireland in March 1778, and married Mary Christy in 1812; the couple had six children. In the early 19th century, Bell, a Quaker, and his family emigrated to New York City, where he built a shipping firm, Abraham Bell & Company. The business, which operated several transatlantic routes, shipped a wide variety of goods, including linens. In 1844, Bell changed the name of his company to Abraham Bell & Son. A few years later, during the Irish famine of the late 1840s, Bell's company assisted in the transportation of émigrés to America. Bell died in New York City in 1856.
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
This collection is arranged in the following series:
Series I: Correspondence
Series II: Receipts and financial papers
Series III: Account and receipt books
Series IV: Miscellaneous
Each series is arranged chronologically.
Rules or Conventions:
Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Additional Descriptive Data:
Several repositories hold additional collections of Abraham Bell material:
Baker Library, Harvard Business School
William R. Perkins Library, Duke University
Archives and Special Collections Department, Northeastern University
South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina
Special Collections, State University of New York at Albany
Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera, Winterthur Library, Winterthur, Delaware
New Jersey Historical Society Library
Bell, Daniel E. "Abraham Bell, Merchant and Ship Builder (1778-1856). Evan Bell's Great Great Grandfather." PBase.com. 2002.
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