0.5 linear feet
0.5 linear feet
This collection is made up of 119 letters, most of them written by 1st Lieutenant Benjamin A. Furman during his service as a United States Army surgeon in France and Germany between August 1917 and early 1919; 2 photographs; approximately 290 picture postcards that Furman collected during his time in Europe; and 2 printed items. Furman discussed his voyage to Europe, work at an evacuation hospital, encounters with wounded African American soldiers, and postwar travels.
The Benjamin A. Furman Letters to His Parents subseries contains 97 letters that Furman sent to John A. and Emma C. Furman of Newark, New Jersey, about his experiences in the United States Army between August 1917 and March 1919. His letters form the majority of a numbered series that originally contained at least 87 items, plus additional unnumbered letters and postcards. In his earliest letters, Furman described his voyage from the United States to Europe, which included a close encounter with a German submarine, and his experiences with the 407th Telegraph Battalion. In July 1918, he transferred to the 2nd Evacuation Hospital, where he regularly treated patients suffering from wounds acquired at the front lines. On one occasion, Furman copied a portion of a soldier's letter about injuries sustained from a grenade explosion (August 11, 1918). By October 1918, he reported increased admissions of soldiers with illnesses, which included numerous cases of the mumps and the Spanish influenza. Furman occasionally treated African American soldiers and repeatedly shared his admiration for their bravery and dedication. After the war, he witnessed the plight of released British prisoners of war (November 17, 1918) and discussed his travels in France, which included a visit to no man's land. Furman spent much of early 1919 in Germany, and described trips to Koblenz, Köln, and cities across France.
The Other Correspondence subseries (22 items) is comprised of similar outgoing letters from Furman to other acquaintances, such as his brother John, friends, and a Boy Scout Troop. Several friends wished Furman good luck in a photographic postcard postmarked February 1918; the image depicts a building at Princeton University, his alma mater. Furman received a small number of other letters from friends in the United States during the war.
Two Photographs include a cabinet card portrait of Leon Unger, an American physician who also served in the war, and a snapshot photograph, which apparently depicts Benjamin Furman with his motorized ambulance and driver.
The Printed Ephemera and Map series contains an advertisement for the Hotel Atlantic & Annexe in Nice, France, and a map of the city of Nice.
Throughout his time in Europe, Benjamin A. Furman collected around 290 Picture Postcards of buildings and scenery in France and western Germany. He organized most of the postcards by place or region, and added brief notes.
The Charles Cameron letterbook (359 pages) contains copies of letters sent from his governorship in the Bahamas spanning from 1805 to 1807. The volume has an index of recipients, organized alphabetically by last name. Most letters are written by Cameron (signed C.C.) though some are from R. Roberts, possibly Cameron's assistant. Topics include descriptions of dealing with prisoners, interactions with officers, courts martial, orders from governors, colonial law and the state of the colony, crops on the islands, small pox and other illnesses, and the preparation of ships for service. The volume also contains many examples of Cameron's written orders to various naval officers. Several letters are to Major Charles Henry Darling, lieutenant-governor of Tobago, who married his eldest daughter Isabella. Many items are copies of "cover letters," created to accompany documents not present in the letterbook. Of note is mention of a mulatto prisoner named Tannis (September 23, 1805), and discussion of legal issues concerning transporting a group of slaves from Turks Island (August 2, 1806).
Locations mentioned include Jamaica, Crooked Island, Turks Island, Harbor Island, Eleuthera, Santo Domingo, Nassau, Ragged Island, New Providence Island, Andros Island, Cuba, Liverpool, New York, Philadelphia, Spain, and France. Ships mentioned include:
- Nassau, Felucca John Bull, Packet (page 260)
- Cartel (page 274)
- Havana (275)
- Vesuvius, Viper (page 284)
- Mars (page 304)
- Pitt (page 308)
- RedBridge (page 310)
- Patent (page 311)
- Favorite (324)
- Pike (page 326)
- Jamaica Mail (page 333)
- Atlanta (page 341)
- Swedish Schooner Ulrica (page 353)
Many letters note, in light purple writing, the date they were sent from the Bahamas and the name of the ship.
170 pages (1 volume)
The Charles Goore letter book (170 pages) contains copies of 295 letters from Goore to other English merchants, members of Parliament, British naval officers, customers, and friends. These letters, dated March 1774 to January 1783, touch on various aspects of trade, including the detrimental effects of the American Revolution on the tobacco trade, his whaling ventures off Greenland, and trading interests in hemp, flag stones, and ironware. Goore discussed difficulties with war ships, effects of the Revolution on prices and trade, the practice of impressment of seamen, and news from the American colonies. He also described the effects of privateering on trade, the slave trade, and technical matters relating to navigation. Several letters concern helping friends who were hurt by the upheaval in America. For instance, he tried to place seamen, formerly in his employment, in the British navy. This letter book provides an interesting perspective of the British side of the Revolution and particularly English merchants' reactions to the conflict.
While the collection primarily consists of business, legal, and political papers, Goore occasionally related information about his family. Of particular interest are 6 letters related to Goore's niece, Jenny Tatlock, whom he placed as an apprentice to Mrs. Ann Carus (pages 15, 19, 28, 93, 144). Goore wrote two stern letters to his niece Ellen Tatlock, who often begged for money because her husband was in prison (pages 82, 97). Goore also wrote to his niece Jenny, advising her not to marry an apprentice painter because she would end up supporting him (page 162). Several letters document Goore's business relationships with women, and a few letters are condolences to widows of his employees.
- January 25, 1775: describing a crowd in a coffee house waiting to hear the "resolves of Parliament relative to American affairs..."
- June 13, 1775: revealing his opinions on the tense relationship between Great Britain and the American colonies: "The ax is laid to the root of the tree & it must be cut down or adieu to the colonies. God grant such measures may be taken that his Majesty may bring the Americans to become dutiful subjects."
- February 5, 1776: describing his early career in the tobacco trade and the effects of the Revolution on Atlantic trading.
- November 28, 1776: offering news of the war in America concerning generals Burgoyne and Howe.
- March 14, 1778: reprimanding a neighbor for physically abusing his wife.
170 pages (1 volume)
The David Selden letters consist of 10 letters from Selden to his parents, written between 1811 and 1819, in which he commented on business matters, the economic situation in Great Britain, and foreign relations, particularly the effects of the War of 1812 on shipping and trade. Selden wrote nine of the letters between January 1811 and January 1813. The correspondence begins with Selden's announcement of his safe arrival in Liverpool on January 1, 1811; in the same letter, he commented on the Non-Intercourse Act and expressed relief that all exports to England had not been forbidden. Two other letters from 1811 paint an increasingly bleak picture of the economic situation in England, with commerce "at a very low ebb" and rampant unemployment and theft, especially in Manchester (February 4, 1811).
Several letters written by Selden between 1812 and 1813 refer to the War of 1812, and offer the views of an expatriate with a strong financial stake in peace. In several letters, Selden commented on licensing and the odds of having his ships seized, and expressed his hope that British concessions would appease American "war maniacs" and bring an end to conflict (August 20, 1812). On November 27, 1812, he wrote to his parents, reporting that one of his ships, the Fanny, had gotten through to New York and expressed hope that the United States would not prosecute him for violation of the Non-Intercourse Act. He also made several references to Russell Brainerd, a friend and American prisoner of war on the H.M.S. Royal William, whose exchange he hoped to orchestrate.
Selden's letters also contain frequent references to international events, such as the Napoleonic Wars, and show Selden's particular interest in Russia, which he saw as a potential trading partner, though he criticized the country for its "cruelty and superstition," and its use of "white slaves" (November 27, 1812). Selden wrote the final letter in the collection, dated October 20, 1819, while in New York and stated that he was unsure of his future plans, and was considering a move to the American South.
This collection consists of a commonplace book (approximately 50 pages) compiled by Ann Greene after 1790, and an account of a 44-day voyage John Grew and his family took from Liverpool to Boston in the summer of 1795. The 22-page travel diary also includes an 8-page copy of a letter Mary Grew, John Grew's mother, wrote to her family in England upon her arrival in Boston.
Ann Greene's commonplace book has two parts: 33 pages of transcribed poetry (24 poems) begin at the front cover, and 15 additional pages of personal reflections and letter drafts begin at the back cover. Much of the poetry was originally written by British authors whose work circulated widely in the eighteenth century, such as James Boswell, James Thomson, William Cowper, and Elizabeth Singer Rowe. Greene occasionally recorded the volume and page from which she transcribed poems. The other portion of the volume contains personal resolutions about making good use of one's time, interspersed with light-hearted notes about beaux or friends.
The travel diary records the Grew family's emigration from Birmingham England, to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1795. Daily entries, written between May 23 and July 8, 1795, detail several aspects of the voyage, such as the weather, passing ships, maritime wildlife, and the ship's progress. The diarist also mentioned an instance when another vessel mistook their ship for a French privateer, and the effects of a tumultuous storm.
The final 8 pages contain a copy of a letter Mary Coltman Grew (1756-1834) wrote to her mother in England from Boston, Massachusetts (July 24, 1795). She detailed her initial impressions of the city and of local customs. Among other topics, she reflected on the climate, housing, servants, dress, food, and religious customs. She also related an anecdote about Benjamin Franklin, who reportedly distributed printed cards to strangers in order to preempt any inquiries about him.
This volume (329 pages) contains invoices and accounts related to London-based merchant James Douglas, who shipped fabrics, woven goods, and other items between Great Britain and the United States during the 1780s. The bulk of the records (317 pages) pertain to shipments of cloth goods from Great Britain to the United States between April 1784 and August 1786. His goods included domestic and imported cloths, handkerchiefs, blankets, and other finished products. Daily records include the name of the ship carrying the goods from London or Liverpool to North American ports, including Charleston, South Carolina. Some records include the price of related items such as buttons and tassels. One entry concerns a shipment of books (pp. 202-204).
The remaining accounts (12 pages) pertain to shipments of tobacco from Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, to British ports between January 1, 1789, and July 7, 1792. These accounts, recorded sporadically, primarily pertain to the value of the tobacco and, less frequently, other items such as rice and indigo.
2 linear feet
The Masters-Taylor-Wilbur papers (618 items) consist of 570 letters, 9 legal documents, and 39 financial records (1796-1850). The vast majority of the letters are family correspondence written by Thomas Masters and two of his daughters, Martha [Mrs. Henry W. Taylor] and Sarah [Mrs. Jeremiah Wilbur], between 1824 and 1850. The collection also includes letters written by his wife Isabella, his daughter Anna, his sons Samuel and Francis, and his sons-in-law, Jeremiah Wilbur and Henry W. Taylor. Many of the letters are between family members living in New York City, where Thomas Masters ran his mercantile business and Canandaigua, New York; Marshall, Michigan; Philadelphia; and Mt. Morris, New York. Several are joint letters with notes from two or more family members. The letters are rich in details of family life: illnesses, disease, and cures are much discussed, as are family weddings, and travel. Though dominated by family news, the family occasionally discussed politics, religion, temperance, and other religious-inspired social reform issues.
- July 19, 1832: G.H. Green to Martha C. Masters claiming a link between the consumption of alcohol and the occurrence of cholera
- October 15, 1833: Jeremiah Wilbur describing an anti-slavery speech
- December 19, 1835: Henry Masters to Martha Taylor recounting in detail a fire that swept through parts of New York City and destroyed Taylor's firm of Masters & Markoe at 51 South St.
- March 20-April 3, 1838: A long communal letter to Martha Taylor and Samuel Masters from family in New York City, in the form of a newspaper entitled "The Burning and Shining Light and Free Discussionest"
- August 1840: passing reference to hearing Daniel Webster speak
- Three letters from Lydia H. Sigourney to Martha Caldwell Taylor (July 26, 1841; February 18, 1846; February 13, 1849)
- February 15, 1842: Martha Taylor to Sarah Wilbur describing the temperance movement in Marshall, Michigan
- June 2, 1842: Sarah Wilbur to Martha Taylor discussing a wedding feast and spousal abuse
- December 11, 1842: Thomas Masters to Martha Taylor, providing a detailed account of the first New York Philharmonic Concert, which opened with a well-received piece by Beethoven
- March 3, 1844: Thomas Masters to Martha Taylor giving a second hand account of the explosion on board the U.S.S. Princeton, which killed the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Navy
The earliest letters in the collection pertain to the Wilbur family from 1811 to 1818 (32 letters). These consist of letters from Backus Wilbur in Princeton and Newark, New Jersey, to his brother Marcus Wilbur in New York City, describing Backus’ schooling, religious training, and life at school. Included in one letter is an account of a food fight that escalated to a near riot (February 6, 1812).
Of special interest are 12 letters and two enclosures documenting the attempt of Francis Markoe, Jr., and Jeremiah Wilbur to help former slave Matthew Matthews of Washington, D.C., purchase his six children (January-September 1835). Markoe and Wilbur outlined strategies regarding the best use of the available money to maximize the purchase of the highest number of children in the shortest possible time. Also included are two letters to Matthews, one from Mrs. Mary F. Spence, informing him that she may be forced to sell his children at public auction, and the other from Luke Johnson of Dumfries, Virginia, a black slave who loaned him money toward the purchase of one of the children. Enclosed with the letters are copies of bills of sale for two of the children.
In addition to the family papers are 135 business letters, 35 receipts, four invoices, and nine legal documents that relate to the mercantile affairs of Thomas Masters, Francis Markoe, and their firms of Markoe & Masters, and Masters & Markoe in New York City and Philadelphia (1796-1847). These business papers give some insight into the New York and European financial markets and the economic climate of the time.
2 linear feet
The Thomas Leyland Company account books are two volumes of records for the slave ships Hannah (1789-90) and Jenny (1792-1793), which made trips from Liverpool to Africa, then across the Atlantic to Jamaica and other West Indian Islands. These record the goods (sugar, food, arms, and cloth) and slaves sold in each port, and contain details on seamen's wages and instructions to ship captains for the treatment of slaves.
The first volume documents the 2nd voyage of the Ship Hannah, captained by Charles Wilson (39 pages). The ship sailed from Liverpool on July 3, 1789, to the Calabar River in Africa (present day Nigeria), then to Barbadoes; Dominica; and Kingston, Jamaica; and finally back to Liverpool in December 1790.
The account book opens with directions to the captain, instructing him on the ship's itinerary and what to sell and purchase on the journey. The note also cautioned the captain to treat his crew with humanity and to show the "utmost tenderness to the Negroes" (page 1). The next item is the shipment invoice, which includes food (white barley, corn, rice, peas, beans, beef, salt, and bread), liquor (brandy, port, sherry), china, fabric and clothing (hats, trousers, jackets, silk, cotton, romal and photaes), arms (gunpowder, muskets, French guns, and knives), and purchased items including tobacco, wine, rum, sugar, raisins, cotton, sailcloth, iron, and gunpowder (pages 5-13). Page 15 contains a list of the 30 officers and seamen on board the Hannah, with their names, rank or profession, wages per month, and total pay. Professions included master, mate, carpenter, cooper, steward, surgeon, cook, and seaman. Pages 16-20 contain lists of trader's names along with notes on disbursements and what they purchased. Pages 22-24 cover accounts for the 294 slaves sold at Kingston, Jamaica, with details on the purchasers, prices, and types of slaves sold (privileged men, privileged women, cargo men, cargo women, men boys, women girls, boys, and girls). Finally, pages 25-32 provide information about the total amount of sugar purchased in Jamaica for Thomas Leyland, and the accounts of goods sold to various traders in the West Indies, including William Daggers of Kingston, Jamaica; Barton and Gibbald of Barbados; and Neilson and Heathcote of Dominica.
The second volume documents the first voyage of the Ship Jenny, captained by William Stringer (29 pages). The Jenny left Liverpool on November 27, 1792, and arrived at the Zaire River (Congo) off the coast of Angola on February 18, 1793. They arrived at the port town of Emboma (today Boma, Kongo Central) on February 23, 1793, then at Barbadoes (May 6, 1793), St. Vincent (May 7, 1793), Grenada (May 8, 1793), and finally Kingston, Jamaica (May 18, 1793).
The record keeping for both volumes is similar. The account book opens with an itinerary of the trade mission and instructions for the captain on selling and purchasing cargo (pages 1-3). Following that are the invoice for goods shipped and purchased (page 5-14), a list of the 29 officers and seamen on board (page 15), tradesmen's notes and disbursements (pages 16-20), sales for 250 slaves (pages 21-23), and accounts with Thomas Leyland, who funded the expedition (pages 24-29).
Peter Atkin of Liverpool, England, and his son George received 10 letters regarding Peter's nephew, Englishman William D. Hope, between 1862 and 1866. Hope, an aspiring pharmacist, wrote 5 letters to his uncle and 3 letters to his cousin about his desperate financial situation, his attempts to find work in England, his experiences serving with the Union Army in the Civil War, and his life in Illinois in the year following the war. Two other acquaintances wrote Atkin about a visit Hope made to Nova Scotia in 1862 and about Hope's financial hardships.
Dr. William Denison of Newport, Nova Scotia, wrote Peter Atkin on August 6, 1862, concerning William D. Hope's recent professional visit and his local love affair, since broken off. William D. Hope wrote the following 4 letters to Peter Atkin and George Atkin, his uncle and cousin, respectively, while traveling around England between September 22, 1862, and May 2, 1863. Hope discussed his unsuccessful love affair with "Miss Paint" in Nova Scotia, and lamented his poor financial fortunes. He described his attempts to find work, as well as his difficulties in doing so, which he attributed to the machinations of a relative, David Hope. In his letter of September 22, 1862, he mentioned the dampening effect the Civil War had on business affairs in North America. Andrew Paton also wrote to Peter Atkin on January 26, 1863, expressing his displeasure at Hope's situation and his failure to call on Paton in Glasgow, Scotland.
Hope's letters from North America begin on December 1, 1863. In the 4 letters that follow, he described his work for the Union Army at Hart Island, New York, and at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee (2 letters, December 1, 1863, and January 19, 1865, 13 pages), as well as various aspects of his life after the war (2 letters, August 8, 1865, and August 20, 1866, 9 pages). He reported on his experiences as a medicine dispenser for a hospital on Hart Island, recounted his travels from New York to Tennessee, and explained his duties with the quartermaster's department at Lookout Mountain. He also commented on the progress of the war, on the perceived American prejudice against Englishmen, and on the war's effects in Illinois. In his letter of December 1, 1863, he described the New York City draft riots of 1863, during which he was almost fatally shot, and he mentioned the recent hanging of the Lincoln assassination conspirators in his letter of August 8, 1865.
The York ship log contains daily entries chronicling the packet boat's journeys between the United States and Great Britain between 1825 and 1828. The first entry, dated March 19, 1825, marks the beginning of the ship's regular service between New York City and London, under the command of William Baker. Approximately 50 pages cover the boat's travels along this route, with daily entries recording wind direction, weather conditions, and notable events on board. On July 4, 1825, the author wrote about a celebration in honor of Independence Day, when the merchant ship fired a salute. The entries he made in port often relate to the loading of cargo or passengers. In January 1826, the York received a new captain, Nash de Cost, and began sailing between New York City and Liverpool; the remainder of the volume covers the ship's journeys along this route. The author's remarks focused on seamanship, weather, and activities in port, though several entries from October 1826 reflect the difficulty of keeping the sailors onboard; some were reported to be "on shore without liberty" throughout the period. The last entry, on June 24, 1828, noted that the York was moored at Prince's Dock in Liverpool, ready to embark for the Atlantic crossing. The final 2 pages of the volume include accounts of provisions for the ship for the year 1828.