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Harriet C. Rantoul (1878-1975) Papers

Harriet C. Rantoul (1878-1975) Papers

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HARRIET C. RANTOUL (1878-1975) PAPERS, 1784-1949


Processing of this collection was funded by a grant from the NHPRC (National Historical Publications and Records Commission).

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 161 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Rantoul, Harriet C., 1878-1975
Title:Harriet C. Rantoul (1878-1975) Papers
Quantity:5.5 linear feet (5 boxes)
Abstract:The Harriet C. Rantoul Papers include correspondence, journals, genealogical records for the Neal family, photograph albums, event programs, newspaper clippings and broadsides.
Identification:MSS 451

Series List

SERIES I. Harriet C. Rantoul Papers
A. Personal Papers
B. Albums and Clippings
SERIES II. Neal Family Papers
A. Family Papers
B. Genealogy
C. Albums and Engravings

Scope and Content Note

The Harriet C. Rantoul Papers include correspondence, journals, genealogical records for the Neal family, photograph albums, event programs, newspaper clippings and broadsides. This collection has been arranged into two series.

Series I. Harriet C. Rantoul Papers includes correspondence, event programs, newspaper clippings and albums of photographs and postcards. Correspondence to Harriet is primarily from her brother Beverley while he was abroad with the American Red Cross in France. Publications and event programs document celebrations in Salem, including the Salem Tercentenary in 1926. The albums include a family photograph album of travels abroad in Europe, dating circa 1909 to 1912, two postcard albums that document travels to the West Coast of the United States and historic sites in Salem and New England, and a travel album of the costumes of the Swiss cantons.

Series II. Neal Family Papers includes estate documents, genealogical records, journals, and an album for the Neal Family, Ms. Rantoul's mother's family. Estate documents relate to various members of the Neal family and their property. Two personal notebooks along with loose handwritten notes record genealogical information for the Neal family. A handwritten journal related to the ship Navigator is included, most likely related to the work of Captain Jonathan Neal. Two journals are from Mrs. Harriet C. Neal and date approximately 1824, presumably given to her by her brother Joseph Price. Correspondence dates back to 1784 and includes letters from Captain Jonathan Neal, and David A. Neal.

Biographical Sketch

Harriet C. Rantoul was born on February 16, 1878 in Paris, France, the youngest child of Robert S. Rantoul (1832-1922) and Harriet C. Neal (1837-1899). She was a member of one of Salem's sea merchant families; her grandfather Robert Rantoul Jr. was a Massachusetts State Representative and United States Senator and her father, Robert S. Rantoul, was mayor of Salem, Massachusetts for four terms. Her mother, Harriet C. Neal, was the daughter of David Augustus Neal and Harriet C. Price, and her grandfather was Captain Jonathan Neal who served during the Revolutionary War before becoming a successful merchant in Salem.

Ms. Rantoul traveled extensively around the world; she was in China during the Peking Revolution in 1900 and was in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake. She was known for her social and philanthropic work, along with her love of the Boston Symphony orchestra. She attended the Friday afternoon concerts and was honored on her 90th birthday in 1968 by the Symphony directors who placed a gold plaque with her name inscribed on seat G-16, the one she had occupied for many years. Ms. Rantoul died at age 97 in May 1975 at her home in Beverly Farms.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Neal, D. A. (David Augustus), 1793-1861
Neal, Harriet C., b. 1793
Neal, Jonathan, 1759-1837
Rantoul, Beverley, 1872-1928
Rantoul, Harriet C., 1878-1975
Estates, Administration of
Navigator (Ship)
Voyages and travels
Beverly (Mass.)


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Request for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Harriet C. Rantoul Papers, MSS 451, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by Harriet C. Rantoul in 1965-1971 and Cynthia Neal Rantoul in 1977.

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Halley Grogan, February 2012.

Related Material

Hill, Ruth Henderson. Robert Rantoul and His Descendants. Beverly Historical Society, 1960.

Hitchings, A. Frank. Ship registers of the district of Salem and Beverly, Massachusetts, 1789-1900. Salem: Essex Institute, 1906.

Neal, Theodore Augustus. Neal record: being a list of the descendants of John Neale, one of the early settlers of Salem, Mass. Boston: H. W. Dutton, 1856.

Photograph of Miss Harriet C. Rantoul's 90th Birthday Party held on February 18, 1968 at Hamilton Hall, Salem.

Robert S. Rantoul Papers, 1817-1920, MSS 448

Rantoul Family Papers, 1865-1914, MSS 450

William G. Rantoul Papers, 1889-1940, ARCH 1

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