Skip to main content

Hassam Family Papers

Hassam Family Papers

1 of 2
Open Finding Aid
small (250x250 max)
medium (500x500 max)
Extra Large
large ( > 500x500)
Full Resolution



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 Museum132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Hassam Family
Title:Hassam Family Papers
Quantity:7.25 linear feet (9 boxes)
Abstract:The Hassam Family Papers consists of correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, receipts, memorabilia, genealogy, and more.
Identification:MSS 452

Series List

SERIES I. John Tyler Hassam Papers
A. Personal Papers
B. Law Practice Records
C. Genealogical Research
D. Military Records
E. Financial Records
SERIES II. Nelly Alden Batchelder Hassam Papers
A. Correspondence and Memorabilia
B. Financial Records
C. Diaries and Other Writings
SERIES III. Eleanor Hassam Papers
SERIES IV. John Henry Batchelder Papers
SERIES V. Hassam Family Members' Papers
A. Jonathan Hassam
B. Other Family Members

Scope and Content Note

The Hassam Family Papers consists of correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, receipts, memorabilia, genealogy, and more. It has been arranged into five series: Series I. John Tyler Hassam Papers; Series II. Nelly Alden Batchelder Hassam Papers; Series III. Eleanor Hassam Papers; Series IV. John Henry Batchelder Papers; and Series V. Hassam Family Members' Papers.

Series I. John Tyler Hassam Papers has been arranged into five subseries: Personal Papers; Law Practice Records; Genealogical Research; Military Records; and Financial Records. Subseries A. Personal Papers contains personal letters to John T. Hassam, legal papers, and a diary he wrote while visiting Europe in 1873-1874. Subseries B. Law Practice Records contains correspondence and papers relating to his legal practice and Suffolk County (Mass.) Deed Reform. In order to improve research at the Suffolk Registry of Deeds, Hassam helped get the twelve volumes of Suffolk County deeds printed. He wrote the introduction to each volume and supervised the creation of indices. Subseries C. Genealogical Research consists of correspondence regarding the work he did on family histories. Subseries D. Military Records contains records relating to his military service in the 75th United States Colored Infantry during the American Civil War, his diary while serving, and his veteran activities after the war. Subseries E. Financial Records consists of household receipts for clothing, food, books, furniture and the like.

Series II. Nelly Alden Batchelder Hassam Papers has been arranged into three subseries: Correspondence and Memorabilia, Financial Records, and Diaries and Other Writings. Subseries A. Correspondence and Memorabilia includes correspondence, memorabilia, photographs, calling cards, newspaper clippings, and more. Of special note is an autograph book (1856-1870), given to Nelly by her mother in 1879, which records the signatures of President Franklin Pierce and members of his Cabinet and Congress. It was a gift from Joseph Smith, Jane Reed Smith Batchelder's cousin in 1856. Subseries B. Financial Records consists of an account book and receipts. Subseries C. Diaries and Other Writings includes diaries, an inventory of houses in Boston and Salem, a scrapbook, and genealogy of the Batchelder family and other families, including biographical sketches of family members John H. Batchelder, Jane Reed (Smith) Batchelder, Eleanor Hassam, and Nelly herself.

Series III. Eleanor Hassam Papers includes correspondence, diaries, a scrapbook made by her mother about family members, and school work.

Series IV. John Henry Batchelder Papers includes correspondence, financial records, papers and a register from his dental practice, papers from his time in government service, and congratulations on his 50th wedding anniversary.

Series V. Hassam Family Members' Papers is divided into two subseries: A. Jonathan Hassam and B. Other Family Members. It contains mostly correspondence to and from various family members. Subseries A. Jonathan Hassam (John Tyler Hassam's grandfather) contains correspondence, an account book, and some documentation pertaining to the time he was in Naples, Italy in the summer of 1809; he was in command of the Johanna (Ship) and captured by the English Man-of-War Espoir. They were carried into Malta where a prize court declared the capture illegal and ordered the restoration of the vessel and cargo. Subseries B. Other Family Members includes papers from John Hassam, John Tyler Hassam's father; Frederick W. Hassam, John Tyler's, brother; Jane Reed Smith, Nelly's mother; and Josiah Smith, Nelly's grandfather, who was a member of the United States Congress. The letter from Josiah Smith mentions a Congressional session discussing Negros escaping from their masters. Also included are a copy of a letter from Josiah Smith to his children and a letter from Mary B. Cushing to her sister, Sarah.

Biographical Sketch

John Tyler Hassam was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 20, 1841. He attended the Mayhew School and the Boston Latin School. He graduated from Harvard College in 1859, receiving a Masters of Arts degree. From December 1863 to August 1864, he served as First Lieutenant of the 75th United States Colored Infantry. During the winter of 1863-1864 they were stationed at Port Hudson, Louisiana and the following spring they took part in the Red River (Louisiana) campaign. After the campaign, Hassam became ill, was given a leave of absence, and made his way back home. He was later discharged.

In February 1865, he entered the law office of Ambrose A. Ranney, was admitted to the bar on December 13, 1867, and began the practice of law at No. 35 Court Street, Boston.

Hassam was very interested in genealogical, historical, and antiquarian studies and wrote several books on these subjects. He was a member of many related societies: the New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston Antiquarian Club; Massachusetts Historical Society; Bostonian Society; Bunker Hill Monument Association; and Boston Bar Association, among others.

Hassam married Nelly Alden Batchelder (1849-1927) on February 14, 1878 in Salem, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Dr. John Henry Batchelder and Jane Reed (Smith) Batchelder. They had one daughter, Eleanor (1879-1940). He died on April 22, 1903.

John Henry Batchelder was born in Beverly, Massachusetts on January 16, 1817. He was educated at the Theological Institute in New Hampton, New Hampshire. As a young man, he was a clerk in a hardware store in New York and later traveled west to what is now Wisconsin. There he traded successfully with the Indians. In 1839 he married Jane Reed Smith of Boston. They returned to Boston and he studied dentistry under Dr. William Morton, who first publicly demonstrated the use of inhaled ether as a surgical anesthetic. He moved to Salem and, while practicing dentistry, became involved in local politics. He served on the Board of Aldermen (1885-1888), a portion of the time as Acting Mayor; he was also a member of the School Board, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1866-1867), President of the Massachusetts Dental Society (1878-1879), President of the American Academy of Dental Science (1885-1887), and a member of various other organizations. He died in 1898.

Jonathan Hassam was born on May 23, 1784 in Manchester, Massachusetts and was a master mariner. He married Sally Cheever on October 22, 1808. She died in 1848; in 1849 he married Mary Smith. He had eight children by his first wife. He died in 1859.

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.

Batchelder family
Batchelder, Jane Reed Smith, 1816-1899
Batchelder, John H., b. 1817
Cushing, Mary B., 1807-1891
Hassam family
Hassam, Eleanor, 1879-
Hassam, Frederick W, 1851-1930
Hassam, John T. (John Tyler), 1841-1903
Hassam, John, 1809-1885
Hassam, Jonathan, 1784-1859
Hassam, Nelly Alden (Batchelder), 1849-1927
Osgood, Elizabeth Stuart
Smith, Josiah, 1738-1803
Dove (Sloop)
Estates, administration of
Johanna (Schooner)
Political collectibles--19th century
Traveller (Sloop)
Boston (Mass.)
Manchester (Mass.)
Salem (Mass.)
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Account books
Autograph books
Brownlow, William Gannaway, 1805-1877
Cushing, Caleb, 1800-1879
Davis, Timothy, 1794-1872
Dean, Sidney, 1818-1901
Everett, Edward, 1794-1865
Gray, Samuel
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864
Osgood family
Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869
Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874
Upham, Charles Wentworth, 1802-1875


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

Hassam Family Papers, MSS 452, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by the estate of Eleanor Hassam in 1941. The Jonathan Hassam account book was a gift of Nancy and Bill Osgood on February 2, 2012.

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Tamara Gaydos, June 2012.

Related Material

Hassam, John Tyler. Genealogies. The Hassam Family. The Hilton Family. The Cheever Family. Boston: Privately Printed, 1896.

Pierce, Frederick Clifton. Batchelder, Batcheller Genealogy. Chicago: Self Published, 1898.

you wish to report:

Select the collections to add or remove from your search