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George F. Choate Family Papers

George F. Choate Family Papers

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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 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Choate family
Title:George F. Choate Family Papers
Quantity:5 linear feet (11 boxes, 2 oversize folders)
Abstract:The George F. Choate Family Papers are a collection of correspondence, diaries, account books, blueprints, financial and legal papers, and newspaper clippings.
Identification:MSS 459

Series List

SERIES I. George F. Choate (1822-1888) Papers
A. Correspondence and Diaries
B. Financial Papers
C. Legal Papers
SERIES II. Abigail Parker Cogswell Choate (1832-1900) Papers
A. Diaries
B. Correspondence
C. Financial and Legal Papers
SERIES III. Parker Cogswell Choate (1862-1941) Papers
A. Business Correspondence and Legal Papers
B. Personal Papers
C. Anna W. Choate (1870-1961) Papers
SERIES IV. Family and Other Papers
A. Related Choate Family Members
B. Pearson and Badger Families
C. Unrelated Papers

Scope and Content Note

The George F. Choate Family Papers are a collection of correspondence, diaries, account books, blueprints, financial and legal papers, and newspaper clippings. They have been arranged into four series.

Series I. George F. Choate Papers include correspondence, diaries, receipts, and legal papers. It is arranged into three subseries. Subseries A. Correspondence and Diaries contain personal letters from family and friends, business letters, and several diary/account books. Subseries B. Financial Papers contain household bills and receipts. Subseries C. Legal Papers consist of some papers passed down by his mentor, James Perkins. It also contains Choate's license to practice law, case files, notes, and a catalogue of the books in his personal and law library.

Series II. Abigail Parker Cogswell Choate Papers include diaries, correspondence, and receipts. It has been arranged into three subseries. Subseries A. Diaries contain entries for everyday life and travels. Subseries B. Correspondence contain letters to and from family members, friends, and her husband, as well as a travel itinerary, plan of the Cunard steamship Gallia, and letters of introduction for a European trip taken in 1891. Subseries C. Financial and Legal Papers contain household bills and receipts arranged chronologically as well as her will, and an inventory of her silver.

Series III. Parker Cogswell Choate Papers include correspondence, legal papers, patents, blueprints, and corporate records of The Metallurgical Corporation. It is arranged into three subseries. Subseries A. Business Correspondence and Legal Papers contain correspondence, patents, blueprints, legal documents, and records of The Metallurgical Corporation. Subseries B. Personal Papers contain personal correspondence, legal papers, newspaper clippings, and photographs of the 1925 reunion of the Salem High School Class of 1881. Subseries C. Anna W. Choate Papers contain his wife's diary and a power of attorney.

Series IV. Family and Other Papers contain correspondence, legal documents, deeds, and other papers of many other Choate family members as well as people unrelated to this Choate family. They are arranged chronologically. This series has been divided into three subseries. Subseries A. Related Choate Family Members contain papers of Choates who are related to this branch of the family. Subseries B. John Pearson and Hannah Badger contain papers of Abigail Parker Cosgwell Choate's relatives. Subseries C. Unrelated Papers contain various personal and legal papers of individuals whose connection to the Choates is unknown. It is possible that some of these papers belonged to George F. Choate's mentor, James Perkins.

Biographical Sketch

George F. Choate was born on February 9, 1822 in Essex, Massachusetts, the son of William and Lucretia Choate. George was educated at Dummer Academy in Byfield, Massachusetts and then Bowdoin College (class of 1843) in Brunswick, Maine. He studied under the Honorable Jonathan C. Perkins. Upon admission to the Essex County Bar, he formed a law partnership with William D. Northend, a former classmate. This partnership dissolved in 1858 when George was appointed Judge of Probate and Insolvency for Essex County, Massachusetts. He sat on the bench until his death in 1888. He served on the School Committee Board and was Treasurer of the Newburyport Railroad before its absorption by the Boston and Maine Railroad. He died in Sharon Springs, New York on July 11, 1888.

George married twice. In 1855 he married Rebecca Greenleaf (1832-1858) of Newburyport, Massachusetts. They had a son, Willard, who died in 1856 at age eight months. After Rebecca died in 1858, George married Abigail Parker Cogswell (1832-1900), daughter of Dr. George Cogswell, a prominent physician. Abby was educated at Female Seminary in Bradford, Massachusetts. They had five sons, Francis Parker (1861-1861), Parker Cogswell (1862-1941), Greenleaf Cogswell (1863-1889), Craig Cosgwell (1865-1901), and Francis Bradford (1868-1963). She took a great interest in genealogy and antiques and helped inspire Ephraim O. Jameson to write his book, The Choates of America. She died on February 3, 1900 in Washington, D.C.

Parker Cogswell Choate, son of George F. and Abby Choate, was born in 1862 in Salem, Massachusetts. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the School of Mechanic Arts from September 1881 to May 1881 and again from February 1885 to May 1885, but no degree was conferred. He went to Prescott, Arizona as assistant superintendent in some mines there. Later he moved to Portland, Maine and became President of the Metallurgical Corporation. He held several patents for mining processes. He married Jessie Jean Dickson (b. 1869) in 1889 and they divorced in 1897 without having any children. He married Anna Willet (1870-1961) and they had five children. He died in 1941.

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.

Choate family
Choate, Abigail Parker Cogswell, 1832-1900
Choate, Abraham, 1732-1800
Choate, Anna Willet, 1870-1961
Choate, Charles Francis, 1828-1911
Choate, Craig Cogswell, 1865-1901
Choate, Francis Bradford, 1868-1963
Choate, Francis Cogswell, 1832-1881
Choate, George F. (George Francis), 1822-1888
Choate, George, 1762-1826
Choate, George, 1796-1880
Choate, Greenleaf Cogswell, 1863-1889
Choate, Isaac, 1734-1813
Choate, Joseph Hodges, 1832-1917
Choate, Joseph, 1784-1868
Choate, Lucretia B., 1795-1877
Choate, Margaret Manning, 1805-1887
Choate, Mary Giddings, 1732-1810
Choate, Nathan, 1769-1832
Choate, Parker Cogswell, 1862-1941
Choate, Solomon, 1800-1834
Choate, Susan, 1798-1886
Choate, William Gardner, 1830-1920
Choate, William, 1790-1829
Cogswell family
Odlin, Elisha, 1822-1849
The Metallurgical Corporation
Mines and mineral resources
Mining engineering
Public schools--Massachusetts--Essex (Town)
Schools--Massachusetts--Essex (Town)
Essex (Mass. : Town)
Salem (Mass.)
Account books
Land titles


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

George F. Choate Family Papers, MSS 459, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


Some of this material was donated in December 1940 by Mrs. Henry Burnham. Mrs. Parker Choate donated diaries and an account book in 1940. The George F. and Abigail Choate papers (formerly Fam. Mss. 162) were donated by Mrs. J.M. Sears. The bill for the schooner Betsey was purchased in 1952. Note to the Salem Register from Joseph H. Choate was acquired in 2011 (acc# 2011.046). The majority of the material was previously arranged as Fam. Mss. 160, Fam. Mss. 161, and Fam. Mss. 162. Some material belonging to the David and John Choate families was moved to MSS 380.

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Tamara Gaydos, December 2012.

Related Material

Jameson, E.O. The Choates in America, 1643-1896. Boston: Alfred Mudge & Son, 1896.

Jameson, E.O. The Cogswells in America. Boston: Alfred Mudge & Son, 1884.

Obituary record of the graduates of Bowdoin College. Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College Library, 1911.

John Choate receipts, 1790. MSS 0.291

John Choate and Daniel Giddings, Letters regarding fishing in Nova Scotia, 1769. MSS 0.600

Choate Family Tree

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