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Henry Wheatland Papers

Henry Wheatland Papers

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HENRY WHEATLAND (1812-1893) PAPERS, 1629-1904


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:Wheatland, Henry, 1812-1895
Title:Henry Wheatland Papers
Quantity:18.5 linear feet (31 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Abstract:This collection contains the papers of Henry Wheatland, M.D.
Identification:MSS 464

Series List

SERIES I. Personal Papers
A. Correspondence
B. Journals
C. Financial Papers
D. Speeches
E. School Papers
F. Notes on Topics of Interest
G. Other Papers
SERIES II. Societies and Boards
A. East India Marine Society
B. Essex Institute
C. Peabody Academy of Science
D. Salem Athenaeum
E. Massachusetts Board of Education and Essex County Schools
F. Other Organizations
SERIES III. Family Papers
SERIES IV. Genealogical Research
SERIES V. Essex County Records
A. Copies of Church Records
B. Notes on Towns and Residents
SERIES VI. Collected Papers
A. Correspondence
B. Miscellaneous Legal and Financial Documents
C. Other Papers

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the papers of Henry Wheatland, M.D. It also includes some papers of his father-in-law Elisha Mack, his uncle Benjamin Goodhue, and a few other family members. The bulk of the collection is the correspondence of Dr. Wheatland. There are also personal and collected financial and legal papers, copies of church records, journals, newspaper clippings, an autograph collection, and copious notes taken by Wheatland. The material has been organized into six series.

Series I. Personal Papers consist of seven subseries. Subseries A. Correspondence contains over 2,200 letters dating from 1826 to 1892, and was largely organized by Wheatland himself. Letters are organized chronologically by date received; most were received within a month of being sent. Most circulars and meeting announcements are organized separately in the Other Organizations subseries (Series II. Subseries F.), though a few remain in this section. Correspondents include family members, J.P. Dabney, Dr. J. Farnum Jr., Reverend Joseph B. Felt, W. Knights Jr., George A. Perkins, William Prescott, E.S.L. Richardson, and Edwin Willcox among many others.

Subseries B. Journals is comprised of bound journals and loose pages written in a diary-like fashion. The journal entries from 1834 were written while in England. Subseries C. Financial Papers contain mostly receipts, some insurance policies, and a few tax documents. Subseries D. Speeches include addresses made to members of the Essex Institute and a speech on Salem Schools, possibly to the Salem School Committee. Subseries E. School Papers consist of compositions and math worksheets from high school, notes taken during Professor George Ticknor's lectures on the history and criticism of French Literature at Harvard, and the constitution of the Linnean Society of 1832, which is a society to assist its members in the study of Natural History and expansion of their personal collections. The constitution was approved by twelve students and named Wheatland as the Corresponding Secretary of the society. This subseries also includes invitations and correspondence from Harvard to its alumni. Subseries F. Notes on Topics of Interest is made up of the copious notes Wheatland made over the years while reading, researching, or attending lectures. The topics include his interests in biology, natural history, medicine, local history, as well as his classmates at Harvard. Subseries G. Other Papers include Wheatland's professional notes on patients as a physician; invitations and lecture cards; catalogs of his personal library and two unidentified libraries; drawings; ticket stubs and programs of events; and two copies of a history of Essex County institutions written in Dr. Wheatland's hand.

Series II. Societies and Boards includes those institutions that Dr. Wheatland actually was involved in, including the East India Marine Society, the Essex Institute, the Salem Athenaeum and the Massachusetts Board of Education. Because of Wheatland's involvement in these organizations, there are documents in this collection that could be considered institutional records, but were mixed in with his personal papers. This is particularly true for the Essex Institute and the Salem Athenaeum. Subseries F. Other Organizations contain circulars for events, meeting announcements, and dividend payment information for organizations Dr. Wheatland subscribed to and companies in which he held stock.

Series III. Family Papers is comprised of documents within the collection belonging to members of Dr. Wheatland's family. Included are receipts of his father-in-law, Elisha Mack; receipts and papers of his uncle, Benjamin Goodhue; and a limited number of papers for each of his five siblings: Stephen, Richard, Benjamin, George, and Martha.

Series IV. Genealogical Research contains copies of town and church records, including a copy of the first book of births in Rowley, Massachusetts written on the back of Social Insurance policies. These records have for the most part been left in scrapbooks. Volumes 22 through 26 are arranged alphabetically by family name. Volumes 27 and 28 contain both alphabetized notes on family names, and other information. Volume 27 contains genealogical material related to Ichabod Tucker; other miscellaneous genealogical materials; copies of Essex County records; inventories of estates; Benjamin and Stephen Goodhue papers; letters to Henry Wheatland and other family papers; and notes on various trips. Volume 28 contains newspaper clippings, a historical sketch of the philosophical library; a booklet of subscribers names to the Female Charitable Society; a book of members of the Massachusetts Legislature from 1868; a speech given at the Essex Institute; receipts related to the Essex Institute and publication of a history of Essex County; a letter from Professor Agassiz; and a draft of a notice published in the bulletin regarding the 100th anniversary of the American Academy of Arts & Science.

Series V. Essex County Records is comprised of two subseries. Subseries A. Church Records predominantly include extracts of various local church records, notes, and a few original documents. Subseries B. Notes on Towns and Residents include notes on various Essex County town histories, receipts and documents of a few local organizations, and collected documents and newspaper clippings on residents and local matters.

Series VI. Collected Papers is divided into three subseries. Subseries A. Correspondence includes letters written to and from Joseph Ropes, Hezekiah Packard, Ichabod Tucker, Richard M. Hodges, and Colonel Cutler, among others. The letters are arranged chronologically and by author, when possible, and date from 1812 to 1889. Subseries B. Miscellaneous Legal and Financial Documents include wills, deeds, censuses, receipts, and ledgers. Some of the documents in this series are copies of originals. This subseries is arranged chronologically, and the copies of documents are filed by date of the original document. Subseries C. Other Papers include samples of school work by Salem students from 1790; a small autograph collection; newspaper clippings; Harvard's course offerings for the 1873-1874 academic school year; a journal; a blank ethnology survey form created by Franz Boas; maps; and historical accounts and remembrances of battles, Frances Deering Wentworth, and schools for "freedpeople."

Biographical Sketch

Henry Wheatland was born on January 11, 1812 in Salem, Massachusetts. He was the youngest and sixth child born to Richard Wheatland (1762-1830) and Martha Goodhue (1770-1826). He entered Harvard College in 1828 at the age of sixteen. "It is said that 'he did not take kindly to the College curriculum, but preferred to follow the bent of his own inclination toward science, natural history, and kindred studies; and, upon informing the President of the University of his utter distaste for the regular course, he was allowed to pursue his own way.'" After graduating, he studied medicine under Dr. Abel L. Peirson of Salem, and received his medical degree from Harvard in 1837.

During the time between his bachelor's and medical degrees, he was able to travel to London, where he spent time searching out his English relatives. Upon his return, he worked with Andrew Nichols, William Oakes, and William Prescott and became one of the founding members of the Essex County Natural History Society. He was the secretary of the Society from 1835 until it merged with the Essex Historical Society, of which Wheatland was also a member, to form the Essex Institute in 1848. He was a great proponent of the merger, and served as the Essex Institute's Secretary and Treasurer from 1848 until 1868, at which time he was elected President. He devoted much of his life to ensuring that the Institute became "a permanent centre of influence for the enlightenment and instruction of the community." The Institute grew under Wheatland’s guidance and became a well-recognized institution. At about eighty years of age, he was stricken with paralysis, greatly affecting his ability to communicate. "But even then retaining his faculties of mind, though able only with the greatest difficulty to express his thought, he still kept alive his interest in the Institute" and managed to serve as its president until his death.

Wheatland was very active within his community being involved as a member, fellow, and auditor of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; an original Trustee and Vice-President of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (now a museum of Harvard University); an honorary member of the Danvers Historical Society; and President of the Salem Fraternity. He also acted as Superintendent of the Salem East India Marine Society from 1837 to 1848, and contributed to the founding of the Peabody Academy of Science, which was the successor to the East India Marine Society.

On February 3, 1858, Wheatland married Mary Mack (1816-1862), daughter of Elisha Mack (1783-1852) and Catherine Sewell Orne (1780-1818). Mary died only four years later on February 13, 1862. They had no children. Henry Wheatland died February 27, 1893 in Salem, Massachusetts.

Benjamin Goodhue, brother of Martha Goodhue (Henry's mother), was born on May 28, 1768, to Stephen Goodhue (c.1738-1809) and Martha Prescott (d. 1828). He died in Salem, unmarried, on August 31, 1849.

Elisha Mack was born on May 26, 1783 in Middlefield, Massachusetts. He studied law at Williams College and served as the Judge of the Police Court of Salem for several years, and served as a representative to the General Court. He married Catherine Sewell Pynchon Orne (1780-1818) in 1813. They had two children, William and Mary Catherine. Mack married for a second time in 1820 Harriet Clarke (b. 1792). They had two daughters, Esther and Harriet. Mack died on December 9, 1852 in Salem, Massachusetts.

Stephen Wheatland was born on August 5, 1796, the first child of Richard Wheatland (1762-1830) and Martha Goodhue (1770-1826). He died at sea, unmarried in February of 1818.

Richard Goodhue Wheatland was born on February 10, 1799, the second child of Richard Wheatland (1762-1830) and Martha Goodhue (1770-1826). He married Mary B. Richardson in 1823. He died in Salem on February 6, 1842.

Benjamin Wheatland was born on May 27, 1801, the third child of Richard Wheatland (1762-1830) and Martha Goodhue (1770-1826). He married Mary E. Bemis in 1826. He died in Salem in 1854.

George Wheatland was born on November 10, 1804 the fourth child of Richard Wheatland (1762-1830) and Martha Goodhue (1770-1826). He married Hannah Bemis Richardson in 1833. He died in Salem on February 20, 1893.

Martha Wheatland Bemis was born on May 29, 1807, the fifth child of Richard Wheatland (1762-1830) and Martha Goodhue (1770-1826). She married Robert Eddy Bemis (1798-1873) in 1827. She died on December 26, 1872 in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

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.

Bemis, Martha Wheatland, 1807-1872
Damon, Robert, 1814-1889
Felt, Joseph B. (Joseph Barlow), 1789-1869
Goodhue, Benjamin, 1707-1783
Hodges, Richard M. (Richard Manning), 1794-1878
Mack, Elisha, 1783-1852
Packard, Hezekiah, 1761-1849
Tucker, Ichabod, 1765-1846
Wheatland family
Wheatland, Benjamin, 1801-1854
Wheatland, George, 1804-1893
Wheatland, Henry, 1812-1893
East-India Marine Society of Salem
Essex Institute
Essex Southern District Medical Society (Essex County, Mass.)
Harvard College (1780-)--Class of 1832
Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts--Board of Education
Peabody Academy of Science
Salem Athenaeum
State Normal School (Salem, Mass.)
Essex County (Mass.)--Church history
Essex County (Mass.)--Genealogy
Essex County (Mass.)--Intellectual life--19th century
Library catalogs
Natural history
Danvers (Mass.)
Essex County (Mass.)
Salem (Mass.)
Speeches, addresses, etc.


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

Henry Wheatland Papers, MSS 464, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was acquired prior to 1900.

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Jennifer Hornsby, September 2013.

Related Material

Essex Institute. A memorial of Henry Wheatland. [Contained in Essex Institute historical collections, Vol. 30, p. 127-203.] Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1893.

Putman, Fredrick W. Henry Wheatland, M.D. born January 11, 1812, died February 27, 1893: sermon preached by Rev. Edmund B. Wilson, at the North Church, Salem, Sunday, March 5, 1893. Salem, Mass.: The Essex Institute, 1893.

Upham, William P. Memoir of Henry Wheatland, M.D. Cambridge: University Press, 1895.

East India Marine Society Records, 1799-1972, MH 88

Essex Southern District Medical Society Records, 1796-1970, MSS 52

Goodhue Family Papers, 1684-1858, MSS 9

Elisha Mack Papers, 1787-1852, Fam. Mss. 584

Matthew Adams Stickney Family Papers, 1685-1910, MSS 463

Salem Athenaeum Records, 1760-1889, MSS 56

Henry Wheatland Diary, 1876, DIA 233

George Wheatland Papers, 1824-1893, Fam. Mss. 1076

Richard G. Wheatland Papers, 1819-1842, MSS 197

Richard G. Wheatland Papers, 1830-1837, 1975, MH 241

Wheatland Family Tree (select Wheatlands displayed)

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