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John Dexter Treadwell Papers

John Dexter Treadwell Papers

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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:Treadwell, John Dexter
Title:John Dexter Treadwell Papers
Quantity:0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:This collection contains medical records and personal papers of John Dexter Treadwell, a prominent physician in Salem, Massachusetts, in the early nineteenth century.
Collection Number:MSS 32

Series List

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains medical records and personal papers of John Dexter Treadwell, a prominent physician in Salem, Massachusetts, in the early nineteenth century. The papers include extracts of medical reports, legal documents, correspondence, account books, and papers pertaining to the Massachusetts Medical Society. Also present are papers belonging to John Dexter's father, John Treadwell, a minister in Lynn, Massachusetts, who later resided in Salem.

Folders 1 and 2 contain six volumes of medical information abstracted by John Dexter Treadwell. Also present is a volume of chemical tables relevant to medicine. John Dexter Treadwell was instrumental in reorganizing the Massachusetts Medical Society; Folder 3 contains drafts of the revised by-laws. The account books in Folder 4 include a volume of John Dexter's family expenses, a volume of his expenses while living in Marblehead, and a volume listing medical books and instruments purchased.

Folder 5 contains legal documents pertaining to the purchase or transfer of land or funds. Also present is the draft of a petition to the General Court noting the difficulty of enforcing the ban on travel on the Lord's Day. Folder 6 includes assorted papers and correspondence, the bulk of which are attributable to John Dexter Treadwell and relate to his interests in medicine and religious studies. The earliest papers (1778-1802) are attributable to John Treadwell (1738-1811).

Folder 7 contains one volume of notes on agriculture. This was possibly written by John Goodhue Treadwell, John Dexter's son, who owned a large farm in Topsfield, Massachusetts, and was interested in scientific experimentation in agriculture. Finally, Folder 8 contains receipts of charges incurred by William C. Treadwell while a student at Amherst College between 1832 and 1836. The relationship between William C. Treadwell and John Dexter Treadwell was not established.

Biographical Sketches

John Treadwell was a fifth generation descendant of Thomas Treadwell, who settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts, around 1638. He was born in Ipswich in 1738, the son of John and Hannah Treadwell. He graduated from Harvard College in 1758 and served as minister at the First Congregational Church in Lynn, Massachusetts, from 1763 to 1782. Upon resigning his position as minister, he taught school in Ipswich from 1783 to 1785 and then moved to Salem where he became a state senator and judge of the Court of Common Pleas. By his first wife Mehitable (Dexter) Treadwell he had a son, John Dexter, and a daughter, Mehitable. John Treadwell died in Salem in 1811.

John Dexter Treadwell, the son of John and Mehitable Treadwell, was born in 1768 in Lynn, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1788 and practiced medicine in Marblehead for three years and then in Salem until his death in 1833. He was active in the Massachusetts Medical Society and served as a councillor for the Essex District from 1805 to 1828. He received an honorary M.D. from Harvard in 1815 and was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. John Dexter Treadwell married Dorothy Goodhue in 1804; they had one son, John Goodhue Treadwell.

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.

Holten, Samuel, 1738-1816
Treadwell, John 1738-1811
Treadwell, John Dexter 1768-1833
Treadwell, W.C.
Massachusetts Medical Society
Medicine--19th century
Religious literature
Lynn (Mass.)--churches--First Church
Account books


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Requests 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

John Dexter Treadwell Papers, MSS 32, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The provenance of this material is unknown.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lee Jacoby, October 2012.

Related Material

Browne, B.F. An Account of Salem Common and the Levelling of the Same in 1802, with Short Notices of the Subscribers. Essex Institute Historical Collections 4, (1862), pp. 129-130.

Rollins, William A. Thomas Treadwell of Ipswich, Mass., and Some of his Descendants. Boston: Press of David Clapp & Son, 1906.

Wheatland, Henry. Historical Sketch of the Philosophical Library in Salem, with Notes. Essex Institute Historical Collections 4 (1862), p. 278.

For additional John Dexter Treadwell material, please visit Philcat, our online catalog.

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