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William Ives (1794-1874) Papers

William Ives (1794-1874) Papers

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WILLIAM IVES (1794-1874) PAPERS, 1814-1854

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:Ives, William, 1794-1874
Title:William Ives (1794-1874) Papers
Quantity:0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The William Ives Papers are primarily personal in nature with very little material related to the publishing business.
Collection Number:MSS 272

Series List

Scope and Content Note

The William Ives Papers are primarily personal in nature with very little material related to the publishing business.

Domestic bills and receipts (Folders 1-4) include, but are not limited to, the following: food, taxes, household expenses, transportation, organizational dues, contracted services, and medical expenses. Also included are two receipts to Elijah Sanderson, a prominent Salem cabinetmaker, in payment for the construction of coffins.

Correspondence (Folder 5) consists of three personal letters: two to William Ives from personal friends and one to his wife, Lucy Ives, from her daughter Mary.

The miscellaneous papers (Folder 6) include cooking recipes, two poems, an obituary of William Ives, and a certification of William Ives as an engineman attached to the Exchange Engine in Salem, Mass.

The Mary Peele papers (Folder 7) include bills and receipts from the estate of Mary Peele.

Biographical Sketch

William Ives (1794-1875) was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on 15 February 1794, the eldest son of Captain William Ives and Mary (Bradshaw) Ives. Four other children followed: John Mansfield Ives (born 8 July 1799); Stephen Bradshaw Ives (born 12 April 1801); Mary Ives (born 14 May 1803); and Benjamin Hale Ives (born 7 November 1806).

On 12 May 1824, William Ives married Lucy, daughter of Perez and Silence (Gardner) Gardner of Hingham. They had seven children: Mary Bradshaw (1825), Lucy Gardner (1826), William Hale (1829), Susan Shillaber (1831), Franklin Gardner (1834), Benjamin Franklin (1837), and Helen May (1843).

From his youth, William Ives was interested in journalism; he apprenticed with Thomas C. Cushing at the Salem Gazette. On 2 January 1823, he joined his brother Stephen Bradshaw Ives (1801-1884) under the firm name of W. & S. B. Ives. They published a newspaper called the Observer. The name was later changed to the Salem Observer. In 1839, Stephen B. Ives withdrew from the partnership and George Pease became a partner. The firm changed its name to Ives & Pease. Ives & Pease printed and published the Salem Observer from 1839 to 1853 at 230 Essex Street, Salem, Mass. This partnership was succeeded by William Ives & Co. However, Pease remained a partner.

From 1822 to 1853, W. & S. B. Ives (and the succeeding companies) were booksellers, printers, binders, and publishers. From 1822 to 1826, William and Stephen B. Ives published the Salem Observer at 2 Court Street, Salem; on Washington Street at the Chase Building from 1826 to 1832; and at 230-232 Essex Street from 1832 to 1853. The partners bought out the bookselling stock of Samuel West in 1828, and established a bookstore.

The firm published not only Felt's Annals of Salem (1827, 2nd ed., 1845-1849)--the first general history of Salem--but a variety of other popular works, especially religious, educational, and juvenile works, plus a weekly periodical for children called The Hive (1828-1830).

Besides selling toys and other juvenile items, the firm became well known for publishing card and board games. W. & S. B. Ives has been credited with making the "first board game in America," The Mansion of Happiness, in 1830. In the 1880s, George S. Parker, founder of the company that later became Parker Brothers, acquired the rights to the board and card games that the Ives firm had manufactured.

William Ives died on 12 December 1875 at his home at 390 Essex Street, Salem. His wife, Lucy, died in Riverside, Illinois, on 19 October 1882 at the home of their daughter.

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.

Peele, Mary--Estate
Sanderson, Elijah, 1751-1825
W. & S.B. Ives (Firm)
Salem (Mass.)


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

William Ives (1794-1874) Papers, MSS 272, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The collection is a reorganization of one envelope of documents. The provenance of these documents is unknown. Some Ives papers were removed from the Sanderson Family Papers (MSS 246) and placed here.

Processing Information

Collection processed by MaryAnn Campbell, August 1994.

Related Material

Essex Institute Historical Collections, vols. 22, 41, and 85.

Goodfellow, Carol. A Collection Guide to Games & Puzzles. London: Apple Press, 1991.

Salem Directories, 1837-1875.

Tapley, Harriet Silvester. Salem Imprints, 1768-1825. Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1927.

Vital Records of Salem Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, vols. 1, 3, and 5. Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1916-1925.

There are two portraits of William Ives in the holdings of the Peabody Essex Museum.

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