The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Edmund Blunt Family Papers
0.25 linear feet (1 box)
This collection contains
correspondence, drawings, photographs, transcripts, genealogy, and printed material
relating to the Edmund Blunt family of Newburyport, Massachusetts and Brooklyn, New
SERIES I. Edmund Blunt (1799-1866) Papers SERIES II. French Spoliation Claims SERIES III. Eliza Sinclair Blunt (1840-1933)
Scope and Content Note
This collection contains correspondence, drawings, photographs, transcripts,
genealogy, and printed material relating to the Edmund Blunt family of Newburyport,
Massachusetts and Brooklyn, New York. The papers are divided into three series.
Series I. Edmund Blunt (1799-1866) Papers document
the voyage Edmund Blunt took to Central America in 1824 to explore the feasibility
of a canal route across Nicaragua by way of Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River.
The papers include original correspondence and drawings, and also transcripts of a
journal, final report, and expense accounts. Some drawings may pertain to a later
voyage (1830). Also present are a few letters to Edmund Blunt and his wife Eliza
from their daughters Mary or Sarah or from other relatives, notes from Edmund
Blunt's journal, and one letter from George William Blunt (1802-1878).
Series II. French Spoliation Claims contain
information about French spoliation claims made on behalf of Captain John Sinclair
by his granddaughter Eliza N. Blunt and great granddaughter Eliza S. Blunt, and in
particular, the claim relating to the brig Recovery.
Included are correspondence, notes, legal papers, newspaper clippings, and published
materials documenting the history of French spoliation claims. [Note added by
processor: the case was tried before the United States Court of Claims on March 24,
1913, and the descendants of John Sinclair were denied indemnity from the United
Series III. Eliza Sinclair Blunt (1840-1933) Papers
include Eliza S. Blunt's early memoirs, correspondence with the Brooklyn Eagle Press
about publishing those memoirs, and two photographs, not identified but most likely
of Eliza S. Blunt. Also present is extensive material Eliza Blunt gathered about the
family genealogy, including information about the Blunt, Gilman, March, Pepperrell,
and Whittemore families, and an article, "Growth and Distribution of Population,"
from Harper's New Monthly Magazine (1875).
Edmund Blunt was born on November 23, 1799 in Newburyport,
Massachusetts, the second son of Edmund March and Sarah (Ross) Blunt. In 1833 he was
appointed assistant at the United State Office of the Coast Survey. He was a
hydrographer noted for the quality and detail of his charts, many of which were
republished into the 1880s. He was also a partner with his brother, George William,
in the firm of E. & G.W. Blunt, nautical publishers of New York. Edmund Blunt
married Eliza Needham Sinclair; they had six children: Mary, Sarah Ross, Euphemia,
William Sinclair, Eliza Sinclair, and Edmund, Jr. Edmund Blunt died on September 2,
1866, in Brooklyn, New York.
Eliza Sinclair Blunt was the youngest daughter of
Edmund and Eliza (Needham Sinclair) Blunt. She was born on July 13, 1840 in
Brooklyn, New York. Eliza spearheaded the French spoliation claim made on behalf of
her great-grandfather Captain John Sinclair. She never married and died at age 93 in
Captain John Sinclair was born in Scotland in 1761. In
1794, then a merchant in New York and while under contract to the French government,
John Sinclair delivered cargo on three vessels, Success,
Recovery and Polly, to France. The cargoes of
flour, beef, and barrel staves were confiscated and two of the vessels, Success and Recovery, were
detained in France for several months, causing John Sinclair financial ruin and
providing the basis of his spoliation claims against the French government. John
Sinclair married Elizabeth Ropes of Salem, Massachusetts; they had one child, John,
Jr. John Sinclair, Sr. died in 1820 in Charleston, South Carolina. His great
granddaughter was Eliza Sinclair Blunt.
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.
Blunt, Edmund March, 1779-1866
Blunt, Eliza S., 1840-1933
Sinclair, John, b. 1761
French spoliation claims
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
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
Edmund Blunt Family Papers, MSS 467, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem,
This material was donated by the Berkshire Historical Society (acc # 2012.028).
Collection processed by Lee Jacoby, September 2013.
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts
This collection contains correspondence, drawings, photographs, transcripts, genealogy, and printed material relating to the Edmund Blunt family of Newburyport, Massachusetts and Brooklyn, New York.
Photographs; Newburyport (Mass.); Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.); Nicaragua--Exploration of; Blunt, Edmund March, 1779-1866; Blunt, Eliza S., 1840-1933; Sinclair, John, b. 1761; Letters; Genealogy; Journals (Diaries); French spoliation claims
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.