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William Hook (1777-1867) Papers

William Hook (1777-1867) Papers

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WILLIAM HOOK (1777-1867) PAPERS, 1801-1846, undated

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:Hook, William, 1777-1867
Title:William Hook (1777-1867) Papers
Dates:1801/1846, undated
Quantity:0.5 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The following is based on information provided by R.M. Smythe & Company, Inc., New York, from whom the collection was purchased in 1999.
Collection Number:MSS 345

Series List

SERIES I. Business Papers
SERIES II. Family Papers

Scope and Content Note

The following is based on information provided by R.M. Smythe & Company, Inc., New York, from whom the collection was purchased in 1999.

This collection of manuscripts and printed records documents the work and life of William Hook, cabinetmaker in Salem, Massachusetts. The William Hook Papers are divided into two series.

Series I. Business Papers consists largely of invoices, receipts, inventories, and other financial documents, with some correspondence, that substantiate furniture produced and sold by Hook for over forty years, and connect him to the various craftsmen who participated in the piecework system active in Salem in the first half of the nineteenth century. More than eighty invoices from carvers, turners, upholsterers, painters, varnishers, and gilders document the laborers involved, while over one hundred additional receipts exist from the vendors who supplied the word, hardware, fabrics, glass, and marble from which Hook's furniture was created. A set of over thirty inventories, shipping documents, and sales records describe furniture items and reveal the extent to which Hook's work was moved through agents in Boston, the American South and West, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Series II. Family Papers consists of documents (invoices, receipts, correspondence, and personal papers) that give insight into Hook's home life, including bills for the family's clothing, food, taxes, household goods, and pew rent, Hook's social memberships, and the schooling of his sons George and William, daughter Eliza, and two apprentices. While it has been known that Salem cabinetmakers worked cooperatively to purchase material and shared services to produce the fine furniture for which the city was known, this material defines the place that William Hook occupied in the system, and provides the names, activities and dates of craftsmen, vendors, agents, and patrons, that helped him achieve his success.

Biographical Sketch

William Hook was born in Salisbury, Massachusetts, on February 19, 1777, the son of Edmund and Elizabeth (Pike) Hook. In 1796 he came to Salem, Massachusetts, and in 1800, he set up business for himself in Salem as a cabinetmaker where he made furniture for the leading families of Salem for many years. He married Abigail Greenleaf on March 2, 1800, and was the father of seven children, including William, Elias (1805-1881), George Greenleaf (1807-1880), James Franklin (d. 1837), Eliza, and Emeline (1818-1895). William Hook died in Roxbury, Massachusetts, on May 15, 1867.

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.

Bright, Jonathan
Burbank, Caleb
Hook family
Hook, William, 177-1867
McIntire, Samuel, 1757-1867
Noyes, Samuel
Spiller, Moses
Cabinet hardware
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 Hook (1777-1867) Papers, MSS 345, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was purchased by the library on July 28, 1999 (acc #1999.047).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lee Jacoby, February 2004.

Related Material

Busby, William, Genealogical Line of William Hook, Cabinet Maker of Salem, Mass. [No imprint] 1959.

Todd, Frederick W., Humphrey Hooke of Bristol and his Family and Descendants in England and America During the Seventeenth Century (New Haven, Conn.: Tuttle, Morehouse and Taylor Co., 1938).

Hook Family Papers, 1797-1862, undated, MSS 342

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