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Benjamin Ropes Family Papers

Benjamin Ropes Family 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:Ropes family
Title:Benjamin Ropes Family Papers
Quantity:0.5 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The papers in this collection give insight into three generations of the Benjamin Ropes family of Salem, Massachusetts, from the mid-nineteenth century into the twentieth century.
Collection Number:MSS 371

Series List

Scope and Content Note

The papers in this collection give insight into three generations of the Benjamin Ropes family of Salem, Massachusetts, from the mid-nineteenth century into the twentieth century. Included are miscellaneous deeds, correspondence, a wedding album, and several albums and journals belonging to Martha Reed Ropes.

Folder 1 contains miscellaneous deeds, many of which concern property in Salem acquired by Charles Augustus Ropes (1818-1890) or his brother Reuben Wilkins Ropes (1813-1890).

Folder 2 contains one long letter to the "Home Folks", Reuben and Grace Ropes, dated August 8, 1906, from "Austin," presumably Grace's younger brother Austin Tuttle. It is written from St. Moritz, Switzerland, and describes Austin's hikes and sightseeing in the Italian and Swiss Alps.

Folders 3 and 4 contain letters to Reuben and Grace Ropes from two of their children while at college; there is also one letter addressed to Uncle Austin (Tuttle). Laurence (1898-1968) (Folder 3) writes with enthusiasm about his freshman year (1915-1916) at Tufts College in Somerville, Massachusetts, and mentions sports, the school newspaper, chess club, and especially the Zeta Psi fraternity. Esther (1899-1983) (Folder 4) writes in considerably more detail about her first two years (1918-1919) at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, including descriptions of her courses, friends, clothes, rooms, and school traditions.

Folder 5 contains one letter (1917) to Grace Ropes from Mary Campbell Rice of the Women's National Missionary Association of the Universalist Church. It describes the Association's efforts to place young women as missionaries in Japan and to support Japanese women studying in the United States or Japan.

In Folder 6 is the large bound wedding album of Reuben and Grace (Tuttle) Ropes. They were married on June 18, 1895, at the First Universalist Church in Salem, Massachusetts. After honeymooning in Montreal and Quebec City, Canada, they settled at 18 Felt Street in Salem. The wedding album contains signatures of all the wedding party and many of the guests, the newspaper announcements, photographs of the Church and several houses, a diary of the honeymoon, and also signatures of the participants at the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary on June 18, 1920.

The remainder of the collection is a series of albums and journals belonging to Martha Reed Ropes (1826-1888). One set of three bound albums entitled Affection, Sonnenie, and AmitiƩ mostly contain poetic farewells from family and friends written between 1845, when she was visiting family in St. Petersburg, Russia, and 1849, when she married Charles Trask. There are also three booklets and one bound book containing extracts of sermons (1840-1844, undated) and one booklet containing Martha Rope's poetry and essays (1843-1844, undated).

Biographical Sketches

The Benjamin Ropes branch of the Ropes family was descended from George Ropes who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in about 1637. An abbreviated genealogy is included in Appendix I.

Benjamin Ropes (1722-1790) married Ruth Hardy and they had twelve children, including Benjamin (1747-1778), who married Margaret Symonds, and Samuel (1757-1841), who married Sarah Cheever.

Benjamin Ropes, the first son of Benjamin and Margaret (Symonds) Ropes, was born in 1772 and died in 1845. He was a cooper and later a shipping merchant in Salem, Massachusetts. He and his wife Frances (Wilkins) Ropes had eight children, including Benjamin Gardner, Fanny Wilkins, Henry James, Amelia, Reuben Wilkins, Almira, Charles Augustus, and Eleazer Wheelock Ripley.

Charles Augustus Ropes, the son of Benjamin and Frances (Wilkins) Ropes, was born in 1818. He was also a shipping merchant in business with his brothers. He married Lucinda Whipple in 1854, and they had nine children, Benjamin, George, Willis, Mary, Emile, Reuben Wilkins, Charles, Edwin, and Lucinda. Charles died in 1890 as did his brothers, Reuben Wilkins and Ripley.

Reuben Wilkins Ropes (1861-1942) was the fourth son of Charles Augustus and Lucinda (Whipple) Ropes. He married Grace Austin Tuttle (1865-1923) in 1895, as documented in the wedding album in this collection, and they had four children, Lawrence, Esther, Marian, and Austin.

William Ropes, the third son of Samuel and Sarah (Cheever) Ropes, was born in 1784 and died in 1869. He was a merchant in Boston, Massachusetts, and resided for several years in St. Petersburg, Russia. By his first wife Martha Reed Ropes he had ten children, including Martha Reed Ropes. By his second wife, Mary Anne Codman, he had five more children.

Martha Reed Ropes, the daughter of William and Martha (Reed) Ropes, was born in 1826 and died in 1888. She married Charles Trask in 1849, and they had seven children.

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.

Ropes, Charles Augustus, 1818-1890
Ropes, Grace Tuttle, 1865-1923
Ropes, Martha Reed, 1826-1888
Ropes, Reuben Wilkins, 1813-1890
Ropes, Reuben Wilkins, 1861-1942
First Universalist Church--Massachusetts--Salem
Smith College--Massachusetts--Northampton
Tufts College--Massachusetts--Somerville


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

Benjamin Ropes Family Papers, MSS 371, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


Part of this collection was purchased on September 25, 2003 (acc. #2003.048). The deeds in Folder 1 were donated by Mary R. Cate on February 23, 1970. The provenance for the rest of the collection is unknown.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lee Jacoby, January 2008.

Related Material

E. S. Waters, Materials for a History of the Ropes Family, Essex Institute HistoricalCollections, 7(1865), pp. 164-166, 198-199, 252-254, and 8(1866), pp. 54-55.

Timothy Ropes Family Papers, 1680-1888, undated, MSS 365, Papers belonging to the family of Timothy Ropes (1773-1848), the youngest son of Benjamin Ropes (1722-1790).

Appendix I

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