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Charles C. Currier (1805-1860) Papers

Charles C. Currier (1805-1860) Papers

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CHARLES C. CURRIER (1805-1860) PAPERS, 1826-1855

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:Currier, Charles Chase, 1805-1860
Title:Charles C. Currier (1805-1860) Papers
Quantity:9 Linear feet (10 boxes)
Abstract:The collection consists of the business and personal papers of Salem, Massachusetts commission merchant working in Calcutta, India and Pinang.
Collection Number:MH 73

Series List

SERIES I. Business Papers
SERIES II. Personal Papers

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the business and personal papers of Salem, Massachusetts commission merchant working in Calcutta, India and Pinang. It is divided into two series.

Series I. Business Papers consists of ships' papers and general business correspondence. The ships' papers cover a period of over four years (October 1829 to February 1834) and are arranged alphabetically by ship name. About half of the ships' papers are from the nine voyages of the schooner Rebecca. The other half is comprised of voyages from sixteen other ships. Document types include bills of lading; shipping articles; invoices; receipts; account sales; accounts current; disbursements; insurance policies; bills; notes; impost bonds; outward foreign manifests; expenditure and cargo memo books; and correspondence. Several documents are written in French and Spanish. Records not directly associated with a particular vessel are arranged at the end of the series. General business correspondence is arranged chronologically. Significant correspondents include Benjamin Chapman, John Lecoq, N.B. Mansfield, and Pierce and Goodnow.

Series II. Personal Papers consists primarily of Charles Currier's letters to his family in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, from 1826 to 1855. The letters give added information about foreign shipping agents representing Salem merchants in the mid-nineteenth century. Throughout these letters Currier writes about business opportunities in Asia. In addition, the collection contains 22 miscellaneous accounts and receipts dating from Currier's years in Salem (1829-1835).

Biographical Sketch

Charles Chase Currier was born on February 7, 1805 in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. His parents were Amos and Mary (Sargent) Currier, and his siblings were Sarah, Seth Franklin, John, and Hannah. Further information about his early life in New Hampshire is not readily available. Currier came to Boston, Massachusetts, as a young man. In 1826 he worked at Pierce and Goodnow, a West India goods store, having previously worked at an apothecary and paint store in Boston. In 1829 he moved to Salem, Massachusetts, and operated a store selling goods from Boston. In 1830, together with Captain Isaac Shepherd, he bought the schooner Rebecca, which sailed to the West Indies in late 1830. By 1832 he was selling and purchasing cargoes for his schooner from a new store at the Salem Wharf. Business expanded to two vessels in 1833, but in 1834 the business failed, and Currier explored opportunities in trade overseas. After one trial voyage to the coast of Africa in 1834, he accepted a position with David Pingree of Salem, Massachusetts, as a trade agent at Madras and Calcutta in India, and he sailed to Calcutta on the ship Warsaw in December 1835.

From 1835 to 1840, Currier was a shipping agent representing Pingree in Calcutta. In addition he visited Madras in 1836-1837. During this time he shipped goods to America, some of which were destined for South American markets. He also purchased and resold goods in India, which he saw as another profitable business.

In 1840 Currier joined the commercial house of Revely and Company in Penang. He soon became the sole proprietor of this profitable concern, since his partner, Mr. Revely, was lost at sea on his return home to America in 1840. Currier planned to return to America in 1856 and settle in South Reading, Massachusetts. Information about his life subsequent to this time is not readily available. He died on March 16, 1860.

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.

Ames, Nathaniel
Bailey, Samuel
Bassett, Christopher
Chapman, Benjamin
Chase, Cyrus
Cook, Caleb
Currier, Charles Chase, 1805-1860
Darling, Stephen
Deshon, James
Dewing, Josiah
Evans, Samuel
Foster, John W.
Howard, Charles F.
Lecoq, John
Lovett, John
Mansfield, Nathaniel B.
Pearson, John S.
Rogers, Peter J.
Shephard, Issac B.
Summers, William
Truesdel, Jaspar
Tyler, John
Wallace, Robert
Woodbury, Zebulon
Alert (Schooner)
American (Schooner)
Attention (Brig)
Cashier (Brig)
Cipher (Brig)
Fancy Packet (Sloop)
General Jackson (Brig)
Jackson (Sloop)
Mandarin (Ship)
Packet (Sloop)
Patriot (Brig)
Pierce and Goodnow
Polly (Sloop)
Rebecca (Schooner)
Revely & Co.
Richmond (Schooner)
Richmond Packet (Schooner)
Statesman (Brig)
Voigt and Souffront
William (Sloop)
Commission merchants--India--Kolkata
Commission merchants--Malaysia--Pinang
Boston (Mass.)
India--Description and travel
Pinang--Description and travel
Ponce (P.R.)
Saint-Pierre (Martinique)
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

Charles C. Currier (1805-1860) Papers, MH 73, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The Charles C. Currier papers were acquired in three accessions. The ship papers and business correspondence were donated by Mrs. Rodman A. Nichols in 1948 (acc # 12,008). The personal accounts and receipts and account books were donated by Mrs. Richard Seamans on October 16, 1961 (acc #15,605). The personal letters were purchased in December 1979 (acc #79015).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jason Hosford, April 2011. Updated by: Tamara Gaydos, May 2014.

Related Material

Currier, Harvey Lear. Genealogy of Richard Currier of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts, (1616-1686/7) and Many of his Descendants. Issued under the Auspices of the Orleans County Historical Society: Newport, Vermont, 1910, pp. 97-98.

"Ship Registers of the District of Salem and Beverly," Essex Institute Historical Collections, 41(1905): 313, 327.

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