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William Silver (1809-1873) Papers

William Silver (1809-1873) Papers

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WILLIAM SILVER (1809-1873) PAPERS, 1827-1867

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:Silver, William, 1809-1873
Title:William Silver (1809-1873) Papers
Quantity:0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The William Silver Papers consist of about 85 documents, the majority of which are correspondence between William Silver, a ship captain, and his closest family members.
Collection Number:MH 207

Series List

Scope and Content Note

The William Silver Papers consist of about 85 documents, the majority of which are correspondence between William Silver and his closest family members. The letters document William Silver's maturation from a young sailor to a successful sea captain, one who sailed from Salem for many years.

In Folder 1 are 26 letters plus one poem addressed to William Silver from his sisters, brother, cousin, brothers-in-law, and nephew. The letters convey love and support for William, particularly during his first overseas voyage on the ship Catharine in 1830-1831. They also include family news and descriptions of major events in Salem, including the murder of Captain Joseph White in 1830, the reception for President Jackson in 1833, and the celebration of President Harrison's inauguration in 1841 followed by his death only 32 days later. In Folder 2 are about 35 letters to William and Frances Silver from their daughter Susan (known as Tudin). These letters were written in 1867 while Susan and her husband Joseph Bertram toured England, France, Italy, and Switzerland. Folder 3 includes five miscellaneous letters.

The six letters in Folder 4 written by William to his father James during William's maiden voyage on the ship Catharine best reveal his emotions as a young sailor. While laid over on the South American coast, he writes of the "folly of going to sea", but by the time the ship reaches Calcutta, William is enthusiastic: "the sailor's life is pleasanter and more congenial...than I ever anticipated."In Folder 5 are two letters between William and his wife Frances. Folder 6 contains seven letters written between William Silver and Benjamin B. Neal from 1828 to 1831. The letters indicate a close relationship between the two young friends, one which terminated when Silver went to sea and Neal to the Cape Verde Islands.

Finally, in Folder 7 there is a mortgage deed in the collection from 1842 between a William J. Silver, presumably William Silver's nephew, and Andrew Roberts concerning land in Boston.

Biographical Sketch

William Silver was born in 1809 in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of James and Susanna (Howard) Silver. William went to sea at an early age, like his father and uncle, and was master of vessels including the ships Unicorn and Propontis. In 1835 he married Frances Putnam, and they had one daughter, Susan Howard Silver. William died in Salem in 1873.

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.

Bertram, Joseph, 1835-1877
Daland, John Tucker, 1795-1858
Kimball, James, 1808-1880
Neal, Benjamin B., b. 1807
Silver, Frances
Silver, James, 1771-1837
Silver, Peter, 1811-1883
Silver, Susan Howard
Bengal (Ship)
Catharine (Ship)
Propontis (Ship)
Unicorn (Ship)
Ship captains
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 Silver (1809-1873) Papers, MH 207, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material wasfound in the collection.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lee Jacoby, September 2011.

Related Material

Silver, James. Papers. Fam Mss 932

Silver, Peter. Papers. Fam Mss 933 and Fam Mss 934

Silver, William. Logbook. Catharine (Ship). 1829. Log 1186

Silver, William. Logbook. Propontis (Ship). 1841. Log 494

Silver, William. Logbook. Propontis (Ship). 1844. Log 550

Silver, William. Logbook. Propontis (Ship). 1844. Log 552

Silver, William. Logbook. Propontis (Ship), Unicorn (Ship). 1841. Log 500

Silver, William. Logbook. Unicorn (Ship). 1840. Log 474

Silver, William. Whaling journal. Bengal (Ship). 1832-1835. Log 302

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