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John Hancock Andrews Papers

John Hancock Andrews Papers

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Processing and conservation for this collection were funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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:Andrews, John Hancock, 1775-1832
Title:John Hancock Andrews Papers
Quantity:1.25 linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract:The John Hancock Andrews Papers contain correspondence and business papers for Salem, Massachusetts ship captain and merchant, John Hancock Andrews.
Collection Number:MSS 2

Series List

SERIES I. Ships' Papers
SERIES II. Shipping Business Records
SERIES III. Personal Papers

Scope and Content Note

The John Hancock Andrews Papers contain correspondence and business papers for Salem, Massachusetts ship captain and merchant, John Hancock Andrews. The collection contains papers for various ships dealing with accounts of voyages and prices received for goods shipped and has been arranged into three series.

Series I. Ships' Papers are arranged alphabetically by ship's name. Correspondence and business papers for each ship are arranged in chronological order. Most of the letters are addressed to John H. Andrews and partners from his ship masters and deal with accounts of the voyage and prices received for goods shipped. Foreign merchants' comments on specific ships and cargoes are also included in the Ships' Papers. Of special interest are letters concerning the opium trade on board the brig Eliza and bark Patriot, though Andrews' main interest lay with the sugar trade between Havana and Europe on board the brig Herald, schooner Jeremiah, brig Rebecca, and schooner Union. Trade in oil between Naples, Gallipoli, and St. Petersburg aboard the brig Rebecca and bark Patriot is also described. Two of Andrews' ships were lost to privateers, the ship Jeremiah in 1811 and the Union in 1819, though both were later in his service. Recordings of the prize hearings, translated from Danish, are included in Folders 5 and 9.

Series II. Shipping Business Records are sorted chronologically and contain accounts of cargoes bought and sold, legal papers, and current price lists sent from European merchants trying to solicit trade. Letters from commission merchants (1822) refer to bankruptcies in Russia, trouble between Turkey and Russia and the reduction in trade with Russia after 1815, particularly in oil. Letters from Andrews' son, John P. Andrews, in Baltimore (1827) contain discouraging comments about the flour and cotton markets.

Series III. Personal Papers contain correspondence from his son William at Harvard University (1828). Miscellaneous family papers deal with various members of the Andrews' family before (1719-1796) and after (1832-1874) John Hancock Andrews. The Deborah Helme estate papers include the Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corporation, the New Hampshire Iron Company, and the Danvers and Beverly Iron Works Company, all of which Andrews was involved in.

Biographical Sketch

John Hancock Andrews (1775-1832), the son of James and Mary (Glover) Andrews, was a prominent Salem, Massachusetts, merchant known for his worldwide trade in flour, sugar, molasses, rum, opium, pepper, and oil. Before establishing himself as a merchant, John mastered the schooner Polly (1800) and the brig Cynthia (1802-1806). From 1802 to 1832 John owned parts of at least ten vessels in partnership with Samuel Endicott, Samuel Page, Jeremiah Shepard, Thomas Perkins, and Stephen C. Phillips (see Appendix I for more ships owned by John Andrews). His vessels traded in many ports in the Southern Hemisphere: Havana, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro; in Europe: St. Petersburg, Antwerp, Gallipoli, Marseilles; and in the Far East: Canton, Sumatra, Batavia.

The domestic activities of John Hancock Andrews included investment in the New Hampshire Iron Company of Danvers of which he was appointed director in 1809, as well as owning stock in the Salem Turnpike and Salem Bridge Corporation. John married Nancy Glover. They had eight children: John P., Nancy, Samuel, William, Caroline, George, Ellen Maria, and James. William (b. 1810) attended Harvard University and Samuel (b. 1813) became a minister. John Putnam Andrews (b. 1805) followed his father into maritime commerce, mastering his father's brig Rebecca (1825-28) before owning his own vessels. He later inherited his father's house at 393 Essex Street, Salem, Massachusetts.

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.

Andrews, John Hancock, 1775-1832
Andrews, William, 1810-1838
Helme, Deborah, 1759-1831
Needham, Thomas, 1780-1858
Page, Samuel, 1753-1814
Phillips, Stephen C. (Stephen Clarendon), 1801-1857
Sanderson, Jacob, 1757-1810
Cynthia (Brig)
Danvers and Beverly Iron Works Company
Eliza (Brig)
Hallengren (Brig)
Herald (Brig)
Jeremiah (Schooner)
New Hampshire Iron Factory Company
Patriot (Bark)
Polly (Schooner)
Rebecca (Brig)
Union (Schooner)
Washington (Brig)
Estates, Administration of
Shipping--Russia--St. Petersburg
Shipping--West Indies
Ships' papers
Danvers (Mass.)
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

John Hancock Andrews Papers, MSS 2, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The John Hancock Andrews Papers are a reorganization of 3 boxes of manuscripts from an unknown source. Papers dealing with the Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corporation are from the Deborah Helme estate papers. Additional letters from the ship Cynthia were removed from the Shipping Collection and added in 1980.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Carleton A. Conant, April 1983. Updated by Anne E. (Holmer) Deschaine, June 2011, June 2014.

Related Material

Phillips Family Papers, MSS 58

Rebecca (Brig) Logbook, 1821, Log 3042 (OS)

Appendix I

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