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Willard Peele (1773-1835) Papers

Willard Peele (1773-1835) Papers

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WILLARD PEELE (1773-1835) PAPERS, 1795-1871


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:Peele, Willard, 1773-1835
Title:Willard Peele (1773-1835) Papers
Quantity:1.5 linear feet (2 boxes, 3 volumes)
Abstract:The Willard Peele (1773-1835) Papers are comprised of shipping, business, and personal papers of Willard and J. Willard Peele.
Collection Number:MSS 66

Series List

SERIES I. Shipping Papers
SERIES II. Business and Personal Papers
SERIES III. J. Willard Peele (1804-1871) Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Willard Peele (1773-1835) Papers are comprised of shipping, business, and personal papers of Willard and J. Willard Peele. The collection has been divided into three series.

Series I. Shipping Papers is comprised of ships' papers, shipping correspondence, account books, business papers, and personal papers. The ships' papers contain documents relating to vessels owned or chartered by Willard Peele, as well as the cargo he shipped on non-Peele vessels. The papers of ship Argonaut are notable for their documentation of the premature condemnation of the ship and the resultant legal action against the Merchants Insurance Co. The papers of the ship Perseverance include correspondence from part-owner J. Willard Peele in Antwerp. The majority of the shipping correspondence consists of market advices and prices current from ports in American and abroad.

Series II. Business and Personal Papers includes accounts and miscellaneous documents of his farms in Malden and Chelsea. Personal correspondence includes discussions of Willard's guardianship of Alfred C. Appleton.

Series III. J. Willard Peele (1804-1871) Papers includes his accounts with Stephen Clarendon Phillips, Willard Peele Phillips, and Peele Hubbell and Co. They also document his interest in the ships Elizabeth and St. Paul, of which he was a partial owner.

Biographical Sketch

Willard Peele (1773-1835), born November 30, 1773, was the eldest son of Jonathan and Abigail (Mason) Peele. Peele was a prominent Salem merchant known for his involvement in the pepper trade. In 1795, his schooner Rajah was the first American vessel to carry a cargo of pepper back from Sumatra. Willard also engaged in trade with other foreign ports including Batavia, Bremen, Rio de Janeiro, Antwerp, London, Marseilles, Gothenburg, Buenos Aires, and Gibraltar. Willard held part interest in his father's lucrative voyages to Sumatra and assumed responsibility for the family shipping business about 1800. Peele served as a trustee and executive for a number of financial institutions in Salem, including the Commercial Bank and the Merchants Insurance Company.

Willard Peele and his wife Margaret (Appleton) had four children. J. Willard Peele (1804-1871) followed his father Willard into maritime commerce, owning several vessels and establishing the merchant house of Peele, Hubbell and Co. in Manila.

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.

Appleton, Alfred C.
Peele, J. Willard, 1804-1871
Peele, Jonathan, 1731-1809
Phillips, Stephen C. (Stephen Clarendon), 1801-1857
Phillips, Willard P. (Willard Peele), 1825-1901
Argonaut (Ship)
Elizabeth (Ship)
Abandonment (Maritime law)
Account books
Crew lists
Marine insurance
Pepper (Spice) industry
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

Willard Peele (1773-1835) Papers, MSS 66, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The Willard Peele Papers are a reorganization and integration of 2 boxes, 3 folders removed from the Phillips Family Papers, 5 account books, a ship's journal, and 1 envelope of ship's papers, 1 broadside, and several miscellaneous letters. The bulk of the collection was purchased in 1924. Several additional items were donated: the journal of the ship Argonaut (1818-1824) by William C. Waters in 1917; the invoice book of the ship Perseverance (1823) by Edward E. Chever in 1903; and 2 legal papers of William Peele (1828) by J.M. Raymond. Removed from the collection are several folders of Phillips Family Papers.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Sylvia Kennick, July 1982. Updated by Catherine Robertson, July 2014.

Related Material

United States. Circuit Court. Decree of the Circuit Court of the United States in the case of the ship Argonaut. Massachusetts, 1823.

Nathaniel Appleton Papers, 1799-1848, Fam. Mss. 21

Richard D. Tucker (b. 1833) Papers, 1820-1896, MH 223

Story Family Papers, 1832-1899, Fam. Mss. 979

Appendix I

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