Processing and conservation of this collection were funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Essex Fire & Marine Insurance Company (Salem, Mass.)
Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company Records
4.25 linear feet (8 boxes, 2 volumes)
The Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company records consist of administrative and financial records as well as policies and marine claims for this Salem, Massachusetts, firm.
SERIES I. Administrative Records SERIES II. Financial Records SERIES III. Policies SERIES IV. Marine Claims SERIES V. Miscellaneous Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company records consist of administrative and financial records as well as policies and marine claims for this Salem, Massachusetts, firm. They cover the years 1776 until 1887; the bulk of the material in the collection falls between 1803, when the company was incorporated, and 1833. The records feature marine insurance papers of Nathaniel Bowditch, which contain diverse marine insurance claims. The collection has been divided into five series.
Series I. Administrative Records consists of directors' and stockholders' meeting minutes, incorporation papers (including an 1803 printed copy of the act), correspondence, legal documents, and papers relating to the construction and rental of Essex Place. Correspondence includes inquiries regarding insurance rates, general information on claims, and financial business. These letters include correspondence to and from company presidents Nathaniel Bowditch, and Abijah Northey. Legal papers feature construction agreements for the company's building at Essex Place (on Essex Street, facing Central Street), and leases to tenants. These materials are supplemented by drawings and memorandums regarding the planning and erection of the building.
Series II. Financial Records contains account books, stock certificates, dividend accounts, and miscellaneous accounts. The accounts include statements of office funds, dividend installment lists, lists of policies at risk, etc.
Series III. Policies contains accepted marine and fire policies and policy proposals. Marine proposals are organized alphabetically by vessel, and consist of short memorandums listing the vessel's condition, its destination, master, and cargo. Fire policy proposals include a building's size, situation, construction, and often times, append a hand-drawn map of the building's neighborhood.
Series IV. Marine Claims covers claims filed in the years 1803 through 1833. The records are filed alphabetically by the name of the vessel, and consist of policies, correspondence, bills of lading and invoices, accounts, protests, and general averages pertaining to 110 marine claims handled by the company (see Appendix II for complete listing). These claims include damage by storm, vessel leakage, collision, detention, privateering, robbery while on board a ship, and piracy. Although this collection includes a large number of claims cases, many of these files are incomplete. Records for vessels beginning with the letters M-Z are particularly sparse.
Series V. Miscellaneous Papers includes receipts of Samuel Very (circa 1790), and clippings referring to Caroline Plummer (circa 1885).
The Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company was incorporated in 1803, but began in 1776. Nathaniel Bowditch was president of the company from 1804 until 1823. Abijah Northey was another president of the company. The Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company was located in a building called Essex Place, in Salem, Massachusetts, which was located on Essex Street, facing Central Street.
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.
Bowditch, Nathaniel, 1773-1838
Northey, Abijah, 1774-1853
Plummer, Caroline, 1780-1854
Betsey (Schooner : 1809-1835)
Boston Packet (Bark)
Dispatch Packet (Schooner)
Essex (Ship : 1806)
George Washington (Ship)
President Adams (Ship)
Two Friends (Brig)
William Gray (Bark)
Abandonment (Maritime law)
Account books--Fire insurance
Account books--Marine insurance
Capture at sea
Lease and rental services
Essex Place (Salem, Mass.)
United States--History--War of 1812
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
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.
Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company Records, MSS 134, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.
These records are a reorganization and integration of 17 volumes, one scrapbook volume, and miscellaneous folders of manuscripts. The collection is from an unknown source. Removed from the collection are receipts of Richard, John, and Elias Hasket Derby, and William Orne (see Separation Sheet, Appendix I).
Collection processed by Sylvia B. Kennick, July 1984. Updated by Hilary Streifer, August 2014.
An Act for Incorporating the Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company. Salem: Thomas C. Cushing, 1803.