The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Coyle, John B., b. 1805
John B. Coyle (1805-circa 1885)
0.75 linear feet (2 boxes)
The John B. Coyle papers
consist of two items, a typescript of a personal diary, which covers the years 1856
to 1882, and a photocopy of the typescript diary pages for the years 1856 to
Scope and Content Note
The John B. Coyle papers consist of two items, a typescript of a personal diary,
which covers the years 1856 to 1882, and a photocopy of the typescript diary pages
for the years 1856 to 1860.
The personal diary is a collection of typescript pages of a personal diary kept
by John B. Coyle between January 1, 1859 and December 21, 1882. The years 1857,
1877, and 1880 are not represented. The typescript was executed in 1958 by a
great-granddaughter of Coyle (possibly Emily L. Graves) living in Waltham,
Massachusetts, as indicated by an introductory letter to the material, which is
signed "Sis." Parenthetical material that appears to be the transcriber's
interpretation of annotations placed by the author is also included. The transcriber
indicated that many annotations were not transcribed, particularly those containing
The bulk of the diary entries are typical of most diarists: comments about
travel, weather, and health matters, with few details beyond that. Most business
comments are very sketchy and lack detail. In many entries, insufficient information
is presented to determine the location referenced. One of Coyle's duties, at least
early in the time period represented, was to oversee construction of vessels,
largely built in New York, by the Englis (or Euglis) Company. His comments in this
regard are usually related to how the weather affected the progress of
John B. Coyle was born October 6, 1805. Coyle began his
career on April 20, 1834, as an engineer aboard the steamship McDonough. He later became an executive for, and most likely owned
interest in, a number of steamship companies that were centered in Portland, Maine,
and active in coastal passenger and freight service. These companies included:
Boston and Portland Steamship Company; New England and Nova Scotia Steamship
Company; Portland Steam Packet Company; Portland and New York Steamship Company; and
the International Steamship Company. His duties required frequent travel to Boston,
New York, and Halifax. The text of Coyle's diary indicates that he was a member of
the board of directors for each of the companies mentioned and was elected managing
director and treasurer of the Portland Steam Packet Company on June 22, 1874.
Coyle was a religious man and frequently attended two church services (usually
at two different churches) on a given Sunday. He had a curious interest in
Spiritualism, but never embraced it. On April 18, 1830 he married Sabrina Merrill.
They lived in Portland, Maine, and later in its suburb, Westbrook. John and Sabrina
appear to have had two sons, George and John, and several grandchildren. John Coyle
died sometime after 1882. Note: all of the above information was gleaned from
Coyle's diary text.
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.
Boston and Portland Steamship Company
International Steamship Company
New England and Nova Scotia Steamship Company
Portland and New York Steamship Company
Portland Steam Packet Company
Voyages and travels
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
John B. Coyle (1805-circa 1885) Papers, MH 63, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
This material was deposited in the library in June 1975 (accession #20,685) by Mrs.
Collection processed by Robert F. Craig, December 1998. Updated by Hilary Streifer,
The John B. Coyle papers consist of two items, a typescript of a personal diary, which covers the years 1856 to 1882, and a photocopy of the typescript diary pages for the years 1856 to 1860.
Boston and Portland Steamship Company; International Steamship Company; New England and Nova Scotia Steamship Company; Portland and New York Steamship Company; Portland Steam Packet Company; Portland (Me.); Diaries; Diaries--1856-1882; Diaries--Maine--Portland; Health; Spiritualism; Steamboat lines; Voyages and travels; Weather
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.