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Edmund Kimball (1762-1847) Papers

Edmund Kimball (1762-1847) Papers

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EDMUND KIMBALL (1762-1847) PAPERS, 1786-1865


Processing and conservation for this collection was 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:Kimball, Edmund, 1762-1847
Title:Edmund Kimball (1762-1847) Papers
Quantity:7 linear feet (13 boxes)
Abstract:The Edmund Kimball papers contain the personal and business papers of Newburyport, Massachusetts, shipping merchant Edmund Kimball (1762-1847) and the correspondence and legal papers of his son, Edmund Kimball (1793-1873), who was an attorney and state senator.
Collection Number:MSS 80

Series List

SERIES I. Edmund Kimball (1762-1847) Papers
A. Ships' Papers
B. Correspondence
C. Legal and Financial Papers
SERIES II. Edmund Kimball (1793-1873) Papers
SERIES III. Miscellaneous Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Edmund Kimball papers contain the personal and business papers of Newburyport shipping merchant Edmund Kimball (1762-1847) and the correspondence and legal papers of his son, Edmund Kimball (1793-1873), who was an attorney and state senator. This collection has been divided into three series.

Series I. Edmund Kimball's (1762-1847) Papers contain personal and business papers, which reflect the development of his mercantile career from shipmaster to merchant and shop owner, and his avid interest in educational and religious societies. This series is divided into three subseries. Subseries A. Ships' Papers is arranged alphabetically by ship and includes records for ships owned or mastered by Edmund between the years 1786 and 1826. These vessels traded with the West Indies, Europe, Calcutta, and coastwise America. Included with the papers of the vessels Glide, Ocean, and Draper are letters from co-owner Francis Todd. Miscellaneous ships' papers, arranged chronologically, include records for consigned cargo and chartered vessels. Also located here are shipbuilding agreements and miscellaneous invoices and accounts of sales. Underwriting and outfitting accounts and receipts are filed with the financial records.

Subseries B. Correspondence includes letterbooks, merchant house correpsondence, and miscellaneous correspondence. Additional correspondence relating to the procurement, shipment, and sale of cargo can also be found in this subseries. The letterbooks contain both ingoing and outgoing correspondence with merchant houses and shipmasters from 1803 to 1825. The merchant house correspondence from Boston, Cadiz, Hamburg, Jamaica, London, New Orleans, and New York contains letters that do not discuss the activities of specific ships. Also filed here are letters from the co-owners of Edmund's vessels. Miscellaneous correspondence includes shipping, personal, and business letters. It discusses Edmund's investments in banks, insurance, and real estate; procurement of goods for his store and vessels; his financial support of religious and educational societies; and the activities of his family.

Subseries C. Legal and Financial Records contain legal agreements, account books, and accounts and bills for his personal and business activities. Within the accounts and bills are receipts for the outfitting of vessels, underwriting accounts, inventories of farm utensils and real estate, and donations to societies.

Series II. Edmund Kimball (1793-1873) Papers largely consist of correspondence received as an attorney, state senator, and Whig party member. Of note in the correspondence is a letter from Edmund, while serving as a state senator, to a newspaper discussing Henry Wilson's slavery resolve; and an 1819 letter from a friend aboard the U. S. frigate Macedonian, describing the battles between Spain and Chile. Edmund's papers also include his attorney case notes, bills and legal notices; legal acts and petitions as state senator; circulars and annual reports from civic societies, and railroad companies; and an 1833 passport to Cuba.

Series III. Miscellaneous Papers contains one folder of miscellaneous, undated papers.

Biographical Sketch

Edmund Kimball was born on November 24, 1762 to Thomas and Mary (Cross) Kimball in Wenham, Massachusetts. Thomas Kimball was a captain in the Wenham Company at the time of the Lexington alarm in 1775. Edmund was a soldier during the Revolutionary War. In 1779, he enlisted in Captain Benjamin Peabody's company, which was part of Colonel Jacob Gerrish's regiment. In June 1780 he enlisted in in Captain Speer's company, which was a part of Colonel Nixon's regiment of the Massachusetts Line of the Continental Army and was stationed at various points in New York and New Jersey. Edmund was discharged in December 1780. He then worked as a ship master, eventually becoming a shipping merchant and shop owner in Newburyport.

Edmund married his first wife, Anna Porter, on April 27, 1791; they had three children together. After Anna died in 1796, Edmund married his second wife, Mrs. Lucy (Runnells) Balch. Edmund died on December 8, 1847.

Edmund Kimball was born on August 16, 1793 to Edmund (1762-1847) and Anna Kimball in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1814 and soon after began studying law in Boston, spending time in the office of Daniel Webster. Edmund was an elected representative in the legislature in Boston in 1820 and a state senator after that; he also represented Wenham in the general Court. He practiced law for a number of years, retiring in 1840.

He married Mary W. Beckford in 1834, and they had eight children together. After Edmund's retirement in 1840, he moved to his estate in Wenham, where he resided until his death on November 7, 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.

Kimball, Edmund, 1762-1847
Kimball, Edmund, 1793-1873
Todd, Francis
Agawam (Ship)
Aurora (Ship)
Benjamin and Nancy (Brig)
Betsy (Brig)
Charlotte (Schooner)
Draper (Ship)
Dryade (Brig)
Eagle (Schooner)
Factor (Brig)
Gideon (Brig)
Glide (Ship)
Hector (Brig)
Mary (Brig)
Maryland (Sloop)
Mehitable (Brig)
Nancy (Sloop)
Ocean (Ship)
Polly (Schooner)
Reward (Ship)
Sally (Schooner)
Speedwell (Schooner)
St. Paul (Brig)
Susannah (Brig)
Account books
General stores--Massachusetts--Newburyport
Marine insurance
Newburyport (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

Edmund Kimball (1762-1847) Papers, MSS 80, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material is an integration and reorganization of 17 scrapbook volumes, seven account books, and several miscellaneous folders. The 1803 to 1806 letter book was a 1964 purchase; the remainder of the collection is from an unknown source.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Prudence Backman and Sylvia B. Kennick, November 1982. Updated by Hilary Streifer, November 2014.

Related Material


Balch, Galusha B. Genealogy of the Balch Families in America. Salem, MA: Eben Putnam, 1897.

Morrison, Leonard Allison. History of the Kimball Family in America, From 1634 to 1897, and of its Ancestors the Kemballs or Kemboldes of England, With an Account of the Kembles of Boston, Massachusetts. Interlaken, NY: Heart of the Lakes Publishing, 1981.

Porter, Joseph W. A Genealogy of the Descendants of Richard Porter. Bangor, ME: Burr and Robinson, Printers, 1878.

Related Collections

Kimball Family Papers, 1821-1917. MSS 84.

Moses Kimball Papers, 1802-1832. Acc. 2014.033.

Moses Kimball Papers, 1728-1865. MSS 378.

Kimball Family Papers, 1804-1836. MSS 336.

Frank Reed Kimball Papers, 1819-1928. MSS 307.

James Kimball Papers, 1832-1853. Fam. Mss. 521.

Appendix I

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