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March Family Papers

March Family Papers

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Open Finding Aid



Processing and conservation of this collection were provided 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:March family
Title:March Family Papers
Quantity:1.75 linear feet (2 boxes, 2 volumes)
Abstract:The March Family Papers are comprised primarily of Alice Little (Hale) and Reverend John C. March's personal correspondence and diaries.
Collection Number:MSS 118

Series List

SERIES I. Reverend John C. March Papers
SERIES II. Alice Little (Hale) March Papers
SERIES III. Captain John March Papers

Scope and Content Note

The March Family Papers are comprised primarily of Alice Little (Hale) and Reverend John C. March's personal correspondence and diaries. The remainder of the collection consists of shipping papers of John's father, Newburyport, Massachusetts, ship owner, Captain John March.

Series I. Reverend John C. March Papers includes correspondence to his wife, from their courtship in 1832 to 1845, one year before his death. These letters describe his personal, civic, and church activities while he was minister of the Belleville church in Newbury, Massachusetts. Letters written to family and friends in 1840 and John's diaries recount his trip to Washington, D.C., and his voyage in the brig Alice to London and Paris. Of note is a description of an antislavery meeting in London (see diary, June 24, 1840). The bulk of John's miscellaneous correspondence consists of letters to his Hale family relatives and friends. His miscellaneous papers include a poetry and essay book compiled while he was a student at Yale University in 1824.

Series II. Alice Little (Hale) March Papers contains correspondence consisting primarily of letters to her husband and family in which she describes daily household and family activities. A number of letters include small appended paragraphs written by Hale brothers and sisters. Of interest are passages bespeaking her grief upon the death of her son James in 1838, and descriptions of her husband's growing illness and his death in 1846.

Series III. Captain John March Papers contains one folder and two volumes of shipping correspondence and accounts. The account book contains general shipping accounts as well as accounts of the brig Vulture (1795-1797), sloop Confidence (1797), sloop Betsey (1807), and the schooner Regulus (1807), vessels which March owned or mastered on voyages to the West Indies. March's shipping correspondence represents his merchant agent activities in Europe, while he resided in Gothenburg and Hamburg, 1811-1816. The letterbook also includes 1819 correspondence from Captain March's wife, Anna, settling the final financial transactions of her husband's estate.

Biographical Sketches

John Charles March was born on October 9, 1805, the son of Captain John March of Newburyport, Massachusetts. An 1825 graduate of Yale University and 1829 graduate of Princeton Seminary, he served as pastor of Belleville Congregational Church in Newbury, Massachusetts, from 1836-1846. He married Alice Little Hale (1811-1889) on April 23, 1832. They had two children: James White Hale March (1834-1838) and Sarah Hale March (1836-1837). Reverend March died on September 26, 1846.

Captain John March was a ship master and merchant. He was born on July 2, 1758. He married Anna Blaisdell (1762-1846) on May 10, 1783. He died in 1818.

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.

Hale family
March, Alice Little Hale, 1811-1889
March, John C. (John Charles), 1805-1846
March, John, ca. 1759-1818
Alice (Brig)
Betsey (Sloop)
Confidence (Sloop)
Regulus (Schooner)
Vulture (Brig)
Yale University
Antislavery movements
Church records and registers
Death and mourning
Letter writing
Merchants--Newbury (Mass.)
Ships’ papers
Great Britain--England--London--Travel
Washington, D.C.--Travel


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

March Family Papers, MSS 118, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The March Family Papers are a reorganization and integration of diaries and one box of correspondence of Alice (Hale) and Reverend John C. March; one box of correspondence belonging to Alice (Hale) and Captain John March, originally part of the Hale Family Papers (MSS 117); one letterbook and one account book. All of the papers are from an unknown source. Removed from the collection are four letters written by Alice's siblings. The Alice L. March diary was purchased in 1943. John March's diaries were donated by Robert W. Lull in December 1947.

John March's book of marriages, baptisms, and deaths was donated by Robert W. Lull in 1950.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Sylvia B. Kennick, April 1984. Updated by Catherine Robertson, January 2015.

Related Material

Hale, Robert Safford. Genealogy of Descendants of Thomas Hale. Ed. George R. Howell. Albany, New York: Weed, Parsons and Company, 1889.

Hale Family Papers, 1760-1855, MH 117.

Little Family Papers, 1720-1875, MSS 67.

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