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Robert Brookhouse (1779-1866) Papers

Robert Brookhouse (1779-1866) Papers

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ROBERT BROOKHOUSE (1779-1866) PAPERS, 1791-1870


Processing of 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:Brookhouse, Robert, 1779-1866
Title:Robert Brookhouse (1779-1866) Papers
Quantity:0.5 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The Robert Brookhouse Papers contain materials related to Brookhouse's mercantile firm, Robert Brookhouse & Company, including ships papers, correspondence, and accounts.
Collection Number:MSS 152

Series List

SERIES I. Robert Brookhouse & Company Records
SERIES II. Family Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Robert Brookhouse Papers contain materials related to Brookhouse's mercantile firm, Robert Brookhouse & Company, including ships papers, correspondence, and accounts. The collection also includes personal papers consisting of an 1852 almanac/diary and correspondence from family members.

Series I. Robert Brookhouse & Company Records, 1838-1851, contain materials related to Brookhouse's mercantile firm, Robert Brookhouse & Company. This Salem-based company traded primarily on the west coast of Africa. Brookhouse's partners included William Hunt, J. H. Hanson, Robert Brookhouse Jr. (1823-1882), and Nathan A. Frye. The records for the company contain ships' papers (mostly invoices, accounts of sales, and letters of instructions), correspondence, and accounts generated by their Benguelan agent, Augustus E.B. Govea.

Series II. Family Papers includes Brookhouse's 1852 almanac/diary and correspondence for miscellaneous family members.

Biographical Sketch

Robert Brookhouse was born December 8, 1779 in Salem, Massachusetts. He worked from 1800 to 1819 as a silversmith in Salem from a shop on Essex Street. He sold his business to Edward Farley on March 23, 1819 and became a trader in general goods. He made a fortune in the West Africa cowhide trade in the 1830s and 1840s. He married Martha Farley (1783-1817) on March 16, 1805 in Salem.

Once his fortune had been made, Brookhouse, like many of Salem's wealthy inhabitants, began to use his money in philanthropic efforts, such as his 1840 endowment of the Carpenter Street Home for Orphan Children, one of a number of charitable objectives that he championed. In

March 1854, Brookhouse bought the Crowninshield house on Derby Street in Salem for $5,000, intending for it to be an "Old Sailor's Home." When the plans for a sailor's home fell through, Brookhouse ultimately donated the building and related property to the Association for the Relief of Aged and Destitute Women in Salem. His gift was accepted by the association in June 1861. Robert Brookhouse's son was serving as one of three Vice-Presidents on the association's Board of Government when the Home was opened.

Brookhouse died on June 10, 1866.

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.

Brookhouse, Robert, 1823-1882
Frye, Nathan, 1787-1868
Gallop, John L.
Govea, Augustus E. B. (Augustus Edward Bothelho), ca. 1826-1890
Hanson, Joseph H.
Harrington, Edward
Hunt, William
Active (Bark : 1839-1874)
Ann & Mary (Bark)
Catherine (Bark)
Cuba (Bark)
Elizabeth (Brig)
Goldfinch (Bark)
Herald (Bark)
Reaper (Bark)
Robert Brookhouse & Co.
Sea Mew (Bark)
William H. Shailer (Bark)
William Hunt & Co.
Merchants--Salem (Mass.)
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

Robert Brookhouse (1779-1866) Papers, MSS 152, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The bulk of this collection is from an unknown source. However, the almanac/diary was a 1974 gift of Mrs. Barbara H. Carson. Removed from the collection was one folder of letters and accounts of Robert S. Daniels (see account books) and a cargo book/diary kept by John J. Coker (see MSS 224).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Prudence K. Backman, November 1984. Updated by Catherine Robertson, March 2015.

Related Material

Frayler, John. "Pickled Fish and Salted Provisions Historical Musings from Salem Maritime NHS." (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. Published by National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior, Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Rantoul, Robert S., DeWitt Scoville Clark, and George M. Whipple. A Record of the First Fifty Years of the Old Ladies Home at Salem: With Sketches of Some of Its Principle Promoters, and an Account of the Estate It Occupies. Salem, MA: Association for the Relief of Aged and Destitute Women, 1910. p. 21.

John J. Coker Papers, 1849-1868, MSS 224.

Robert Brookhouse, Jr., Diary, 1843, DIA 251

Appendix I

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