Processing of this collection was 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
Brookhouse, Robert, 1779-1866
Robert Brookhouse (1779-1866)
0.5 linear feet (1 box)
The Robert Brookhouse Papers
contain materials related to Brookhouse's mercantile firm, Robert Brookhouse &
Company, including ships papers, correspondence, and accounts.
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.
Series II. Family Papers includes Brookhouse's 1852
almanac/diary and correspondence for miscellaneous family members.
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
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.
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.
Active (Bark : 1839-1874)
Ann & Mary (Bark)
Robert Brookhouse & Co.
Sea Mew (Bark)
William H. Shailer (Bark)
William Hunt & Co.
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
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).
Collection processed by Prudence K. Backman, November 1984. Updated by Catherine
Robertson, March 2015.
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.
The Robert Brookhouse Papers contain materials related to Brookhouse's mercantile firm, Robert Brookhouse & Company, including ships papers, correspondence, and accounts.
Robert Brookhouse & Co.; William Hunt & Co.; Active (Bark : 1839-1874); Ann & Mary (Bark); Catherine (Bark); Cuba (Bark); Elizabeth (Brig); Goldfinch (Bark); Herald (Bark); Reaper (Bark); Sea Mew (Bark); William H. Shailer (Bark); Salem (Mass.); 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; Almanacs; Climatology; Diaries; Merchants--Salem (Mass.); Shipping
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.