The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Story, Joseph, 1779-1845
Joseph Story (1779-1845)
0.5 linear feet (1 box)
The Joseph Story papers are
comprised of correspondence to and from Joseph Story as well as legal documents,
accounts, receipts, commercial papers, and portraits and silhouettes of
Scope and Content Note
The Joseph Story papers are comprised of correspondence to and from Joseph Story as
well as legal documents, accounts, receipts, commercial papers, and portraits and
silhouettes of Story. The letters are arranged chronologically. Of particular
importance is a draft of a federal bankruptcy law (folder 10) dated 1815, with
Story's hand-written notes in the margins. Folder 11 contains an address before the
Regimental Officers in Salem delivered by Story on July 4, 1808, reflecting his
views on the maintenance of a strong military for the new nation.
Joseph Story was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on
September 18, 1779, the son of Elisha Story, a physician, and his second wife,
Mehitable Pedrick Story. He was one of eleven children by this second marriage. He
graduated from Harvard College in 1798 and studied law with Samuel Sewall and then
with Samuel Putnam. He was admitted to the bar in 1822. Despite his political
leanings at the time, he was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
in 1805, 1806, and 1807, and in 1808 gained a seat in Congress upon the death of
After leaving Congress, having refused to run for another term in 1809, he was
reelected to the Massachusetts legislature, and by 1811, was chosen as Speaker of
the House. In 1811, while still in the House of Representatives, he was appointed
Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, on which he served for 34
years until his death on September 10, 1845.
In addition to his years on the bench, he was a prolific writer of legal
treatises and commentaries. He taught at the Harvard Law School for many years and
was inaugurated as Dane Professor of Law at Harvard in 1829.
Story married Mary Lynde Oliver in 1804, but his wife lived only one year after
the marriage. In 1808 Story married Sarah Wetmore. There were seven children born of
the marriage, but only two, William Wetmore and Mary Oliver, survived their father.
Sarah Wetmore Story died in 1855.
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.
Story, Joseph, 1779-1845
Nativistic movements--United States
United States--Supreme Court
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
Joseph Story (1779-1845) Papers, MSS 329, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum,
A photocopy of a letter written to Joseph Story dated February 3, 1844 was purchased
on November 20, 1999 (acc # 1999.043). The provenance of the remainder of the
collection is unknown.
Collection processed by Frances Malamy, October 2003. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, March
Dunne, Gerald T. Justice Joseph Story and the Rise of the
Supreme Court. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971.
McClellan, James. Joseph Story and the American
Constitution; a Study in Political and Legal Thought with Selected
Writings. Norman: U of Oklahoma, 1971.
Newmyer, R. Kent. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story:
Statesman of the Old Republic. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina,
Story, Joseph. Joseph Story; a Collection of Writings by
and about an Eminent American Jurist. Ed. Mortimer D. Schwartz and John
C. Hogan. New York: Oceana Publications, 1959.
Story, William Wetmore. Life and Letters of Joseph Story,
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and Dane Professor
of Law at Harvard University. Boston: C.C. Little and J. Brown, 1851.