Processing and conservation for this
collection was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Benjamin W. Stone & Brothers
Benjamin W. Stone and Brothers
26.75 linear feet (35 boxes, 50 volumes, 1 flat
The Benjamin W. Stone and
Brothers Records document the partnership of Benjamin W. Stone, William Stone, and
Joseph W. Stone in a Salem, Massachusetts shipping firm.
SERIES I. Account Books
A. General Business Account Books
B. Ships' Account Books
SERIES II. Correspondence
A. Letters Between Stone Brothers
1. Letters to Benjamin W. Stone
2. Letters from Benjamin W. Stone
B. Foreign Merchants Correspondence
C. American Merchants and Agents
D. Miscellaneous Business Correspondence
SERIES III. Shipping Papers
A. Ships' Papers
C. Miscellaneous Shipping Papers
SERIES IV. Miscellaneous Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Benjamin W. Stone and Brothers Records document the
partnership of Benjamin W. Stone, William Stone, and Joseph W. Stone in a Salem,
Massachusetts shipping firm. Included in the records are correspondence, financial,
and business papers generated by the firm from 1860 until its demise in the 1890s.
Account books prior to 1860 record the early business transactions between the
brothers before the formal establishment of a business relationship. These early
accounts reflect the partners' investments in Stone Silsbee and Pickman activities
and other shipping ventures. Papers relating to the private business activities of
Benjamin W. Stone have been included with the Stone Family Papers (MSS 65). Moldy items have been removed and placed in
restricted boxes; surrogate photocopies have been put in their place within the
collection. This collection has been arranged into four series.
Series I. Account Books covers the years 1833 to
1895, and has been divided into two subseries. Subseries A.
General Business Account Books covers the years 1860 to 1895, and records
the shipping and investment transactions of the firm. Account books before 1860
record the brothers' private accounts of their transactions with Stone Silsbee and
Pickman, and Benjamin W. Stone's activities with his father's distillery. Stone
family estate accounts and land investments in Michigan, Illinois, and New Hampshire
can also be found in some of the account books. Subseries B.
Ships' Account Books contains books that record the voyage, crew, and
cargo accounts, as well as general averages for the losses the firm incurred from
damaged cargo or ships. The books are filed alphabetically by the name of the
Series II. Correspondence covers the years 1861 to
1890 and has been divided into four subseries. Subseries A.
Letters Between the Three Stone Brothers contains correspondence between
the brothers and reveals the business activities and concerns of the brothers from
the beginning of the firm until 1886. Reflected in the letters is the shift in the
brothers' concerns from shipping ventures to investments in railroad and banking
stocks and bonds. All correspondence between the brothers before 1860 has been filed
with the Stone Family Papers (MSS 65). This subseries
has been divided into Sub-Subseries 1. Letters Written to
Benjamin W. containing letters by Joseph and William and Sub-Subseries 2. Letters Written by Benjamin W. to Joseph
Subseries B. Foreign Merchants Correspondence
contains letters filed alphabetically by the name of the firm. This correspondence
discusses prices current, advice for sales, and ships' progress. There are a number
of items that have been affected by mold; these items have been restricted.
Photocopies have replaced the originals in the collection.
Subseries C. American Merchants and Agents
Correspondence contains letters which discuss cargo sales and activities
in ports. Some of the American merchants acted as agents for the foreign merchant
(see Appendix I for a complete listing of merchants and agents).
Subseries D. Miscellaneous Business Correspondence
includes letters to and from local merchants, insurance companies, and American and
foreign merchants with whom the firm did not have prolonged business transactions.
Moldy items from this series have been removed and placed in box 32 and oversize box
35, which are restricted.
Series III. Shipping Papers covers the years 1860 to
1895; it has been divided into three subseries. Subseries A.
Ships' Papers documents the firm's trade with San Francisco and East
Indies. Documents are arranged alphabetically by name of the ship, and contain
accounts, receipts, bills of lading, merchant house correspondence, owner/master
correspondence, and crew lists (see Series II. Subseries B. Foreign Merchants
Correspondence and Subseries C. American Merchant and Agent Correspondence for
additional references to ships' activities). There are a number of items that have
been affected by mold; these items have been restricted. Photocopies have replaced
the originals in the collection. Subseries B. Alabama Claims contains claims that were made
on behalf of the ship Alabama. Subseries C. Miscellaneous Shipping Papers includes any accounts, bills,
and receipts for more than one ship or unidentified ships. Moldy items from this
series have been removed and placed in boxes 32, 33, 34, and oversize box 35, all of
which are restricted.
Subseries IV. Miscellaneous Papers covers the years
1860 to 1890, and contains circulars, announcements of stockholder meetings,
dividends, railroad accounts, and unidentifiable accounts and receipts. Moldy items
from this series have been removed and placed in box 34, which is restricted.
In 1860, Benjamin W. Stone and his brother, William Stone, withdrew from the shipping
firm of Stone Silsbee and Pickman. Joining with their brother, Joseph W. Stone, they
established their own business, Benjamin W. Stone and
Brothers. The brothers retained ownership of the ships Malay, Sumatra, and Shirley. Although a Salem based firm, their ships were
involved in San Francisco and East India trade, and sailed in and out of New York.
Gradually the focus of their business interests shifted from shipping ventures to
investments in banking and railroading stocks. In 1886, the Highlander, their last ship, carried her final cargo. Thereafter, until
the death of the principals, the interest of the firm revolved around their
investments and those of family members.
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.
Clough, Benjamin, 1819-1889
Kinsman, Joshua, 1801-1844
Mullen, John, Capt.
Stone, Benjamin W., 1809-1891
Stone, Joseph W.
Stone, Robert, d. 1860
Stone, William, 1820-1898
Wellcomb, J. W.
Benjamin W. Stone & Brothers
Stone, Silsbee, and Pickman
Merchant houses--Hong King--Augustine Heard Co.
Merchant houses--London--Baring Brothers
Merchant houses--Manila--Ker & Co.
Merchant houses--Manila--Peele Hubbell & Co.
Merchants--Boston--Aaron D. Weld's Sons
Merchants--New York--J. Henry Williams
Merchants--San Francisco--Albert Dibblee
United States--History--Alabama Claims
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
Benjamin W. Stone and Brothers Records, MSS 64, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
This material is a reorganization of 80 boxes and 56 volumes from an unknown source.
Four boxes of Michigan land correspondence have been removed to the Stone Family
Papers, MSS 65. Two boxes of shipping papers have been
removed to the Stone Silsbee and Pickman Records, MSS
63. Correspondence to and from Benjamin W. Stone, and a bill of sale for
the ship Sumatra are from MH
212, a gift from Edward Van Wagner in 1944 (accession #11,264)
Collection processed by Nancy Barthelemy and Prudence Backman, August 1982. Updated
by Hilary Streifer, October 2014.
Putnam, George Granville. Salem Vessels and Their
Voyages, Series III. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1925.
Stone Family Papers, 1703-1899. MSS 65
Stone Silsbee and Pickman Records, 1808-1904. MSS
This material is a reorganization of 80 boxes and 56 volumes from an unknown source. Correspondence to and from Benjamin W. Stone, and a bill of sale for the ship Sumatra are from MH 212, a gift from Edward Van Wagner in 1944 (accession #11,264).