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Benjamin W. Stone and Brothers Records

Benjamin W. Stone and Brothers Records

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BENJAMIN W. STONE AND BROTHERS RECORDS, 1833-1895

Sponsor:

Processing and conservation for 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:Benjamin W. Stone & Brothers
Title:Benjamin W. Stone and Brothers Records
Dates:1833/1895
Quantity:26.75 linear feet (35 boxes, 50 volumes, 1 flat file)
Abstract: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.
Collection Number:MSS 64

Series List


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 Correspondence
D. Miscellaneous Business Correspondence
SERIES III. Shipping Papers
A. Ships' Papers
B. Alabama Claims
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 ship.


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 and/or William.


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.


Biographical Sketch

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.


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.

Brown, Nathaniel
Clough, Benjamin, 1819-1889
Dudley, Josiah
Foster, Samuel
Hutchinson, Samuel
Kinsman, Joshua, 1801-1844
Mullen, John, Capt.
Stone family
Stone, Benjamin W., 1809-1891
Stone, Joseph W.
Stone, Robert, d. 1860
Stone, William, 1820-1898
Wellcomb, J. W.
Benjamin W. Stone & Brothers
Chandlery (Ship)
Highlander (Ship)
Malay (Ship)
Shirley (Ship)
Stone, Silsbee, and Pickman
Sumatra (Ship)
Syren (Ship)
Account books
Clipper ships
Investments--Banking
Investments--Railroading
Merchant houses--Hong King--Augustine Heard Co.
Merchant houses--London--Baring Brothers
Merchant houses--Manila--Ker & Co.
Merchant houses--Manila--Peele Hubbell & Co.
Merchants
Merchants--Boston--Aaron D. Weld's Sons
Merchants--Massachusetts--Salem
Merchants--New York--J. Henry Williams
Merchants--San Francisco--Albert Dibblee
Shipping
Salem (Mass.)
United States--History--Alabama Claims

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.


Administrative Information

Copyright

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

Benjamin W. Stone and Brothers Records, MSS 64, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

Provenance

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)

Processing Information

Collection processed by Nancy Barthelemy and Prudence Backman, August 1982. Updated by Hilary Streifer, October 2014.


Related Material

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 63


Shirley (Ship), Logbook. Log 789

Appendix I


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