Processing and conservation of this collection
were 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
Currier Family Papers
3 linear feet (6 boxes, 1 volume)
The Currier Family Papers
document the Currier families of Amesbury and Newburyport, Massachusetts.
SERIES I. Shipbuilding and Shipping Papers SERIES II. John James Currier Papers SERIES III. Family Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Currier Family Papers document the Currier families of Amesbury and Newburyport,
Massachusetts. The collection features papers of the thriving Newburyport
shipbuilding business of John Currier Jr. (1802-1887) and his son, John James
Currier (1834-1912). Also included are personal, political, and historical papers of
John James Currier and papers of other family members. Of special note in the family
papers are business and militia papers of Captain John Currier (1726-1806) of
Amesbury. The collection is divided into three series.
Series I. Shipbuilding and Shipping Papers contains
letterbooks, account books, and ships' papers, reflecting the prosperous
shipbuilding and charter activities of John Currier Jr. and his son, John James
Currier. The letterbooks and loose correspondence contain orders for shipbuilding
supplies (especially lumber) and correspondence with merchant agents discussing the
shipment of cargos and the chartering or sale of vessels. In addition, the loose
correspondence includes letters regarding Geneva and French spoliation claims from
1902 to 1907. The account books contain shipbuilding, shipping, chartering, and
insurance accounts. The 1854-1882 shipbuilding account and agreement book (B2 F2)
includes legal agreements for the construction of vessels, a directory of merchants
and agents, a listing of the ships' voyages (1857-1873), and accounts of ships'
incomes (1882-1892). The 1857-1883 shipbuilding account book (B2 F3) features a list
of the vessels built by John Currier Jr. from 1831 to 1883, while the 1873-1900
marine insurance volume (Vol. 1) contains the arrival and departure dates in ports
of call for Currier vessels. See Appendix I for a list of ships built or used by the
Curriers in this collection.
The ships' papers, arranged alphabetically by vessel, are comprised primarily of
masters' and agent correspondence, disbursement accounts, and bills of sale or
charter agreements. All but two of the vessels in this collection were built by John
Currier Jr. These ships voyaged to nearly every part of the world including
Australia, the Far East, India, Europe, North America, and South America. Of
interest in the ships' papers are the 1875 medicine chest and stores inventories of
the ship Hibernia and the sails and furnishings
inventory of the ship Big Bonanza. The papers of the
Big Bonanza also include protests and
correspondence regarding the master's attempts to eliminate the high costs of
hospitalization which the consul at Manila charged in 1891 for a crewman infected
with small pox. See Appendix I for a list of ships built or used by the Curriers in
Series II. John James Currier Papers includes
business, personal, and mayoral correspondence, historical and genealogical
correspondence, historical lectures, and genealogical notes. The business, personal,
and mayoral correspondence documents the wide range of John's activities. Personal
letters include notes from his niece Suzie and nephew David P. Coffin (1879),
letters regarding the Tuesday Evening and Unitarian Clubs, of which John was a
member, condolences received following the deaths of his father (1887) and his wife
(1910), and correspondence from a windmill company concerning the installation of a
machine at John's house (1878-1879). Personal correspondence from John's wife Susan
may be found in the Family Papers (B5 F8). Business letters include correspondence
regarding John's interests in railroad and bank stocks and his activities as agent
for estates and land, such as the Moody estate (1877-1879), and the estates of
Benjamin Perley Poor (1887), and Mary C.L. Fitch (1912). Once John was elected mayor
of Newburyport in 1879, he researched and worked on a number of projects including
sidewalk and bridge construction, steamrollers for the roads, enlargement of the
jail, erection of a statue of George Washington, and Newbury's 250th anniversary
celebration. Following the bulk of the business and personal letters are folders of
correspondence regarding the commemorative service and memorial for Honorable Caleb
Cushing, and John's memorial on his wife, Susan (Page) Currier.
The historical and genealogical correspondence contains information regarding
the Currier, Titcomb, Lunt, Farnum, Hay, Bayley, Colby, Thornton, Carr, and Felton
families, as well as letters concerning shipbuilding in Essex County and Maine,
house histories, the Yankee Hero spoons, and ship
disasters of Plum Island. Also included is correspondence discussing a number of
John's books. The genealogical notes include memorandums and notebooks which also
provide information concerning the Currier family genealogy and the history of
shipbuilding. John's miscellaneous papers contain financial, legal, and
miscellaneous papers such as his estate inventory, book copyrights, costs of
remodeling the Chickering house (1872), costs and lists of guests invited to the
Newbury 250th anniversary, and an 1852 notebook on how to calculate the magnitude of
Series III. Family Papers includes records of Captain
John Currier (1726-1806) of Amesbury, John Currier Jr. (1802-1887) and Susan (Page)
Currier (1838-1910) of Newburyport, and papers of other family members and
relatives. The papers of Captain John Currier feature farm and shoemaker's accounts
and correspondence and accounts regarding John's tenure as Amesbury's tax collector.
Of special note are John's military records which document his campaigns at
Lexington and Charlestown in 1775. These include general orders, accounts of army
stores and soldier's wages, muster rolls, and lists of imprisoned disorderly
American soldiers. John Currier Jr.'s papers are primarily comprised of land deeds.
The bulk of Susan (Page) Currier's papers contain letters to her husband written
during her 1896-1897 excursion to Gibraltar, Italy, France, England, Germany, and
Switzerland. Also included is a small diary from this voyage and estate papers.
The Currier family papers (B6 F1) contain business and personal correspondence,
financial and legal papers for family members from Amesbury and Newburyport.
Included are: letters of condolence received by John James Currier's niece Suzie
regarding Susan (Page) Currier's death (1910); papers and accounts of Amesbury
Highway Surveyors David and John Currier Jr. (1828-1853); John Currier Jr.'s
Amesbury farming account book (1833-1835); and papers of Daniel, David, Captain
Richard, and William Currier. The Currier family genealogy (B6 F2) contains notes
compiled by Freeman B. Currier on the history of the Currier, Coffin, Barnard,
Doyle, Hoyt, Osgood, and Greenleaf families from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The
relatives' and miscellaneous papers (B6 F3) include correspondence, financial, and
legal documents of the Hoyt, Page, Coffin, Farmer, and Moddy families. Of interest
are papers of David P. Coffin who worked on the licensing of Newburyport liquor
dealers in 1913.
John Currier Jr., a famous Newbury, Massachusetts,
shipbuilder, was born in 1802 to John (1771-1837) and Hannah (Coffin) Currier. In
1831, John established a thriving shipbuilding business which built over 97 vessels.
In 1857, John's son John James Currier (1834-1912), entered the prosperous firm as a
partner. By the 1880s, the call for merchant ships had decreased. The Curriers
launched their last vessel, the ship Mary L. Cushing,
in 1883. This ship was the last merchant ship built in Massachusetts. John Currier
Jr. was also active in town politics. He was a member of the 1846 committee which
advocated unification of the towns of Newbury and Newburyport. In 1852, he became
mayor of the newly incorporated town of Newburyport when Honorable Caleb Cushing
retired from the position. John Currier Jr. married Clarissa Carr in 1830. Upon his
death in 1887, he left one surviving child, John James Currier.
John James Currier (1834-1912) received his education
from the Putnam Free School of Newburyport and a private academy in Thetford,
Vermont. On the event of his father's death in 1887, the family shipbuilding and
shipping activities largely ended. John James held a number of civic, town, and
state posts, including serving as a member of the city government (1860-1861),
president of the Common Council (1862), alderman (1863-1864), mayor of Newburyport
(1879-1880), and Massachusetts State Senator (1887). He was also greatly interested
in genealogy and history, and authored a number of books including Ould Newbury (1896), the History of
Newbury (1902), and the History of
Newburyport (1906, 1909). In 1868, John James Currier married Susan Maria
Page (1838-1910), the daughter of David P. and Susan (Lunt) Page. John died in 1912,
leaving no children.
John Currier (1726-1806), an Amesbury, Massachusetts,
farmer, shoemaker, and noted militia captain, was born in 1726 to David (1645-1737)
and Keziah (Colby) Currier, distant cousins of the Newbury Curriers. Besides running
a firm and a shoemaking business, John served as constable and tax collector of
Amesbury (1770) and town selectman (1768-1779). Although he had fought for the
British cause in the French and Indian War, he was the first to recruit an Amesbury
patriot militia company to fight in the Revolutionary War. John's company, of which
he was captain, fought at the Battle of Lexington, and was under the command of
Colonel James Frye at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
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.
Coffin, David P.
Currier, Freeman B.
Currier, John James, 1834-1912
Currier, John, 1726-1806
Currier, John, 1802-1887
Currier, Susan Page, 1838-1910
Currier, William Edward, 1814-
Cushing, Caleb, 1800-1879
Fitch, Mary C. L.
Poor, Benjamin Perley
Alfred Keene (Ship)
Big Bonanza (Ship)
Daniel J. Tenney (Ship)
Etta J. Stimpson (Ship)
G. C. Trufant (Ship)
Gardens Reach (Ship)
Jabez Howes (Ship)
John Currier (Ship)
Monte Rosa (Ship)
Thomas Dana (Ship)
W. H. Lincoln (Ship)
Winged Hunter (Ship)
Administration of estates
Boots--Trade and manufacture
Bridges--Design and construction
Lectures and lecturing
Roads--Design and construction
Shoes--Trade and manufacture
France--Description and travel
Germany--Description and travel
Great Britain--Description and travel
Italy--Description and travel
Switzerland--Description and travel
United States--History, Military
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
United States--History--Spoliation 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
The Currier Family Papers are a reorganization of four letterbooks, five account
books, six boxes of manuscript material, and several miscellaneous folders. The bulk
of the collection was donated by the estate of John James Currier in 1913. Removed
from the papers were acidic newspaper articles (see Separation Sheet).
Collection processed by Sylvia B. Kennick, June 1985. Retyped by Catherine Robertson,
Currier, Harvey Lear. Genealogy of Richard Currier of
Salisbury and Amesbury, MA. Newport, Vermont: Orleans County Historical
Merrill, Joseph. History of Amesbury and Merrimac.
Haverhill: Franklin P. Stiles Press, 1880.
"Revolutionary Papers of Captain John Currier of Amesbury." Historical Collections of the Essex Institute. Vol. 84,
1948. pages 254-276, 349-366.
The Currier Family Papers document the Currier families of Amesbury and Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Alfred Keene (Ship); Big Bonanza (Ship); Daniel J. Tenney (Ship); Elcano (Ship); Etta J. Stimpson (Ship); Farragut (Ship); G. C. Trufant (Ship); Gardens Reach (Ship); Harmonia (Ship); Importer (Ship); Jabez Howes (Ship); John Currier (Ship); Longwood (Ship); Monte Rosa (Ship); Radiant (Ship); Rangoon (Ship); Sapphire (Ship); Tennyson (Ship); Thomas Dana (Ship); W. H. Lincoln (Ship); Whampoa (Ship); Whittier (Ship); Winged Hunter (Ship); Massachusetts. Militia; Diaries; Amesbury--Local records; Amesbury--Taxation; France--Description and travel; Germany--Description and travel; Gilbraltar--Description; Great Britain--Description and travel; Italy--Description and travel; Newbury--Centennial celebrations; Newburyport--Local records; Newburyport--Mayors; Newburyport--Monuments; Switzerland--Description and travel; United States--History, Military; United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783; United States--History--Spoliation Claims; Coffin, David P.; Currier, Daniel; Currier, David; Currier, Freeman B.; Currier, John; Currier, John, 1726-1806; Currier, John, 1802-1887; Currier, John James, 1834-1912; Currier, Richard; Currier, Susan Page, 1838-1910; Currier, William Edward, 1814-; Cushing, Caleb, 1800-1879; Fitch, Mary C. L.; Poor, Benjamin Perley; Account books; Administration of estates; Astronomy--Observations; Authors; Boots--Trade and manufacture; Bridges--Design and construction; Charter parties; Clubs; Copyright licenses; Deeds; Farms; Genealogy; Marine insurance; Inventories; Investments--Banking; Investments--Railroads; Lectures and lecturing; Letter writing; Liquor laws; Lumber trade; Marine protests; Mayors; Merchants--Newburyport; Military history; Prisoners; Real estate; Roads--Design and construction; Shipbuilding; Shipping--Japan; Shipping--Singapore; Shipping--Peru; Shipwrecks; Shoes--Trade and manufacture; Taxation; Windmills
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.