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Cummins Family Papers

Cummins Family Papers

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Open Finding Aid

CUMMINS FAMILY PAPERS, 1806-1898





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:Cummins family
Title:Cummins Family Papers
Dates:1806/1898
Quantity:0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The Cummins Family Papers consist mainly of business papers, correspondence and biographical miscellany related to the 19th-century novelist Maria Susanna Cummins, her father, David Cummins, and her younger brother, Thomas Kittredge Cummins.
Collection Number:MSS 305

Series List


SERIES I. Maria S. Cummins Papers
SERIES II. David Cummins Papers
SERIES III. Thomas Kittredge Cummins Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Cummins Family Papers consist mainly of business papers, correspondence and biographical miscellany related to the 19th-century novelist Maria Susanna Cummins, her father, David Cummins, and her younger brother, Thomas Kittredge Cummins. The collection is divided into three folders. The largest is Maris Cummins, and is primarily related to literary manuscripts and professional correspondence. The David Cummins folder is largely comprised of business and legal papers, professional correspondence, and personal miscellany. The Thomas K. Cummins folder is mainly business-oriented records and letters.


Biographical Sketches

Maria Susanna Cummins, novelist, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on April 9, 1827. She was the oldest child of David Cummins and his third wife, Maria Franklin Kittredge. Cummins was educated in part by her father and later at "Mrs. Charles Sedgewick's Young Ladies School," which was run by the sister-in-law of the 19th-century novelist Catherine Sedgewick. This association is believed to have been a major literary influence on the young Maria Cummins.


In 1854 Maria Cummins wrote her most famous work, The Lamplighter, a moralistic tale, which met enormous popular success. In 1857 she wrote Mabel Vaughn, in 1860 she wrote El Fureidis, and in 1864 came Haunted Hearts. Many critics believe all of these to be more structurally and technically advanced than The Lamplighter, but none of them matched it in sales.


Little is known of Maria Cummins personally. She lived most of her adult life in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and was very active in the Unitarian Church. She died in Dorchester on October 1, 1866 of "abdominal disease" at the age of 39.


This collection also contains papers of Maria Cummins' father, David, and her brother, Thomas. David Cummins was a native of Topsfield, Massachusetts, born in 1785 and descended from Isaac Cummins, an early settler of Ipswich, Massachusetts. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College and a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, as well as a lawyer and magistrate. He died in 1855.


Her brother, Thomas Kittredge Cummins, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on May 12, 1829. He married Meary [Mary] Ann Paschall of St. Louis, Missouri, on June 25, 1863. By the 1880s Thomas was operating as a merchant in Boston. He died in 1903.


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.

Cummins, David, 1785-1855
Cummins, Maria S. (Maria Susanna), 1827-1866
Cummins, Thomas K. (Thomas Kittredge), 1829-1903
Authors
Fans (Persons)
Lamplighter
Women authors

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

Cummins Family Papers, MSS 305, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

Provenance

The provenance of the collection is not known.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Anne Lozier, October 1999. Updated by Nicholas Long, May 2015.


Related Material

Cummins, Albert Oren. Cummings Genealogy ; Isaac Cummings, 1601-1677 of Ipswich in 1638 and Some of His Descendants. Montpelier VT: Argus and Patriot Printing House, 1904. 225-26.


James, Edward T. Notable American Women, 1607-1950; a Biographical Dictionary. Vol. 1. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap of Harvard UP, 1971. 415-16.


Passport of Thomas K. Cummins and his wife issued by William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States of America, May 14, 1868 [broadside]


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