Processing and conservation for this
collection were 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
Waite Family Papers
5.5 linear feet (10 boxes, 4 volumes, 1 oversize
The Waite Family Papers are
comprised of the shipping, leather working, and personal papers of Aaron Waite, a
Salem, Massachusetts, leather dresser and merchant.
SERIES I. Shipping Papers SERIES II. Leather Working Papers SERIES III. Aaron Waite Personal and Business
Papers SERIES IV. Miscellaneous Family Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Waite Family Papers are comprised of the shipping, leather working, and personal
papers of Aaron Waite, a Salem, Massachusetts, leather dresser and merchant. The
majority of the shipping papers constitute the records of Peirce and Waite, the
partnership of Aaron Waite and Jerathmael Peirce which began in the tanning trade
and expanded to include shipping and privateering. In addition, there are shipping
and leather dressing papers for Aaron's brother, John, and shipping papers for his
brother Samuel and daughter Harriet. The collection also contains Aaron's personal
and miscellaneous business papers. The papers have been divided into four
Series I. Shipping Papers contains correspondence,
financial and ships' papers reflecting Aaron Waite's interest in privateering and
shipping to Europe and the West indies (see Appendix II). Although the bulk of the
papers concern Aaron's partnership with Jerathmael Peirce, there are also ships'
papers for John, Samuel, and Harriot Waite's shipping ventures. The records for each
ship are few in number. However, those better documented include the schooner Grayhound, ship Friendship,
schooner Harlequin, ship Roehampton, and the ship Two Brothers. Of
note are spoliation papers for the claims of the schooner Jeremiah captured by Spain in 1795. Additional papers for this claim are
located in the Samuel and Betsey Waite guardianship papers (B10 F2-3).
Series II. Leather Working Papers contains ledgers,
daybooks, receipt books, and bills and receipts for Peirce and Waite's leather
Series III. Aaron Waite Personal and Business Papers
contains correspondence, financial records, legal, and estate papers. The
correspondence includes letters concerning his store, leather business, the family
farm run by John Waite, miscellaneous financial affairs, and family activities.
Within the account books are entries for Aaron's leather and shipping businesses.
The legal and estate papers include Aaron's will and inventories of his estate.
Trustees' papers for the estate are located in MSS 87
(B8 F8). Harriet (Waite) Rogers' petition for her father Aaron's army pension is
filed with her papers (MSS 87, B9 F2). Estate papers
for Aaron's brother Samuel are included with the guardianship papers of Samuel's
children Samuel and Betsey Waite. Additional accounts for the estate of Samuel
Waite's spoliation claims are located in the pamphlet of Augustus D. Roger's notes
on commerce (MSS 87, B6 F6). Hannah Call's estate
papers contain additional papers of the Call family.
Series IV. Miscellaneous Family Papers include
financial and legal papers for William, Levi, and Stephen Waite, and for Benoice
Aaron Waite (1742-1830) was born in Malden, Massachusetts,
the son of William and Deborah (Buckman) Waite. Upon moving to Salem in 1765, Aaron
established a leather dressing business with his partner Jerathmael Peirce. When
Aaron returned from his service in the Continental Army in 1788, he and Peirce
resumed their leather working business and began to ship their own leather goods to
the American troops and along the coast. Gradually they expanded their shipping
activities to include trade with Europe and the West Indies. By the War of 1812,
Peirce and Waite owned or had shares in a large number of vessels, including many
privateers. In addition to his shipping and leather businesses, Aaron also owned a
portion of the family farm in Malden which was run by his brother, John Waite.
Aaron and his wife Elizabeth Call (1746-1826), daughter of Jonathan and Hannah
(Lynde) Call, had five children who survived infancy. Their daughter Harriet
(1790-1882) married Salem shipping merchant Nathaniel Leverett Rogers (1785-1858).
See Appendix I for the Waite-Rogers family tree.
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.
Peirce, Jerathmiel, 1747-1827
Rogers, Harriet Waite, 1790-1882
Waite, Aaron, 1742-1830
Waite, John, 1743-1803
Waite, Samuel, 1751-1798
Williams, Israel., b. 1772
Friendship (Ship : 1797-1827)
Two Brothers (Ship)
Waite and Peirce
Estates, administration of
Leather industry and trade
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 Waite Family Papers are a reorganization and integration of materials which
originally belonged to the Rogers Family Papers (MSS
87). Although the bulk of the Waite Family Papers is from an unknown source,
one box of Aaron Waite's receipts (1799-1849) was purchased in 1969 and a Peirce and
Waite shipping ledger (1802-1826) was purchased in 1983. In addition, papers
concerning Peirce and Waite were removed from the Peirce Waite Nichols Commercial
Collection processed by Prudence K. Backman and Sylvia Kennick, January 1983. Updated
by Tamara Gaydos, July 2015.
Corey, Deloraine P., and Walter Kendall Watkins. The Waite
Family of Malden, Mass. Cambridge: University Press, 1913.
Rogers, Augustus D. "Genealogical Memoirs of the Family of Rev. Nathaniel
Rogers." New England Historical and Genealogical
Register, Boston: Samuel G. Drake, Vol. 13, 1859: 61-65.
The Waite Family Papers are a reorganization and integration of materials which originally belonged to the Rogers Family Papers (MSS 87). Although the bulk of the Waite Family Papers is from an unknown source, one box of Aaron Waite’s receipts (1799-1849) was purchased in 1969 and a Peirce and Waite shipping ledger (1802-1826) was purchased in 1983.