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Lawrence W. Jenkins (1872-1961) Papers

Lawrence W. Jenkins (1872-1961) Papers

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LAWRENCE W. JENKINS (1872-1961) PAPERS, 1700-1953

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:Jenkins, Lawrence W., 1872-1961
Title:Lawrence W. Jenkins (1872-1961) Papers
Quantity:3.5 linear feet (4 boxes, 1 flat file)
Abstract:The Lawrence W. Jenkins papers contain materials that Jenkins researched or collected, manuscripts that he wrote, and bills and receipts from Jenkins and his family.
Collection Number:MH 130

Series List

SERIES I. Materials and Subjects Collected
A. Research Notes
B. Manuscripts and Materials Collected
SERIES II. Manuscripts Written
SERIES III. Bills and Receipts

Scope and Content Note

The Lawrence W. Jenkins papers contain materials that Jenkins researched or collected, manuscripts that he wrote, and bills and receipts from Jenkins and his family. This collection has been divided into four series.

Series I. Materials and Subjects Collected contains research notes and materials that Jenkins was interested in and collected. This series has been divided into two subseries. Subseries A. Research Notes contains research that Jenkins collected on a sea captain named Bully Hayes and a notebook with detailed sketches and descriptions of furniture and other antiques. There is also a loose photograph within the notebook. Subseries B. Manuscripts and Materials Collected contains a few of the manuscripts, maps, and miscellaneous materials that Jenkins collected.

Series II. Manuscripts Written contains drafts of manuscripts, correspondence about the manuscripts, and some research notes about manuscripts or topics that Jenkins was writing about.

Series III. Bills and Receipts contains bills and receipts from the Jenkins family. Also included in this series are bills and receipts from auctions, booksellers, membership dues, taxes, and insurance companies.

Series IV. Other contains materials from the Essex Institute, including correspondence, announcements, and ballots. This series also contains correspondence about the Peabody Museum’s American Neptune publication.

Biographical Sketch

Lawrence Waters Jenkins was born on December 23, 1872 to Charles T. and Lucy Weston Jenkins, in Salem, Massachusetts. Colonel Jenkins, as he was often called, attended Nobel’s School, and joined the First Corps Cadets in 1892. He would always be a member of a military organization until he retired from the Massachusetts National Guard in 1920 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Jenkins attended Harvard University, where he graduated with his A. B. in 1896. He then became an assistant superintendent of the Crows Nest Mining Company in Melrose, Nova Scotia, from 1897 to 1899. In 1900 he took a long trip on horseback through Mexico, and acquired a lasting interest in ethnology and material culture, which prompted him to join the Peabody Museum in Salem as a volunteer. His interest in history had already led to his becoming a member of the Essex Institute in 1895. In 1901, Jenkins became the Curator of Ethnology of the Peabody Museum of Salem, a position he maintained until 1949. He also served as Assistant Director in Charge from 1914 to 1937, Curator of Marine Rooms from 1925 to 1949, Director from 1937 to 1950, and Director Emeritus from 1950 until his death in 1961.

Jenkins was instrumental in obtaining many large and important ethnological collections for the Peabody Museum. He also found log books, journals, broadsides, and manuscript materials for both the Museum and the Essex Institute. He wrote about twenty five historical and ethnological articles and catalogues and edited the journal of William Endicott, Wrecked Among Cannibals in Fiji. Jenkins was also a founder of the Essex Book and Print Club and the Marine Research Society.

Jenkins married Arvilla Bray in 1901, in Salem; shortly after they moved to a house on Locust Street in Danvers. They had three children: Stephen Waters born in 1902, Dorothy born in 1906, and Benjamin Gilbert in 1907. Jenkins died on April 20, 1961.

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.

Hayes, Bully
Essex Institute
Collectors and collecting


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


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

Lawrence W. Jenkins (1872-1961) Papers, MH 130, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This collection is an integration of MH 130 and Fam. Mss. 495. MH 130, which consisted of two boxes of material, manuscripts and Jenkin's research notes, were donated by Benjamin Jenkins (accession #13,967). Within the manuscripts, a 1945 draft of "'The Europa's Misfortunes"' has accession #17,057 written on it. Fam. Mss. 495 contained two boxes of bills and receipts, which were donated by L. W. Jenkins on December 3, 1957, and one antique record book, which was donated by David L. Thomas in 1997 (accession #1997.012).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, July 2015.

Related Material

Dodge, Ernest S. "'Lawrence Waters Jenkins."' Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 73 (1961): 107-109.

First Corps of Cadets Veteran Association Records, 1901-1957, MM 30

Second Corps Cadets Records, 1785-1954, MSS 381

The Wreck of the Glide in the Fijiis With Notes by Lawrence Waters Jenkins, 1923, Ship. Mss. 20

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