Processing and conservation of this collection
was funded in part by grants from the National Historic Publications and Records
Commission and 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
Phillips, Stephen Willard, 1873-1955
Stephen Willard Phillips (1873-1950)
10.75 linear feet (20 boxes, 1 volume)
The Stephen Willard Phillips
papers document this Salem, Massachusetts, man's professional activities as an
historian and collector.
SERIES I. Professional Activities
A. Essays, Lectures, Publications
E. Printed Matter
SERIES II. Collections
A. Stamp Collection Albums
B. Document Collections
C. Gorham Gilman Papers
D. Charles Warren Stoddard Papers
E. Woodridge Family Papers
SERIES III. Civic Activities
A. Peirce-Nichols House Preservation
B. Punahou School/Oahu College
SERIES IV. Photographs
Scope and Content Note
The Stephen Willard Phillips papers document this Salem, Massachusetts, man's
professional activities as an historian and collector. A small portion of the
collection is related to some of his civic activities. This collection does not
document Phillips' legal or political work and provides little information relative
to his family life. The collection consists of correspondence, financial materials,
printed matter, holograph essays, and collections of stamps and manuscripts. The
papers have been organized into four series.
Series I. Professional Activities represents the
surviving evidence of Phillips' work as historian and collector. Papers attributed
to Phillips and others (B1 F1) are mostly associated with the history and culture of
Hawaii, with particular emphasis upon the activities of Captain James Cook. Other
important items include a complete set of page proofs from the exhibition catalog
The Hawaiian Portion of the Polynesian Collections in the
Peabody Museum of Salem (1920) and research notes concerning voyages of
the ship Wager from 1740-1746 (B1 F3).
Subseries B. Correspondence contains letters to
Phillips as well as outgoing letters. The majority of the correspondence was
received from book collectors, historians, and curators. Of particular interest are
letters from Clarence Brigham (American Antiquarian Society), Worthington C. Ford
(Massachusetts Historical Society), and Lawrence C. Jenkins (Peabody Museum of
Salem). An enclosure in the Jenkins correspondence and a letter from an unidentified
"Miss Allen" provide interesting insights into Hawaiian culture.
Subseries C. Diaries contains three volumes of
diaries or day books.
Subseries D. Financial consists of various personal
Subseries E. Printed Matter consists of a variety of
ephemeral printed items. News clippings include a eulogy of Stephen Henry Philips
[father] and notice of the opening of the Haverhill Historical Society's building,
"The Buttonwoods", in 1904. This series also contains Phillips' Certificate of
Naturalization, an exhibition poster of the ship Recovery of Salem, and a Merchants National Bank calendar with
illustrations of historic houses in Salem (B15 F2).
Series II. Collections consists of manuscripts,
autographs, printed items, scrapbooks, and illustrations divided into sub-series
that reflect the intellectual organization intended by Stephen Willard Phillips.
Subseries A. Stamp Collection Albums contains four
albums of foreign and domestic stamps plus some loose stamps. Subseries B. Document Collections has been divided into five groups.
Personal documents (B6 through 9 and 15) bear the signature of prominent individuals
such as American Presidents, signers of the Declaration of Independence, British
statesmen and admiralty, writers, and scholars. Many of the individuals represented
were important figures in the history of Salem. For a comprehensive list of
signatories, see Appendix I. The autographs consist of document fragments bearing
the signature of other individuals (B9). Hawaiian materials (B15) include newspaper
articles on the death of Queen Tamehamalu (1824), and a printed letter by Na
Kekuanaoa to "The French Gentlemen" (1837). The Essex County materials consist of
the eighteenth-century commission of officers in the Essex Regiment,
seventeenth-century deeds and indentures from Haverhill, Massachusetts, and a
subscription list of the First Regiment of Essex County from Salem (circa 1776). The
miscellaneous folder (B2 F6) features early printing samples such as leaves from
William Caxton's translation of Jacobus de Voragine's Golden
Legends, one of the twelve editions published at Westminster between 1485
Subseries C. Gorham Gilman Papers was apparently
retained by Phillips as documentation of Hawaiian history. Gilman lived in Hawaii
for at least 20 years and was eventually appointed "Hawaiian Consul at Boston." His
papers document the intellectual conflict of the Hawaiian occupation, the
provisional government, and the eventual annexation. Press clippings, poetry,
ephemera, and additional correspondence relative to the Hawaiian question are
located in Gilman's scrapbooks.
Subseries D. Charles Warren Stoddard Papers contains
the papers of this South Seas adventurer and writer whose close relationship with
the Hawaiian royal family is documented by the correspondence that Phillips saved.
Correspondence that remains with the Stoddard papers includes letters from Hawaiian
natives and residents written in English and French. Stoddard's scrapbook (B13)
contains a number of articles regarding Joaquin Miller, an American writer who was
apparently a close friend. [The scrapbook also contains letters from Minnie Myrtle
Miller, Joaquin's wife.]
Subseries E. Woodbridge Family Papers was originally
identified by Phillips as the Mary Woodbridge Papers, but the majority of the
material related to other family members. Documentation of the Dudley Woodbridge
estate is included along with William Woodridge correspondence and an insurance
Subseries F. Miscellaneous includes a cargo list
documenting a voyage on the ship Nixon to Rotterdam in
1804. There are two account books for the Dover Horse Railroad listing payroll and
other financial information. An unidentified ship chandler's business ledger shows
the accounts of prominent Salem citizens including George Crowninshield and Captain
Joseph Orne (ship Essex). Other entries include William
Jenkins (cabinetmaker), Dr. Edward A. Holyoke, and individuals from a number of
eastern ports. Box 19 contains approximately 500 prints and illustrations that
Phillips collected. Box 20 contains 11 maps, mostly of the South Pacific, but
including one of Salem in 1793 as described by Benjamin Pickman and prepared under
the direction of Stephen W. Phillips.
Series III. Civic Activities documents two of
Phillips' major projects. Subseries A. Peirce-Nichols House
Preservation consists of correspondence and reports relative to an Essex
Institute project for which Philips was treasurer. Subseries B.
Punhou School/Oahu College documents fundraising for the private school
in Hawaii for which Phillips, James M. Hunnewell, and William R. Castle were
Series IV. Photographs consists of approximately 600
photographs of Hawaii, family members, friends, artwork, and places of interest to
Phillips. Many of the photographs are unidentified and undated.
Stephen Willard Phillips was born in January 9, 1873 in
Honolulu, Hawaii, the son of Stephen Henry and Margaret (Duncan) Phillips. Before
Stephen was two years old the family moved to San Francisco, where his brother James
Duncan was born. Soon afterward the family relocated to Haverhill, Massachusetts,
and then to Danvers, where the two boys attended Grammar School No. 4 and later
Danvers High School. As a young man Stephen developed an interest in outdoor
activities, particularly camping and canoeing and exhibited an energetic and
adventurous spirit. These qualities led him to read the works of Francis Parkman and
sparked an interest in the voyages of Captain James Cook.
Stephen then attended Harvard, capping an exemplary educational experience with
an AB conferred magna cum laude in 1895. The completion of the LLB in 1898 suitably
prepared him for a legal career which began at the Boston firm of Putnam. In 1899
Phillips married Anna Pingree Wheatland and soon opened his own practice,
specializing in financial management and "trust work." Phillips served several terms
on the Salem City Council and a two year term in the State Legislature while
maintaining his interests in history and Hawaiian ethnology. He collaborated with A.
Frank Hitchings in the production of the important reference work Ship Registers of Salem and Beverly, 1789-1900 which was
first published serially in Essex Institute Historical
Collections beginning in 1903 and later published in a single volume in
In 1920 Phillips and Lawrence W. Jenkins, Director of the Peabody Museum,
collaborated on an exhibition of Hawaiian holdings in the museum's Polynesian
collections. The resultant catalog was entitled The Hawaiian
Portion of the Polynesian Collections in the Peabody Museum of Salem. The
success of this exhibition and his continued research undoubtedly led to Phillips'
appointment as Honorary Curator of Pacific Ethnology in 1926. In 1936 Phillips was
elected President of the Essex Institute, a reflection of his historical research
and his continued activities in both institutions.
Phillips held a number of posts in other local historical organizations such as
the Club of Odd Volumes and the Salem Athenaeum and was also a member of the
prestigious Putnam Club. Nevertheless, his greatest loyalties were conferred upon
the Peabody Museum and the Essex Institute until his death in Salem on July 6,
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.
Benbow, John, 1653-1702
Brigham, Clarence, 1877-1963
Caxton, William, 1422-1491
Cook, James, 1728-1779
Cornwallis, William, Sir, 1744-1819
Corwin, Jonathan, 1640-1718
Crowninshield, Benjamin Williams, 1772-1851
Ford, Worthington Chauncey, 1858-1941
Gardner, John, 1736-1816
Hancock, John, 1737-1793
Holyoke, Edward Augustus, 1728-1829
Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920
Irving, Washington, 1783-1859
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
Jenkins, Lawrence Waters, 1872-1961
Jenkins, William Paul, 1923-2012
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Orne, Joseph, 1683-1748
Parkman, Francis, 1823-1893
Phillips, Stephen H. (Stephen Henry), 1823-1897
Saltonstall, Richard, 1897-1979
Sherman, Roger, 1721-1793
Stoddard, Charles Warren, 1843-1909
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Whittier, John G. (John Greenleaf), 1807-1892
Woodbridge, William, 1755-1836
American Antiquarian Society
Dover Horse Railroad
Haverhill Historical Society (Haverhill, Mass.)
Massachusetts Historical Society
Peabody Museum of Salem
Peirce-Nichols House (Salem, Mass.)
Historic buildings--Conservation and restoration
Hawaii--Description and travel
Hawaii--History to 1893
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
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
Stephen Willard Phillips (1873-1950) Papers, E 3, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
The papers held by the Peabody Museum of Salem (Box 16) were donated by Stephen W.
Phillips' estate (acc #19,823). The origin of the Stephen W. Phillips papers at the
Essex Institute is unknown.
Collection processed by Sylvia Kennick, July 1982 and Robert P. Spindler, November
1986. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, December 2015.
Whitehill, Walter Muir. The East India Marine Society and
the Peabody Museum of Salem; a Sesquicentennial History. Salem, MA:
Peabody Museum, 1949.
Whitehill, Walter Muir. "Stephen Willard Phillips". Essex
Institute Historical Collections, Vol. 91. Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute,
Stephen Henry Phillips Papers, 1893-1950, E 4.
Papers of Stephen Henry Phillips, 1846-1890, undated, MSS