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
Eugene Mayer Papers
2 linear feet (4 boxes)
The Eugene Mayer papers
document the activities of Eugene Mayer, a merchant agent of Bavarian extraction,
from 1818 to 1828.
SERIES I. Business Papers SERIES II. Personal Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Eugene Mayer papers document the activities of Eugene Mayer, a merchant agent of
Bavarian extraction, from 1818 to 1828. They contain correspondence, legal, and
financial papers. The collection is organized into two series.
Series I. Business Papers contains correspondence,
legal, and financial papers which provide an overall view of J. Webb & Company's
shipping business and Mayer's activities as an overseas merchant agent. Also
described is the development of conflicts between John Webb and his American-based
partner, Adrian Rancher, and the background and proceedings of a slander case
brought against Charles Notari, a Salem resident and former company employee.
The correspondence consists of letterbooks, correspondence from J. Webb &
Company, and letters from international merchants. The letterbooks contain Mayer's
letters to J. Webb & Company, merchant correspondence, and copies of Notari's
slanderous letters. Also included is 1825 correspondence regarding suspicions of
Mayer's possible embezzlement of funds from a former employer. Occasional shipping
accounts may be found throughout the letterbooks, most notably for the brig Orbit and the brig Malay.
The John Webb & Company correspondence contains letters from the company's main
office in Leghorn, from Frederick Barker, head of the firm's Genoese branch, and
occasional business notes from Edward Mayer, Eugene's brother and a firm partner.
The correspondence covers a wide variety of business activities and issues,
including: letters describing market conditions, instructions for Mayer, letters of
introduction, descriptions of Lewis Giunti & Company (a firm subsidiary near
Florence which manufactured straw hats), and an enumeration of the charges and legal
case against Charles Notari. Also of interest are a number of admonitory letters
from John Webb regarding Mayer's conduct as the firm's American agent. The merchant
correspondence contains letters from firms in Prato, Genoa, Livorno, Le Havre,
Mexico, Halifax, Philadelphia, Providence, Boston, Baltimore, Belfast (Me.), and
The Webb and Rancher partnership papers illuminate the conflicts which developed
between John Webb and his partner, Adrian Rancher. Included are the 1818 partnership
agreement between Webb and Rancher (et. al.), correspondence from Rancher, and
letters regarding the Webb-Rancher liaison (which included Rancher's rescue from
European prisons in the 1810s and 1820s).
The bulk of the legal papers were generated by the Charles Notari slander case.
The financial papers include prices current of J. Webb Company and other Italian
firms, and Mayer's agent and household accounts.
Series II. Personal Papers contains correspondence
and miscellaneous papers. The correspondence includes letters in English, French,
Italian, and German from friends, Mayer's parents Benoit Jacques and Caroline Mayer,
and his brothers Ricco and Edward. The family letters convey personal news, such as
the death of B. J. Mayer in 1827, and discuss Eugene's professional conduct in the
Notari slander case and his handling of his business contacts in America. Also
included is correspondence regarding a new type of telescope and an Italian dance
instructor who conducted classes in Boston, The miscellaneous papers include an 1821
essay on family life (in French), calling and trade cards, poetry, a printed sermon
(undated), and notes on the economy of the Netherlands.
Eugene Mayer was born in Bavaria, Germany. He was a
merchant agent and, from 1825 to 1828, worked for John Webb & Company, a banking
and commission merchant firm based in Leghorn (Livorno) and Genoa, Italy. As their
European and American merchant agent, Mayer conducted the firm's business in London,
Liverpool, and in New England cities such as Boston and Salem, Massachusetts.
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.
Mayer, Benoit Jacques, -1827
Mayer, Edward, active 1826-1827
John Webb & Co.
John Webb & Co.
Lewis Giunti & Co.
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