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Story Family Papers

Story Family Papers

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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:Story family
Title:Story Family Papers
Quantity:0.5 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The Story Family papers consist primarily of letters written by John Patten Story to his father, sisters, and younger brother, Augustus.
Collection Number:MSS 331

Scope and Content Note

The Story Family papers consist primarily of letters written by John Patten Story to his father, sisters, and younger brother, Augustus. Typescripts of some of the original letters are located in separate folders.

The letters in folder 1, from John Patten to his father, William, deal mostly with the shipping business, in which William was financially involved. These letters concern cargos, rates of exchange, and conditions in the various ports. The letter dated May 21, 1830, written while John was in Bremen, Germany, discusses the problems of currency conversion in that city. The letter from December 14, 1832, tells of a mutiny aboard one of John's ships and discusses the legal remedies available in such a situation. A letter dated January 15, 1834 discusses one of the major political questions of the Jackson administration: the renewal of the charter of the bank of the United States, which Jackson had vehemently opposed.

Letters from William Story to his son in folder 2 are brief, consisting of advice about employment, financial matters, and some family news. The earlier letters between John and his father suggest financial setbacks.

Folder 3 contains a lengthy letter from John to "sister". As John had four sisters, it is impossible to ascertain to which sister he was writing. This letter is probably a copy of the one sent, as the reverse side of many of the pages contain draft or memorandum copies of business letters and notes, three of them to Baring Brothers. There is also a letter from John to "brother" written in French, containing assurances of affection and explaining his failure to visit. The letter to John's sister, beginning on March 12, 1830 and continued on April 20, 1830, contains a detailed description of Cowes, a port town in the Isle of Wight, England, and also a description of Bremen, Germany.

A letter in folder 4 from John Patten to his sister, Eliza, clarifies the business reversals alluded to in the correspondence between John and his father. This letter continues with some interesting descriptions and comments on Matanzas, Cuba, where John's ship had been lying for many days.

Folder 5 contains two letters from John to his youngest brother, Augustus. One of them (February 22, 1833) is incomplete. On the reverse of the letter dated August 2, 1829, is a copy of a business letter sent from Rio de Janeiro, dated June 27, 1832, to Mr. Savony, the owner of the ship of which John was master. The letter cites John's reasons for refusing further employment from Savony.

Folder 6 contains typescripts of miscellaneous writings, including one entitled "Joseph Hodge Choate's ancestry connected with ours from his biography," an anecdote concerning Francis Q. Story, a California orange grower, and an excerpt reporting the murder of Joseph White in 1830.

Biographical Sketches

John Patten Story was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on May 28, 1805, the son of William and Elizabeth (Patten) Story. By 1829 he was a master mariner. He married Elizabeth Quarles (1816-1904) on November 19, 1840, and fathered six children: John Patten, William, Francis Quarles, Elizabeth Quarles, Augustus, and Anna Maria. He died on March 30, 1875, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and is buried in Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem.

William Story was born in Malden, Massachusetts, on August 18, 1774, but later moved to Marblehead and then Salem. A mariner and merchant, he married Elizabeth Patten (1775-1856) on August 6, 1797. The couple had eight children. William died in Salem on March 17, 1864.

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.

Story, Augustus, 1812-1882
Story, Eliza A., (Eliza Ann), b. 1799
Story, John Patten, b. 1805
Story, William, 1774-1864
Currency convertibility--Germany--Bremen
Bremen (Germany)--Description and travel
Cowes (England)--Description and travel
Isle of Wight (England)
Matanzas (Cuba)--Description and travel


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

Story Family Papers, MSS 331, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by Ralph D. Osborne III in November 2002 (acc #2002.083).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Frances Malamy, March 2003. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, March 2016.

Related Material

Derby, Perley and Gardner, Frank A. "Elisha Story of Boston and Some of his Descendants," Historical Collections of the Essex Institute 50 (1914), 51 (1815).

Eliza A. Story Papers, 1874-1881, Fam. Mss. 973

William Story Correspondence, 1817, Fam. Mss. 977

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