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Winthrop Family Papers

Winthrop 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:Winthrop family
Title:Winthrop Family Papers
Dates:1633/1700, 1899
Quantity:2.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract:This collection consists of 25 documents related to Ipswich, Massachusetts, including letters, deeds, and a petition. Most of the documents were written to or from John Winthrop, Jr.
Collection Number:MSS 413

Series List

SERIES I. Governor John Winthrop
SERIES II. John Winthrop, Jr.
SERIES III. Related Documents

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of 25 documents related to Ipswich, Massachusetts. It includes letters, deeds, and a petition. Most of the documents were written to or from John Winthrop, Jr.

You will see some letters dated with two different years. This is because the letters were dated using the Julian calendar, not the Gregorian calendar that we use today. During most of America's colonial period, March 25 was the first day of the new year. In 1750, for example, the year ended on 24 March 1750; the following day was 25 March 1751. In that time period, New Englanders were still considered part of Great Britain, which continued to use the Julian calendar until September 1752.

"A contemporary copy of the articles of complaint against Rev. Thomas Gilbert of Topsfield, presented to the Court at Ipswich" dated 1666 (Folder 22) has never been published and so there is no transcript for this document.

Box 1 contains all of the original documents and has been restricted. Box 2 contains scanned copies of each document and a transcript, when available, for public use. Box 3 contains both the original deed and a scanned copy in a separate folder. Only the scanned copy is available to the public.

Biographical Sketch

John Winthrop (1588-1649) was born in Edwardston, England, in 1588 to Adam Winthrop (1548-1623) and Anne Browne Winthrop (1558-1629). In December 1602 he matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, but did not graduate. Winthrop founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 and served as governor of the colony from 1630-1634, 1637-1640, 1642-1644, and 1646-1649. He married four times: in 1605 to Mary Forth (1584-1615); in 1615 to Thomasine Clopton (1583?-1616); in 1618 to Margaret Tyndal (1591-1647); and in 1647 to Martha Rainsborough Coytmore (1617?-1660).

John Winthrop, Jr. (1606-1676) was the oldest son of Gov. John Winthrop (1588-1649) and Mary Forth Winthrop (1584-1615). He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and studied law at the Inner Temple, London. In 1631 he followed his father to Massachusetts and, with twelve other men, in March 1632-33, began a plantation at what is now Ipswich, Massachusetts. The death of his wife, Martha, and daughter in the autumn of 1634 caused him to change his plans and he soon afterward returned to England. In 1635 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Edmund Reade and step-daughter of Hugh Peters. She died in 1672, leaving two sons and five daughters. In January 1645, he sold his farm at Ipswich and moved to New London, Connecticut. He had been an assistant in the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for eighteen years, but in 1651 he was elected Governor of Connecticut and served until his death in 1676.

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.

Downing, Emanuel, 1585-1660
Dudley, Samuel
Endecott, John, 1588?-1665
Epps, Daniel
Epps, Elizabeth
Epps, Samuel
Firmin, Giles, 1614-1697
Gilbert, William, Rev.
Norton, John, 1606-1663
Payne, William, 1650-1696
Peters, Hugh, 1598-1660
Reade, Samuel
Symonds, Samuel
Ward, Nathaniel, 1578-1652
Williams, Roger, 1604?-1683
Winthrop, John, 1588-1649
Winthrop, John, Jr., 1606-1676
Winthrop, Robert C., Jr.
Ipswich (Mass.)
Massachusetts--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
Massachusetts--Politics and government--To 1775


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Due to the age and fragile nature of these documents, researchers will not be allowed to handle the original materials. A color scan has been made of each page for researcher use and placed in Box 2. Researchers will only have access to Box 2 and Folder 1 of Box 3. No photocopies may be made of the material. If copies are necessary they will be printed out from digital files.

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

Winthrop Family Papers, MSS 413, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This bulk of this collection was donated by Robert C. Winthrop, Jr. in 1887 and 1899. The deed of the farm Argilla was donated by Nathan P. Nichols in 1986.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, November 2009. Updated 2016.

Related Material


Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. III. Second Series. Boston: Printed for the Society, 18XX.

Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. IX. Third Series. Boston: Printed for the Society, 18XX.

Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. VI. Fourth Series. Boston: Printed for the Society, 1863.

Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. VII. Fourth Series. Boston: Printed for the Society, 1865.

Perley, Sidney. The Indian Land Titles of Essex County Massachusetts. Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Book and Print Club, 1912.

Waters, Thomas Franklin. Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Ipswich, Massachusetts: Ipswich Historical Society, 1905.

Whipple, Weldon. "Making Sense of Dates in Colonial America". Whipple Website. 31 October 2008. 7 October 2009

Winthrop, Robert C. Life and Letters of John Winthrop Vol. II. 2nd edition. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1869.

Related Collections

Deeds relating to Castle Hill and Wigwam Hill, 1666-1707, MSS 429

Contemporary copy of John Winthrop IV's petition against Connecticut dated 1727 with statement by Edward Southwell. Second document defends the colony, MSS 0.512

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