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Rogers Family Papers

Rogers Family Papers

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Processing and conservation for this collection were funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 161 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-948-6012
Creator:Rogers family
Title:Rogers Family Papers
Quantity:7.75 linear feet (12 boxes, 4 volumes)
Abstract:The Rogers Family Papers include business and personal papers of shipping merchants Nathaniel Leverett, John Whittingham, and Richard Saltonstall Rogers, and lawyer and genealogist Augustus Dodge Rogers, Also included are papers for additional Rogers family members.
Collection Number:MSS 87

Series List

SERIES I. Rogers Shipping Papers
SERIES II. Nathaniel Leverett Rogers' Papers
SERIES III. Augustus Dodge Rogers' Papers
A. Autobiographies and Diaries
B. Business Papers
C. Genealogical Papers
D. Correspondence
SERIES IV. William Leverett Rogers (1820-1850) Papers
SERIES V. Family PapersSERIES VI. Miscellaneous Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Rogers Family Papers include business and personal papers of shipping merchants Nathaniel Leverett, John Whittingham, and Richard Saltonstall Rogers, and lawyer and genealogist Augustus Dodge Rogers, Also included are papers for additional Rogers family members. The collection has been divided into five series.

Series I. Rogers Shipping Papers contains correspondence and ships' papers for the brothers Nathaniel, John, and Richard, both before and during their partnership. In addition, there are ships' papers for Augustus D. Rogers' shipping ventures. The majority of the shipping correspondence is written to John W. Rogers while he was supercargo of the ship Orestes. Of interest in the papers of the brig Texel is a letter to John informing him of the death of his brother William Augustus Rogers. The invoice book contains invoices, accounts current, and freight lists for N. L. Rogers and Brothers' ship Black Warrior and John D. Rogers' schooner Petrel.

Series II. Nathaniel Leverett Rogers Papers contains correspondence, financial, and legal papers. Of notes are Nathaniel's letters to his wife Harriet (Waite) Rogers before and during their marriage and correspondence with his son while Augustus was clerk on the ship Grotius.

Series III. Augustus Dodge RogersPapers includes his autobiographies and diaries, business, and genealogical papers. While the papers range from 1833 to 1895, there are fewer records for the years 1860-1880. Subseries A. Autobiographies and Diaries includes the 1879 autobiography which recounts Augustus' voyage on the ship Grotius (1841-1842). Except for a four-year gap between 1866 and 1870, Augustus' diaries form a continuous series from 1846 until a year before his death. Subseries B. Business Papers contains correspondence regarding the publishing of the Rogers genealogy. Correspondence regarding the gathering of genealogical information may be found with the genealogical papers. Correspondence, summonses, and accounts of cases reflect Augustus' lawyer's practice. His civic papers include correspondence and announcements from his activities on the Common Council, School Committee, and the Board of Managers of the Salem Lyceum. The bulk of the notes on Salem commerce discuss the business activities of the firm of N. L. Rogers and Brothers. Included with these note are biographical sketches of his family and his grandfather, Aaron Waite.

Subseries C. Genealogical Papers includes correspondence, notes, and rough drafts for the Rogers family Genealogy. Within the genealogical note are additional genealogies of the Appleton, Denison, and Lynde families. Augustus' 1840 diary (B2 F10) includes later dated genealogical notes on the martyr John Rogers. Three folders contain rough drafts of the Rogers genealogy published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Vol. 5, 1851: Vol. 12, 1858; Vol. 13, 1859).

Subseries D. Correspondence contains correspondence from Augustus to his father, his brother, William Leverett Rogers, and other family members. Also included in this subseries is. correspondence about Augustus’ family genealogy.

Series IV. William Leverett Rogers Papers contains correspondence written and received by William, a bill, packing list and instructions from his father, and miscellaneous items. The correspondence is from William’s voyage to Australia and back, as well as his time at Dane Law School. The miscellaneous items include a journal from his time on the bark Shepardess and a passport.

Series V. Family Papers contains correspondence, business, and financial papers for Nathaniel (1762-1799), Harriet (Waite), Abigail (Dodge), John Whittingham, Richard Saltonstall, William Augustus, Nathaniel Waite, horticulturalist Edward Staniford, William Leverett, Henry Whittingham, Harriet Waite Rogers (1828-1859), and Martha Pickman (Rogers) Codman. In addition there are also Richard S. and Edward S. Rogers' trustee papers for the estate of Aaron Waite. The bulk of the family correspondence contains letters from Abigail (Dodge) to her daughter-in-law Harriet (Waite) Rogers.

Series VI. Miscellaneous Papers contains financial and legal papers, prices current, a currency conversion chart, correspondence, home valuations, maps and plans, recipes and home remedies, samples of Indian sewing silk, transcriptions of some of the correspondence, and other miscellaneous papers. Some of the materials in the miscellaneous folder are in French.

Biographical Sketches

Nathaniel Leverett Rogers (1785-1858) was the eldest son of Nathaniel (1762-1799) and Abigail (Dodge) Rogers. He was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts, but in approximately 1788 his family moved to Salem. There he received his mercantile training in the house of George Crowninshield and Sons. Nathaniel and his brothers John Whittingham (1787-1872) and Richard Saltonstall Rogers (1790-1873) began their early shipping careers as factors, supercargoes, and masters. They were employed by the prominent Salem and Boston merchants of the time, among them: Ropes and Pickman, George Crowninshield and Sons, Stone, Silsbee and Pickman, and Derby and Prince. Although they owned vessels together at different times, it was not until about 1822 that the brothers formed a commercial partnership. Until its dissolution in 1848, the firm of N. L. Rogers and Brothers made over a hundred voyages to the East Indies, Zanzibar, and Australia.

Augustus Dodge Rogers (1823-1896) was the son of Nathaniel Leverett and Harriet (Waite) Rogers. After attending Harvard University, he sailed as a clerk on N. L. Rogers and Brothers' ship Grotius. He attended law school upon his return in 1842 and maintained a practice in Salem during the 1850s. He was active in civic affairs, serving on the Common Council, School Committee, and on the Board of Managers of the Salem Lyceum. From 1849 to 1859, he was a Justice of the Peace. Augustus also had an avid interest in the genealogy of his ancestors. His research led to the publishing of a Rogers genealogy in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register and articles on the commerce of Salem in the Salem Register (1866-1887). Augustus died unmarried in 1796.

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.

Appleton family
Codman, Martha Pickman Rogers
Denison family
Lynde family
Rogers family
Rogers, Abigail Dodge, 1764-1817
Rogers, Augustus Dodge, 1823-1896
Rogers, Edward Staniford, 1826-1899
Rogers, Harriet Waite, 1790-1882
Rogers, Harriet Waite, 1828-1859
Rogers, Henry Whittingham, 1824-1855
Rogers, John D.
Rogers, John Whittingham, 1787-1872
Rogers, John, Martyr
Rogers, John, Rev.
Rogers, Nathaniel Leverett, 1785-1858
Rogers, Nathaniel Waite, 1814-1832
Rogers, Nathaniel, 1762-1799
Rogers, Richard Saltonstall, 1790-1873
Rogers, William Augustus, 1793-1821
Rogers, William Leverett, 1820-1850
Waite family
Waite, Aaron, 1742-1830
Black Warrior (Ship)
Bulah (Brig)
Charles Doggett (Brig)
Crusoe (Ship)
Donna Francisca (Bark)
Endeavor (Ship)
Franklin (Brig)
Grotius (Ship)
Java (Ship)
Lady Sarah (Schooner)
Nereus (Brig)
Orestes (Ship)
Pioneer (Brig)
Sacramento (Brig)
Sheperdess (Bark)
Tartar (Ship)
Texel (Brig)
Thetis (Brig)
William (Ship)
Account books
Estates, administration of
Land titles
Voyages and travels


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

Rogers Family Papers, MSS 87, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The Rogers Family Papers are an integration and reorganization of 7 boxes, 7 scrapbook volumes, 13 volumes, and several miscellaneous folders. While the bulk of the collection comes from an unknown source, the letter and invoice book of the ship Orestes and the 1840-1845 invoice book were a 1914 gift of Martha Codman, a folder of bills and letters and the writ book/horticultural orders book were gifts of Lawrence W. Jenkins in 1953 and 1931, the Martha Pickman (Rogers) Codman papers were a 1964 gift of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Nathaniel Rogers (1762-1799) account book was received from Augustus D. Rogers' estate. Integrated into the collection from the Pickman Papers (MSS 5) are the Rogers shipping correspondence and papers of the brig Texel. Removed from the Rogers family papers are 9 boxes of Waite Family Papers (MSS 88). MH 196 was integrated into this collection--the majority of the collection had been donated by Captain and Mrs. John F. Campbell on February 9, 1956 (#13,715); six receipts were purchased in 1930.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Prudence K. Backman and Sylvia Kennick, January 1983. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, July 2015 and Hilary Streifer, February 2017.

Related Material

Potts, E. Daniel and Annette Potts. "The Voyages of W. and A. Rogers to Massachusetts to Australia 1840-42." Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society 54 (1968): 256-264.

Putnam, George Granville. Salem Vessels and Their Voyages; a History of the European, African, Australian and South Pacific Islands Trade as Carried on by Salem Merchants, Particularly the Firm of N.L. Rogers & Brothers. Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1930.

Rogers, Augustus D. "Genealogical Memoirs of the Family of Rev. Nathaniel Rogers." New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Boston: Samuel G. Drake, 1851: 105-52, 311-30; Vol. 12, 1858: 337-342; Vol. 13, 1858: 61-65.

Rogers, Augustus D. "Salem Commerce." Salem Register. Mar. 29, Apr. 5, May 17, 24, June 17, July 15, Aug. 9, 12, Dec. 20, 27, 1886; Jan. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 1887.

Waite Family Papers, MSS 88

Appendix I

Appendix II

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