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Graves Family Papers

Graves Family Papers

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GRAVES FAMILY PAPERS, 1876-1927, 1939

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 166 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-948-6012
Creator:Graves family
Title:Graves Family Papers
Dates:1876/1927, 1939
Quantity:4.25 linear feet (9 boxes)
Abstract:The collection consists primarily of letters between the immediate and extended family members and friends of Edmund Pike Graves (also referred to as Ned) who resided in Newburyport, France, England, Germany, Barbados, and elsewhere.
Collection Number:MSS 800

Series List

SERIES I. Mary Warner Caldwell Graves & Edmund Pike Graves PapersSERIES II. Graves Children PapersSERIES III. Other

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists primarily of letters between the immediate and extended family members and friends of Edmund Pike Graves (also referred to as Ned) who resided in Newburyport, France, England, Germany, Barbados, and elsewhere.

The correspondence describes much of the family and social life of the Graves and offers insight into the education of the children, illnesses, accidents, vacations, and friendships. The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters to Mary Warner Caldwell Graves (also referred to as Mollie, Polly, and Maud) and Ellen Graves. Although there is some mention of World War I, the letters primarily describe day to day life and are illustrative of the relationships within the Graves social circle and travels. Letters from Edward Hale Perry and, in particular, Hermann Olde (of J. Olde and Sons Telegraph in London, England) are prominent in many Graves family members' correspondence.

The material has been organized into three series, with dated materials arranged chronologically. Copies of newspaper clippings have been made; the originals are not available for viewing. Note that although the collection is predominantly in English, some materials are in Spanish and German.

SERIES I. Mary Warner Caldwell Graves & Edmund Pike Graves Papers is divided into three subseries. Earlier letters (1887-1901) describe preparing for the move from Newburyport to Buenos Aires. Letters from both Edmund Jr. while at school, and Ellen while traveling are plentiful to each parent individually. Subseries A.Mary Warner Caldwell Graves Correspondence consists of letters from friends and family members, invitations, and calling cards with Box 4 Folder 2 containing photographs, many from Buenos Aires. Although most of the correspondence is written in English, some is written in Spanish and German. Subseries B.Family Correspondence consists of invitations, letters to both Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Pike Graves, and telegrams from family members. Subseries C.Edmund Pike Graves Correspondence consists of letters from family members.

SERIES II. Graves Children's Papers is divided into four subseries. Subseries A.Ellen Graves Papers consists of letters from family and friends as well as a ticket to board the ship Neptune (Box 5 Folder 3), and a travel insurance card. Letters from Hannah Shipley of Bryn Mawr College and college receipts are in Box 5 Folder 9 and Box 6 Folder 3 respectively. Although the bulk of the correspondence is in English, some is written in German, French, and Spanish. Subseries B.Edmund Pike Graves, Jr. Correspondence includes letters from school friends, air force colleagues, cousins, and other family members. Includes letters from Samuel Cabot who later married Mary. Subseries C.Misses Graves Papers consists of letters, invitations, greeting cards, and calling cards to Mary, Nancy, and Ruth individually as well as letters to the "Misses Graves." This subseries also includes stories written by Nancy and drawings by Mary. Subseries D.Graves Children's School Papers includes composition books with school exercises, speeches, drawings, collages, and other materials from their years in Buenos Aires. Cards, poems, and a hand drawn "poster" with a request to the adults for a silent auction to be held in the evening.

SERIES III. Other includes letters from members of the Graves family to other extended family members, many to the Perry family. It also includes one folder, Box 9 Folder 4, of letter fragments. Many letters have multiple successive pages with either the first page missing or the final page(s) missing. Box 9 Folders 5 and 6 consist of brochures, event programs and other ephemera. Brochures for the children's schools are included in this subseries. In Box 9 Folder 7 is a guide for foreign students to the United States, written in Spanish.

Biographical Sketches

Edmund Pike Graves (1856-1913) was the son of William Graves, Jr. (1811-1877) and Mary Pike (1824-1903). William Graves, Jr. was a successful ship master who retired from the seas at the age of 36 or 37 to establish a business in international sea trade. Having interests in several ships and cargo trading with China, India, Burma, and Europe, the family was well established in international trade with William Graves, Jr.'s half-brothers, Alexander Graves (1823-1869) and Edward Graves (1831-1873) serving as ship masters.

In 1883, Edmund Pike Graves married Mary Warner Caldwell (b. 1857), also of Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1898 Edmund Pike Graves, his wife, and their children: Ellen (1884-1971), Mary (1886-1975), Nancy (1889-1969), Edmund Pike Jr. (1891-1919), and Ruth (b. 1898) left their Newburyport, Massachusetts, home for Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Graves worked as a wool agent for the Bigelow Carpet Company. Both from shipping families, Edmund Pike Graves and Mary Warner Caldwell Graves were well travelled and corresponded with friends from all over the world. Ellen, Mary, and Nancy attended the Flores English School for girls in Buenos Aires, and Edmund Pike Jr. was in residence at St. George's College, also in Argentina. The family returned to Massachusetts after Edmund Pikes Graves' death in 1913, making their home in Brookline, just south of Boston.

Ellen travelled extensively in Europe prior to entering Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania (class of 1907). Neither Ellen nor Nancy married. In 1909, Mary Graves married Samuel Cabot and lived in Boston.

After graduating from Harvard University in 1913, Edmund Pike Graves, Jr. enlisted as a cadet in the Royal Flying Corps in Canada. He served as an in aerial gunnery at Camp Taliaferro, Hicks Field, Fort Worth, Texas, and was one of the first pilots to perform elaborate stunts in a Curtiss aircraft. In early 1918 Graves was transferred to the Officers' School of Special Flying at Armour Heights, North Toronto. He served in France from November 5, 1918, through July, 1919. He then volunteered for the Koœciuszko Squadron for the new state of Poland and flew Albatross aircraft in patrols over the front in the Lwów area. On November 22, 1919, Lwów celebrated the first anniversary of its liberation from the Ukrainians for which four pilots of the Kosciuszko Squadron participated in an air show. While performing stunts over the city in an Albatros D.III fighter, Graves Jr.'s aircraft lost its right wing during a double roll at 150 feet. He managed to bail out and pull his parachute ripcord, but he was too close to the ground and was killed on impact. The funeral of Lieutenant Edmund Pike Graves, Jr. was held on November 24, 1919, with high honors by the Polish government.

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.

Brown, L. M.
Cabot, Nancy Graves, 1889-1969
Cabot, Samuel, 1884-
Chase, Marianna F.
Fuller, George Earl
Graves, Alexander, 1823-1869
Graves, Edmund Pike, 1856-1913
Graves, Edmund Pike, 1891-1919
Graves, Edward, 1831-1873
Graves, Ellen, 1884-1971
Graves, Mary Pike, 1824-1903
Graves, Mary Warner Caldwell, 1857-
Graves, Mary, 1886-1975
Graves, Ruth, 1898-
Graves, William, 1811-1877
Leeds, Grace
McLaughlin, William P.
Olde, Hermann
Perry, Charles, 1878-
Perry, Edward Hale, 1857-
Perry, Gardner B., 1882-
Perry, William Graves, 1883-1975
Roessler, G. (Gustav)
Roosevelt, Quentin, 1897-1918
Shaw, Harriet
Shaw, Pierce G.
Shipley, Hannah T.
Smith, Clara
Stone, Mary Goodwin Atkins, -1890
Watson, Annie H.
Wolff, Julius, 1836-1902
Wolff, Sophie
Bryn Mawr College
First Methodist Episcopal Church (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Harvard University
Neptune (Steamboat)
Poland. Air and Air Defense Force--Accidents
St. George's College (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Children's drawings
Foreign study
Monroe doctrine
Postcards--Argentina--20th century
Voyages and travels
World War, 1914-1918--United States--Military life
Argentina--Description and travel
Barbados--Description and travel
Boston (Mass.)
Brookline (Mass.)
Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Cannes (France)
England--Description and travel
France--Description and travel
Newburyport (Mass.)
Toronto (Ont.)


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Request 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

Graves Family Papers, MSS 800, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This collection was donated by the Baker Library, Harvard University on April 10, 1979. It was received there from N. David Scotti in 1978. Formerly catalogued as Fam. Mss. 392.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tatiyana Bastet, March 2019.

Related Material Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Graves, Edmund Pike. America War Memorials Overseas.

Edward Graves Papers, 1855-1859. MSS 677

Edmund Pike Graves Collection. Baker Library Historical Collections. Harvard Business School. Mss:761 1865-1919 G776

Graves Family Shipping Papers, 1812-1877. University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. MSN/EA 0506

Graves Family Collection. Baker Library Historical Collections. Harvard Business School. Mss:774 1879-1914 G776

William Graves, Jr. Papers, 1811-1903. MSS 676

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