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William B. Parker, Jr. (1801-1878) Papers

William B. Parker, Jr. (1801-1878) Papers

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WILLIAM B. PARKER, JR. (1801-1878) PAPERS, 1823-1854

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:Parker, William Bradstreet, Jr., 1801-1878
Title:William B. Parker, Jr. (1801-1878) Papers
Quantity:5.5 linear feet (8 boxes)
Abstract:The collection contains bills and receipts, legal papers, business correspondence, sailor's agreements, financial statements, and personal estate papers of William B. Parker Jr. (1801-1878) from 1823 to 1854.
Collection Number:MH 174

Series List

SERIES I. Business RecordsSERIES II. Personal Papers

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains bills and receipts, legal papers, business correspondence, sailor's agreements, financial statements, and personal estate papers of William B. Parker Jr. (1801-1878) from 1823 to 1854. The collection is arranged into two series.

Series I. Business Records contain records generated in the course of Parker Jr.'s career as a ship captain and maritime merchant. The materials document voyages from Salem to United States ports such as Boston, Charleston, New York, New Orleans, and San Francisco as well as international destinations, including Brazil, Cuba, France, Haiti, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, and India. The materials also reference other captains or owners of vessels such as Isaac Cushing, John F. Andrew, William H. Caulfield, Richard S. Noble, Nathaniel Andrew, Thomas Aspinwall, and John Fairfield. While the primary language for the materials is English, some documents are written in Dutch, Italian, and Portuguese.

Series I is arranged into six subseries. The first four subseries, Mercator (Brig), Effort (Brig), Brazil (Bark), and Forrester (Ship), reflect the shipping vessel that was used when the records were created. These materials contain bills and receipts, which include lists of disbursements, price lists of goods from various ports, receipts for ship repairs and materials, and account deposits for deliveries at several international banks. The series also contains legal documents such as insurance claims; bills of sale for several ships; bills of lading; contracts and customs documents; correspondence about shipping requests or status updates from captains in Parker's employ; and Seamen's agreements. The bulk of the material is derived from the records of Brazil (Bark) and Forrester (Ship).

The fifth subseries, Other Vessels' Records, contain records from various other vessels Parker was associated with or may have been associated with. Many of the vessels represented in these materials only have one or two records in the collection. These records are similar in nature to the first four subseries and cover financial and legal materials with regard to these vessels' voyages. The sixth and final subseries, Baring Brothers & Co. Financial Records, includes correspondence and financial statements pertaining to Parker's accounts held with the Baring Brothers & Co. bank.

Series II. Personal Papers contains materials that were generated in the process of maintaining William B. Parker Jr.'s personal estate. It contains bill and receipts pertaining to repairs to the home, food deliveries, furniture purchases, and Parker's personal financial accounts and taxes.

Biographical Sketch

William Bradstreet Parker, Jr. (1801-1878) was shipmaster and owner of several vessels based in New England, which were used in the mercantile trade between the West Indies, Europe, South America, and the East and West Coasts of North America. Parker, Jr. was the son of William Bradstreet Parker (1772-1844) and Abigail Watson. Parker, Sr. was also a shipper. Parker, Jr. joined his father's trade early on; he was listed as shipmaster on his father's schooner Argo in 1818. He periodically served as master for a variety of other vessels and held a financial interest in many of them, frequently sharing ownership with other Salem businessmen such as Isaac Cushing and John F. Andrew. While he is associated with more than ten vessels, the majority of his maritime career involved the Mercator (Brig), Effort (Brig), Brazil (Bark), and Forrester (Ship). He shipped a variety of goods including but not limited to silk, cotton, pepper, sugar, coffee, indigo, potatoes, molasses, and corn as well as occasional passengers.

Parker, Jr. was a member of the Salem Marine Society and the East India Marine Society. He married Ellen Parker and eventually left the shipping business. Appointed director of the Naumkeag Bank in October 1851, he became president in 1869 and served in this position until his death. He also held leadership positions in the Naumkeag Steam Cotton Company and the Salem Savings Bank; he served on Salem's Board of Alderman in 1853 and 1856. He died at his Pleasant Street home on December 24, 1878.

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.

Andrew, John F. (John Forrester), 1850-1895
Andrew, Nathaniel
Aspinwall, Thomas, 1786-1876
Caulfield, William H.
Cushing, Isaac
Fairfield, John, 1797-1847
Noble, Richard S.
Parker, William B. (William Bradstreet), b. 1801
Argo (Brig)
Baring Brothers & Co.
Brazil (Bark)
Deposit (Schooner)
Effort (Brig)
Forester (Ship)
Hamburger (Brig)
Java (Brig)
John B (Schooner)
Lagoda (Ship)
Liverpool (Ship)
Mercator (Brig)
Persia (Ship)
Russell (Schooner)
Socrates (Schooner)
Susan Drew (Ship)
Ship captains
Salem (Mass.)


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

William B. Parker, Jr. (1801-1878) Papers, MH 174, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The bulk of this material was donated by Amelia M. Harper on June 9, 1948 (acc. #11,941). Part of this material was received as a gift from the Peabody Institute Library (acc. #2003.017) and was removed from collection MH 252. Another small part of the material was purchased on November 16, 1990 (acc. #25,437).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Kevin French, December 2010.

Related Material

Essex Institute Historical Collections, Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute Press, 1934. Vol. 70, pp. 391-392.

The Salem Gazette. Dec. 27, 1878. Obituary.

The Salem Observor. Dec. 28, 1878. Obituary.

Salem Register. Dec. 25, 1878. Obituary.

Ship Registers of the District of Salem and Beverly Massachusetts, 1789-1900. Salem, Mass.: The Essex Institute, 1906. p. 12, 24

Parker Family Papers, 1738-1845, MSS 144

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