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Saltonstall Family Papers

Saltonstall Family Papers

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Processing of this collection was funded by a grant from the NHPRC (National Historical Publications and Records Commission).

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:Saltonstall Family
Title:Saltonstall Family Papers
Quantity:3.5 linear feet (5 boxes)
Abstract:The Saltonstall Family Papers include daybooks, ledgers, account books, correspondence, and genealogical records created by members of the Saltonstall family over the span of 90 years.
Identification:MSS 71

Series List

SERIES I. Dr. Nathaniel Saltonstall (1746-1815) Business Records
SERIES II. Nathaniel Saltonstall (1784-1838) Papers
A. Business Records
B. Personal Papers
SERIES III. William Gurdon Saltonstall (1831-1899) Papers
SERIES IV. Saltonstall Family Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Saltonstall Family Papers include daybooks, ledgers, account books, correspondence, and genealogical records created by members of the Saltonstall family over the span of 90 years. The collection has been arranged into three series.

Series I. Dr. Nathaniel Saltonstall (1746-1815) Business Records includes daybooks, a ledger, and correspondence created by Dr. Nathaniel Saltonstall throughout his career as a physician in Massachusetts. The daybooks span from 1772 to 1815 and document the daily appointments Dr. Saltonstall scheduled and the medicines he prescribed. The ledger, correspondence, and accounts record the financials of his practice. This material has been arranged chronologically within the series.

Series II. Nathaniel Saltonstall (1784-1838) Papers includes an account book, ledger, cash book and correspondence created by Nathaniel Saltonstall. Subseries A. Business Records incorporates records created by Saltonstall as a merchant in Salem, Massachusetts. Subseries B. Personal Papers includes correspondence from Saltonstall to his father and after his father's death in 1815, to his mother and siblings. This material is arranged chronologically within the two subseries.

Series III. William Gurdon Saltonstall (1831-1899) Papersinclude correspondence, diaries, journals, a scrapbook, a passport, and a letter book created by William G. Saltonstall. The diaries chronicle Saltonstall's travels around Europe and the beginning of the Civil War. Early correspondence includes letters written to Saltonstall from family and friends while later correspondence and the letter book details Saltonstall's experience in the U. S. Navy aboard the U. S. S. Commodore Hull during the Civil War. The passport records his travels, predominantly in Europe, from 1855 and 1856. The scrapbook includes original letters from Saltonstall's career in the United States Navy, along with a short autobiographical account of his life and newspaper clippings recounting Civil War battles.

Series IV. Saltonstall Family Papers includes correspondence and genealogical records created by members of the Saltonstall Family. The majority of the records concern the estate of Caroline Saunders Saltonstall. Additional genealogies document the Cabot and Orne families.

Biographical Sketch

Nathaniel Saltonstall (1746-1815) was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts to Judge Richard Saltonstall (1703-1756) and Mary Cooke Saltonstall (1723-1804) on February 10, 1746. Saltonstall graduated from Harvard College in 1766 and became a physician, practicing in Haverhill, Bradford, Andover and Amesbury, Massachusetts. On November 21, 1780, he married Anna White (1752-1841), daughter of Samuel White and Sarah Brown White of Haverhill, Massachusetts and together they had seven children: Mary Cooke Saltonstall (1781-1817); Leverett Saltonstall (1783-1845); Nathaniel Saltonstall (1784-1838); Anna Saltonstall (1787-1865); Sarah Saltonstall (1790-1870); Richard Saltonstall (1794-1834), and Matilda Saltonstall (1796-1831). He died on May 15, 1815.

Nathaniel Saltonstall (1784-1838) was born on October 1, 1784 to Dr. Nathaniel Saltonstall (1746-1815) and Anna White Saltonstall (1752-1841). His brother was Leverett Saltonstall (1783-1845), a future Salem, Massachusetts attorney, mayor, and Congressman. Nathaniel Saltonstall was a merchant in Baltimore, Maryland for twelve years before returning to Salem. On November 30, 1820, in Salem, he married Caroline Sanders (1793-1882), daughter of Thomas Sanders of Salem and sister of his brother Leverett's wife Mary Elizabeth. Together the couple had four children: Catherine Pickman Saltonstall (1823-1852); Elizabeth Sanders Saltonstall (1825-1887); Henry Saltonstall (1828-1894); and William Gurdon Saltonstall (1831-1889). He died on October 19, 1838.

William Gurdon Saltonstall (1831-1899) was born on December 22, 1831 in Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Saltonstall (1784-1838) and Caroline Sanders (1793-1882). An East India merchant by profession, he volunteered to serve in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. He was appointed acting master of the U. S. S. Commodore Hull, a ship involved in the North Atlantic blockade of the Confederacy, on June 8, 1861 and was steadily promoted to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant on May 5, 1863 and Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Commander on May 20, 1863. He was mustered out of service on October 5, 1865 and returned to Salem. On December 18, 1867, he married Josephine Rose Lee (1842-1889) and the couple had four children: Robert Saltonstall (1870-1941); Lucy Sanders Saltonstall (b. 1871); John Lee Saltonstall (1878-1959); and Rosamund Saltonstall (b. 1881). He died in 1899 in Domo D'Ossola, Italy.

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.

Cabot Family
Orne Family
Saltonstall Family
Saltonstall, Caroline Sanders, 1793-1882
Saltonstall, Catherine Pickman, 1823-1852
Saltonstall, Elizabeth Sanders, 1825-1887
Saltonstall, Henry, 1828-1894
Saltonstall, Leverett, 1783-1845
Saltonstall, Nathaniel, 1746-1814
Saltonstall, Nathaniel, 1784-1838
Saltonstall, William Gurdon, 1831-1889
Estates--Administration of
Exports--Phillipine Islands
Imports--United States
Nankin (Brig)
U. S. S. Commodore Hull (Ship)
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Haverhill (Mass.)
Salem (Mass.)
Account Books
Journals (Diaries)
Ledgers (Accounting)


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

Saltonstall Family Papers, MSS 71, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by various sources. The William G. Saltonstall diaries were donated by John Lee Saltonstall on November 15, 1949. The volumes in Series II were acquired from D. R. Nelson & Co. on November 27, 1973. Two letters from W. G. Saltonstall located in Series III were donated by John S. Belmont on March 23, 1985 (acc. 84037). Additional correspondence in Series III was donated by Letitia Howe on January 4, 1985 (acc. 84032). The W. G. Saltonstall scrapbook, passport, and journals from 1858 and 1859 were a gift of John S. Belmont in 1989 (acc. 89067). Some of the material in this collection was originally arranged as Fam. Mss. 907 and Fam. Mss. 908.

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Halley Grogan, December 2012.

Related Material

Saltonstall, Leverett. Ancestry and descendants of Sir Richard Saltonstall: first Associate of the Massachusetts Bay colony and patentee of Connecticut. Boston, Mass: The Riverside Press, 1897.

Massachusetts Historical Society. Saltonstalls of New England: 350 years in public life. Boston, Mass: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1978.

Leverett Saltonstall Papers, 1715-1845, MSS 243

Mary Saltonstall Parker Papers, 1763-1985, MSS 388

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