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Table of Contents
In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
J. & W. R. Wing & Company was a New Bedford firm founded in 1849 by two brothers, Joseph Wing (1810-1895) and William Ricketson Wing (1830-1908). Their younger brother John Wing (1833-1915) became a partner in 1857, just as the firm was entering its most prosperous period of activity, after expanding business from clothing and other goods to whaling voyages. J. & W. R. Wing & Co. managed one of the largest fleets in the American whaling industry from 1860-1910 and ultimately owned all or the controlling interest in 26 vessels. The brothers also invested in land development companies in Martha’s Vineyard. See also Mss 35.
The Alice Knowles was built in 1878 in Weymouth, MA. Always rigged as a bark, it undertook 25 voyages from 1879-1917, 7 of which departed from New Bedford and 18 from San Francisco. The original agent for the first three voyages was John P. Knowles. J. & W. R. Wing were managing agents for the rest of the vessel’s lifespan, except for its last voyage in 1914, during which H.K. Snow was agent. During this last voyage the Alice Knowles was lost in a hurricane in September 1917.
The Andrew Hicks was built in Fairhaven, MA in 1867. It sailed from Westport, MA, New Bedford, and San Francisco. Between 1867 and 1917, the Andrew Hicks undertook 32 voyages, most of which departed from San Francisco. The vessel, which remained a bark during its entire lifespan, sunk after a collision off of the Virginia Capes in 1917. J. & W. R. Wing were the managing agents of the vessel from 1903 until the last voyage.
The Charles W. Morgan was built in 1841 in New Bedford and is now preserved at Mystic Seaport. It began as a ship and was turned into a bark in 1867. This vessel sailed from both New Bedford and San Francisco and completed 37 voyages. J. & W. R. Wing were managing agents from 1863 until 1913.
The Platina was built in 1847 in Mattapoisett, MA and undertook 19 voyages from 1847-1910. The first eight voyages departed from Westport, MA. Ten voyages departed from New Bedford, and only one from San Francisco, in 1896. The Platina sailed as a ship during its first voyage and as a bark for the rest of its lifespan. J. & W. R. Wing were managing agents from 1892 until the last voyage. In 1914 the vessel was abandoned and broken up in the Cape Verde Islands.
The Sunbeam was built in 1856 in Mattapoisett, MA. It undertook 17 voyages from New Bedford between 1856 and 1908. It was rigged as a bark and managed by J. & W. R. Wing for its entire lifespan. In 1911 the Sunbeam was lost near Wold Island, Darien, Georgia.
This collection contains 27 series. J. & W. R. Wing were the managing agents of all voyages in this collection. The first series contains business records and ship’s papers that correspond to more than one vessel or are not labeled with vessel names. The remaining series are arranged by vessel. Series that contain many records are separated into sub-series that correspond to specific voyages, and may be further separated by document type at the folder level. This collection contains a large amount of oversized material that is stored in oversized folders #1-3 in drawer ++9
J. & W. R. Wing business records from 1818-1915 are located in series A. Sub-series 1 consists largely of correspondence, partnership agreements, and also plans and deeds relating to a development called Prospect Heights. The remainder of the series consists of ship’s papers such as agent/owner accounts, bills and receipts, and bills of lading.
The Alice Knowles, Andrew Hicks, Charles W. Morgan, Platina, and Sunbeam are represented in Series D, E, I, V, and Y respectfully. They are the largest series of the collection and include ship’s papers from multiple voyages undertaken between 1897 and 1916. The remaining series consist largely of bills of sale and ship’s papers including crew papers, consular records, bills, and receipts. The vessels represented include the A. R. Tucker, Abraham Barker, Brunswick, Canton, Cape Horn Pigeon, Charles W. Morse, Dominga, George Washington, John Dawson, Josephine, Kathleen, Laetitia, Longfellow, Montezuma, Morning Star, Normandy, Osceola, Solon, Stafford, Swallow, and Triton.
The Alice Knowles is represented in Series D. Series D consists mainly of ship’s papers from the 1906-1908 voyage, which departed from San Francisco with Thomas Scullun as master. Sub-series 4 contains records of this voyage from the year 1906. The bulk of materials are bills and receipts, but there are also documents concerning agent/owner accounts, insurance, oil gauging, and the crew. The 1898-1899, 1899-1900, and 1902-1903 voyages included in this series also departed from San Francisco with Captains Charles W. Fisher and Philip D. Montgomery. The 1908-1910 voyage sailed from New Bedford with James A. M. Earle as master.
The Andrew Hicks is the subject of Series E. This series contains many records from the 1908-1910 and 1911-1914 voyages, which both departed from New Bedford. Charles Albert Chase was master of both voyages, and William H. Griffiths is also listed as a master of the later voyage. Sub-series 2 includes the documentation of notable occurrences such as the death of crew member Joaquim Sebastiao Brag, the illness of crew member Bernard Conway, and an accident with the S.S. Knutsford. Sub-series 1 relates to the voyage of 1905-1906, which sailed from San Francisco under Charles S. Church, and sub-series 4 documents the 1914-1916 voyage, which sailed from New Bedford under Charles A. Chase. This series contains a substantial amount of crew papers, oil gauging documents, different types of bills and receipts, and agent/owner accounts. It also includes consulate, customs, and insurance documents, as well as correspondence and memorandums.
The Charles W. Morgan is represented in Series I, which consists mainly of the 1906-1908 voyage that departed from New Bedford. Both James A. M. Earle and Hiram Nye were masters. Sub-series 3 contains records of this voyage, which are dated 1906-1908. General bills and receipts make up about half of this sub-series. There are 4 other small sub-series relating to other voyages made by the Charles W. Morgan, and papers concerning the vessel itself. An undated postcard and a poem about the Charles W. Morgan are included in the series, along with bills of sale, agent/owner accounts, bills of lading, gauging papers, and crew papers. The crew papers included in this series are noteworthy because they include letters from the American Consul, discharge papers from foreign ports, and documents related to a claim of assault made by crew member Antone Gracia Azevedo against Captain Earle.
The Platina is the subject of Series V. This series consists mainly of records from the 1906-1908 voyage, which departed from New Bedford with Charles Albert Chase as master. Sub-series 3 contains records of this voyage dated 1907-1908. Sub-series 1 and 2 are records relating to the vessel itself and the 1898-1901 voyage. Bills and receipts, oil gauging papers, and agent/owner accounts are the three largest parts of this series. There is also a bill of sale, bills of lading, and consulate and customs papers. The crew papers in this series mainly concern disbursement.
The Sunbeam’s records from voyages made between 1876 and 1908 are located in Series Y. This series includes a bill of sale and ship’s papers such as agent/owner accounts, crew papers, and bills and receipts.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to Collections
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 113, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Related Manuscript Collections
Mss 35: J. & W. R. Wing & Company Records
Mss 41: Charles Waln Morgan Papers
Mss 105: Andrew Hicks Papers
Removed to New Bedford Whaling Museum Archives/Oversize Drawer ++9
Oversize Folder #1: Series A, N, Y
Oversize Folder #2: Series E, V
Oversize Folder #3: Bills of sale
Acquired from the Kendall Whaling Museum, 2002.
Processed by: Emily Lapworth, 22 March 2013
Encoded by: Emily Lapworth, 22 March 2013
Business records--19th century
Business records--20th century
Business records--California--San Francisco
Business records--Massachusetts--New Bedford
Chase, Charles Albert
Earle, James A.M.
Fisher, Charles W., whaling master
J. & W. R. Wing & Co. (New Bedford, Mass.)
New Bedford (Mass.)
Nye, Hiram, 1842-
San Francisco (Calif.)
Ship’s Papers--California--San Francisco
Ship’s Papers--Massachusetts--New Bedford
Ship’s papers--19th century
Ship’s papers--20th century
United States. Consular Service
Wing, John, 1833-1915
Wing, Joseph, 1810-1895
Wing, William Ricketson, 1830-1908
A. R. Tucker (Bark)
Abraham Barker (Bark)
Alice Knowles (Bark)
Andrew Hicks (Bark)
Cape Horn Pigeon (Bark)
Charles W. Morgan (Bark)
Charles W. Morse (Schooner)
George Washington (Ship: 1832-1860)
John Dawson (Bark)
Morning Star (Bark)