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In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
This collection contains the papers of William Potter 2nd (1809-1892), his two sons Edward F. (1839-1914) and Charles W. (b. 1848), and Abner Potter Jr. (1783-1853). The papers of Captain Michael Cumiskey (1816-1874), related to the Potters by marriage, are also included. These papers also include the documents relating to the numerous fishing and whaling vessels connected to the Potters' business as owners and agents.
According to Llewellyn Howland III, former New Bedford Whaling Museum board member and chairman of the Museum's Scholarship and Publications Committee, the Potter story is "important for several reasons: it sheds bright light on the work of a major Dartmouth whaling merchant and agent (of whom there were, of course, far fewer than their New Bedford counterparts); it concerns the construction and voyages of at least one vessel – the Bark Matilda Sears - that was built right in Dartmouth at South Wharf by the famous black shipwright Matthews, Mashow, Co. and, ...[this addition] to the Potter material already in the archives of the Whaling Museum, it offers a far more complete story of a whaling merchant's business activities then has usually survived from whaling days."
The Potter Family Papers consist of materials associated with their business operations as owners and agents of a number of fishing schooners and whaling ships. In most cases, the papers and documents have been filed into folders as they were found in the envelopes created by the Potters or their clerks. Researchers should note that these papers are an addition to Mss 102, an existing manuscript collection consisting of Potter family papers.
Also included in this collection is an appendix comprised of oversized documents and material removed to oversized storage. Other related collections are noted, as well as notes on the several ships documented in this collection. Also included is a sketch of a sail plan for the Cape Horn Pigeon which has been removed to oversized storage. Additional materials consist of two Potter family and Cumiskey family genealogies. Notes by Charles F. Batchelder (1898-1973) and the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library card catalog entries are also included.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to Collections
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 133, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 United States Code 552a) governs the use of materials that document private individuals, groups, and corporations.
Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction if the document does not infringe the privacy rights of an individual, group, or corporation. These specified conditions of authorized use include:
- non-commercial and non-profit study, scholarship, research, or teaching
- criticism or commentary
- as a NBWM archives preservation or security copy for research use
- as a research copy for deposit in another institution
If the researcher later uses a copy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," the researcher is personally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement and agrees to indemnify the New Bedford Whaling Museum from any legal action as a result of the error. Permission to obtain a photographic, xerographic, digital, or other copy of a document does not indicate permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, sell, distribute, or prepare derivative works from the document without permission from the copyright holder and from any private individual, group, or corporation shown or otherwise recorded.
Permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, prepare derivative works from, sell, or otherwise distribute the item must be obtained separately in writing from the holder of the original copyright (or if the creator is dead, from his/her heirs) as well as from any individual(s), groups, or corporations whose name, image, recorded words, or private information (e.g. employment information) may be reproduced in the source material. The holder of the original copyright is not necessarily the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is not legally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement when materials are wrongfully used after being provided to researchers for "fair use."
This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order is judged in violation of copyright or federal or state privacy law. This institution also places restrictions on the use of cameras, photocopiers, and scanners in the research room.
Related Manuscript Collections
Mss 102: Potter Family Papers
The New Bedford Whaling Museum acquired the this collection through a gift by Peter G. Hindle in 2009 as Accession #2009.45
Processed by: Jalien Hollister, 2010
Encoded by: Mark Procknik, 03 August 2012
Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection
Account books--Dartmouth, Mass.--1864-1888
Cumiskey, Michael, 1816-1874
Merchant seamen--Mass.--Dartmouth--Salaries, pensions, etc.
Potter, Abner Jr., 1783-1853
Potter, Charles W., b. 1848
Potter, Edward Freeman, 1839-1914
Potter, William 2nd, 1809-1892
Cape Horn Pigeon (Bark)
Charles & Edward (Bark)
Emma C. Jones (Ship)
J. W. Nickerson (Schooner)
Matilda Sears (Bark)
Mount Vernon (Schooner)
Samuel Chase (Schooner)