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In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Joseph Howland, the son of Gideon Howland of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, was born in 1762. He engaged in the West Indies trade from Boston and New Bedford, Mass., acting as merchant, managing owner, and captain for such vessels as the Franklin (Sloop) and the Emigrant (Schooner). Two merchant firms were formed by Howland. The first, called Joseph Howland & Company, seems to have included his uncle, Cornelius Grinnell, and was active in New Bedford from about 1798-1802. The second firm, Joseph Howland & Son, in which his son, Francis Howland (1787-1834), was most probably the partner, was also active in New Bedford, from about 1804-1820. Joseph Howland lived and worked for a number of years in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., before returning to Dartmouth, Mass., where he died in 1839. His brother, John Hicks Howland, was born in Dartmouth in 1774. He commanded merchant vessels, many for his brother, Joseph, before starting his own business in 1798. In 1810 he moved to New York City, N.Y., where he became a prominent shipping merchant, residing there until his death in 1849.
Materials in this collection principally reflect the mercantile and personal activities of Joseph Howland from 1788-1885. Of primary importance is incoming and outgoing business and personal correspondence, 1789-1827, which includes letters from his brother, Gideon Howland Jr. and other members of the Howland and Grinnell families concerning current market values in New York City; from a shipmaster concerning shipping blacks to New Orleans; and from a friend concerning the peace agreement at the close of the War of 1812. This material is supplemented by financial records including accounts current, invoices of goods shipped, and insurance policies on vessels, dating 1788-1825; legal documents, 1792-1838, including apprenticeship indentures, power of attorney certificates, and a copy of his will; French spoliation claims, 1800-1885, consisting of newspaper clippings, notes, and correspondence of Maximilian Eppendorff, Howland's son-in-law; and a travel journal outlining his trip to Michigan in 1825.
The records of Joseph Howland & Company, 1798-1801, consist of insurance policies, a letter to John Howland, and a bill. Joseph Howland & Son is represented by financial records, encompassing a ledger, 1804-1811, for food stuffs and hardware sold to individuals and vessels, and bills and receipts, 1808-1819; incoming correspondence, 1811-1813, concerning the sale of flour and salt; and an insurance policy, 1812.
John Hicks Howland's papers consist of a letter concerning the capture of a vessel in 1814 and a letter to Joseph from John H. Howland & Company, New York City, N.Y., 1822; financial records, 1822; and a holograph copy of his will, 1852. His wife, Sarah Hazard Howland, and his daughter, Sarah Rodman Howland Gillies Osgood, are represented by a copy of a sampler, 1802, and a copy of letter to John Hicks Howland, 1850, respectively. It should be noted that among the papers of each individual and each company are photocopies of original documents, copied before 1980. Printed works which provide additional information on the Howland family are: The Howland Heirs by William M. Emery (1919) and A Brief Genealogical and Biographical History of Arthur, Henry, and John Howland and Their Descendants by Franklyn Howland (1885).
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 63 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Related Manuscript Collections
Mss 7: Howland Family Papers
Mss 65: Howland Family Papers
Removed to Printed Collection
- Cox, William R. "French Spoliation Claims. Speech... in the House of Representatives, January 14, 1885," 1885.
- Old Dartmouth Historical Society. "Opening of the Addition to the Museum," 1935. Program.
- Providence newspaper, 7 May 1800.
The bulk of material in this collection was given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Lawrence Osgood on 22 December 1980. A ledger was the gift of Alec DeHart on 12 November 1920.
Processed by: Barbara E. Austen, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Mark Procknik, 19 August 2011
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1804-1811
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Capture at sea
Commission merchants--Mass.--New Bedford
Eppendorff, Maximilian, 1820-1905
French spoliation claims
Howland, Francis, 1787-1834
Howland, Gideon Jr., 1770-1847
Howland, John Hicks, 1774-1849
Howland, Joseph, 1762-1839
Howland, Sarah Hazard, 1781-1847
Insurance, Marine--Mass.--New Bedford--Policies
John H. Howland & Company, New York City, N.Y.
Joseph Howland & Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Joseph Howland & Son, New Bedford, Mass.
Merchant ships--Mass.--New Bedford
Merchants--N.Y.--New York City
Michigan--Description and travel
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
New York (City)--Commerce
Osgood, Sarah Rodman Howland Gillies, 1817-1893
Seizure of vessels and cargoes
United States--History--War of 1812--Peace
United States--History--War of 1812--Prizes
United States--History--War with France, 1798-1800--Claims
Eliza Ann (Sloop)