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In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Members of the Howland family were chiefly involved with mercantile activities and the whaling industries at New Bedford, Massachusetts, between 1797-1890. George Howland Sr. (1781-1852) began his career in the office of William Rotch Jr. (1759-1850), in 1797 and established his own firm by 1813. He also served as president of the Bedford Commercial Bank from 1816 to 1851 and operated a real estate business in Union Springs, New York, managed by two of his sons, Charles Wing Howland (1817-1896), and Robert Bowne Howland (1826-1916), and a son-in-law, William Henry Chase (1805-1877). Two other sons, George Howland Jr. (1806-1892), and Matthew Howland (1814-1884), were partners in George Howland & Sons and continued the firm after the father's death in 1852.
Susan Howland (1791-1872), who married George Howland Sr. in 1810, was a preacher of prominence in the Society of Friends who made two religious missions to Great Britain in 1848-1849 and 1856-1859. During these trips she visited and held religious services with virtually every Friends family in Great Britain.
Her brother, Edward Wing Howland (1804-1879), was engaged in the whaling industry with his brother, Cornelius Howland (1802-1865), and his nephew, George Barney (1821-1883), in which they served as agents and outfitters of numerous vessels.
Papers in this collection reflect the activities of members of the Howland family of New Bedford, Mass., between 1797-1890. The firm of George Howland & Sons was established by George Howland Sr. and was continued by his sons, George Jr. and Matthew after their father's death. The Howlands were primarily agents for merchant and whaling vessels. Their financial records include journals, ledgers, and cash books, dating 1797-1863, containing information regarding business dealings with John Howland Jr. (1782-1852), James Howland II (1783-1861), William Rotch Jr., the Weweantit Iron Company of Wareham, Mass., and Grinnell, Minturn, & Company of New York and its predecessors. These volumes also reflect business interests with various vessels such as George (Brig), Robert Barclay (Brig), and Elizabeth (Ship) as well as those vessels represented in the ship's papers series for the company. These volumes also contain estate records for George Howland Sr. Other financial records include invoices; accounts for ship repairs and refitting; a protest for monies owed; bills of lading and of exchange; and bills and receipts, 1818-1890. Ship's papers, 1805-1877, contain crew accounts; outfitting books; Sea Letters; protests; bills of exchange and lading; and bills and receipts. These papers represent numerous vessels including Ann Alexander (Ship), which was sunk by a whale; George Howland (Ship), which was captured by Spanish pirates off Ecuador; and Golconda (Ship), which was captured by the Confederate gunboat Florida. There are also journals concerning the guano industry at Howland Island and other matters, 1850-1874.
Also included in this collection are personal papers of George Howland Sr. and his wife, Susan Howland Howland, as well as those of other family members. The elder Howland's papers consist of incoming correspondence, 1813-1852, which includes a letter from Joshua Stanley which discusses the slave trade in North Carolina in 1846. Other papers include deeds and other legal documents, 1805-1844; and a subscription for fencing Friends Meeting House yard, 1826. Susan Howland Howland's papers consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence, 1839-1869; draft of her will, ca. 1870; travel journals, 1820-1849; "scrapbooks" including her meditations and aspirations kept on a regular basis, 1848-1869; religious meditations and scripture texts, 1841-1868; a memorial to her husband, 1852 and lists, calling cards, and clippings, ca. 1848-1868; chiefly concern religious matters.
Also represented by personal correspondence in this collection are Matthew Howland, Charles Wing Howland, Robert Bowne Howland, and Susan's sister, Lydia Howland Congdon (1793-1877). Papers for Edward Wing Howland contain ship's papers consisting of Whalemen’s Shipping Papers, customs and consular records, and bills and receipts, 1846-1871, for such vessels as Cornelius Howland (Ship) and Onward (Ship).
Materials in the Howland collection are arranged into sub-groups representing the business records and personal papers of family members. Records of George Howland & Sons comprise Sub-group 1. Sub-groups 2-8, containing papers relating to individual Howlands, are arranged chronologically by each person’s date of birth. All incoming correspondence is arranged first by year, then by the writer. Other papers, organized into series by type of document, are arranged in chronological order except for the ship's papers, which are grouped alphabetically by name of vessel. Published works which may serve as a guide to the persons represented in this collection include The Howland Heirs, by William M. Emery (1919), and A Brief Genealogical And Biographical History Of Arthur, Henry And John Howland..., by Franklyn Howland (1885).
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 7 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Related Manuscript Collections
Mss 63: Howland Family Papers
Mss 65: Howland Family Papers
Removed to Printed Collection
Poetry, verses of a religious nature mostly from Great Britain, 10 items.
The majority of the material in this collection was donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Waldo and Llewellyn Howland in 1973. Additional materials were donated to the Society by Frank M. Taylor on 26 September 1950 and the estate of William H. Tripp on 2 April 1960. Additional materials were donated by Llewellyn Howland III on 24 March 1987.
Processed by: Judith Downey, additional material added on 25 October 1990, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 8 June 2011; box list amended by Mark Procknik, 01 July 2011
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Abolition of slavery SEE Slavery
Account books--New Bedford,Mass.--1797-1863
Anti-slavery SEE Slavery
Barney, George, 1821-1883
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Capture at sea
Chase, William Henry, 1805-1877
Collisions at sea
Congdon, Lydia Howland, 1793-1877
Decedents' estates--Mass.--New Bedford
Dying declarations--Mass.--New Bedford
Fertilizer industry--Mass.--New Bedford
Friends in Great Britain
Friends in Massachusetts
Friends, Society of--Mass.--New Bedford
George Howland & Sons, New Bedford, Mass.
Great Britain--Description and travel--1801-1900
Grinnell, Minturn & Company, New York City, New York
Howland, Charles Wing, 1817-1896
Howland, Cornelius, 1802-1865
Howland, Edward Wing, 1804-1879
Howland, George Jr.,1806-1892
Howland, George Sr., 1781-1852
Howland, James 2nd, 1783-1861
Howland, John Jr., 1782-1852
Howland, Matthew, 1814-1884
Howland, Robert Bowne, 1826-1916
Howland, Susan Howland, 1791-1872
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
New Bedford, Mass.--Economic conditions
Religious poetry--Mass.--New Bedford
Rotch, William Jr., 1759-1850
Seizures of vessels and cargos
Ships--Equipment and supplies
Ships--Maintenance and repair
Slave-trade--North Carolina--New Garden
Slavery in the United States
Slaves--North Carolina--New Garden
Travelers, Women—-Mass.--New Bedford
United States--Claims against Great Britain
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Claims
Weweantit Iron Company, [Wareham, Mass.]
Women and religion
Women clergy--Mass.--New Bedford
Women in church work--Mass.--New Bedford
Women--Mass.--New Bedford--Prayer books and devotions
Women--Mass.--New Bedford--Religious life
Women--Mass.--New Bedford--Social conditions
Ann Alexander (Ship)
Cornelius Howland (Ship)
George Howland (Ship)
George and Susan (Ship)
Robert Barclay (Brig)
St. George (Ship)
Washington Allston (Ship)