Table of Contents
Inventory of the Winfred W. Bennett Papers
In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Winfred W. Bennett, known to friends as “Fred,” served as the proprietor of the Colonial Shop Antiques. The store, located at 28 North Water Street in New Bedford, was established sometime between 1908 and 1916. Bennett served as the bookkeeper, treasurer, and proprietor. Bennett expressed an interest in selling the business during the 1930s; it is unclear whether he did so based on the information available in this collection.
Scope and Content Note
The Winfred W. Bennett Papers contains a comprehensive collection of incoming and outgoing correspondence of Winfred W. Bennett, proprietor of The Colonial Shop Antiques. It also includes detailed financial records, including excise tax documents and shipping/purchase receipts.
Bennett’s outgoing correspondence is limited - many of the documents appear to be copies of the original, unsigned and saved for Bennett’s personal use. It appears that Bennett would respond to several letters one day, as letters are dated in batches.
Bennett corresponds with several major museums in the United States regarding items in his shop. Letters from the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of the American Indian, the Peabody Museum, and the Field Museum, can all be found in the subseries Incoming Correspondence. The most extensive correspondence, with the Brooklyn Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, details the arranging and presentation of an exhibition including Bennett’s scrimshaw collection. The exhibition was extremely popular in Brooklyn, and though the museum expressed some interest in purchasing several pieces, all materials and specimen were returned to Bennett by late June 1919.
Many of the letters Bennett received were in regards to advertisements he had placed in local papers, calling for antique furniture in particular. Most individuals send several letters to Bennett in reference to an item of interest. Lengthy correspondence can be found from the following individuals: Louise C. Meyers (regarding Windsor chairs); Ella Hallett (regarding reconstruction of a bead bag); Frederick Howell (regarding silhouettes); Emily Gifford Noyes (regarding a shaving mirror); ED Sharpe (regarding various articles and payment); Nellie Starr (regarding reconstruction of a bead bag); George H. Taber (regarding his relation with Captain Ellery Thomas Taber and payment for items); WC Vaughan Co. (regarding equipment and casters Bennett attempted to purchase); and Clifford Ashley (in arranging the Brooklyn Museum exhibition).
Not all of the incoming correspondence relates directly to sales within the shop. There are several letters of personal correspondence, most notably: a note from a young Marcia to an unknown “Daddy” and two letters from a “Brother Jesse” staying in Seoul; and several notes from an “Elizabeth.” In addition, several letters indicate Bennett writing to Commercial Casualty Insurance Company regarding a claim for disability. During the winter and spring of 1920, Bennett seemingly fell ill and was unable to take care of the shop. Based on the notices, Bennett was able to claim disability for some but not all of the time he was ill.
Within the financial documents, many of Bennett’s purchases and shipments can be examined. A majority of the receipts are from the American Railway Express Co., in reference to shipments of purchases from Bennett’s store. There are also telegraph bills and bills from the New Bedford Gas and Edison Light Co. (presumably for electric usage at the store.) Excise tax forms from 1919 (and one from 1920) are also included in this collection.
Arrangement of Collection
Information for Researchers
Access to Collections
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New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 138, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Materials in this collection were donated to the New Bedford Whaling Museum by Mrs. Stephen C. L. Delano on 23 June 1983 as part of accession #B83-24.
Processed by: Emily Esten, 2014
Encoded by: Emily Esten, 15 August 2014
American Folk Art Museum
American Museum of Natural History
American Radiator Company
American Railway Express Agency
Ashley, Clifford W. (Clifford Warren), 1881-1947
Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences
Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. Museum
Carter, Morris, 1877-1965
Drake Hotel (Chicago, Ill.)
Field Museum of Natural History
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970
Heye, George G. (George Gustav), 1874-1957
Internal revenue-United States
Jenkins, Lawrence Waters, 1872-1961
Murphy, Robert Cushman
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of the American Indian
Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation
National Early American Glass Club
National magazine (Boston, Mass.)
New Bedford (Mass.)
New Bedford (Mass.)--Antiquities
New England Telephone and Telegraph Company
Peabody Museum of Salem
Postal life Insurance--United States
Receipts (Acknowledgements)--United States
Russell, Benjamin, 1804-1885
Scrimshaws--United States--History--20th century
Severance Union Medical College
State Street Trust Company (Boston Mass.)
Taber Prang Art Co.
Taber, Ellery Tompkins, 1808-1890
Taber, George Hathaway
Wissler, Clark, 1870-1947
Wissler, Clark, 1870-1947. Indian beadwork