MSS 140:  Akin Family History Papers, 1813-1979 - New Bedford Whaling Museum
Inventory of the Akin Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Emily Esten, 2014; machine-readable finding aid created by: Emily Esten, 2014Inventory of the Akin Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Table of Contents

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Information for Researchers

Related Materials

Administrative Information


Subject Headings

Inventory of the Akin Family Papers

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Akin Family Papers
Date Span:
Akin family
Mss Number:
Mss 140
1 linear foot
Correspondence, financial documents, and genealogical records for the Akin family, 1813-1979
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Historical Note

Seth Kelley Akin was born in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, in 1803. Around 1827, Akin moved to New Bedford, Mass., working under Samuel Leonard at the Nonquitt Salt Company. Akin married Roby Taber (1801-1898), daughter of Francis Taber and Lydia Russell Taber, in October of 1833. They had three children, most notably Francis Taber Akin (1837-1917). Seth Kelley Akin served as surveyor of lumber for the city until his death in 1888.

The Akin family continued its involvement in New Bedford. Son Francis Taber Akin (1837-1917) owned F.T. Akin & Co. of New Bedford, one of the largest dealers of coal, wood and paint in the area. Francis married Mary Haynes Macomber (1836-1915), daughter of Captain John Arnold Macomber, and had three children - Thomas Bryant Akin (1866-1951), Mary Alice Akin (1867-1959) and Charles Gardner Akin (1870-1953). Francis’s two sons joined him at F.T. Akin & Company, later forming Akin-Denison Company in 1916.

Thomas Bryant Akin’s son, Francis Taber Akin (1909-1961) and Charles’s son, Charles Gardner Akin Jr. (1900-1983) were active members of New Bedford industries and community organizations. C. Gardner Akin Jr. graduated from New Bedford High School in February 1919, going on to attend Dartmouth College (graduating in 1923.) He served as a member of the Scout Council, New Bedford High School Alumni Association, New Bedford Auxiliary Firemen, partner at Akin-Denison Company (a paint and fuel business), member of the First Safe Deposit Bank, and vice president of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society.

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Scope and Content Note

The Akin Family History Papers reflect the genealogy and activity of family members and relatives, spanning over 150 years. Types of records include but are not limited to correspondence, newspaper articles, business records and genealogical notes, and family trees. Records are organized according to which family they pertain to - namely, Akin, Macomber, Russell, or Taber.

The most extensive collection belongs to the Akin family, containing correspondence, business records, and newspaper articles detailing the family's involvement and success in New Bedford. Multiple bills, invoices, and receipts of Seth Kelley Akin are found here. There is also business and personal correspondence in this section. Papers of note would be the book of sale for the ship Isaac Howland, May 1832, bill of sale for the sloop Jamora. This section also includes a picture of the Akin home in Dartmouth, built shortly before 1720, as well as the historiography of the Akin coat of arms, obtained through Halpert’s Inc in 1971, explaining the ancestry of the Akin family.

Charles Gardner Akin Jr. (usually abbreviated to C. Gardner Akin Jr.) is the most noted individuals of the collection, and so all his documents are contained in a separate subseries. Newspaper clippings from 1939-1955 detail his participation in city activities. Several flyers and documents of his work as president of the New Bedford High School Alumni Association are included in this collection, as well as documentation of his work as the vice-president of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. The folder devoted to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society contains the society's by-laws, committee information for 1961-1963, and reports on the Museum Collections. Of note here is: the 1914 edition of Henry Plummer’s The Boy, Me, and The Cat: Cruise of the Mascot; and the folder regarding the Apponegansett Hall, a historic Quaker meeting House in New Bedford, as a piece about its beginnings was written for the Old Dartmouth Historical Society.

The Macomber family papers, regarding the paternal family of C. Gardner Akin’s grandmother, primarily focuses on the life of John A. Macomber. Policies of insurance for the ship Minerva and a bill of sale from Henry Taber for the ship Empire are included in this section. There is also a photograph of the house of John A. Macomber, located at 51 Seventh Street. His ancestry and genealogy are part of this collection.

The Russell family papers include comprehensive information on William Russell, the father of Lydia Russell Taber. A photograph of William Russell can be found in the first folder of this subseries. These records appear to be kept by Helen B. Akin, who typed a five-page paper of William’s descendants and her relation as Lydia’s granddaughter. A copy of the last will and testament of Timothy Russell, brother of Lydia Russell Taber, is included. The tree of William Russell has been removed to Oversize Materials.

Notes on the Taber Family begin with Phillip Taber, who left Watertown, England to join the Plymouth Colony. His descendants are then detailed further, especially William Taber, Roby Taber Akin, and Francis Taber. These notes seem to have been collected by Helen B. Akin.

The subseries regarding the Nelson Family contains the correspondence of Maud M. Nelson, who did considerable research into Benjamin Akin, a delegate of the Provincial Congress in Massachusetts. Nelson’s documents also contain a copy of “My Recollections of 70 Years” by Phebe Hart Mendall, Nelson’s grandmother. The piece explains some relation to the Akin family - Nelson is a descendant of Benjamin and Eunice Akin as well as John Cooke, the first settler of Fairhaven.

An article featuring the story of Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker heroine and English prison reformer, is part of this collection. A note included with the New York Times book review describes her immediate family and mentions that her brother, Joseph John Gurney, came to the United States in 1834 to campaign against antislavery. It is unclear whether the Akin family has any specific relation to the Fry family, or if this is included simply as a reference to the family's Quaker heritage.

The series Additional Materials includes an 1899 calendar from F.T. Akin & Company, as well as several books of the Quaker Hill series, published by the Akin Free Library of New York. The library was founded by Albert J. Akin, a descendant of John Akin and a distant relative of the New Bedford Akin family.

Arrangement of Collection

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Access to Collections

Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.

Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 140, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]

Copyright Notice

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.

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Related Items

Mss 36: Taber Family Papers, 1712-1901
Mss 61: Akin Family Papers, 1818-1956

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The Old Dartmouth Historical Society - New Bedford Whaling Museum aquired materials in this collection as part of Accession #00.260.

Processing Information

Processed by: Emily Esten, 2014

Encoded by: Emily Esten, 20 August 2014

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Series A: Akin Family, 1832-1973 [22 materials]
This series contains genealogical records of the Akin family, as well as correspondence and business records of Seth K. Akin, and C. Gardner Akin Jr.
Sub-series 1: Akin Family & Genealogy, 1832-1973
Box 1
Folder 1
Seth K. Akin Accounts, 1832-1866
Folder 2
Thomas Akin New Bedford High School, 1853
Folder 3
Akin Family Genealogy, 1875, 1965
Folder 4
Akin Family Research, 1878, 1965
Folder 5
Akin Family, 1888-1934
Folder 6
Captain John Akin, 1913
Folder 7
Crest and Genealogy of Akin Family, 1950
Folder 8
Akin Family History--Correspondence, 1955-1979
Folder 9
Akin Family Genealogy, 1969-1972
Folder 10
Akin Family Coat of Arms, 1971-1973
Folder 11
Akin Family Genealogy, undated
Folder 12
Akin House, Dartmouth, undated
Sub-series 1: C. Gardner Akin Jr., 1846-1963
Folder 1
Family Tree and Genealogical Information, 1846-1978
Folder 2
Apponegansett Meeting Hall, 1901-1952
Folder 3
Copy of Cruise of the Mascot, 1914
Folder 4
New Bedford High School Yearbook, 1919-1954
Folder 5
Newspaper Articles, 1922-1969
Folder 6
Graded Papers, 1924
Folder 7
News Clippings, 1936-1955
Folder 8
Old Dartmouth Historical Society, 1954-1963
Folder 9
Old Dartmouth Historical Society, undated
Folder 10
Family Tree and additional genealogical information, undated
Series B: Additional Family Genealogies, 1813-1936 [9 materials]
Series B contains genealogies and correspondence for families related to the Akin family.
Sub-series 1: Macomber Family, 1912
Box 2
Folder 1
Macomber Genealogy, 1912
Folder 2
Photograph of the Macomber House, undated
Sub-series 2: Russell Family, 1858-1889
Folder 1
Russell Family Genealogy, 1858-1889
Folder 2
Russell Family Genealogy, undated
Folder 3
Russell Family Tree, undated
Sub-series 3: Taber Family, 1858-1889
Folder 1
Taber Family Genealogy, 1813-1909
Folder 2
Taber Family Genealogy, undated
Sub-series 4: Nelson Family, 1917-1935
Folder 1
Maud M. Nelson--Correspondence, 1917-1935
Sub-series 5: Fry Family, 1936
Folder 1
Notes on Elizabeth Fry, 1936
Series C: Additional Materials, 1889-1958 [3 materials]
Series C contains additional Akin family materials relating to Akin businesses and distant family genealogy.
Folder 1
F.T. Akin & Co. Calendar, 1889
Folder 2
Quaker Hill Series, 1938
Folder 3
Quaker Hill Series, 1951-1958

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Subject Headings

Akin family
Akin, Charles Gardner Jr., b.1900
Akin, Charles Gardner, 1870-1953
Akin, David Kelley, 1799-1887
Akin, Francis Taber, 1837-1917
Akin, Francis Taber, 1909-1961
Akin, Robert H., 1904-1975
Akin, Sarah Russell, b. 1795
Akin, Seth Kelley, 1803-1888
Akin, Timothy, 1790-1873
Akin-Denison Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Apponegansett Meeting House (Dartmouth, Mass.)
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Businessmen--Mass.--New Bedford
Daniels, Helen G.
Dartmouth College
Deeds--Mass.--New Bedford
F.T. Akin & Co. (New Bedford Mass.)
Fall River (Mass.)
Fry family
Fry, Elizabeth Gurney, 1780-1845 SEE: Ralston, William Chapman, Mrs. 1836 or 1837-1929
Genealogical & local history
General Society of Mayflower Descendants
Gosnold, Bartholomew, -1607
High school yearbooks
Little, Bertram K., 1899-1993
Macomber family
Macomber, John Arnold, 1812-1875
Macomber, John Arnold, 1812-1875--Estate
Media Research Bureau
Nelson family
Nelson, Maud Mendall
New Bedford High School (New Bedford, Mass.)
New Bedford Whaling Museum
New Bedford Yacht Club (New Bedford, Mass.)
Old Dartmouth Historical Society (New Bedford, Mass.)
Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company
Ralston, William Chapman, Mrs., 1836 or 1837-1929
Russell family
Seabury, A.H. (Alexander Hamilton), 1806-
Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities
Stearns, Amanda Akin
Taber family
Taber, Frederic H. (Frederic Howland), 1883-190
Wills--Mass.--New Bedford
Wilson, Warren H. (Warren Hugh), 1867-1937

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Vessel Names

Empire (Ship)
Isaac Howland(Ship)
Minerva (Ship)
Rousseau (Bark)

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