MSS 164:  Stetson Family Papers, 1698-1982 - New Bedford Whaling Museum
Inventory of the Stetson Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Courtney McCue and Melanie Fernandes; machine-readable finding aid created by: Courtney McCue and Melanie FernandesInventory of the Stetson Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Table of Contents

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Information for Researchers

Separations List

Administrative Information

Collection Inventory

Subject Headings

Inventory of the Stetson Family Papers

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Stetson Family Papers
Date Span:
Stetson family
Mss Number:
Mss 164
6 linear inches
The collection’s primary focus is the Stetson family, the artist Edward Stetson in particular. Included in the collection are materials relating to his professional and personal lives, as well as those of some of his descendants, such as Eliot Stetson and Dr. Edward Stetson. Also found in the collection are materials relating to other families and residents of the New Bedford area, such as the Almy and Cummings.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Historical Note

The artist Edward Stetson was born in New Bedford, MA in 1872 and died in 1953. He was educated at Friends University and also attended Harvard University. He was associated with many people in the area through selling his work, and the New Bedford area was often the subject of his work. Many of his relatives were active residents of the New Bedford area as well, such as Eliot Stetson and Dr. Edward Stetson, a dentist.

Many members of the Almy family were also residents of the New Bedford area. Job and William Almy were associated with Horse Neck, while Charles E. Almy was involved with the New Bedford and California Mining Association. Meanwhile, the Cummings family had several members, such as William H. Cummings and C.H. Cummings, who were involved in the businesses of the area.

Several other important residents are also represented in the collection, such as Oliver Prescott and Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks. Oliver Prescott was involved with the Old Dartmouth Historical Society/New Beford Whaling Museum, while Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks’ family was involved with the whaling business and her mother, Hetty Green, was considered the richest woman in the world.

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Scope and Content Note

The materials associated with Edward Stetson include a notebook that contains handwritten notes regarding sales of his artwork. Shown are the price the picture sold for, the buyer’s name, the size and name of the picture, as well as the date of the sale. Many names of the pictures given in this notebook are the names of parts of the New Bedford area. Edward had connections to others in the area as well as some further away, such as the photographer A. Marshall of Boston, from whom Edward received photographs as shown by the back of the photograph present in the collection. Also in the collection is the First and Final Account of the executors of his last will and testament, Oliver Prescott and Eliot D. Stetson, Jr. created in 1953, along with a Schedule of Property. Both of these documents show what happened to Edward Stetson’s property after his death. Edward’s relative Eliot Stetson was also an active resident of the New Bedford area, as he was involved with hosting the Thanksgiving Assembly that took place at Odd Fellows’ Hall in 1910. A biographical note from 1910 concerning Edward’s other relative Dr. Edward Stetson gives a brief overview of his life.

Many of the materials in the collection associated with the Almy family can give insight into the land of Newport and Bristol counties during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Richard, William, and Job Almy materials include numerous deeds showing the passing of the ownership of certain areas of land over time. Also included in the Almy materials are several land plans showing Almy property as well as surrounding properties in the counties of Bristol and Newport as they were in the 18th and 19th centuries. The passage of some of the Almy’s property is shown by a copy of Tillinghast Almy’s will from 1825. Richard Almy was made the administrator of Benjamin Wilcox’s estate in 1816 and received a highway bill in 1818. Job and William Almy can both be associated with Horse Neck, as Job’s name appears on a copy of the “Act of Incorporate Horse Neck” from 1802 while William’s appears on several surveys of Horse Neck from 1710 to 1715.

Charles E. Almy was involved in the mining business of the area, as his name appears on a set of New Bedford and California Mining Association By-Laws and on financial records from the Mining Association from 1849. Several family members had bonds established between each other, such as William and Humphrey Almy did with Richard Almy in 1838. A genealogy of Richard Almy is also present in the collection, showing how some family members were related to one another, though it is undated.

Several members of the Cummings family had numerous business interactions with other people in the area. The majority of materials in the collection associated with William H. Cummings are receipts from purchases made from others in the area. William also had a subscription to Harper’s Weekly from 1874 to 1875. Also within the Cummings family materials are a deed from Frederick Slocum to Charles S. Cummings from 1867 as well as a schedule of property from 1852, both of which show what occurred to some of the Cummings’ property over time.

The materials associated with the Willcox family include two pieces of correspondence between Jeremiah Willcox and Capt. Richard Almy, one piece from 1811 and the other from 1816.The piece from 1816 concerns Jeremiah’s mother, giving a personal touch to the relationship between Jeremiah and Captain Richard. Jeremiah is shown to be associated with Horse Neck through the inclusion of his name on a copy of the "Proceedings of Owners and Proprietors of a General Field Known by the Name of Horse Neck and Meadows Adjoining" from 1802. A deed between Samuel Willcox, Jr. and Wanton Brightman from 1805 can also be found in the collection.

The collection also contained materials related to the Prescott family. Oliver Prescott was involved with the Old Dartmouth Historical Society/New Bedford Whaling Museum. Prescott presided over the dedication of the museum in the Bourne building in 1916, the details of which were discussed in a Morning Mercury article. How the possessions of Ida C. Prescott were distributed after her death is shown by Estate and Partial Distribution documents.

Several important events and people in the history of New Bedford are represented by the notebook in the collection that contains vital records from 1698 to 1925, as well as newspaper articles. Two such articles from 1938 and 1982 are concerned with hurricanes that hit New Bedford in those years. The 1982 article contains pictures taken by native Lulmira Handy. A newspaper article concerning the death of Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks gives some details on her family, such as her mother Hetty Green who was known as the richest woman in the world, as well as on what occurred to the fortune her mother left behind after her death in 1916. Also found in the collection is a group of signatures of residents of New Bedford, such as former mayors Morgan Rotch and I.C. Taber. The type of business transactions taking place in the area are represented by the receipt for work done by James Reed created by H. Sanford in 1866. A letter from 1876 to C.W. Potter concerning the status of his store while he was away also gives some insight into the business-side of the area, while the letter from C. Howland to the New Bedford Administration written in 1865 gives insight into the relationship that the leadership of the area had with the residents of the area. A note written in 1849 certifies that Abraham Brown gives financial independence to his young son, Samuel. Furthermore, Mrs. Elwyn C. Campbell presented “Artists of This Vicinity,” which gives information on the local art scene of the time, at the Roundabout Club in 1921 and the Fairhaven Colonial Club in 1922. Another deed also present in the collection is one between Matthew Wing and Daniel Wing that is from 1775.

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 164, [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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Removed to Photographs Collection

269 photographs

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Materials in this collection were donated to the New Bedford Whaling Museum on March 7, 2016 by Margaret K. Rodgers as part of Accession 2016.9.

Processing Information

Processed by: Courtney McCue and Melanie Fernandes, 2017/2018

Encoded by: Melanie Fernandes, 10 May 2018

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Collection Inventory

Sub-group 1: Stetson Family Papers, 1909-1953
Series A: Edward Stetson Papers, 1909-1953
Sub-series 1: Legal Documents, 1953
Box 1
Folder 1
First and Final Account of the Last Will and Testament of Edward M. Stetson, 1953
Sub-series 2: Financial Records, 1909-1915
Folder 1
Notebook of picture sales, 1909-1915
Sub-series 3: Associated Materials, Undated
Folder 1
Back of Photograph, A. Marshall credited, undated
Series B: Eliot Stetson Papers, 1910
Folder 1
Invitation to Thanksgiving Assembly, 1910
Series C: Dr. Edward Stetson Papers, Undated
Folder 1
Biographical Note, undated
Sub-group 2: Almy Family Paper, 1701-1838
Series A: William Almy Papers, 1831-1838
Folder 1
Bond, 1838
Folder 2
Deed, 1831
Series B: Richard Almy Papers, 1809-1862
Sub-series 1: Financial Records, 1818
Folder 1
Highway Bill, 1818
Sub-series 2: Legal Documents, 1809-1838
Folder 1
Bond, 1838
Folder 2
Deeds, 1809-1862
Folder 3
Richard Almy established as Estate Administrator, 1816
Series C: Tillinghast Almy Papers, 1825
Folder 1
Copy of Tillinghast Almy's will, 1825
Series D: William Almy Papers, 1707-1715
Sub-series 1: Legal Documents, 1707-1715
Folder 1
Deeds, 1707-1715
Sub-series 2: Land Surveys, 1710-1715
Folder 1
Surveys of Horse Neck, 1710-1715
Sub-series 3: Land Plans, 1717
Folder 1
Plan of William Almy's property and surrounding land, 1717
Series E: Job Almy Papers, 1778-1802
Sub-series 1: Legal Documents, 1778-1802
Folder 1
Deeds, 1778-1799
Folder 2
Division of land, 1778
Folder 3
Copy of Act to Incorporate Horse Neck, 1802
Sub-series 2: Land Plans, 1778-1799
Folder 1
Plan of Job Almy's property and surrounding land, 1788-1799
Folder 2
Plan of Job Almy's farm and surrounding land, undated
Series F: Richard Almy Papers, 1715
Folder 1
Plan of Richard Almy's property and surrounding land, 1715
Series G: Charles E. Almy Papers, 1849
Folder 1
New Bedford and California Mining Association By-Laws, undated
Folder 2
Notebook of financial records, 1849
Series H: Associated Collected Materials, 1710-1717
Folder 1
Description of land surrounding Almy property, 1717
Folder 2
Plan of Almy property and surrounding land, 1710
Folder 3
Richard Almy genealogy, undated
Sub-group 3: Cummings Family Papers, 1860-1875
Series A: William H. Cummings Papers, 1860-1875
Folder 1
Receipts, 1864-1870
Folder 2
Subscription to Harper's Weekly, 1874-1875
Series B: C.H. Cummings Papers, 1869
Folder 1
Receipt from James Rapson, 1869
Series C: H. Cummings Papers, 1868
Folder 1
Receipt from E.M. Ely, 1868
Series D: Charles S. Cummings Papers, 1867
Folder 1
Deed, 1867
Series E: Associated Collected Materials, 1852-1862
Folder 1
Schedule of property, 1852-1862
Sub-group 4: Willcox Family Papers, 1802-1816
Series A: Jeremiah Willcox Papers, 1802-1816
Folder 1
"Agreement to Support His Mother," Capt. Richard Almy, 1816
Folder 2
Letter to Capt. Richard Almy, 1811
Folder 3
Owners and proprietors of Horse Neck and adjoining meadows (copy), 1802
Series B: Samuel Willcox, Jr. Papers, 1805
Folder 1
Deed, 1805
Sub-group 5: Campbell Family Papers, 1921-1922
Series A: Elwyn G. Campbell Papers, 1921-1922
Folder 1
"Artists of This Vicinity," 1921-1922
Sub-group 6: Prescott Family Papers, 1916
Series A: Ida C. Prescott Papers, 1916
Folder 1
Estate of Ida C. Prescott and partial distribution, undated
Folder 2
Newspaper article, The Morning Mercury, November 24, 1916
Sub-group 7: Sanford Family Papers, 1866
Series A: H. Sanford Papers, 1866
Folder 1
Receipt for work done for James Reed, 1866
Sub-group 8: Wilks Family Papers, 1951
Series A: Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks Papers, 1951
Folder 1
Newspaper article, Sunday Standard Times, February 1, 1951
Sub-group 9: Potter Family Papers, 1876
Series A: C.W. Potter Papers, 1876
Folder 1
Letter from C.G. Eldridge, 1876
Sub-group 10: Brown Family Papers, 1849
Series A: Abraham Brown Papers, 1849
Folder 1
Note concerning Samuel Brown’s financial independence, 1849
Sub-group 11: Howland Family Papers, 1865
Series A: C. Howland Papers, 1865
Folder 1
Letter to New Bedford Administration from C. Howland, 1865
Sub-group 12: Wing Family Papers, 1775
Series A: Daniel Wing Papers, 1775
Folder 1
Deed, 1775
Sub-group 13: Slocum Family Papers, 1786
Series A: Humphrey Slocum Family Papers, 1786
Folder 1
Deed, 1786
Sub-group 14: Handy Family Papers, 1982
Series A: Lulmira Handy Papers, 1982
Folder 1
Newspaper article, Chronicle, January 13-14, 1982
Sub-group 15: Associated Collected Materials, 1698-1925
Folder 1
Notebook of vital records, 1698-1925
Folder 2
Signatures of New Bedford residents, 1891-1895
Folder 3
Newspaper article, Standard-Times, October 1, 1938
Folder 4
Associated materials removed from Photo Album
Sub-group 16: Photographs
Photographs, negatives, and a photo album were removed from this collection.

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Subject Headings

Almy family
Almy, Charles E.
Almy, Job
Almy, Richard
Almy, Tillinghast
Almy, William
Brown family
Brown, Abraham
Business records
Campbell family
Campbell, Elwyn G.
Cummings family
Cummings, C.H.
Cummings, Charles S.
Cummings, H.
Cummings, William H.
Decedents' estates--Massachusetts--New Bedford
Family records
Famly recreation--New England
Financial statements
Handy family
Handy, Lulmira
Howland family
Howland, C.
Legal documents
New Bedford (Mass.)
New Bedford and California Joint Stock Company
New England--History
Photograph collections
Potter family
Potter, C.W.
Prescott family
Prescott, Ida C.
Robinson, Harriet Green
Sanford family
Slocum family
Slocum, Humphrey
Stetson family
Stetson, Edward M.
Stetson, Eliot
Whaling--Massachusetts--New Bedford
Wilks family
Willcox family
Willcox, Jeremiah
Willcox, Samuel, Jr.
Wing family
Wing, Daniel

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