MSS 19:  Benjamin D. Cleveland Business Records, 1857-1925 - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Inventory of the Benjamin D. Cleveland Business Records In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Barbara E. Austen; machine-readable finding aid created by: Kermit DeweyFunds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.Inventory of the Benjamin D. Cleveland Business Records In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

Scope and Content Note

Information for Researchers

Separations List

Administrative Information


Subject Headings

Inventory of the Benjamin D. Cleveland Business Records

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Benjamin D. Cleveland Business Records
Date Span:
Benjamin D. Cleveland, 1844-1925
Mss Number:
Mss 19
2 linear feet
Financial records and correspondence of a New Bedford, Massachusetts, whaling agent and captain, 1857-1925.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Biographical Note

Benjamin D. Cleveland was one of the last important whaling captains and agents active in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Born in Edgartown, Mass., in 1844, Cleveland first went to sea in 1876. Between 1883-1922 he commanded twelve New Bedford, Mass., whaling vessels, notably the Daisy (Brig) and the William A. Graber (Schooner), and from 1905 acted as agent for them as well. He was principal owner of five of these vessels, namely the Daisy (Brig), A.E. Whyland (Schooner), Charles W. Morgan (Bark), A.M. Nicholson (Schooner), and William A. Graber (Schooner), and had the controlling interest in several other New Bedford, Mass., whalers.

After 1900, Cleveland concentrated on hunting elephant seals in the Indian Ocean and Antarctic region and in 1909 and 1912 his vessel, the Daisy (Brig), was used for scientific investigation of the South Seas by the American Museum of Natural History. Cleveland continued to act as commander and agent for whaling and elephant seal voyages until his death in 1925.

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Scope and Content Note

The bulk of this collection consists of ships' accounts for various whaling vessels which Benjamin D. Cleveland commanded or for which he acted as agent between 1904-1923. Included in these volumes are masters' and crew members' accounts, accounts current, and accounts of owners' shares in the vessels, outfitting costs, and bounties paid to crew members. Other materials within this collection include sales and shipping records, 1914-1920, consisting of sperm oil gauges; legal documents, 1915-1918, including crew agreements and a bill of sale; incoming and outgoing business correspondence, 1909-ca. 1920; a scrapbook, 1890-1925, containing photographs and clippings regarding Cleveland's whaling and elephant seal voyages; and memoranda on whale sightings, 1857-1905.

Researchers should note that information on Cleveland's scientific voyage in 1912 with Robert Cushman Murphy, Curator of the American Museum of Natural History, can be found in Cushman's book Logbook for Grace (1947).

Arrangement of Collection

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Access to the Collection

Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.

Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 19 [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

- Photograph of "old square rigger," 1917
- Photographs of Charles W. Morgan (Bark) in Fairhaven, Mass., 1917. 2 items.

Removed to Objects Collection

- Atlantic Service Station Receipt, 1922.

Removed to Log Book Collection

- Daisy (Brig), 1908-1909; ODHS # 576

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The bulk of this collection was given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society from the estate of Emma A. Cleveland, 13 November 1939. An additional volume was given 22 October 1959 by Mrs. George H. Sistare.

Processing Information

Processed by: Barbara E. Austen, ca. 1982

Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 6 July 2011; box list appended by Mark Procknik, 03 January 2012

Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Series A: Ships' Accounts, 1904-1923 [1.5 linear feet]
Box 1
Volume 1
A. E. Whyland (Schooner), 1909-1911
SEE Volume 11
Volume 2
A. E. Whyland (Schooner), 1910
Volume 3
A. E. Whyland (Schooner), 1910-1912
Folder 1
A. E. Whyland (Schooner), 1910-1912
Volume 4
A. E. Whyland (Schooner), 1912-1916
Folder 2
A. E. Whyland (Schooner), 1914
Volume 5
A. E. Whyland (Schooner), 1915
Folder 3-4
A. E. Whyland (Schooner), 1915-1916
Volume 6
A. M. Nicholson (Schooner), 1909-1913
Volume 7-8
A. M. Nicholson (Schooner), 1920
Box 2
Folder 5-9
A. M. Nicholson (Schooner), 1915-1916
Volume 9
Charles W. Morgan (Bark), 1916-1918
Folder 10
Charles W. Morgan (Bark), 1917
Volume 10
Daisy (Brig), 1904-1912
Volume 11-12
Daisy (Brig), 1908-1909
Folder 11
Daisy (Brig), 1908-1909
Volume 13
Daisy (Brig), 1909-1911
Folder 12
Daisy (Brig), ca. 1910-1912
Box 3
Volume 14
Daisy (Brig), 1911-1913
Volume 15
Elsie A. Bayles (Schooner), 1916
Folder 13
Elsie A. Bayles (Schooner), 1916
Volume 16
Wanderer (Bark), 1903
SEE Volume 15
Volume 17
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1913-1923
Folder 14
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1914
Volume 18
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1915
Folder 15-16
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1915
Volume 19
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1915-1916
Volume 20
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1916
Folder 17
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1916
Volume 21
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1918
Box 4
Folder 18
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1918-1919
Volume 22-23
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1920
Folder 19-21
William A. Graber (Schooner), 1920-1923
Series B: Sales and Shipping Records, 1914-1915, 1920 [11 items]
Series B consists of sperm oil gauges.
Folder 1-2
Sperm oil gauges for A. E. Whyland (Schooner), 1914
Sperm oil gauges for A. M. Nicholson (Schooner), 1920
Sperm oil gauges for William A. Graber (Schooner), 1915, 1920
Series C: Legal Documents, 1915-1916, 1918 [7 items]
Series C contains a release of all demands, crew agreements, a bill of sale, and power of attorney certificates.
Folder 1
Release of all demands, 1915
Folder 2
Crew agreements for Charles W. Morgan (Bark), 1916
Crew agreements for Elsie A. Bayles (Schooner), 1916
Folder 3
Bill of sale, 1916
Folder 4
Power of attorney certificates, 1918
Series D: Correspondence, 1909-ca. 1920 [13 items]
Series D consists of incoming and outgoing business correspondence.
Folder 1
Incoming, 1909-1919
Folder 2
Outgoing, ca. 1920
Series E: Scrapbooks, 1890-1925 [1 item]
Volume 1
Newspaper clippings and photographs regarding Benjamin D. Cleveland's whaling voyages, 1890-1925
Series F: Memoranda and Miscellany, 1857-1905 [9 items]
Series F contains whale sightings and a medical card.
Folder 1
Whale sightings, 1857-1903
Folder 2
Record of payment to Portsmouth Medical Society, ca. 1904-1905

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Subject Headings

Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1904-1923
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Businessmen--Mass.--New Bedford
Elephant seal
Marine animal oils
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford--Salaries, pensions, etc.
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
Sealing--Mass.--New Bedford
Ship's papers
Shipmasters--Mass.--New Bedford
Southern elephant seal
Whale oil
Whaling--Mass.--New Bedford
Whaling--Mass.--New Bedford--Agents

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Vessel Names

A. E. Whyland (Schooner)
A. M. Nicholson (Schooner)
Charles W. Morgan (Bark)
Daisy (Brig)
Elsie A. Bayles (Schooner)
Wanderer (Bark)
William A. Graber (Schooner)

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