MSS 23:  Charles Walter Agard Papers, 1882-1962 - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Inventory of the Charles Walter Agard Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Barbara E. Austin, with a new finding aid processed in 2008 by Jalien Hollister incorporating the collection of Agard papers formerly held by the Kendall Whaling Museum (KWM 1991) ; machine-readable finding aid created by: Kermit DeweyFunds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.Inventory of the Charles Walter Agard Papers 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 Charles Walter Agard Papers

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Charles Walter Agard
Date Span:
Charles Walter Agard, 1848-1913
Mss Number:
Mss 23
7.5 linear feet: ODHS Mss 23 - 2 linear feet; KWM 1991 - 5.5 linear feet
Chiefly historical essays written by a New Bedford, Massachusetts, businessman and amateur historian, 1882-1962.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Biographical Note

Charles Walter Agard (1848-1913) was born at Hartford, Connecticut, but grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He later worked for the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co. in Philadelphia. In 1883, he came to New Bedford as their new branch manager. He became interested in the whaling industry and was apparently acquainted with the whaling captains and sailors. He conducted extensive research in the library about the American Slave Trade, the Confederate Navy, the early history of Pennsylvania, the Quakers in America, The American West and other areas of interest.

Between about 1900-1913 he wrote nearly one hundred unpublished essays about different aspects of whaling, the slave trade, privateering, local religious disputes, and other subjects, as well as numerous biographical sketches. These writings, collectively known as the "Spun Yarn Series," were based on conversations with whaling captains and on his own research.

Photographs from the collection indicate Agard's interest in collecting artifacts from all over the world. The NBWM holds a small portion of these items. The photographs show the New Bedford waterfront and other local scenes at the turn of the century.

Although the "Spun Yarn Series" has been typed and bound with decorative canvas covers, Agard writes in a preface to "A Historical Romance": "The following compilation is the labor of many years on, and for my personal curiosity. Positively neither for publication nor circulation. Neither for profit, nor for notoriety;…" This series appears to have been prepared to be read by others if not published. The manuscript collection contains a group of tracings of paddles and tattoos. He carved wooden covers for his books and made canvas covers for the "Spun Yarn Series" which are artistically decorated with a rope motif.

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Scope and Content Note

The Charles Walter Agard Collection is a reflection of Agard's interest in a variety of subjects. The "Spun Yarn Series" is a large collection of essays written by Agard about slavery, the Confederate navy, missionaries in the Pacific Islands, the Quakers, whaling, whaling ships and their skippers, and other topics. Agard derived his information from the "Shipping Lists", local newspapers, the library and the local seamen that he knew personally. This collection represents but a portion of Agard's complete collection of manuscripts and artifacts which have been dispersed to other more appropriate repositories. (Holograph copies of many of Agard's essays are in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society.)

Portions of the KWM papers are in holographic form. The Spun Yarn Series has been typewritten and seems to be in final copy form. The finding aid lists the essays in Agard's numerical order and notes those copies that are missing from Agard's original series. The KWM papers contained envelopes labeled as to the content of the materials. These labels have been used in the finding aid. There are few dates attached to Agard's essays.

There is a small group of correspondence relating to his research in Series VI. Series VII contains Agard's lists of his writings and his logbook collection. Most of the logbooks listed in Series VII, Folder 11 can be found in the ODHS collection, but there is no evidence they came directly from Agard or his heirs. Series X contains three oversized documents of shipping articles and contracts.

In addition to the manuscripts, this collection contains postcards, photographs and artifacts. The photographs and postcards have been removed from the collections and are housed in the photo archives. Agard collected artifacts originating in the South Pacific Islands, Alaska and other parts of the world and a significant portion of this collection is housed at the NBWM.

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 23 [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

Framed portrait of Charles Walter Agard, 1905

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Materials in the ODHS Mss 23 collection were probably given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Mrs. Walter H. Wheeler between 1946-1961. In addition, this finding aid incorporates the collection of Agard papers previously held by the Kendall Whaling Museum (KWM 1911).

Processing Information

Processed by: Barbara E. Austin, ca. 1982, with a new finding aid processed in 2008 by Jalien Hollister incorporating the collection of Agard papers formerly held by the Kendall Whaling Museum (KWM 1991).

Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 22 November 2011

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

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Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection

Series I: Essays (KWM 1991), Undated
Contains the "Spun Yarn Series" from the KWM
Series I: Essays (ODHS Mss 23), 1900-1906, Undated
Contains the "Spun Yarn Series" from the ODHS
Series III: Additional Essays, 1862, 1904-1906, 1949, 1978, Undated
Contains more essays on additional topics
Series IV: Oral Histories, 1904-1905, Undated
Contains essays about local people written in the first person
Series V: Notes, 1776, 1812, 1862, 1868, 1886-1913, Undated
Contains Agard's notes in handwritten form for the "Spun Yarn Series" about whaling, the slave trade, the Civil War, ships, and other nautical information, along with people and general subjects.
Series VI: Correspondence, 1894, 1904-1905, 1912
Contains five letters; three written by Agard and two written to him
Series VII: Agard's Lists and Catalogs, Undated
Contains lists and "catalogs" of his writings and his logbook collection
Series VIII: Wheeler Correspondence, 1862
Contains the correspondence of Mrs. Walter S. Wheeler, a descendant of Agard, in which she gives a short account of Agard's life
Series IX: Receipt, 1882
Contains a receipt for Agard's medical care
Series X: Howland Genealogy, Undated
Contains notes on the Howland family
Series XI: Shipping Articles and Letters, Undated
Contains a whaling contract as well as documents collected by Agard relating to the ships Howland andJava
Series XII: Broadside, Undated
Contains relics of the Roseau
Appendix A: Photographs and Postcards
Agard's collection of photographs in the NBWM photo archives
Appendix B: Artifacts
Agard's collection of artifacts at the NBWM

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Subject Headings

Authors, American--Mass.--New Bedford
Blockade--Addresses, essays, lectures
Friends, Society of--Mass.--New Bedford--Addresses, essays, lectures
New Bedford, Mass.--Authors
New Bedford, Mass.--Biography
Privateering--Mass.--New Bedford--Addresses, essays, lectures
Shipmasters--Mass--New Bedford--Biography
Slave trade--Mass.--New Bedford--Addresses, essays, lectures
Stone Fleet--Addresses, essays, lectures
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Blockade--Addresses, essays, lectures
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Naval operations--Addresses, essays, lectures
Whalers--Addresses, essays, lectures
Whaling--Mass.--New Bedford--Addresses, essays, lectures

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