Table of Contents
Inventory of the Hathaway Family Business Records
In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Members of the Hathaway family of New Bedford, Massachusetts, were chiefly involved in the China Trade as importers of tea, hemp, and silk and in various aspects of the whaling industry between 1816-1888. Humphrey Hathaway (1765-1821) was a ship builder who also managed a whale-oil refining factory. His sons Thomas Schuyler (1796-1878), Nathaniel (1798-1836), and Francis S. (1803-1869) became partners of their father and expanded the business to include trade with China and the Philippines with their own fleet of ships. Thomas Hathaway directed the family's mercantile activities from New Bedford, while Francis S. Hathaway spent much of his time in China as a commercial agent.
Nathaniel Hathaway, the only brother to marry, fathered six children, two of whom died in infancy. The four remaining children became wards of Thomas and Francis S. Hathaway in 1836. Nathaniel's two sons, Francis Hathaway (1829-1895) and Horatio Hathaway (1831-1898) eventually entered the family business. Francis managed cargo transfers in New York City, while Horatio remained in New Bedford to handle business correspondence with China and New York.
Scope and Content Note
Records in this collection relate to the business activities of the Hathaways between 1811-1888. Financial records consist of day books, journals, ledgers, accounts current, cash books, and related material dating from 1816-1888. Purchasing and receiving records include invoices, 1811-1879; manifests, 1862-1875; a promissory note, 1850; and various kinds of bills, 1833-1875. A small number of labor records indicate the wages received by crew members serving on Hathaway vessels in the 1850s upon settlement of each voyage. Sales and shipping records contain a sales book, 1816-1862, and ship's papers, 1833-1873. Correspondence in Series E includes copies of letters to business associates in New York, Manila, Canton and in other cities. Also encompassed by this collection are memoranda relating to many aspects of the Hathaways' business, 1830-1888.
Materials in this collection have been organized into Series by type of document and are arranged chronologically except for ship's papers, which are grouped alphabetically by name of vessel. Published works which may serve as a guide to the collection's contents include Hathaways Of America, sponsored by Hathaway Family Association (1970) and A New Bedford Merchant, by Horatio Hathaway (1930). In addition, the Old Dartmouth Historical Society owns a logbook for the Hathaways’ ship Horatio concerning an 1850-1851 merchant voyage.
Arrangement of Collection
Information for Researchers
Access to the Collection
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 8 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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.
Related Manuscript Collections
Mss 122: Hathaway Family Papers
This collection was donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by the estate of Julia Rodman in 1940.
Processed by: Judith Downey, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 11 June 2011; box list appended by Mark Procknik, 28 December 2011
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1816-1888
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Commercial agents--Mass.--New Bedford
Commission merchants--Mass.—New Bedford
Hathaway, Francis S., 1803-1869
Hathaway, Francis, 1829-1895
Hathaway, Horatio, 1831-1898
Hathaway, Humphrey, 1765-1821
Hathaway, Nathaniel, 1798-1836
Hathaway, Thomas Schuyler, 1796-1878
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford--Salaries, pensions, etc.
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
Opium trade--Mass.--New Bedford
Rope trade--Mass.--New Bedford
Silk manufacture and trade--Mass.--New Bedford
Tea trade--Mass.--New Bedford