Table of Contents
William H. Hathaway Jr. was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1798. He began his career at sea at an early age and eventually became a master. Hathaway spent several years in the merchant service making voyages to numerous European ports as well as those in the West Indies and southern United States. By 1838, he entered into a partnership with Matthew Luce (ca. 1802-1852) in the whaling industry under the name of Hathaway & Luce. They served as agents of several vessels in the industry as well as being commission merchants in New Bedford until Luce's death in 1852. Hathaway continued as a whaling agent and commission merchant until the Civil War. During the War, Hathaway sold three vessels to become part of the Stone Fleet and two others were taken by Confederate privateers. He served as a director on the board of local banks and was a member of the Unitarian Church in New Bedford.
Hathaway married his cousin, Mary B. Hathaway. She was born in Weston, N.Y. in ca. 1810 and died in New Bedford in 1875. They had four children: Augustus Perry (1834-1838), William F. (1836-1886), Mary B. (1841-1916) and Thomas H. (1846-1910). William F. entered into the scrap iron trade between England and the United States. None of the children married. Their father died in New Bedford in 1885.
Papers in this collection reflect the activities of members of the Hathaway family of New Bedford, Mass., between the years 1835 and 1872. The materials primarily concentrate on William H. Hathaway Jr., whose papers consist of correspondence, financial records and legal documents, spanning the years 1850 to 1872. The correspondence, 1850-1872, is from business associates in the merchant trade and whaling industry. Those concerning the merchant trade relate to the sales of whale oil and bone as well as candles in various markets including New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston. Correspondence regarding the whaling industry is from shareholders in vessels, masters of vessels, and spouses of crew members, or from someone acting on their behalf. The letters from shareholders relate to insurance matters, sales of oil, and settlements of accounts. Correspondence from shipmasters relate to the progress of the voyage, amounts of oil and bone, and the threat of capture by Confederate raiders on the vessels during the Civil War. Letters from spouses or their representatives relate to the advances of monies against their husbands' voyages and settlements of accounts. The spouses are primarily from towns on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket, and there are several letters written by Peleg Barrows and Richard G. Luce, both of the Vineyard, as representatives. The vessels represented in the correspondence include the barks Atlantic, Cherokee, Statira, and Valparaiso, as well as the ships Julian, Niger, and Virginia. The financial records consist of a promissory note, 1852, bills and receipts, 1852-1871, and checks, 1857. The legal document is a power of attorney certificate, 1869.
Records for the firm of Hathaway & Luce of New Bedford, Mass., contain correspondence, financial records and estate records, 1835-1852. The correspondence consists of letters written to the firm from business associates concerning the merchant trade during the years 1851-1852. The financial records include promissory notes, 1847-1850, bills and receipts, 1851-1852, and a memorandum regarding property belonging to Matthew Luce, 1835. The estate records contain material relating to the settlement of the estates of David Coffin, Luce's father-in-law, 1837-1839 and also of Luce's, 1853-1862. Those for Luce are primarily accounts settled with Hathaway.
Also represented by materials in this collection are other members of the Hathaway family. Papers for Mary B. Hathaway Hathaway, William's wife, consist of correspondence, 1863 and 1867. These are letters written to her from friends and relatives regarding goods sent as well as family news. Papers of William F. Hathaway, William’s son, consist of correspondence from the years 1866 to 1872. These letters were written by him to his father regarding his business activities in the scrap iron trade while in New York and London. They also describe his travel plans from New York to London and that there are still fears of war with America. Papers for Thomas H. Hathaway, another of William’s sons, also consist of correspondence, dated 1871. These letters were written by him to his mother while at Claredon Springs, Vermont and Providence, Rhode Island. The letter from Vermont describes his vacation activities including playing croquet and attending a ball as well as news about others on holiday there.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to Collections
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 100, [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 8: Hathaway Family Business Records, 1811-1888
Mss 141: Swift Family Papers, 1811-1957
Materials in this collection were donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Irene Ferguson on 19 and 23 May 1986 in memory of Albert "Chief" 0. Marotte. One additional item was also donated by Karl A. Gelpke on 10 December 1985.
Processed by: Judith M. Downey, 17 July 1990
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 8 May 2012
Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection
Coffin, David, ca.1776-1837--Estate
Commission merchants--Mass.--New Bedford
Decedents' estates--Mass.--New Bedford
Hathaway & Luce, New Bedford, Mass.
Hathaway, Mary B. Hathaway, ca.1810-1875
Hathaway, Thomas H., 1846-1910
Hathaway, William F., 1836-1886
Hathaway, William H. Jr., 1798-1885
Iron industry and trade--England--London
Luce, Matthew, ca.1802-1852
Luce, Matthew, ca.1802-1852--Estate
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
Shipmasters--Mass.--New Bedford--Correspondence, reminiscences, etc.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
- Discovery Center
- The Grand Panorama
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum
- Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast