Inventory of the Hathaway Family Papers
In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Processed by: Jalien Hollister; machine-readable finding aid created by: Mark Procknik
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Old Dartmouth Historical Society
Machine-readable finding aid derived from typescript by means of re-keying Date of Source: 05 March 2014Processed by Jalien Hollister; Finding aid encoded by Mark Procknik 05 April 2014
Description is in English

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Whaling Museum: (508) 997-0046 E-mail:

Hathaway Family Papers1842-1875
Mss 122 1.5 linear feet Hathaway family
Primarily correspondence sent from California home to Fall River during and after the Gold Rush by Abner Hathaway (1826-1859) and Albert Hathaway (1827-1859).

Access to Collections

Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.

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.

Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 122, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]


Materials in this collection were donated to the New Bedford Whaling Museum in 2009 by Tracy and Neal Anderson as part of Accession #2009.41.

Processing Information

Processed by: Jalien Holliser, 2014

Encoded by: Mark Procknik, 16 April 2014

Related Manuscript Collections

Mss 8: Hathaway Family Papers

Historical Note

Abner Hathaway (1826-1859) and Albert Hathaway (1827-1859) were born the sons of Capt. Russell Hathaway (1790-1870) and his wife Rhoda Terry Hathaway (1790-1871). Captain Hathaway and Rhoda had a total of twelve children, most of whom died young. Their sons, Bradford (1829-?) and Job (1832-?) may have joined their older brothers in California as they are mentioned in the letters. The 1850 census lists Russell Hathaway as a farmer residing in Steep Brook, Fall River, Massachusetts.

Scope and Content Note

Abner (1826-1859) and Albert (1827-1859) Hathaway’s letters home from California describe their separate passages from Fall River to San Francisco at the beginning of the Gold Rush. During the following years they wrote about their lives as they try their luck at mining for gold and eventually find steady employment making shingles and managing a brick yard. They traveled and lived in the company of other men from the Fall River area and often report the news about their friends and relatives in their letters. Although always hoping to return home once they had made enough money, they both died bankrupt within months of each other in 1859.

There are numerous people mentioned in these letters and it is assumed that they are people familiar to their parents and are likely people from Fall River, MA. Subsequent letters From John Dyer and Samuel Reed (Read) inform Captain and Mrs. Hathaway of the deaths of their sons and their financial circumstances. David Terry Hathaway (1818-1843), an older son, writes of his experiences whaling aboard the bark Elizabeth and the ship Adeline. He was lost at sea in 1843. Additional letters and documents are related to the Sanborn family and other Hathaway relations. James Sanborn (1794-?) was related to Clara Sanborn Hathaway.

Arrangement of Collection Series I: Correspondence, 1849-1875
Series II: Additional Documents, 1852-1873

Added Entries
Gold mines and mining
Mines and mineral resources
Tuolumne (Calif.)
Strawberry Valley (Yuba County, Calif.)
Magellan, Strait of (Chile and Argentina)
Stockton (Calif.)
Steep Brook (Mass.)
Sonora (Calif.)
San Juan (Porto Rico)
San Francisco (Calif.)
Placerville (Calif.)
Newport (R.I.)
Mission San Delores
Mission Creek (Calif.)
Marysville (Calif.)
Fraser River Canyon (B.C.)
Fall River (Mass.)
Double Springs (Calif.)
Dartmouth (Mass.)
Bolinas Lagoon (California)
Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula)
Acapulco (Mexico)
California–Description and travel Hathaway, Abner, 1826-1859 Hathaway, Albert, 1827-1859 Dyer, Jonathan Read, Samuel Miller, Jonathan Hathaway, David, 1818-1843 Sanborn, James Hathaway, Russell, 1790-1870 Barnaby, Bert Bennett, James Booth, John Brown, Lewis Bullock, Jesse Clifford, Charles Collins, George Collins, Thomas Davis, George Ellis, Sarah W. Hathaway, Bradford, b. 1829 Hathaway, Clara Sanborn Hathaway, Edmund Hathaway, Job, b. 1832 Hathaway, Jonathan Hathaway, Rhoda Terry, 1790-1871 Hathaway, Russell, Jr. Miller, Jonathan Pickens, Luther Porter, Benjamin Read, Bradford Reed, Emery Reed, Jonathan Reed, Lewis Reed, Samuel Sanborn, James, b. 1794 Sutter, Jonathan Thurston, Eben Thurston, Henry Wilson, Job Winchester, Ezra Winslow, Benjamin Winslow, Harry Winslow, William Reed family
Reid family
Hathaway family
Sanborn family
Adams & Co.
Quirol & Co.
Vigilante Committee

Vessel Names
Adeline (Ship)
George Washington (Ship)
Independence (Steamer)
Magnolia (Ship)
Prometheus (Steamer)
Robert (Brig)
Tennessee (Steamer)
Thomas (Schooner)
Thomas Watson


Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection

Series I: Correspondence, 1849-1875 [16 linear inches]

Series I contains correspondence of Abner Hathaway (1852-1855), Albert Hathaway (1849-1858), John Dyer (1859), Samuel Read [Reed] (1859), John Miller (undated), David Hathaway (1842-1843), and James Sanborn (1869, 1871, 1875).

Series II: Additional Documents, 1852-1873 [2 linear inches]

Series II consists of materials related to members of the Hathaway family.

Last modified: April 16, 2014