Inventory of the Deborah Smith Taber Family Papers
In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Processed by: Mark Procknik; 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: 24 January 2014Processed by Mark Procknik; Finding aid encoded by Mark Procknik 24 January 2014
Description is in English

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

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

Deborah Smith Taber Family Papers1816-1882
Mss 127 1 linear foot Taber family
Correspondence, a sketchbook, and additional collected materials relating to the family of Deborah Smith Taber of New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1816–1882.

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Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 127, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]


Materials in this collection were donated to the New Bedford Whaling Museum on June 12, 2013 by Mrs. Stephanie Hughes as part of Accession #2013.19

Processing Information

Processed by: Mark Procknik, 2014

Encoded by: Mark Procknik, 31 January 2014

Related Manuscript Collections Mss 15: Taber Family Business Records
Mss 36: Taber Family Papers

Historical Note

Deborah Smith (1796-1882) was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the daughter of Quakers Abraham Howland Smith (1749-1826) and Zerviah Smith (1751-1817). In 1821, Deborah married Joseph Taber (1796-1882), but out of their five offspring, Edward (1826-1899), Sarah (1827-1845), Anna (1829-1843), Caroline (1831-1832), and Caroline (1834-1899), only Edward (1826-1899), and their youngest daughter, Caroline (1834-1899), gave birth to any children. Caroline married Samuel Henry Morgan (1832-1894) of Albany, New York, in 1859 and four children of her own: Joseph (1861-1866), Henrietta (1863-1914), Walter (b. 1865), and Caroline (b. 1868). Due to an unfortunate illness, Joseph passed away at the age of five.

Scope and Content Note

The family papers of Deborah Smith Taber consist primarily of correspondence from Deborah and Joseph to their children and grandchildren. Deborah’s correspondence contains letters written in 1844, 1866, and 1871 to her daughter, Caroline, and granddaughter, Henrietta (“Nettie”), providing updates on family matters and Deborah’s daily activities. In one 1866 letter addressed to Caroline, Deborah expresses concern over Joseph (“Josie”), Caroline’s sick son who eventually passed away shortly after Caroline received the letter. Letters written by Joseph Taber span the dates 1873 – 1874, 1882 and are addressed to his daughter, Caroline, and her husband, Samuel, informing both of them of his daily activities in addition to providing updates on other family members and mutual acquaintances. One letter of note, dated 1874, discusses the temperance movement. On occasion, Joseph and Deborah wrote letters together, resulting in two separate letters in two distinct hands that share the same piece of paper. Letters of this variety are written to Caroline and offer both parents’ perspectives. Additional correspondence includes letters written by Caroline addressed to her mother and cousin. Caroline wrote one particular letter when she was ten years old and described school and her studies. The collection also contains a letter written by Samuel to his son, Josie, while he was visiting Joseph and Deborah in New Bedford during the summer of 1866. Shortly after this trip, Josie took ill and passed away.

In addition to family correspondence, this collection also contains DeborahÂ’s personal sketchbook, containing over 100 original illustrations on 28 pages. The finely detailed artwork in DeborahÂ’s sketchbook includes depictions of animals, flowers, people, and vessels, as well as calligraphic letters and text. In addition to the correspondence and sketchbook, this collection also contains a note written by Deborah concerning JosieÂ’s death in 1866 and an undated graphic drawing of a decorative floral pattern designed by Deborah.

This collection also includes 19 Farmers’ Almanacs owned and annotated with marginalia by various members of Deborah’s family. The almanacs span the years 1816–1820, 1831–1836, and 1857–1864. Almanacs from 1816–1820 were owned and annotated by Abraham Smith, Deborah’s father. Almanacs from 1831–1836 were owned and annotated by Joseph Taber, and almanacs from 1857–1864 were owned and annotated by Deborah. All almanacs in the collection are Robert B. Thomas’ The (Old) Farmer’s Almanack, with the exception of 1834, which is Thomas Green Fessenden’s The New England Farmer’s Almanac. Researchers should note that these almanacs have been individually cataloged with the appropriate Library of Congress call numbers and shelved with the Library’s Rare Books.

Arrangement of Collection Series A: Family Correspondence, 1844-1882
Series B: Sketchbook of Deborah Smith Taber, undated
Series C: Additional Collected Materials, undated
Series D: Family Almanacs, 1816-1864

Added Entries
Almanacs, American
Daily life–New Bedford (Mass.)–19th century
Pen drawing
Pencil drawing
Society of Friends
New Bedford (Mass.)–19th century Morgan, Caroline Taber, 1834-1899 Morgan, Joseph, 1861-1866 Morgan, Samuel Henry, 1832-1894 Smith, Abraham Howland, 1749-1826 Taber, Deborah Smith, 1796-1882 Taber, Joseph, 1796-1882 Morgan family
Smith family
Taber family

Collection Inventory

Series A: Family Correspondence, 1844-1882 [1 inch]

Information about Sub-group or Series

Box 1
Folder 1
Correspondence written by Deborah Smith Taber, 1844, 1866, 1871

Folder 2
Correspondence written by Joseph Taber, 1873-1874, 1882

Folder 3
Correspondence written by Joseph and Deborah Smith Taber, 1862, 1874

Folder 4
Correspondence written by Caroline Taber Morgan, 1849, undated

Folder 5
Correspondence written by Samuel Morgan, 1866

Series B: Deborah Smith Taber’s Personal Sketchbook, undated [1 item]

Information about Sub-group or Series

Volume 1
Deborah Smith Taber’s personal sketchbook, undated

Series C: Additional Collected Materials, undated [2 items]

Information about Sub-group or Series

Folder 1
Note written by Deborah concerning the death of her grandson, circa 1866

Folder 2
Graphic drawing of a decorative floral pattern drawn by Deborah, undated

Series D: Family Almanacs, 1816-1864 [19 items]

Almanacs owned by members of Deborah Smith Taber’s family. Each almanac has been individually cataloged and shelved accordingly among the Library’s Rare Book Collection with the following Library of Congress call numbers:

AY81.F3.T45 1816

AY81.F3.T45 1817

AY81.F3.T45 1818

AY81.F3.T45 1819

AY81.F3.T45 1820

AY81.F3.T45 1831

AY81.F3.T45 1832

AY81.F3.T45 1833

AY81.F3.F4 1834

AY81.F3.T45 1835

AY81.F3.T45 1836

AY81.F3.T45 1857

AY81.F3.T45 1858

AY81.F3.T45 1859

AY81.F3.T45 1860

AY81.F3.T45 1861

AY81.F3.T45 1862

AY81.F3.T45 1863

AY81.F3.T45 1864