Inventory of the Swift Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Nancy Thornton and Stefan Strychar; machine-readable finding aid created by: Stefan StrycharInventory of the Swift Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Table of Contents

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Information for Researchers

Related Materials

Separations List

Administrative Information

Inventory of Collection

Subject Headings

Inventory of the Swift Family Papers

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library



Title:
Swift Family Papers
Date Span:
1811-1957
Creator:
The Swift Family
Mss Number:
Mss 141
Extent:
5 linear feet
Abstract:
Correspondence, financial records, diaries, journals and photographs for the Swift, Prescott and Hathaway families, 1811-1957
Repository:
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Historical Note

Hester Williams Swift Prescott (1882-1962) was born in New Bedford, MA, to Dr. William Nye Swift (1854-1911) and his wife Anna Hathaway Swift (1855-1933). In 1897, the family spent a year in Berlin and traveling in Europe. Hester spent a year at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1901. In 1910, she became engaged to Henry Dudley Prescott and married him a year later.

Henry Dudley Prescott (1875-1945) was the son of Charles Dudley and Martha Knowles Prescott. He graduated from Harvard College as a doctor and became a surgeon at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford for short time until he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Due to his health condition, he was not able to continue his practice. The Prescotts continued to be active in civic concerns and social activities. Hester volunteered at St. Luke’s Hospital and became very involved in writing her families histories and genealogies.

Members of the Hathaway family were chiefly involved in the China trade as importers of tea, hemp, and silk and in various aspects of the whaling industry between 1816 and 1888. Humphrey Hathaway (1765-1821) was a ship builder who also managed a whale-oil refining factory. One of his sons, Nathaniel Hathaway (1798-1836) expanded the family business and went on to have six children. One of these children, Horatio (1831-1898), remained in New Bedford to handle business correspondence with China and New York.

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Scope and Content Note

The Swift Family Papers is a collection of correspondence, financial records, diaries, journals and photographs created by the Prescott, Swift and Hathaway families, dating from 1811 to 1957. The bulk of the items were created between 1880 and 1930. The collection is divided into three subgroups, arranged by the creators: the Swift family, the Prescott family, and the Hathaway family.

The bulk of materials in the Swift and Prescott subgroups were created by Hester Swift Prescott. These include letters written to and by her, as well as poetry, financial records, inventory lists, and bills of sale. Documents of note include letters between Hester and her husband Henry Prescott, before and after they were married; and letters between Hester and her mother while Hester was in Paris, 1901-1902.

The bulk of the Hathaway papers are the personal correspondences of Horatio Hathaway, from the early to the late 1800s. Also included are correspondences of Nathaniel Hathaway, as well as last wills for the 3 generations of family members.

Arrangement of Collection

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Information for Researchers

Access to Collections

Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.

Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 141, [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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Related Materials

Related Items

Mss 92: Hester Williams Swift Prescott Papers, 1863-1960
Mss 100: William H. Hathaway Jr. Papers, 1835-1872
Mss 121: D.L. Hathaway and Son Records, 1856-1926
Mss 122: Hathaway Family Papers
Mss 137: Dr. Henry D. and Hester Prescott Collection, 1919-1924

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Separations List

Removed to Photographs Collection

Sub-group 1, Series F: 6 photographs of William Swift, 3 anonymous photographs, mid-1800s

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Administrative Information

Provenance Statement

Materials in this collection were donated to the New Bedford Whaling Museum by Shelley Swift Plaskans and her sister, Gay Swift Tracy, on January 29, 1999 as part of Accession #B99-3.

Processing Information

Processed by: Nancy Thornton and Stefan Strychar, 2014

Encoded by: Stefan Strychar, 21 October 2014

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Inventory of Collection

Sub-group 1: The Swift Family Papers, 1845-1945 [3 linear feet]
Materials created by the Swift Family, including letters, journals, legal documents and photographs.
Series A: Letters and Correspondence, 1865-1911
Box 1
Folder 1
6 letters between Hester Swift and her grandmother Stone, 1898-1903
Folder 2
5 letters between Hester Swift and Henry Swift, 1902
Folder 3
3 letters between Hester Swift and her mother Anna Hathaway Swift, 1902
Folder 4
11 letters between Hester Swift and Anna Hathaway Swift while in Paris, 1902
Folder 5
11 letters between Hester Swift and Anna Hathaway Swift while in Paris, 1902
Folder 6
8 letters between Hester Swift and Anna Hathaway Swift while in Paris, 1902
Folder 7
13 letters between Hester Swift and Anna Hathaway Swift, 1902-1903
Folder 8
15 letters between Hester Swift and Anna Hathaway Swift, 1903
Folder 9
22 letters between Hester Swift and her father Willyam Nye Swift, 1898-1903
Folder 10
4 letters to Hester Swift regarding her engagement, 1911
Folder 11
29 various Swift family correspondences, 1865-1911
Series B: Diaries and Journals, 1882-1904
Box 2
Volume 1
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1882
Volume 2
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1883
Volume 3
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1885
Volume 4
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1886
Volume 5
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1887
Volume 6
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1888
Volume 7
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1889
Volume 8
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1890
Volume 9
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1891
Volume 10
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1892
Volume 11
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1893
Volume 12
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1894
Box 3
Volume 13
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1895
Volume 14
Anna Hathaway Swift, 1896
Volume 15
Eliza Nye Swift, 1896
Volume 16
Eliza Nye Swift, 1899
Volume 17
Eliza Nye Swift, 1900
Volume 18
Eliza Nye Swift, 1901
Volume 19
Eliza Nye Swift, 1904
Box 4
Volume 20
Eliza Nye Swift, 1870-1875
Volume 21
Eliza Nye Swift, 1879-1881
Volume 22
Eliza Nye Swift, 1881-1885
Volume 23
Eliza Nye Swift, 1888-1890
Box 5
Volume 24
Eliza Nye Swift, 1893-1894
Volume 25
Poetry, drawings, riddles and aphorisms, late 1800s
Volume 26
Untitled, late 1800s
Series C: Legal Documents, 1845-1945
Folder 1
3 deeds/certificates of purchase, 1845-1864
Folder 2
3 personal checks from William Swift, and a ship receipt of sale, 1850s
Folder 3
2 lists of auction purchases in Paris, 1848-1852
Folder 4
8 bills for item purchases in Paris, 1848-1852
Folder 5
Legal notice for Amelia Nye, 1865
Folder 6
Note to accompany the Last Will of Eliza Nye Swift, 1897
Folder 7
Memorandum to accompany the Last Will of Eliza Nye Swift, 1897
Folder 8
2 lists of items given to Hester Swift from the Eliza Swift estate, 1912
Folder 9
Letter regarding Eliza Swift's personal items, 1922
Folder 10
Notebook of Swift house inventory, 1940s
Folder 11
Letter to Anna regarding household items, undated
Series D: Poetry, Late 1800s-Early 1900s
Folder 1
18 handwritten poems, undated
Folder 2
15 handwritten poems, undated
Folder 3
10 handwritten poems,most for/about Hester, undated
Folder 4
2 poems clipped from newspaper, undated
Folder 5
Notebook of poetry/rhymes, charade book of poems, 1889
Series E: Associated Materials, 1880-1945
Box 6
Folder 1
Swift family report cards/character reviews, 1860-1927
Folder 2
Baccalaureate hymns, Harvard, 1871
Folder 3
Newspaper clippings,nursery invitations, 1871-1884
Folder 4
Opera/theater programs, 1880s-1911
Folder 5
Newspaper clippings, notes, late 1800s
Folder 6
Recipes, food lists and kitchen-related ads, 1876-1944
Folder 7
Various birth, engagement, and wedding announcements, 1900-1940s
Folder 8
2 Sewing Circle membership notebooks, prayer book for Hester and Henry's wedding, 1901-1911
Series F: Photographs, mid 1800s
6 etchings of William Swift, 3 anonymous photographs, mid-1800s
Photos removed to Photo Archive
Sub-group 2: The Prescott Family Papers, 1838-1975 [1 linear foot]
Materials created by the Prescott Family, including letters, journals, and legal documents
Series A: Letters and Correspondence, 1901-1911
Box 7
Folder 1
10 letters to/from Henry Prescott, 1901-1911
Folder 2
19 letters from Henry Prescott to Hester Swift before marriage, 1900-1911
Folder 3
23 letters from Hester Swift Prescott to Henry Prescott, 1911-1912
Folder 4
6 letters from Hester Swift Prescott to Henry Prescott, 1912
Folder 5
23 letters from Henry Prescott to Hester Swift Prescott, 1912-1918
Folder 6
16 letters from Hester Swift Prescott to her mother Anna, 1914
Folder 7
7 letters from Hester Swift Prescott to her mother Anna, 1907-1914
Folder 8
3 letters to Hester Swift Prescott, 1916
Folder 9
Letter to Hester Swift Prescott and her response, regarding the Sacco/Vanzetti murder trial, 1927
Folder 10
5 letters between Hester Swift Prescott and her niece Josephine, 1940s
Folder 11
2 letters from Hester Swift Prescott, 1934-1942
Folder 12
3 letters to and from Hester Swift Prescott, 1937-1942
Box 8
Folder 13
36 letters from Hester Swift Prescott to Louise Patterson, 1926-1943
Folder 14
16 letters to Hester Swift Prescott from Louise Patterson, 1930s-1940s
Folder 15
17 letters between Hester Swift Prescott and Angela Thirkell, 1942-1949
Folder 16
17 letters between Hester Swift Prescott and Angela Thirkell, 1949-1952
Folder 17
17 letters between Hester Swift Prescott and Angela Thirkell, 1952-1954
Folder 18
16 letters between Hester Swift Prescott and Angela Thirkell, 1954-1957
Folder 19
Letter to Hester Swift Prescott containing a copy of an 1838 letter detailing the blowup of the Steamship Pulaski, 1957
Folder 20
8 letters between Hester Swift Prescott and family, 1943-1951
Folder 21
2 letters between Hester Swift Prescott and Henry Swift, 1944
Folder 22
3 condolence letters to Hester Swift Prescott regarding Henry Swift's death, 1945
Folder 23
13 letters between Hester Swift Prescott and various Prescott family members, 1899-1951
Series B: Legal Documents, 1925-1944
Box 9
Folder 1
Henry Prescott Estate inventory ledger, 1925
Folder 2
55 various bills, receipts, and documents regarding the yacht "Kotick", 1937-1943
Folder 3
7 various bills and receipts, 1939-1944
Folder 4
Legal letter to Hester Swift Prescott regarding payment of household staff, 1943
Series C: Poetry, 1893, 1932
Folder 1
Original poem typed by Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1893 and related letters of provenance, 1932
Series D: Associated Materials, 1848-1950
Folder 1
Miscellaneous letters, post cards, booklets and ads, 1848-1950
Folder 2
Report of Quaker mission to Yugoslavia, 1950
Sub-group 3: The Hathaway Family Papers, 1811-1922 [1 linear foot]
Materials created by the Hathaway Family, including letters, legal documents and a relic from the Civil War
Series A: Letters and Correspondence, 1811-1868
Box 10
Folder 1
Letter from Humphrey Hathaway to Captain John Howland, 1811
Folder 2
6 letters from Humphrey Hathaway to his son Nathaniel Hathaway, 1814-1815
Folder 3
7 letters between Humphrey Hathaway and his son Nathaniel Hathaway, 1816-1817
Folder 4
8 letters to and from Francis Hathaway, 1820-1850
Folder 5
8 letters to and from Francis Hathaway, 1836-1845
Folder 6
12 letters to and from Francis Hathaway and Elizabeth Hathaway, 1839-1850
Folder 7
2 letters between Anne Parry and the Hathaway family, 1831, 1838
Folder 8
16 letters to and from Horatio Hathaway, 1833-1852
Folder 9
9 letters to and from Horatio Hathaway, 1836-1853
Folder 10
8 letters between Horatio Hathaway and his grandmother Anne Parry, 1841-1850
Folder 11
24 letters to and from Horatio Hathaway, 1848-1860
Folder 12
10 letters to and from Joshua and Elizabeth Hathaway, 1850-1868
Folder 13
17 letters of Horatio Hathaway's family/friends, 1830s-1850s
Folder 14
4 letters from Lincoln F. Brigham, 1860s
Folder 15
3 miscellaneous notes, undated
Series B: Legal Documents, 1824-1841
Box 11
Folder 1
Last Will of Stephen Hathaway, 1824
Folder 2
Last Will of Abigail Hathaway, 1831
Folder 3
Last Will of Humphrey Hathaway, 1834
Folder 4
Receipt for land sale, Benjamin Rodman and Jireh Perry, 1832
Folder 5
Receipt for land sale, Benjamin Rodman and Jireh Perry, 1836
Folder 6
Household inventory list, Davis Fletcher, 1850s
Folder 7
Estate inventory list, Nathaniel Hathaway, 1841
Series C: Associated Materials, 1850-1922
Folder 1
Fragment of American flag, from the Civil War battlefield of Mill Spring, Kentucky, 1862
Folder 2
Various newspaper clippings and programs, 1800s-1900s
Folder 3
Letter to Frank Dabney from F. Puget Race, 1922

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Subject Headings

Business records--Massachusetts--New Bedford
Deeds--Massachusetts--New Bedford
Financial statements
Harvard University--19th century
Hathaway, Horatio, 1831-1898
Hathaway, Humphrey, 1765-1821
Hathaway, Nathaniel, 1798-1836
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894
New Bedford, Mass.
Paris, France
Photographs
Poetry
Prescott, Henry Dudley, 1875-1945
Prescott, Hester Williams Swift, 1882-1962
Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass.,1921
Swift, Anna Hathaway, 1855-1933
Swift, Dr. William Nye, 1854-1911
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

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Vessel Names

Kotick (Yacht)
Pulaski (Steamship)

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Last modified: December 9, 2016