Inventory of the Grinnell Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Sara Rose; machine-readable finding aid created by: Sara RoseInventory of the Grinnell 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

Description

Subject Headings

Inventory of the Grinnell Family Papers

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library



Title:
Grinnell Family Papers
Date Span:
1807-1935
Creator:
Grinnell Family
Mss Number:
Mss 150
Extent:
6 linear inches
Abstract:
Primarily correspondence and records of various members of the Grinnell family of New Bedford, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island
Repository:
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Historical Note

Cornelius Grinnell, Jr. (1786-1830) was born in New Bedford to Cornelius and Sylvia (Howland) Grinnell. During his lifetime he was a partner in a New York commission business before moving back to New Bedford to purchase and run a farm dedicated to raising fine merino sheep. For three years he was the New Bedford and Dartmouth representative to the Legislature. Cornelius married Eliza Tallman Russell (1784-1827) in 1808 and had ten children. After his first wife’s death, Cornelius married her sister Mary Russell (1790-1838) in 1828.

His eldest son Lawrence (1811-1893) was born in New Bedford. He worked in the counting room of Fish and Grinnell in New York for three years before returning to New Bedford and acted as an agent for several ships. During this time he was also active in the manufacturing and selling of sperm oil and candles. In 1843 his embarked on a fifty year career path in life and fire insurance through the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York. Lawrence married Rebecca Smith Williams (1814-1893) in 1835 and had five children.

His eldest son Lawrence (1811-1893) was born in New Bedford. He worked in the counting room of Fish and Grinnell in New York for three years before returning to New Bedford and acted as an agent for several ships. During this time he was also active in the manufacturing and selling of sperm oil and candles. In 1843 his embarked on a fifty year career path in life and fire insurance through the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York. Lawrence married Rebecca Smith Williams (1814-1893) in 1835 and had five children.

His eldest son Frederick (1836-1905) was born in New Bedford. He was educated at Friends’ Academy in New Bedford before attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York for civil engineering. In 1865 he became the general manager of Jersey City Locomotive Works as well as the superintendent of motive power and machinery for the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. He purchased a controlling interest in the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company (eventually succeeded by the General Fire Extinguisher Company) in 1869. In 1881, Frederick Grinnell patented the automatic sprinkler, an invention that established him as a pioneer in fire safety. He was also an avid yachtsman, winning many races with his schooner Quickstep. He was a longtime resident of Providence, Rhode Island before returning to his birthplace of New Bedford. Frederick married Alice Brayton Almy (1843-1871) in 1865 and had two children. He was married a second time in 1874 to Mary Brayton Page (1851-1915) and had five more children.

Russell Grinnell (1875-1948), the eldest son of Frederick and Mary B. (Page) Grinnell, was born in Providence. He graduated from Brown University in 1897, and followed in his father’s footsteps to become president and director of the General Fire Extinguisher Company. He was also a director of the Gorham Manufacturing Company. He served as a representative to the Rhode Island State Senate for two terms. Like his father, Russell Grinnell was an avid and decorated yachtsman. He married Rose Lamb Gifford (1877-1943) in 1900 and had two children.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the papers of various members of the Grinnell family spanning over a century (1807-1933) and includes correspondence, legal documents, bills and receipts, newspaper clippings, and other associated materials. The collection begins with the papers of Cornelius Grinnell, Jr. (1786-1830), father to Lawrence, grandfather to Frederick, and great-grandfather to Russell. Included are his personal and business correspondence, legal documents, and bills and receipts. Within the legal documents is a contract granting Cornelius Grinnell Jr. power of attorney for Post and Minturn trading company. Included in bills and receipts is a bill of sale for three-eighths ownership of a ship to prominent New Bedford traders Preserved Fish and Robert Stillman. An oversized folder includes a newspaper clipping discussing local damage in New Bedford caused by an 1815 hurricane, and a mercantile report from 1838 Havana, Cuba. His grandson Frederick Grinnell (1836-1905) is present in the collection with a small collection of associated materials, including a newspaper clipping that mentions his graduation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and various social invitations. Frederick’s wife Mary Grinnell (1851-1915) has a small series of correspondence, mostly in regards to her husband’s health and her son Russell’s work.

A majority of the documents in the Grinnell Family Papers belong to Russell Grinnell (1875-1948) and include his incoming correspondence spanning from 1881 to 1918. The correspondence begins in his childhood, with many letters from his mother and father as well as his grandparents, mostly discussing his school experience and their travels. A great many letters discuss his engagement to Rose Gifford and their wedding. Notably in the collection is a series of letters from the front in France during World War I, where Russell’s brother Lawrence was stationed. These letters discuss life on the front and combat training, including the newly-invented automatic weapons and trench warfare techniques. In addition to correspondence, there are a number of materials related to Russell Grinnell’s time at Brown University, his association with a local country club, and a family newspaper entitled “The Exeter Skunk” typed up by his eldest child, Russell Jr.

Rose (Gifford) Grinnell (1877-1943), wife of Russell, is present in the collection with a series of correspondence (1900-1933). The majority of the correspondence is between Rose and her mother discussing family matters, including the wedding and marriage of Rose and Russell, health issues of various relatives, and daily life. Also included in the correspondence is a 1933 letter to Rose from William M. Emery discussing a genealogy search he was conducting for Mrs. Grinnell. Other associated material from Rose Grinnell includes a school report card from Friends Academy, a dance card from 1892, a pedigree chart outlining the Gifford family, and a letter regarding Rose and Russell’s 1900 wedding.

Also present in this collection is the correspondence of Job Collins, a Quaker farmer and businessman from Utica, New York with ties to Providence, Rhode Island. Spanning 1842 to 1853, the correspondence includes letters from his cousin, Beriah Collins, regarding their leather business, as well as other personal and business correspondence.

The final subgroup contains collected correspondence (dated and undated) from individuals connected to the Grinnell family. A letter dated June 22, 1883 from Goat Island discusses payment of $10 for delivery of a drowned man found off the coast of San Francisco. A letter dated August 22, 1877 provides details of the Ames Manufacturing Company, known for swords and bronze-work. A third letter is written from the front in WWI and is dated January 30, 1918 and February 2, 1918, likely written by Lawrence Grinnell, son of Frederick and brother of Russell.

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 150, [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 50: Grinnell Family Papers

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Separations List

Removed to Photo Archive

24 photographs

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Materials in this collection were purchased by the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library in 2016. Accession #2016.41.

Processing Information

Processed by: Sara Rose, 2016

Encoded by: Sara Rose, 15 November 2016

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Description

Sub-group 1: Cornelius Grinnell, Jr. Papers, 1807-1819
Sub-group 1 consists of correspondence, legal documents, and financial records related to Cornelius Grinnell, Jr.
Series A: Correspondence, 1807-1809
Box 1
Folder 1
Correspondence, 1807-1809
Series B: Legal Documents, 1808-1819
Sub-series 1: Intention of Marriage 1819
Folder 1
Intention of Marriage for William T. Russell and Silvia Grinnell, 1819
Sub-series 2: Power of Attorney, 1814
Folder 1
Right of Attorney contract for Post and Minturn Company, 1814
Sub-series 3: Bills and receipts, 1809-1814
Folder 1
Bills, receipts, and sales agreements, 1809-1814
Series C: Associated Collected Materials, 1815, 1836
Folder 1
Newspaper clipping and mercantile report, 1815, 1836
Sub-group 2: Frederick Grinnell Papers, undated
Sub-group 2 consists of associated collected materials related to Frederick Grinnell
Series A: Associated Collected Materials, undated
Folder 1
Newspaper clipping, calling cards, correspondence
Sub-group 3: Mary Grinnell Papers, 1893-1909
Sub-group 3 consists of the incoming personal correspondence of Mary Grinnell.
Series A: Correspondence, 1893-1909
Folder 1
Correspondence, 1893-1909
Sub-group 4: Russell Grinnell Papers, 1881-1935
Sub-group 4 consists of the personal and business correspondence, financial records, and personal materials related to Russell Grinnell.
Series A: Correspondence, 1881-1918
Folder 1
Correspondence, 1881-1889
Folder 2
Correspondence, 1890-1899
Folder 3
Correspondence, 1900-1909
Folder 4
Correspondence, 1910-1918
Folder 5
Correspondence,undated
Folder 6
Envelopes, no contents
Series B: Bills and receipts, 1901
Folder 1
Check to Russell from Frederick Grinnell, 1901
Series C: Associated Collected Materials, 1897-1935
Folder 1
Russell Grinnell associated materials, 1897-1935
Sub-group 5: Rose Grinnell Papers, 1892-1933
Sub-group 5 consists of the personal corresponce and collected materials of Rose Grinnell.
Series A: Correspondence, 1900-1933
Folder 1
Correspondence, 1900-1933
Series B: Associated collected materials, 1892-1933
Folder 1
Rose Grinnell associated materials, 1892-1933
Sub-group 6: Collins Family Papers, 1842-1853
Sub-group 6 contains the personal and business correspondence of Job Collins, a Quaker businessman from Utica, New York
Series A: Correspondence, 1842-1853
Folder 1
Job Collins correspondence, 1842-1853
Sub-group 7: Associated collected materials, 1877-1918
Sub-group 7 consists of collected correspondence from individuals connected to the Grinnell family.
Series A: Associated collected materials
Folder 1
Correspondence, 1877-1918

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Subject Headings

Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Domestic relations--Mass.--New Bedford
Family--Mass.--New Bedford
Family--R.I.--Providence
Fish, Preserved, 1766-1846
Grinnell family
Grinnell, Cornelius Jr., 1786-1830
Grinnell, Lawrence, 1811-1893
Grinnell, Rose Lamb Gifford, 1877-1943
Merchant ships--Mass.--New Bedford
Merchants--Mass.--New Bedford
Merchants--N.Y.--New York City
Merchants--R.I.--Providence
Military weapons--History--20th century
Minturn, Robert Browne, 1805-1866
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
Personal correspondence
Providence, R.I.--Commerce
Ship's papers
Shipping--Mass.--New Bedford
Travelers, Women--Mass.--New Bedford
Trench warfare
Whaling--Mass.--New Bedford
World War, 1914-1918

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