Inventory of the Henry Robbins Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Angela Farias; machine-readable finding aid created by: Angela FariasInventory of the Henry Robbins Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

Scope and Content Note

Information for Researchers

Administrative Information

Inventory

Subject Headings

Inventory of the Henry Robbins Papers

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library



Title:
Henry Robbins Papers
Date Span:
1859-1876
Creator:
Henry Chase Robbins, 1820-
Mss Number:
Mss 160
Extent:
9 inches
Abstract:
The daily journals of mariner Henry Chase Robbins of Harwich, Massachusetts
Repository:
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Biographical Note

Henry Chase Robbins (b. 1820) was a mariner and master who worked out of Harwich, Massachusetts from 1831-1876. He was married to Sarah Robbins with whom he shared two sons, Edwin Robbins and Parker Robbins. His family also included an uncle, John Robbins and brother, Roland. Robbins’ job as a mariner caused him to travel throughout the eastern seaboard, focusing mostly on Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut. He worked on ships such as the Schooner Eagle, Schooner J. Nickerson, Schooner Wide Awake, and Schooner Monitor where he caught and transported mackerel and cod and shipped lumber, corn, wheat and coal. He also took on side jobs such as painting and curing fish. Robbins spent much of his time, both business and personal, in New Bedford, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island. He was a Lodge member as well as a supporter of the temperance movement and an active participant in local government meetings.

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Scope and Content Note

The papers of Henry Chase Robbins consist of twelve journals, 1859-1876, which describe his daily life and activities, both business and personal. The journals recount Robbins’ experiences as a mariner, his personal money accounts, updates on his wife, Sarah, and sons, Edwin and Parker, and daily weather observations. Robbins also records funeral notices, a wedding, and his attendance at Lodge, temperance, and town meetings. While Robbins does not comment much on current events, he does observe President Lincoln’s funeral date – April 19, 1865. Additionally, he comments on the sinking of the Steamer Potumska in 1859.

Robbins’ journals consist mostly of his business activities. Working out of Harwich, Massachusetts, he spent time on different schooners, such as the J. Nickerson, Wide Awake, and Eagle. On these ships, Robbins fished for mackerel and codfish, and transported corn, wheat, lumber, oats and coal. Robbins’ work as a mariner kept him based mostly near the eastern seaboard in places such as: New Bedford, Fall River, Gloucester, Provincetown, all in Massachusetts, and New York, New Haven, Connecticut, Newport, Rhode Island and Alexandria, Virginia. The Robbins papers highlight the struggle of being a mariner as Robbins comments extensively on failed attempts to find freight to transport. For example, in 1874, he spent a majority of the year waiting for freight at Erie Road, New York. He records men who were added to his crews, their wages, and when they departed from the ship, as well. The accounts for the Schooner Monitor are listed in his 1869 journal from January 1 to February 21. When not working on board ships, Robbins took side jobs. He cured fish for one dollar per day, painted, worked on the wharf, and performed an unspecified job for four dollars per day.

Robbins also discusses his personal life and the lives of his wife and sons in the journals. During his travels, he writes letters to his wife, his children, his brother Roland, and several different acquaintances including members of the Chase and Kelley families. He also records his visits to his uncle John Robbins and other friends and acquaintances. Robbins comments the most on his son, Parker, who became a mariner as well. He records when his son leaves port, the places he visits like San Francisco, Cuba and Liverpool and his wages. He also discusses personal trips he takes to Dartmouth, Boston, Barnstable and Harwich Center, all in Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island. In Barnstable and Harwich Center, Robbins makes note of his bank trips and personal bank accounts. When at home, Robbins records his daily activities such as painting his fence and helping his wife with cleaning. Beginning in 1873, Robbins started to discuss his cranberry swamp and the work surrounding it. Additionally, he frequently comments on being ill although he does not provide his symptoms. Robbins’ personal expenses are listed in the back of all journals.

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 160, Series A, [Volume]

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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Administrative Information

Provenance

Materials in this collection were gifted to the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library by Betsy Robbins Strasser in 2014. Accession #2014.73

Processing Information

Processed by: Angela Farias, 2017

Encoded by: Angela Farias, 23 June 2017

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Inventory

Series A: Journals, 1859-1876 [12 volumes]
Box 1
Volume 1
1859
Traveled on J. Nickerson between New Bedford, MA and Harwich, MA. Attended a meeting at the Seaman’s Bethel in New Bedford. Steamer Potumska ran ashore and sank. Did business in New Haven and New London, Connecticut and Providence, Rhode Island. Discusses the hires and discharges from his crew and bank business. Exchanged letters with James Baker, Jr., Matthew Chase, and F.G. Kelley.
Volume 2
1860
Attended the funeral of Mrs. Seth Kelley. Discusses his wife being ill. Took in codfish and mackerel. Traveled to Boston, Provincetown and Cape Ann, Massachusetts, New York and Point Judith, Rhode Island. Helped see off the Schooner Harriet.
Volume 3
1861
Traveled to New York, Fall River, New Bedford, Hyannis, Gloucester, Boston, Dartmouth and Rockland, all in Massachusetts. Worked curing fish. Discusses him and his son Parker being sick with fevers. Met with Nathan Kelley. Transported mackerel to Baltimore, Maryland. First mention of Thanksgiving Day.
Volume 4
1865
Traveled to New Bedford, Fall River, Dartmouth, Wareham, West Dennis, Deerfield, and Wellfleet, all in Massachusetts. Transported coal to Alexandria, Virginia for the government. Records President Lincoln’s funeral date. Passed a sunken boat. Met with Captain Joseph Gardner in New York. Attended Job Chase’s funeral. Discusses him and his son Edwin being ill. Participated in a temperance meeting.
Volume 5
1866
Visited with Uncle John Robbins. Visited the Pilgrim Lodge. Attended Dennis town meeting and Lodge meetings. Exchanged letters with Whitman Chase, Ames L. Chase, and Samuel Philips. Celebrated Independence Day in Harwich Port, Massachusetts. Discusses bank business. Went on board the Schooner Brothers. Traveled to Taunton, Fall River, Provincetown, Gloucester and Boston, all in Massachusetts, and Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Volume 6
1868
Attended the funerals of Adam Smith and Capt. David Phillips. Transported lumber to New York. Traveled to Wareham, Dorchester, Hyannis, Fairhaven, Dartmouth, and New Bedford, all in Massachusetts. January 1 to January 24 consists of lists of personal purchases and their prices.
Volume 7
1869
January 1 to February 21 consist of the accounts for the Schooner Monitor. March 2 to March 5 consist of Robbins' personal money accounts. Aided a sick man in Hyannis with Horace Chase. Transported salt and wheat to New Bedford and discharged corn in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Traveled to Wareham, Danvers, Boston, Brookline, and Gloucester, all in Massachusetts. Discusses the hire and discharge of crew members.
Volume 8
1871
Attended town meeting and a lecture at the concert hall. Attended Alfred Chase’s funeral. Traveled to Hyannis with Capt. E. Kelley. Worked on the wharf and began painting for Mr. Snow. Went mackerel fishing on Schooner Wide Awake. Traveled on Schooner Flyaway from New Bedford. December 3 to December 7 consists of accounts from Schooner Flyaway. September 7 to October 1 includes a list of names with tallies counting measures. Much of this journal is left blank.
Box 2
Volume 9
1873-1874
Attended the funeral of Neri Chase and an unnamed uncle. First mention of his cranberry swamp. Exchanged letters with his brother Roland, his son Parker, D.H. Smith and L.D. Chase. Discusses Parker’s work on the schooners John Randolph and Monitor and his wages. Traveled to New Bedford and Orleans in Massachusetts as well as Providence, Rhode Island, and New York. Boarded the W.L. Bradley. A business card for responsible ship watchmen is in the back pocket of this journal.
Volume 10
1874
Traveled to New York and spent most of the year idling at Erie Road. Discusses Parker going on board the Granger and bank business. His wife visited him twice in New York where he transported corn and wheat.
Volume 11
1875
Discusses his wages from an unspecified job. Attended a conference lecture. Exchanged letters with John Harris, Parker Robbins and Sylvester Chase and met with Theodore Cobb, Mr. Simons, and J. Easton. Discusses hiring Seth Simons and his wages. Traveled to New York, Baltimore, Delaware City, and Providence, Rhode Island. Discusses bank business.
Volume 12
1876
Visited with Mr. Simons in Providence. Worked in the cranberry swamp. Went to town meeting, an unspecified meeting at the vestry and a Lodge meeting. Exchanged letters with J.W. Robbins, R.H. Robbins and E.M. Robbins. Went aboard the Schooner Eagle. Traveled to Providence, Rhode Island, Mystic Wharf, Connecticut, Portland, Maine and Provincetown, Wellfleet and Boston, Massachusetts.

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Subject Headings

Bank accounts -- 19th century
Business records
Chase family
Connecticut -- Description and travel
Cranberries
Diaries
Harwich (Mass.) -- Description and travel
Kelley family
Mackerel fishing
Maine -- Description and travel
Merchant mariners
Merchant mariners’ spouses
New Bedford (Mass.) -- Description and travel
New York (State) -- Description and travel
Providence (R.I.) -- Description and travel
Robbins, Edwin
Robbins, Henry Chase (1820-)
Robbins, John
Robbins, Parker
Robbins, Roland
Robbins, Sarah
Temperance

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Vessel Names

Eagle (Schooner)
J. Nickerson (Schooner)
John Randolph (Schooner)
Monitor (Schooner)
Wide Awake (Schooner)

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