Table of Contents
Benjamin D. Cleveland was one of the last important whaling captains and agents active in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Born in Edgartown, Mass., in 1844, Cleveland first went to sea in 1876. Between 1883-1922 he commanded twelve New Bedford, Mass., whaling vessels, notably the Daisy (Brig) and the William A. Graber (Schooner), and from 1905 acted as agent for them as well. He was principal owner of five of these vessels, namely the Daisy (Brig), A.E. Whyland (Schooner), Charles W. Morgan (Bark), A.M. Nicholson (Schooner), and William A. Graber (Schooner), and had the controlling interest in several other New Bedford, Mass., whalers.
After 1900, Cleveland concentrated on hunting elephant seals in the Indian Ocean and Antarctic region and in 1909 and 1912 his vessel, the Daisy (Brig), was used for scientific investigation of the South Seas by the American Museum of Natural History. Cleveland continued to act as commander and agent for whaling and elephant seal voyages until his death in 1925.
The bulk of this collection consists of ships' accounts for various whaling vessels which Benjamin D. Cleveland commanded or for which he acted as agent between 1904-1923. Included in these volumes are masters' and crew members' accounts, accounts current, and accounts of owners' shares in the vessels, outfitting costs, and bounties paid to crew members. Other materials within this collection include sales and shipping records, 1914-1920, consisting of sperm oil gauges; legal documents, 1915-1918, including crew agreements and a bill of sale; incoming and outgoing business correspondence, 1909-ca. 1920; a scrapbook, 1890-1925, containing photographs and clippings regarding Cleveland's whaling and elephant seal voyages; and memoranda on whale sightings, 1857-1905.
Researchers should note that information on Cleveland's scientific voyage in 1912 with Robert Cushman Murphy, Curator of the American Museum of Natural History, can be found in Cushman's book Logbook for Grace (1947).
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 19 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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.
Removed to Photographs Collection
- Photograph of "old square rigger," 1917
- Photographs of Charles W. Morgan (Bark) in Fairhaven, Mass., 1917. 2 items.
Removed to Objects Collection
- Atlantic Service Station Receipt, 1922.
Removed to Log Book Collection
- Daisy (Brig), 1908-1909; ODHS # 576
The bulk of this collection was given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society from the estate of Emma A. Cleveland, 13 November 1939. An additional volume was given 22 October 1959 by Mrs. George H. Sistare.
Processed by: Barbara E. Austen, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 6 July 2011; box list appended by Mark Procknik, 03 January 2012
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1904-1923
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Marine animal oils
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford--Salaries, pensions, etc.
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
Southern elephant seal
A. E. Whyland (Schooner)
A. M. Nicholson (Schooner)
Charles W. Morgan (Bark)
Elsie A. Bayles (Schooner)
William A. Graber (Schooner)
- Exhibit Enhancements
- Discovery Center
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum
- Historic Women of the South Coast