Table of Contents
Members of the Rodman family of New Bedford, Mass., were chiefly involved with local whaling and textile industries between 1798-1900. Most notable among these individuals were Samuel Rodman Sr. (1753-1835), his sons, Samuel Jr. (1792-1876) and Benjamin (1798-1876), and young Samuel's son, Thomas Rotch Rodman (1825-1905). Samuel Rodman Sr. came to New Bedford from Nantucket in 1798 and established himself as a merchant, banker, and financial supporter of several early textile mills. Like their father, Samuel Rodman Jr. and Benjamin Rodman became merchants, bankers, and merchants involved with out-fitting and financing whaling voyages and funding activities of local cotton-making firms, particularly Wamsutta Mill. Thomas Rotch Rodman, after participating in the Civil War and traveling extensively in the Middle West from 1866-1872, returned to New Bedford and entered the employment of Wamsutta Mill.
Papers in this collection reflect the activities of members of the Rodman family of New Bedford, Mass., between 1781 and 1933. The material concentrates on Samuel Rodman Jr. and his son, Thomas Rotch Rodman. Samuel's papers consist of diaries, 1821-1859, concerning his business activities, family life, and economic conditions prevailing in New Bedford during that era; personal correspondence; a marriage certificate; and a receipt. Thomas Rotch Rodman's papers include diaries, 1902-1905, chiefly relating to his European travels and social activities; weather observations, 1881-1885; and personal letters to family members written while at Harvard, in the Civil War, and from a period spent traveling in the Middle West.
Also represented by materials in this collection are other Rodman family members and relatives by marriage. Benjamin Rodman's papers include financial records and a letter book, 1829-1832, relating to his activities as a merchant involved in the whaling industry. Papers for Eliza Rodman (1782-1846) and Sarah Rodman Morgan (1793-1888) principally comprise diaries reflecting their social activities and interests between 1805-1826. The collection also contains personal correspondence of Charles W. Morgan (1796-1861), 1819-1851, and letters to Morgan from his brother-in-law, Francis Rotch (1788-1874), 1819-1845, relating to business affairs, family matters, and activities of Rotch family members living in Europe.
Materials in the Rodman Collection have been organized into sub-groups representing letters and papers of Rodmans, Rotches, Morgans and other individuals related by marriage. The sub-groups have been listed in the inventory in alphabetical order by surname. Correspondence, whenever possible, is arranged within each year by the name of the writer. Other papers, organized into series by type of document, are arranged in chronological order except for ships' papers, which are grouped alphabetically by name of vessel. Published works which may serve as a guide to the persons represented in this collection include The Rotches, by John Morgan Bullard (1947), and The History of New Bedford and its' Vicinity, 1602-1892, by Leonard Bolles Ellis (1892).
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 4 [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
- Two photographs of Samuel Rodman Jr. mansion - 1 interior and 1 exterior
Removed to Broadside Collection
- "Haddock's Mechanical Exhibition of Androids," ca. 1826.
- Hymns for New Bedford Dorcas Society.
Removed to Objects Collection
- Swatches of fabric and pencils from ladies' diaries.
- Business card of William H. Fabio of New Bedford.
The major portion of this collection was donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Dr. Thomas R. Goethals, grandson of Thomas Rotch Rodman, in 1938 and 1946. The financial records of Benjamin Rodman were donated by Miss Elsie West in 1936 and 1937. Other materials were donated to the Society between ca. 1937-1977.
Processed by: Judith Downey, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 11 May 2011; box list amended by Mark Procknik, 04 August 2011
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1801-1858
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Decedents' estates--Mass.--New Bedford
Diaries--New Bedford, Mass.--1805-1905
Domestic relations--Mass.--New Bedford
Europe--Description and travel--1800-1918
Farrar, Eliza Rotch, 1791-1870
Fisher, Elizabeth Rodman, 1810-1875
Fisher, William Logan, 1781-1862
Great Plains--Description and travel
Langston, Maria Rotch, 1797-1874
Merchants--Mass. --New Bedford
Middle West--Description and travel
Morgan, Charles Waln, 1796-1861
Morgan, Sarah Rodman, 1793-1888
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
New Bedford, Mass.--Economic conditions
Prior, Edmund Jr., fl. 1822-1882
Rodman, Benjamin, 1794-1876
Rodman, Eliza, 1782-1864
Rodman, Elizabeth Rotch, 1757-1856
Rodman, Hannah Haydock Prior, 1794-1876
Rodman, Julia Wager, 1855-1937
Rodman, Samuel Jr., 1792-1876
Rodman, Samuel Sr., 1753-1835
Rodman, Susan Emlen, 1829-1880
Rodman, Thomas Rotch, 1825-1905
Rodman, Thomas, 1784-1809
Rodman, William Logan, 1822-1863
Rodman, William Rotch, 1786-1855
Rotch, Anne Waln Morgan, 1800-1884
Rotch, Francis Morgan, 1822-1863
Rotch, Francis, 1788-1874
Ruggles, Micah, 1791-1857
The West--Description and travel--1860-1880
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Correspondents
Wister, Jones, 1839-1917
- Sailors’ Series Lectures
- Lecture Series: Famine, Friends & Fenians
- Lecture: Curators discuss Artist Albert Pinkham Ryder
- New Bedford Lyceum: Bob Woodward
- Symposia: Inner Light – The World of William Bradford
- Second Half Lectures: Influential Women
- Symposia: Mariners’ Home & Seamen’s Bethel
- 8th Annual Nautical Antiques Show
- 29th Annual Scrimshaw Weekend
- 2017 Members’ Trip
- Annual Family Activities
- Community Programs
- Annual Events
- Past Programs
- Exhibit Enhancements
- Discovery Center
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum