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]
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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
- The Grand Panorama
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum
- Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast