Table of Contents
Members of the Gifford family of Westport, Massachusetts, were active in town politics and in mercantile activities from about 1802-1857. Adam Gifford, the oldest son of William Gifford, was born in 1782. He owned and operated a general store, sold goods at public auction, and also served as a selectman for the town from about 1815-1821. His brother, Abner B. Gifford, born in 1784, served as a justice of the peace for Bristol County and as a trial justice, transacted much of the local probate business, and was a member of the "Prudential Committee" for School District No. 19 in Westport, as well as owning partial interest in several whaling vessels. Abner died in 1847. Jonathan Peckham Gifford, Abner's son, was born in 1807. He owned partial interest in at least one merchant vessel and by 1843 had purchased his uncle's store. Jonathan died in 1882.
Materials in this collection reflect the political and mercantile activities of three members of the Gifford family of Westport, Mass., between 1802-1857. Adam Gifford's papers consist of incoming business and personal correspondence, 1821- 1854; selectmen's records, 1816-1821, encompassing a receipt for muskets, application for ammunition, and correspondence; legal documents, 1802-1838, including a deed from Paul Cuffe's heirs and the wills of Benjamin Devol and Susannah Russell, relatives by marriage; and financial records, 1815-1843. The papers of Abner B. Gifford encompass incoming business correspondence, 1809-1822; justice of the peace records, 1818-1833, including a volume of court case records and depositions relating to an assault on William R. Rotch; school district records consisting of an application and warrant for a school district meeting, a list of students in School District No. 5, and a list of "Prudential Committee" members and teachers by district, 1838-1839; legal documents, 1824-1845; and financial records, 1817-1840. Jonathan Peckham Gifford's papers consist of a bill of sale, 1849, and financial records, 1843-1857.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 43 [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.
Related Manuscript Collections
Mss 98: Gifford Family Papers
Existing records reveal neither the source nor the accession date of this collection.
Processed by: Barbara B. Austen, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 28 November 2011; box list appended by Mark Procknik, 27 December 2011
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
County courts--Mass.--Bristol County
Court records--Mass. --Bristol County
Cuffe, Paul, 1759-1817
Gifford, Abner B., 1784-1847
Gifford, Adam, b. 1782
Gifford, Jonathan Peckham, 1807-1882
Justices of the peace--Mass.--Bristol County
Massachusetts. County Court. (Bristol County)
- A Spectacle in Motion: The Grand Panorama
- Performance: To Catch a Whale
- The Local History Guild
- Lecture: Exploring the Indian Mariners Project
- Manhattan Short Film Festival
- Lecture/Book Signing – Spying on Whales
- Echoes of the Panorama
- Lecture & Book Signing: White Fox and Icy Seas
- Great War and Azores Lecture
- Annual Family Activities
- Community Programs
- Annual Events
- Past Programs
- Exhibit Enhancements
- Discovery Center
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum
- Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast