Table of Contents
Members of the Seabury family of New Bedford, Massachusetts, were active in the whaling industry from 1834-1886. Otis Seabury (1808-1880), in partnership with his brother, Edward W. Seabury (1810-1884), formed O. & E. W. Seabury, a merchant firm that outfitted whaling vessels and later acted as agent for such vessels as the ship Scotland and the bark Sea Breeze. Otis' brother, Humphrey W. Seabury (1817-1891), started in the merchant service as a seaman in 1834 and by 1842 had worked his way up to captain of the whaling ship Coral. He continued sailing both merchant and whaling vessels along with acting as outside agent for his brother Otis until his retirement in 1872. Another brother, Charles Pinkney Seabury (1820-1890), started working in O. & E. W. Seabury's store before sailing aboard whaling vessels for fourteen years. He then commanded steamships running between New York, California, and China. Brothers William Harrison Seabury (1813-1897) and Jason Seabury (1822-1853) were also captains, the former commanding steamships and the latter commanding the whaling ship Monongahela for his brothers Otis and Edward, when it was lost in the Arctic in 1853.
The bulk of the material in this collection reflects the mercantile and whaling activities of O. & E. W. Seabury and Humphrey W. Seabury. The major portion of the business records consist of ship's papers: Whalemens' Shipping Papers, crew accounts, agent/owner accounts, bills of sale, bills of exchange, cargo manifests, a portion of a journal and log kept aboard the ship Scotland, and insurance policies for eighteen whaling and merchant vessels dating 1848-1886. The records of the bark Sappho include the settlement of an Alabama claim for oil shipped in the bark Golconda when the latter vessel was burned by the Confederate gunboat Florida. Ship's papers are supplemented by a "Seamen's Journal," 1849-1876, which contains records of goods sold to seamen and captains, as well as oil, investment, and similar accounts.
The papers of Humphrey W. Seabury consist of master's and agent/owners' accounts, including outfits, crew accounts, disbursements, cargo manifests, and his personal accounts; customs and consular records; correspondence; and similar ship's papers for the ketch Commerce, and the ships Coral, Mechanics Own, and Oliver Crocker, dating 1842-1861. Additional papers include financial records, a clipping, a passport, and incoming business correspondence, 1843-1865.
Papers of Otis Seabury, William Harrison Seabury, Charles Pinkney Seabury, and Jason Seabury consist of correspondence, deeds, a school notebook, and similar material from the years 1834 to 1889. Of particular note in Charles Pinkney Seabury's papers are letters from the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, New York City, N.Y., with instructions for sailing from New York to China.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to Collections
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 62, [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.
Materials in this collection were given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Seabury Cook on 4 March 1939; by Helen H. Seabury on 7 July 1943; and by Helen Cook in about 1979.
Processed by: Barbara E. Austen, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 28 June 2012
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1849-1876
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Commercial agents--Mass.--New Bedford
Domestic relations--Mass.--New Bedford
Insurance, Marine--Mass.--New Bedford
Insurance, Marine--Mass.--New Bedford--Policies
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford--Salaries, pensions, etc.
Merchant ships--Mass.--New Bedford
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
O. & E. W. Seabury, New Bedford, Mass.
Pacific Mail Steamship Company, New York City, N.Y.
Passenger ships--N.Y.--New York City
Seabury, Charles Pinkney, 1820-1890
Seabury, Edward W., 1810-1884
Seabury, Humphrey W., 1817-1891
Seabury, Jason, 1822-1853
Seabury, Otis, 1808-1880
Seabury, William Harrison, 1813-1897
Ship chandlers--Mass.--New Bedford
Shipping--N.Y.--New York City
Ships--Equipment and supplies
Steamboat lines--N.Y.--New York City
Steamboats--N.Y.--New York City
United States--Claims against Great Britain
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Claims
Clifford Wayne (Ship)
Eliza Thornton (Bark)
John A. Parker (Bark)
John Land (Ship)
Margaret Scott (Bark)
Mechanics Own (Ship)
Mount Wollaston (Bark)
Oliver Crocker (Ship)
Sea Breeze (Bark)
William L. Lindsay (Ship)
William Rotch (Ship)
- Exhibit Enhancements
- Discovery Center
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum