Table of Contents
Henry F. Thomas was born at Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1824. He worked on his father's farm until he was fourteen, when he moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, and became a clerk for Joseph Dunbar & Company. The company was active in the mercantile and whaling industries and served as agents for several whalers. In 1845, he became a co-partner in the company and took over the business in 1850. He continued the business until 1875, when he became President of the New Bedford Copper Company in which he served until his death in 1880.
Papers in this collection reflect Henry F. Thomas' activities in the mercantile and whaling industries of New Bedford, Massachusetts, from 1841-1859. His correspondence, 1847-1855, contains letters from Edmund Taber (1841-1911), a business associate, and from Benjamin Russell (1804-1855), the artist of the "Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage Around the World." Russell had served on the Kustoff (Ship) in the 1841 voyage and from his experiences aboard ship created the panorama. His letters, two of which are photocopies, discuss his travels and reception of the panorama in St. Louis, Missouri, Detroit, Michigan, and Baltimore, Maryland, in 1850-1851. Edmund Taber's letters discuss business propositions and report on business dealings both in mercantile and shipping activities. Ship's papers, 1841-1859, consist of outfitting books, crew accounts, a gauge book, and bills and receipts for four whalers. The crew account book is for the Kutusoff (Ship), 1841-1855, representing four voyages including the accounts for Benjamin Russell during his 1841 voyage.
Arrangement of Collection
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New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 69, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Material in this collection was purchased by the Old Dartmouth Historical Society in April 1981 and additional material was donated by Frederic Taber on 15 October 1965 and Bradford Hathaway on 18 November 1980.
Processed by: Judith Downey, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Mark Procknik, 22 February 2012
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1841-1855
Art--Mass.--New Bedford--Exhibitions, Traveling
Artists--Mass.--New Bedford--Correspondence, reminiscences, etc.
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Commercial agents--Mass.--New Bedford
Joseph Dunbar & Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford--Salaries, pensions, etc.
Russell, Benjamin, 1804-1885
St. Louis, Mo.--Description
Taber, Edmund, 1819-1911
Thomas, Henry F., 1824-1880
Whaling in art
John A. Parker (Bark)
- Discovery Center
- The Grand Panorama
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum
- Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast