Table of Contents
William Lewis was born in Woolwich, Maine in 1834. He began his career in 1857 as a captain in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and served in that capacity for several whaling vessels. He then became involved in real estate speculations on Martha's Vineyard before returning to the whaling industry as an agent in 1872. Lewis introduced the use of steam vessels for whaling, especially in the Arctic. He built six such vessels and expanded his base of operations to San Francisco, California. There he became a partner in Lewis, Andersen, Foard & Company, outfitters and ship chandlers with headquarters in San Francisco and Seattle, Washington. Lewis also formed a company in San Francisco with his son, Edgar R. Lewis (1862-1932), known as William Lewis & Son. Lewis' other son, William J. Lewis (fl. 1865-1932) was also involved in the business and represented his father's interests in Seattle. The sons continued in the whaling industry after their father's death in 1904.
Materials in this collection reflect the activities of William Lewis in the whaling industry at New Bedford, Mass., and San Francisco, Calif., from 1875-1886. These records consist of ship's papers, dating 1875 to 1886, of vessels for which Lewis served as agent. The ship's papers contain outfitting books, bills of sale, crew accounts, and sea letters, namely for the brigs Abbott Lawrence and Alexander, and the barks Attleboro, Hadley, Janet, Laconia, Lancer, Linda Stewart, Lucretia, Mabel, Sappho, and Tropic Bird.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to Collections
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 73, [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.
Material in this collection was donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by George F. Bartlett in 1903, Edgar R. Lewis on 19 August 1932, and Anna Jarvis on 28 April 1979.
Processed by: Judith Downey, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 18 July 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.--1877-1881
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford--Salaries, pensions, etc.
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
Abbott Lawrence (Brig)
Linda Stewart (Bark)
Tropic Bird (Bark)
- Lagoda Centennial
- Centennial Lecture Series
- Symposium: Famine, Friends & Fenians
- Music: Seán Tyrrell
- Lecture Series: The Second Half
- Whaling History Conference
- Melville’s Life & Legacy
- Scrimshaw 101
- Haunted Whale Ship
- Cities 2.0 – A TEDx Salon
- Manhattan Short Film Festival
- Film: Temple Grandin
- Annual Family Activities
- Community Programs
- Annual Events
- Past Programs
- Discovery Center