Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of five letterbooks and eight account books of Boston, Mass. shipping merchant Jacob Wendell, Jacob Wendell & Sons, and other Wendell family members.

Collection Description

This collection consists of five letterbooks and eight account books of Boston, Mass. shipping merchant Jacob Wendell (1691-1761), Jacob Wendell & Sons, and other family members, including John Wendell (1703-1762), John Mico Wendell (1728-1773), Oliver Wendell (1733-1818), and Charles C. Foster (1785-1875). The collection relates primarily to Jacob Wendell's shipping business between the U.S., Europe, and the Caribbean and various financial matters, including estates. The letterbooks also contain some correspondence about Indian captives, the slave trade, the Massachusetts Council, the French and Indian War, the Boston fire of 1760, and other matters.

Acquisition Information

Gift of the estate of Charles F. Batchelder, through Virginia Batchelder, April 2017.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Letterbooks, 1700-1772

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains two letterbooks of Jacob Wendell with manuscript copies of his outgoing business correspondence. Some letters are in Dutch. Included are letters of Wendell's nephew John after he joined the firm. The series also contains two letterbooks of Jacob Wendell & Sons with outgoing business correspondence, invoices, and accounts. Letters beginning in 1761 were written by Wendell's sons and business partners John Mico Wendell and Oliver Wendell. The fifth letterbook was kept by Oliver Wendell.

Among the many correspondents are consignees, ship captains, and others, including Francis Baker, Samuel Clarke, John Ellery, William Ellery, John Erving, Thomas Forster, Theodore Hodshon, William Hodshon, Phillip Livingston, Robert Livingston, James Oliver, Peter Oliver, Robert Sanders, and Samuel Storke. Some correspondents are family members, but letters relate primarily to Jacob Wendell's shipping business between the U.S., Europe, and the Caribbean, including trade in logwood, rice, sugar, molasses, rum, cotton, fish, and other cargo, as well as various financial matters. Also included are letters related to his efforts to ransom New England settlers captured by Indians and taken to Canada in the 1720s; slaves he purchased and sold; his work on the Massachusetts Council; the illness and death of his oldest son Jacob, Jr. in 1753; enlistment and provisions for the French and Indian War and the Crown Point Expedition (Wendell served on the Committee of War); and the Boston fire of 1760.

Vol. 1
Jacob Wendell (1691-1761) letterbook, 1723-1727
Vol. 2
Jacob Wendell (1691-1761) letterbook, 1731-1734
Vol. 3Box 1Folder 1
Jacob Wendell & Sons letterbook, 1752-1756
Vol. 4
Jacob Wendell & Sons letterbook, 1753-1772, and unidentified accounts, 1700-1701
Vol. 5Box 1Folder 2
Oliver Wendell (1733-1818) letterbook, 1763-1769

II. Account books, 1708-1836

Arranged chronologically.

The account books in this series include two volumes with correlating entries, both kept by Jacob Wendell: daily accounts and a ledger, 1708-1715. Other volumes kept by Jacob Wendell consist of daily accounts, 1731-1761; miscellaneous invoices and accounts; and accounts related to the frigate Massachusetts, with accounts and an inventory of the estate of Dorothy Jackson kept by Oliver Wendell. The collection also contains two volumes related to the estate of Edmund Quincy: a ledger of accounts and an alphabetical name index to the ledger; as well as a volume of daily expenses and cash accounts kept by Charles C. Foster. The Fosters were related to the Wendells through the Van Rensselaer family.

Vol. 6
Jacob Wendell (1691-1761) daily accounts, corresponding to Vol. 7, 1708-1715
Vol. 7
Jacob Wendell (1691-1761) ledger, corresponding to Vol. 6, with cash accounts, 1708-1715
Vol. 8 (XT)
Jacob Wendell (1691-1761) daily accounts, 1731-1761Located in XT.
Vol. 9Box 1Folder 3
Jacob Wendell (1691-1761) miscellaneous invoices and accounts, 1735-1753
Vol. 10Box 1Folder 4
Jacob Wendell (1691-1761) accounts related to the frigate Massachusetts, 1747-1749; accounts and an inventory of the estate of Dorothy Jackson (1709-1762) kept by Oliver Wendell (1733-1818), 1762-1764
Vol. 11
Ledger of accounts of the estate of Edmund Quincy (1733-1768), 1760-1783
Vol. 12Box 1Folder 5
Alphabetical name index to Vol. 11, [1760-1783]
Vol. 13
Charles C. Foster (1785-1875) daily expenses and cash accounts, primarily wharfage and dockage charges, 1807-1836

Preferred Citation

Wendell family letterbooks and account books, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Baker, Francis.
Clarke, Samuel.
Ellery, John.
Ellery, William.
Erving, John.
Forster, Thomas.
Foster, Charles Chauncey, 1785-1875.
Hodshon, Theodore.
Hodshon, William.
Jackson, Dorothy, 1709-1762.
Livingston, Phillip.
Livingston, Robert.
Oliver, James.
Oliver, Peter.
Quincy, Edmund, 1733-1768.
Sanders, Robert.
Storke, Samuel.
Wendell, Jacob, 1691-1761.
Wendell, Jacob, 1715-1753.
Wendell, John, 1703-1762.
Wendell, John Mico, 1728-1773.
Wendell, Oliver, 1733-1818.


Jacob Wendell & Sons.
Massachusetts. Council.
Massachusetts. Council. Committee of War.
Massachusetts (Frigate).


Account books--1708-1715.
Account books--1731-1761.
Account books--1735-1753.
Account books--1747-1749.
Account books--1760-1783.
Account books--1762-1764.
Account books--1807-1836.
Boston (Mass.)--Commerce.
Boston (Mass.)--Fire, 1760.
Crown Point Expedition, 1755.
Indian captivities--New England.
Slave trade.
United States--History--French and Indian War, 1754-1763--Equipment and supplies.
United States--History--French and Indian War, 1754-1763--Recruiting, enlistment, etc.