Guide to the Collection
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.
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.
Gift of the estate of Charles F. Batchelder, through Virginia Batchelder, April 2017.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Letterbooks, 1700-1772
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.
II. Account books, 1708-1836
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.
Wendell family letterbooks and account books, Massachusetts Historical Society.
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.