Heard family business records
Conditions Governing Access
Due to preservation concerns, researchers are required to use microfilm copies of papers when available. Please contact reference staff at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding this collection and use of microfilm.
Extent400 linear feet (800 volumes, 272 boxes, 102 cartons)
Series I of the Heard family business records contains the business records and personal papers of several generations of the Heard family. The oldest group of papers, 1734-1888, is that of John Heard, who made his wealth from the manufacture and sale of rum, the outfitting of privateers during the Revolution, and trade with the West Indies. The largest and most important group of papers in the collection is that of Augustine Heard and his various partnerships. His papers cover, first, his travels as supercargo for Boston and Salem merchants who were trading in the Far East, then his activities as partner in the great shipping firm of Russell and Company. In 1836 he left Russell and Company and by 1840 he had become the head of his own firm, Augustine Heard and Company, founded with friend Joseph Coolidge.
The collection contains the business records and personal papers of Augustine Heard's four nephews John Heard 3rd, Augustine Heard Jr. (II), Albert Farley Heard, and George Washington Heard, Jr. (also known as George Farley Heard). Also included in the collection are records and papers pertaining to Heard's involvement in the Ipswich Manufacturing Company, Dane Manufacturing Company, Ipswich Mills, and Roxbury Land Company. Papers with indirect relationship to Heard family members include James Haughton & Company, Franklin Nail Works, John W. Stark, William Dodge, and Francis J. Oliver as agent for Morrison, Cryder & Company.
Series II of the Heard family business records contains the Augustine Heard & Company China records, 1827-1888. This material was created at the company's multiple China headquarters including Canton, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, as well as Yokohama, Japan. Records located in this series include business and financial papers, shipping papers, correspondence, insurance records, contracts, printed material, and miscellaneous material relating to Augustine Heard & Company.
Another source of profit was the first shipping on the Yangtze River after several ports were opened to trade. In 1867 Heard & Co. and Russell & Co. agreed to divide the steamboat traffic; the former took that between Hong Kong, Canton and Macao and the latter took that on the Yangtze River. After this date the company apparently prospered less and less and failed on April 19, 1875. There were several contributing causes. One was that Everett & Co., agents in the United States misappropriated funds. Another was that the possibilities for easy profits were disappearing in China and still another was the fact that the ablest of the brothers, Augustine, Jr. was not in China after 1871. An attempt was made to continue the business under a different name but that failed by the end of 1876.
John Heard (1744-1834) was born in Ipswich in 1744 to Mary Dane and Daniel Heard. He first entered the working class as a house wright, following in his father's footsteps. In 1766 he married Elizabeth Ann Story (1745-1775) and had three children, including John, Jr. In 1770 he went into the distillery business with his brother-in-law William Story, Jr., son of a distillery owner. He later became sole owner of the distillery and expanded the business after the Revolution by importing rum from the West Indies. He married Sarah Staniford in 1777 and they had nine children including Augustine, George Washington, and Mary Heard. He was appointed the Coroner of Essex County, a position he held from 1778-1796. He died in 1834.
Augustine Heard (1785-1868) was born in Ipswich in 1785 to Sarah Staniford and John Heard. At the age of 18 he sailed to India as a supercargo and began a successful career as a merchant sailing from Ipswich to South America, Europe, India, and England. In 1830, Heard sailed to Canton, China and entered into the trading firm of Russell & Company at the age of 45. By 1838 he began his own China trading firm with his friend Joseph Coolidge under the name Augustine Heard & Company. After establishing the company as one of the largest in China, Heard returned to Ipswich and invested with his brother and brother-in-law in the Ipswich Manufacturing Company. He died in 1868.
George Washington Heard (1793-1863) was born in Ipswich in 1793 and graduated from Harvard in 1812. He married Elizabeth Ann Farley (1802-1865) in 1823 and had six children: John (1824-1894); Augustine (1827-1905); Margaret (1830-1831); Albert Farley (1833-1890); and George Washington (1837-1875), who later legally changed his name to George Farley Heard. He was involved in business in Ipswich until 1837 when he moved to Boston to become a partner in James Haughton & Company, a dry goods dealer. When the company failed he moved back to Ipswich and founded the Ipswich Manufacturing Company with his brother and brother-in-law. He died in 1863.
John Heard, Jr. (1775-1839) was the son of John Heard and his first wife Elizabeth Ann Story. He graduated Harvard in 1795 and studied law in Boston. He married Susan Oliver (1780-1863) and died in 1839. His half sister was Mary Heard (1796-1869). She was the daughter of Sarah Staniford and John Heard.
Augustine Heard, Jr. (II) (1827-1905) was born in Ipswich in 1827. He graduated Harvard in 1847 and sailed for China to learn the family business. He was employed in Canton and served as the head of Augustine Heard & Company. He married Jane Leep deConnick in 1858, daughter of a Belgian diplomat to Cuba. He served as a roving agent for Augustine Heard & Co. representing the firm in Europe. After the dissolution of the company he served as the US consul to Korea from 1890-1894. He died in 1905.
Albert Farley Heard (1833-1890) was born in Ipswich in 1833. He graduated from Yale University in 1853 and began working in the family firm in China shortly thereafter. He married Mary Allen Livingston in 1868, but later divorced without having any children. After Augustine Heard & Company filed for bankruptcy, Albert stayed in Europe and managed a metallurgical foundry in Bayonne, France for a number of years. After the death of his ex-wife he moved back to the United States and served as private secretary for William C. Endicott, Secretary of War. He died in 1890.
George Washington Heard, Jr. (1837-1875) was born in Ipswich in 1837. George W. Heard, Jr. legally changed his middle name to Farley. He sailed to China in 1859 as private secretary of the American delegation at the negotiation of the Treaty of Tientsin. After the Treaty negotiations were complete he entered his uncle's business as manager at Canton. He was the last of his brothers to serve the company. After the firm filed for bankruptcy he sailed for the United States aboard the S.S. Anadye, but died at sea in 1875.
- Series I. Heard family business records, 1734-1901
- ___ Subseries A. John Heard 1st (1744-1834), 1734-1888
- ___ Subseries B. Augustine Heard (1785-1868), 1805-1873
- ___ Subseries C. George W. Heard (1793-1863), 1816-1866
- ___ Subseries D. John Heard, Jr. (1775-1839), and Mary Heard (1796-1869), 1830-1870
- ___ Subseries E. Augustine Heard & Co. (1839-Apr. 19, 1875), 1839-1893
- ___ Subseries F. John Heard, 3rd (1824-1894), 1816-1901
- ___ Subseries G. Augustine Heard, Jr. (1827-1905), 1845-1892
- ___ Subseries H. Albert F. Heard (1833-1890), 1838-1893
- ___ Subseries J. George W. Heard, Jr. (1837-1875), 1847-1880
- ___ Subseries K. Ipswich Manufacturing Co., 1822-1864
- ___ Subseries L. Dane Manufacturing Co., 1841-1893
- ___ Subseries M. Ipswich Mills or Ipswich Cotton Mills, 1845-1861
- ___ Subseries N. Roxbury Land Co., 1836-1868
- ___ Subseries P. James Haughton & Company, 1839-1843
- ___ Subseries Q. Francis J. Oliver Agent for Morrison, Cryder & Co., 1828-1852
- ___ Subseries R. William Dodge, 1817-1833
- ___ Subseries S. Franklin Nail Works, 1836-1847
- ___ Subseries T. John W. Stark, 1823-1865
- ___ Subseries U. Heard House material, 1860-1875
- ___ Subseries V. Administrative Records, 1842-1875
- Series II. Augustine Heard & Company China records, 1827-1892
- ___ Subseries A. Business and financial papers, 1827-1891
- ___ Subseries B. Shipping, 1844-1875
- ___ Subseries C. Correspondence, 1842-1892
- ___ Subseries D. A. Heard & Co., Insurance Agents, Canton Office, 1841-1875
- ___ Subseries E. Agreements, Contracts, Powers of Attorney, 1841-1875
- ___ Subseries F. Chronological Miscellaneous manuscripts and printed material, 1844-1876
Heard II was first sorted by Jardine, Matheson & Co. representative G. J. Yorke in Hong Kong in 1935. A calendar of a portion of letters received by A. Heard & Co. offices in China (1845-1849) was made under the supervision of professor David Owen while the collection was held at Yale. (These records can be found in Series I, Subseries V. Administrative Records, 1827-1892.) In May 1942 this collection of material of Augustine Heard & Co. was transferred to us from Yale University which had received it from Jardine, Matheson & Co. in 1936. In a hong in China the worms had eaten into many of the books so that when they arrived here they were very dusty and dirty. The unbound material was sorted in 1942-1943 and the papers arranged up to 1854.
After the collection was transferred to Baker Library in 1942, the unbound material up to and including the year 1855 was sorted and, it seems, rearranged. As a result, Owen's calendar can no longer be easily used as the letters it describes have apparently been dispersed. Later, in 1956-1957, the rest of the collection was organized. This portion was weeded and substantially rearranged. An electronic finding aid for Heard II was prepared which included an index to both Heard I and II, as well as several lists. Keyword searching this electronic finding aid has rendered the indexes and lists no longer applicable. When this electronic finding aid was prepared, the material in Heard II was intellectually rearranged for ease of use. Like materials were grouped together and organized under appropriate subseries titles.
From 1986-1991, the entire collection was microfilmed.
Heard II consists of 503 volumes, 103 cartons and 4 boxes. It was originally part of a 1000 cubic foot body of records from Jardine, Matheson & Co. found in a Hong Kong warehouse in 1934. (Jardine, Matheson & Co. had been trustee for the liquidation of A. Heard & Co. in 1875.) The collection originally went as a gift to Yale in 1935, but was transferred to Baker Library in 1942. This material is now located in Series II of this finding aid.
A small part of the Heard Collection has been sent elsewhere. Some medical notes (1814-1815) were transferred to the Harvard Medical School, and papers concerning the education of some family members at Harvard (1803-1823) were transferred to the Harvard University Archives.
Alternative Format Available:
It has been difficult to draw a hard and fast line in the division of Augustine Heard's papers. Heard's personal and family papers have been placed in Subseries B as have all of his business papers up to 1841. A. Heard & Company was established in 1841. All of Augustine Heard's business papers after 1841 have been placed in Subseries E. His correspondence of 1839 with Joseph Coolidge, Jr., has been placed under Subseries E because it relates to the founding of A. Heard & Co. To learn of all his activities the papers under each division should be examined.
- Heard Family. Heard Family Business Records, 1734-1901: A Finding Aid
- Baker Library
- EAD ID
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