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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:733 1820-1902 G663

Ichabod Goodwin business papers


The business papers of New Hampshire merchant Ichabod Goodwin contain correspondence books, receipts, bank drafts and memorandum books regarding trade in Charleston, Liverpool, Mobile, New York and Savannah for cotton and rice. Goodwin was also the Governor of New Hampshire during the Civil War.


  • 1820-1902
  • Majority of material found within 1820-1851


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact for more information.


2 linear feet (5 boxes)

The business papers of Ichabod Goodwin contain records related to the work of the New Hampshire merchant and ship owner who traded cotton and rice aboard ships sailing from Portsmouth to Charleston, Savannah, Liverpool, and other ports. Business records dating from 1820 to 1851 include correspondence, bills, receipts, account books, contracts, stock certificates, deeds, charters, and safe books. His most regular correspondent was his Savannah agent George B. Cummins, who sent 84 letters between 1847 and 1851. Personal material from this period includes letters from Goodwin to his wife Sarah and poems.

There is also a small amount of material from later dates that includes letters exchanged with Goodwin as Governor of New Hampshire from 1859-1861, including his orders sending the First New Hampshire Infantry Regiment to the front. A single folder contains later family papers from 1850 to 1902.

Biographical / Historical

Ichabod Goodwin was a 19th-century sea captain, merchant, financier, and politician who served as Governor of New Hampshire at the start of the Civil War. Born October 8, 1794 in Berwick, Massachusetts (now Maine), Goodwin moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire at the age of fourteen. He began work in the counting house of Samuel Lord, a prominent ship owner and merchant. Starting at the age of 23, Goodwin commanded his own ship for many years. He retired from the sea in 1832 to explore mercantile pursuits on land, and formed a partnership with Samuel Coues. The pair owned several ships including the Marion, Hitty, Piscataqua, Sarah Parker, Pocahontas, and Isaac Newton. Goodwin’s ships traded extensively in Charleston, Savannah, and Liverpool, England as well as New York and Mobile. The bulk of the ships’ cargo consisted of rice and cotton. Goodwin recognized the importance of the railroad to Portsmouth’s economy and became president of the Eastern Railroad of New Hampshire and later the Portland, Saco, and Portsmouth Railroad. He also took an interest in manufacturing as the president of the Portsmouth Steam Factory which employed 380 people producing sheer cotton and linen fabric. Additionally, Goodwin served as president of The First National Bank of Portsmouth and the Piscataqua Savings Bank With an active interest in politics, Goodwin represented Portsmouth in the New Hampshire State Legislature as a member of the Whig Party. After an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 1856, Goodwin switched to the Republican Party and was elected governor in 1859, and reelected in 1860. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the Legislature was not in session, so Governor Goodwin answered President Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops by personally funding the First New Hampshire Regiment. Goodwin married Sarah Parker Rice in 1827. Their daughter Susan married naval officer George Dewey (who later become Admiral of the Navy) in 1867. Goodwin died July 4, 1882. The Goodwin Mansion is preserved as part of the Strawberry Banke museum in Portsmouth.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased, 2013

Related Materials

For additional Ichabod Goodwin business records at Baker Library, Harvard Business School see Ichabod Goodwin additional business papers, 1820-1902.

Additional related collections include the Ichabod Goodwin family collection, 1758 - 1891 and Ichabod Goodwin papers, 1825 - 1861 at Dartmouth College, Rauner Special Collections Library Repository and Records of Goodwin & Coues, 1839-1849 at G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport.

Processing Information

Processed: February 2018 By: Liam Sullivan

Goodwin, Ichabod, 1794-1882. Ichabod Goodwin Business Papers, 1820-1902: A Finding Aid.
Baker Library
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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