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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:77 1783-1825

Andrew and Joseph Perkins records

Overview

The partnership of Andrew and Joseph Perkins operated a general store in Norwich, Connecticut, and they were involved in shipping and trade in the West Indies. The business exported lumber, nails, oats, and horses, and imported rum, molasses, sugar, coffee, and tobacco. The Andrew and Joseph Perkins business records consist of daybooks and ledgers, dated 1783-1825. There is also one daybook of merchants Carew & Perkins, also of Norwich, dated 1797-1798.

Dates

  • 1783-1825

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact specialcollectionsref@hbs.edu for more information regarding access procedures.

Extent

2 linear feet (19 volumes)
The Andrew and Joseph Perkins business records consist of daybooks and ledgers, dated 1783-1825. The volumes primarily relate to general store sales of goods like tea, tobacco, indigo, salt, coffee, and books, and trade in New England, southern American states, the West Indies, and South America. Accounts of mercantile voyages, frequently to the West Indies with partner Howland & Coit, contain records of outgoing cargo like lumber, horses and other livestock, and nails, and return cargo of molasses, rum, and sugar, as well as labor costs, pilotage, purchase of supplies and rigging, and customs duties. There are also accounts with other stakeholders in voyages with the company, including merchant Levi Huntington of Norwich, and Barzilla Davison, who sold Andrew and Joseph Perkins one-third share of the sloop Swallow. The volumes further contain accounts of legal and land transactions, estate administration, and store rent. The Perkins family enslaved at least one man, Pharaoh, whom Andrew Perkins sold to William Coit in 1774; Coit freed Pharaoh in 1778. The collection contains accounts concerning a lawsuit Pharaoh filed against another African American man, Richard, in 1784, and the legal fees associated with securing an attachment against Richard in Pharaoh's favor, paid by Dr. Joseph Perkins. Daybook entries show Pharaoh worked in 1790 for Andrew and Joseph Perkins loading the sloop Polly. The company also employed a number of Native and African Americans, including day laborer Prince Champlin, maritime worker Dennis Mohegan, and sailors Addix Blackley and Sawney. A number of accounts contains orders to pay or deliver goods to African American women and men; it is not always clear if they were free or enslaved.

There is also a daybook of Norwich merchants Carew & Perkins, dated 1797-1798, recording general store sales.

Biographical / Historical

The partnership of Andrew and Joseph Perkins operated a general store in Norwich, Connecticut, and they were involved in shipping and trade in the West Indies. The business exported lumber, nails, oats, and horses, and imported rum, molasses, sugar, coffee, and tobacco. Other items sold at retail included dry goods from England, tea, paper, books, and flaxseed. Andrew (1743-1822) was born to physician Joseph Perkins, Sr. (1704-1794) of Norwich. His nephew and business partner Major Joseph Perkins III (1759-), was the son of Joseph Perkins, Jr. (1733-1775), who died of smallpox.

Physical Location

MANU

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Andrew and Joseph Perkins records were received by Baker Library Special Collection as a donation from Charles H. Taylor.

Related Materials

Other records relating to Andrew and Joseph Perkins are in the Andrew and Joseph Perkins papers related to the sloop Swallow at Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School.

Processing Information

Processed: August 2018

By: Brooke McManus

Preservation and description of 18th century material in the collection were supported by the Colonial North American Project at Harvard University.
Link to catalog
Title
Andrew and Joseph Perkins. Andrew and Joseph Perkins records, 1783-1825: A Finding Aid
Author
Baker Library
Date
January 2019
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English
EAD ID
bak00658

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.

Contact:
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