Bourne family papers
Primarily correspondence and papers relating to shipping and military activities of the Boston and Barnstable, Massachusetts-based Bourn family (or Bourne family).
- Majority of material found within 1730-1791
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
Extent3 linear feet (11 volumes and 1 box)
Chiefly letters, accounts, deeds, wills, bills of exchange, powers of attorney, and other business papers relating to shipping and military activities of the Bourn(e) family in Boston and Barnstable, Massachusetts. Also contains letters and papers concerning families related to the Bourn(e) family by marriage: the Balthazar Bayard family, the James Bowdoin family and estate, the Helena Dekey estate, the Arthur St. Clair family, the Samuel Sturgis family. Includes extensive correspondence of Nathaniel Holmes and Joseph Gorham.
General index to this collection (MS Am 580) is bound and shelved with the Houghton Reading Room reference collection and an electronic version of this index is available at the end of the finding aid. A typescript index to each volume is also bound in at the front of each volume. The reference numbers in the index below refer to the volume and specifc page within the collection.
Biographical / Historical
Sylvanus Bourn or Bourne (1694-1763), his son Melatiah Bourn (1722-1778) and grandson Sylvanus Bourn (1761-1817) were successful merchants. Arthur St. Clair (1734-1818) married Balthazar Bayard's daughter; he was a member of the Continental Congress, 1786-1787, and its president in 1787. Samuel Sturgis (1706-1767) was a merchant and notary public for the port of Barnstable. Nathaniel Holmes (1703-1774) operated a distillery with domestic and foreign trade ventures. Joseph Gorham (1725-1790) was an army officer and officer-holder, born in Barnstable, Massachusetts.
Arranged into the following series:
- MS Am 579 (1-3): Correspondence of Meletiah Bourn, 1748-1779
- MS Am 579 (4): Correspondence of Sylvanus Bourn, 1775-1790
- MS Am 579 (5): Papers of the Bourne family, the Bayard family, the Bowdoin family, Dekey family estate, the St. Clair family, correspondence of Samuel Sturgis, and miscellaneous letters
- MS Am 579 (6-8): Correspondence of Nathaniel Holmes, 1738-1774
- MS Am 579 (9): Correspondence of Joseph Gorham, 1751-1774
- MS Am 579 (10): Miscellaneous Boston manuscripts
- bMS Am 579 (11): Miscellaneous Bourne materials
- MS Am 580: General index to Bourne manuscripts
Box 1 is located in b and Volume 11 is in the Houghton Reading Room.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
No accession number. Gift of Judge Joseph M. Day, of Barnstable, Mass.; received: 1896 April 29.
Collections and items have been digitized with the generous support of The Polonsky Foundation.
Finding aid reworked by Bonnie B. Salt, March 2015.
Items have been bound into volumes to form this collection. An index was orginally created and organized alphabetically (see end of finding aid). This index was reorganized in 2015 to produce this volume listing. There is a brief general index separately bound (MS Am 580), with a typescript index to each volume bound into the front of the volume.
- Bourne family. Bourne family papers, 1687-1791: Guide. MS Am 579, MS Am 580
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Houghton Library Repository
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