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COLLECTION Identifier: HUM 96

Papers of Fisher Ames and the Ames and Fowler families


Fisher Ames (1758-1808) was a lawyer and Federalist statesman from Massachusetts. Ames received an AB from Harvard in 1774, and he later served in the United States Congress from 1789 to 1797. This collection contains an embroidered pocketbook, three pieces of correspondence, and a handwritten political speech related to Fisher Ames and the Ames family, and a brief handwritten genealogy of the Bayley family, two cabinet card portraits, and a child's glove. The Ames family was related to the Bayley and Fowler family through marriage.


  • 1774-ca. 1900s

Researcher Access

The Papers of Fisher Ames and the Ames and Fowler families are open for research.

Copying Restriction

Copying of fragile materials may be limited.


.4 cubic feet (1 half-legal document box and 1 flat box)

This collection contains three pieces of correspondence, a handwritten political speech, a brief handwritten genealogy of the Bayley family, two cabinet card portraits, a child's glove, and an embroidered pocketbook. Notably, the embroidered pocketbook, correspondence, and political speech help document aspects of Fisher Ames' life as a young man, brother, and Federalist orator. The correspondence was written by Ames and his son John Worthington to Ames's sister and brother-in-law, Deborah and Samuel Shuttleworth. While these items can be associated with the Ames family, their exact relationship to the other items is unclear. The genealogy, photographs, and glove are undated and unattributed and appear to have been created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection was likely maintained by descendants of the Bayley and Fowler families, with whom the Ames family appears to have been connected by marriage.

The titles in this collection were supplied by the cataloger.

Biographical Note

Fisher Ames (1758-1808) was a lawyer and Federalist statesman from Massachusetts. He was one of five children of Deborah Fisher Ames and Nathaniel Ames, author of the successful Ames' Almanack.

Fisher Ames was born on April 9, 1758 in Dedham, Mass. He received an AB from Harvard in 1774 and an AM in 1777. Ames was admitted to the Suffolk County bar in 1781 and began practicing law in Dedham. In 1786, Ames wrote two series of letters to the Independent Chronicle, a Boston newspaper, assessing Shay's Rebellion, and became a Federalist spokesperson. In 1788, Ames served as one of Dedham's representatives to the Massachusetts convention to consider the ratification of the United States Constitution, and in the same year was elected first to the Massachusetts General Court, and, then in December, to the United States House of Representatives. Ames served in Congress from 1789 to 1797 as a staunch Federalist, and was well-known for his oratory skills. After retiring from Congress due to failing health, Ames continued to support the Federalist Party from his farm in Dedham. In 1806, the Harvard Corporation offered Ames the Presidency, but he declined due to his failing health. Ames died on July 4, 1808.

Ames married Frances Worthington (1764-1837) of Springfield, Mass. on July 15, 1792. The couple had six sons and a daughter: John Worthington, Nathaniel, Hannah, William, Jeremiah, Seth, and Richard.

Fisher Ames's sister, Deborah (b. 1747), married the Rev. Samuel Shuttleworth (also spelled Shuttlesworth) on January 1, 1792. Samuel Shuttleworth was born in Dedham in 1751, and he graduated from Harvard in 1777. He taught school in Dedham before moving to Windsor, Vermont in 1789. Shuttleworth preached in Windsor for a few years before practicing law in the town. Shuttleworth died in 1834. Following Deborah's death, Shuttleworth married Laura Benson, and their son, George (b. 1831), appears to have married Harriet Amelia Bayley (1833-1898), the great-granddaughter of General Jacob Bayley (1726-1815). Two of General Bayley's sons married sisters in the Fowler family: Ephraim Bayley married Hannah Fowler, and Joshua Bayley married Anna Fowler.


The collection is arranged in six series:

  1. Embroidered pocketbook, 1774
  2. Correspondence, 1792-1822
  3. Political speech, [ca. 1798]
  4. Cabinet cards, ca. 1880-1890
  5. Child's leather glove, ca. 1900s
  6. Genealogy, ca. 1900s

Acquisition information

This collection was received from the estate of Yolande J. Fowler in 2008.

Online access

All of the papers have been digitized and are available online. Links accompany detailed descriptions.

Related Materials

In the American Antiquarian Society
  1. Ames, Fisher, 1758-1808. Letters, 1787-1795 (Mss. Misc. Boxes A).
In the Dedham Historical Society
  1. Ames Family Papers, 1654-1829.
In the Stanford University Libraries
  1. Ames Family Papers (M003).


  • Fisher, Philip A. The Fisher genealogy:A record of the descendants of Joshua, Anthony, and Cornelius Fisher, of Dedham, Mass., 1630-1640. Everett, Mass: Massachusetts Publishing Company, 1898.
  • Jordon, John Woolf. Genealogical and Personal History of the Allegheny Valley, Pennsylvania. Vol. 1, Lewis Historical Publication Co., 1913.
  • Wright, Condrad Edick and Edward W. Hanson. Biographical Sketches of those who attended Harvard College in the Classes of 1772-1774. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1999.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2021 October 15.

Processing Information

These papers were received as an accession in 2008 and processed in 2011. Processing involved a collection survey, re-housing in appropriate archival containers, and the creation of this finding aid.

This finding aid was created by Diann Benti in July 2011.

Preservation and description of the Papers of Fisher Ames and the Ames and Fowler families was supported, in part, by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

Ames, Fisher, 1758-1808. Papers of Fisher Ames and the Ames and Fowler families, 1774-ca. 1900s: an inventory
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

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