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COLLECTION Identifier: UAI 20.793

Records relating to Harvard's ownership of the sloop Cyrus

Overview

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, much of the fuel wood used in Boston was cut on farms in New Hampshire and Maine and transported to the city by coastal sloops (a type of smaller sailing vessels). Between 1793 and 1798, Harvard College maintained the sloop Cyrus to transport wood from the College's property in Maine, through the Boston harbor, and up the Charles River to Cambridge. The wood was both sold at market and used to supply the College. This collection contains ownership and accounting records created and collected by the Harvard Corporation related to its ownership of the sloop Cyrus between 1793 and 1798.

Dates

  • 1793-1798

Creator

Researcher Access

The Records relating to Harvard's ownership of the sloop Cyrus are open for research.

Copying Restriction

Copying of fragile materials may be limited.

Extent

.26 cubic feet (1 flat box)
This collection contains ownership and accounting records created and collected by the Harvard Corporation related to its ownership of the sloop Cyrus between 1793 and 1798. The documents include four bills of sale for the sloop; a handwritten copy of the vessel's federal enrollment certificate; financial account records compiled by Harvard College Treasurer Ebenezer Storer, Harvard Steward Caleb Gannett, and joint-owner of the sloop, William Winthrop, related to the transportation and dispersal of the sloop's wood freight; and two letters from Samuel P. Russell to Ebenezer Storer regarding the sale of the sloop by Harvard in 1798.

Item titles are transcribed from document versos unless otherwise noted.

Historical note

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, much of the fuel wood used in Boston was cut on farms in New Hampshire and Maine and transported to the city by coastal sloops (a type of smaller sailing vessel). Between 1793 and 1798, Harvard College maintained the sloop Cyrus to transport wood from the College's property in Maine, through Boston Harbor, and up the Charles River to Cambridge. The wood was both sold at market and used to supply the College.

In September 1792, the Harvard Corporation ordered College Treasurer Ebenezer Storer (1730-1807; Harvard AB 1747) to purchase a wood sloop jointly with William Winthrop for £350. William Winthrop (1753-1826; Harvard AB 1770) was the youngest son of Harvard Professor John Winthrop (1714-1779) and a wealthy Cambridge resident. He imported goods from a wharf on his property on the Charles River, and presumably the shared purchase offered both Winthrop and the Corporation a more affordable investment. On February 2, 1793, Winthrop and Treasurer Storer purchased the sloop Cyrus, a sailboat built in Falmouth, Massachusetts in 1790. The vessel was captained by Captain Levi Drinkwater and managed by Treasurer Storer who maintained financial accounts related to the sloop's cargo and repairs, and Steward Caleb Gannett (1745-1818; Harvard AB 1763) who managed the College's supply of wood and and provided inventory figures for the Treasurer's accounts.

The sloop began making regular voyages to collect wood, and between May and December 1793 the vessel made eleven trips. The sloop offered Harvard a means to more effectively control their wood supply and potentially make a profit selling wood in the Boston area. On March 4, 1795, the Harvard Corporation purchased Winthrop's half of the sloop for $600. In December 1795, the sloop had begun leaking, and repairs were arranged by Captain Samuel Russell of North Yarmouth and completed in 1796. By 1798, the Corporation had decided to sell the sloop Cyrus, and Russell managed the sale of the vessel on March 7, 1798 to Samuel Drinkwater and Abel Sawyer of North Yarmouth for 212 cords of wood.

The College continued transporting wood into 19th century on the Cyrus's successor, the sloop Harvard. The sloop Harvard ran until 1827, when the College determined that purchasing wood locally was much less expensive than the costs associated with the sloop's voyages to Maine.

Arrangement

The records are arranged in chronological order.

Acquisition information

The documents in this collection are University records and were acquired in the course of University business.

Related Materials

In the Harvard University Archives
  1. Harvard University. Corporation. Corporation records: minutes, 1643-1933 (UAI 5.30): http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua51010
  2. Harvard University. Steward. Early records of the Steward, 1649-1812 (UAI 71): http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua19010
  3. Harvard University. Corporation. Harvard College Papers, 1st series, 1636-1825, 1831 (UAI 5.100): http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua62011
  4. Harvard University. Corporation. Corporation papers, 1st series, supplements to the Harvard College Papers, circa 1650-1828 (UAI 5.120): http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua09012
  5. Harvard University. Corporation. Records of land and property owned by Harvard University (UAI 15.750): http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua28010
  6. Harvard University. Treasurer. Records of the Treasurer of Harvard University (UAI 50.xx): http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua05009
  7. Records relating to the sloop Harvard (UAI 20.801)

References

  • Clark, Henry and F.O. Vaille, editors. The Harvard book : a series of historical, biographical, and descriptive sketches. Cambridge: Welch, Bigelow and Company, 1875.
  • Morison, Samuel E. Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1936.Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1936.
  • Quincy, Josiah. The History of Harvard University. Cambridge, Mass.: John Owen, 1840.

General note

This document last updated 2018 November 26.

Processing Information

The material was first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. The material was re-processed in 2011. Re-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 records relating to Harvard's ownership of the sloop Cyrus was supported by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
Link to catalog
Title
Harvard University. Corporation. Records relating to Harvard's ownership of the sloop Cyrus, 1793-1798: an inventory
EAD ID
hua39011

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.

Contact:
Pusey Library
Harvard Yard
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
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