Records relating to Harvard's ownership of the sloop Cyrus
- Harvard University. Corporation (Organization)
Extent.26 cubic feet (1 flat box)
Item titles are transcribed from document versos unless otherwise noted.
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.
- 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.
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.
- Harvard University. Corporation. Records relating to Harvard's ownership of the sloop Cyrus, 1793-1798: an inventory
- EAD ID
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