Papers, 1782-1904, 1931-1939.


Papers, 1782-1904, 1931-1939.

The collection contains manuscript boxes of business and family correspondence and legal documents, folio volumes of letters and accounts, and a folder of oversized documents. Filed in the graphic arts department are two large albums of family photographs, mostly nineteenth century. The boxes include early Comstock family land deeds, shares in stock, etc. of Benjamin Comstock and his brother, Jeremiah Comstock (1742-1817), as well as estate settlements in Providence, and genealogical material. There are letters to his land agent, David Putnam ( - ), concerning his land in northwestern Ohio during the 1820s and 1830s, and their disposition after his death. The papers of Capt. William Comstock include two folio volumes and several folders. One folio volume is an account book, for the period 1815 to 1839, concerning his sloop and steamboat line in Providence, with some personal accounts and building rentals. The volume also contains newsclippings relating to fires and murders, c. 1850. The other folio volume is a letterbook, for the period 1841 to 1849, which contains letters written to his company agents, captains, et al. concerning the operations of his steamship line (e.g., pick-ups and deliveries, passengers and fares, etc.) and the tough competition of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877). There are many addressed to Charles Overing Handy ( - ), company president. There is a folder of five personal letters for the period 1856 to 1867. Three letters, written during the period 3 April to 19 May 1856, from his son, Richard Williams Comstock, are in regard to Richard's broken leg and stay at the U. S. Hospital in San Francisco, Calif. One mentions an earthquake. Another letter from Richard, dated 15 December 1858, regards his trip back to Baltimore, Md., from Hampton Roads, Va. The final letter is from Capt. Comstock's granson, Thomas Peck Bucklin, Jr. (1837- ), in regard to Capt. Comstock's eightieth birthday. There are two folders of legal papers (mostly land deeds) and several folders of business correspondence for the period 1843 to 1870. The majority of his business correspondence is with Bucklin and Crane Co. of New York and with R. E. Lockwood ( - ) of Comstock's New York office of his schooner and steamer company. Some of the letters concern the competition with Vanderbilt, while others concern his son William in China. The papers of Richard Williams Comstock include business correspondence concerning the Rhode Island Horseshoe Company and its Buffalo, N.Y., office, mostly from general manager C. H. Perkins ( - ). There are also several letters from Capt. John C. Silva ( - ) relating to the sailing of Comstock's line of yachts, as well as letters related to the buying and selling of yachts for his line in Providence. There are two folders of legal papers that include land deeds, accounts, receipts, a copy of his mother's will, and an unidentified brief travel journal concerning Vermont and New Hampshire, dated 1850. The bulk of the collection, however, consists of personal and business correspondence and business papers of William Comstock, Jr. There are fascinating details of the clipper-ship trade, the buying of goods in a politically troubled China, the controversial trade in opium (1854-1855), references to several rebel uprisings and Comstock's brush with death during one of them in 1856, his varied investments, the plans of the dwelling house/office building erected by A. Heard and Co. in Foochow (1855-1856), and other details of a merchant's life in China during the middle part of the nineteenth century. His personal correspondence to and from his parents, other family members, and friends concern his life and activities in China, the political conditions in China, uprisings in Foochow, details of his trip home (1857) and his trip back to China (1858) including descriptions of London, Egypt, Malta, and Shanghai. His business correspondence includes letters of Bucklin and Crane, and his brother-in-law, Thomas P. Bucklin; the Heards; Augustine Heard and Company agents and clerks including Albert Deacon, J. J. Dixwell, R. L. Everett, C. A. Fearon, E. L. Lanca, William Nott, E. F. Parker, and George F. Weller; Baring Bros. of London, who handled Comstock's investments, including his investment in the government of Bengal (1852-1853); and Pale Hubbell Co. of Manila. His business papers include shipping records (e.g., goods shipped, ships' invoices, expenses of shipping, etc.), bills receivable, profits and losses, accounts of sales, storage and auction costs, receipts, prices current, bills of lading, insurance policies, passports, bank drafts and personal expenses and shares in the company.

4 boxes.9 v. ; folio.1 folder (15 items) ; oversize.


SNAC Resource ID: 7000334

American Antiquarian Society

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