Colonial Corruption: The Failed Reform of His Majesty’s Customs in America in the 1760s

Daniel Cornette

Book of Records

Throughout the 1760s, the administration of His Majesty King George III’s Customs in America generated copious records related to the official business of collecting duties and enforcing the Navigation Acts.  Most of these records reveal the daily operations of the local customs offices, recording the arrival and departure of ships and the importation of goods.  While most of these records no longer exist in the United States, one notable exception is the Salem Custom House letter book from 1763 to 1772 which is now part of the collection of the Phillips Library.  This letter book, which contains a record of all official incoming and outgoing correspondence, provides invaluable insight into the day-to-day operations as well as a glimpse into the turmoil resulting from failed efforts to reform the customs administration during the ten-year period starting in 1763. Read more

What’s on my cart?

Today’s post marks the beginning of a new blog series we’d like to call “What’s on my cart?” This series gives library staff members the floor to share the materials that we’ve come across recently, perhaps things that we’ve stopped to show one another because they were just too cool to keep to ourselves. All of us do many different tasks throughout our daily work, but we each have our own trusted library carts, so we thought, why not start looking there? Read more

A Whole New World

John Marden

Repair plans for Chamberlain Dam, August 1892

As a graduate student at Simmons College in Library Science, I was afforded the opportunity to intern with the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum (disclaimer:  I am employed by PEM).  Here I was able to put into practice all I have learned in my first semester by processing an important collection relative to the Peabody Essex Museum:  the business papers of the East Branch Dam Company, largely influenced by David Pingree, and held in the Phillips’ Library.

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