Agridulce

Logbook of the Elizabeth Leavitt, traveling to Havana from Boston, 1858.

When my fellow librarians and I became aware of this month’s theme for PEM/PM, we knew right away that the Phillips Library collections needed to be a part of it.  “Agridulce,” or “Bittersweet” in Spanish, is a perfect descriptor of the contentious sugar, slave, and rum trade prevalent in the Caribbean in the 17th through 19th centuries.  We have decided to bring a selection of materials from our collections which, as a whole, demonstrate the more bitter side of international trade through Salem. Read more

“Collecting All Valuable Publications in Every Language”: The Salem East India Marine Society’s Library

George Schwartz

"Remarks on a Voyage to the Marianna Islands"

During the dedication of the “Marine Room” gallery at the Peabody Academy of Science in 1905, Director Edward Sylvester Morse remarked, “A student of history must be the one to properly bring together the records of the East India Marine Society, but on this occasion it is necessary to give an epitome of well-known data.” Over the past year, I spent my workdays in the cozy confines of the Phillips Library’s Reading Room taking up Morse’s challenge, poring through the museum’s substantial institutional archive and other material for my dissertation on the Peabody Essex Museum’s founding organization. The librarians have greeted me every day with great enthusiasm for my project, the first comprehensive work on the East India Marine Society since 1949, retrieving volumes and letters to aid in my endeavor. Read more

A Floating Glimpse at the Gardner Family Papers

Photograph of unknown Gardner family member, undated

The Gardner Family papers is a collection that focuses on three generations of one branch of the Gardner family—a prominent mercantile and shipping family in Salem, Massachusetts, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  The collection documents their vast land holdings, as well as their merchant and shipping businesses beginning with John Gardner (1736-1816), and including his sons, Richard Gardner (1774-1836), and John Gardner (1771-1847); and John (1771-1847) and his sons, John Gardner (1796-1870), Thomas W. Gardner (1798-1845), Samuel Gardner (1800-1856), and Henry Gardner (1809-1890).  Read more