Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Grew Family Collection, 1790, 1795

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon and Kate Silbert, May 2012

Summary Information
Title: Grew Family collection
Creator: Anonymous
Inclusive dates: 1790, 1795
Extent: 2 items
Abstract:
This collection consists of a commonplace book (approximately 50 pages) compiled by Ann Greene after 1790, and an account of a 44-day voyage John Grew and his family took from Liverpool to Boston in the summer of 1795. The 22-page travel diary also includes an 8-page copy of a letter Mary Grew, John Grew's mother, wrote to her family in England upon her arrival in Boston.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1997. M-3341.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Provenance:

The 1795 diary was given to William Potts by his cousin, Alice Cooper, in 1872.

Preferred Citation:

Grew Family collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

Ann Greene (1774-1818) was the daughter of Benjamin Greene and Elizabeth Hubbard, of Boston, Massachusetts. In October 1805, she married John Grew (1780-1821), a native of Birmingham, England, who emigrated to the United States in 1795 with his parents, John Grew (1752-1800) and Mary Coltman (1756-1834), and siblings. John Grew, Sr., moved his family to Boston to establish a mercantile store, and son John eventually followed in his father's footsteps. John Grew and Ann Greene had six children: John (b. 1806), Henry (b. 1808), Charles (1810-1831), Ann, Edward, and George. At least three of their sons attended the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, in the 1810s and 1820s. After Ann's death in 1818, John Grew married Margaret Sarah Page, with whom he had one daughter, Sarah Page Grew (b. 1821).

William James Potts, a descendant of Sarah Page Grew, owned this volume in 1872, after receiving it from his cousin, Alicia Cooper.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of a commonplace book (approximately 50 pages) compiled by Ann Greene after 1790, and an account of a 44-day voyage John Grew and his family took from Liverpool to Boston in the summer of 1795. The 22-page travel diary also includes an 8-page copy of a letter Mary Grew, John Grew's mother, wrote to her family in England upon her arrival in Boston.

Ann Greene's commonplace book has two parts: 33 pages of transcribed poetry (24 poems) begin at the front cover, and 15 additional pages of personal reflections and letter drafts begin at the back cover. Much of the poetry was originally written by British authors whose work circulated widely in the eighteenth century, such as James Boswell, James Thomson, William Cowper, and Elizabeth Singer Rowe. Greene occasionally recorded the volume and page from which she transcribed poems. The other portion of the volume contains personal resolutions about making good use of one's time, interspersed with light-hearted notes about beaux or friends.

The travel diary records the Grew family's emigration from Birmingham England, to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1795. Daily entries, written between May 23 and July 8, 1795, detail several aspects of the voyage, such as the weather, passing ships, maritime wildlife, and the ship's progress. The diarist also mentioned an instance when another vessel mistook their ship for a French privateer, and the effects of a tumultuous storm.

The final 8 pages contain a copy of a letter Mary Coltman Grew (1756-1834) wrote to her mother in England from Boston, Massachusetts (July 24, 1795). She detailed her initial impressions of the city and of local customs. Among other topics, she reflected on the climate, housing, servants, dress, food, and religious customs. She also related an anecdote about Benjamin Franklin, who reportedly distributed printed cards to strangers in order to preempt any inquiries about him.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Boston (Mass.)
    • Bradish, Eliza.
    • British--United States.
    • Cooper, Alicia.
    • Immigrants--United States.
    • Liverpool (England)
    • Ocean travel--Early works to 1800.
    • Poetry--Great Britain--18th century.
    • Potts, William John, 1842-1895.
    Contributors:
    • Grew, John, d. 1821.
    • Grew, Mary, 1757-1834.
    • Greene, Ann, 1774-1818.
    Genre Terms:
    • Commonplace books.
    • Diaries.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Marbled paper.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   25, Small Collections  
    Grew family collection [series]:
    Folder   1  
    Ann Greene commonplace book,  1790
    Folder   2  
    Grew Journal,  23 May 1795-24 July 1795
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Massachusetts Historical Society holds a collection of Henry Grew Papers, 1801-1891.

    The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, holds a collection of Grew Family Papers, 1767-1904.

    Bibliography

    Carpenter, Charles Carroll. Biographical Catalogue of Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass, 1778-1830. Andover, Massachusetts: The Andover Press, 1903.

    The Greene Family in England and America with pedigrees. Boston: Privately printed, 1901.

    Potts, William John. Historical Collections relating to the Potts family in Great Britain and America…Compiled by Thomas Maxwell Potts. Canonsburg, Pennsylvania: Published by the Compiler, 1901.