This collection is made up of 13 letters that Henry R. Partridge, a merchant ship captain, wrote to his wife Salista during voyages to Europe and the Caribbean on his brig Salista in the 1870s. One additional letter concerns Partridge's suicide in 1880.
Henry Partridge wrote to his wife between April 17, 1871, and September 15, 1879, while in port at Alicante, Spain (2 items); Naples, Italy (2 items); Marseille, France (1 item); Messina, Italy (2 items); Beirut, Lebanon (1 item); Gibraltar (2 items); Saguá la Grande, Cuba (1 item); Cádiz, Spain (1 item); and Bilbao, Spain (1 item). Partridge commented on recent sailing experiences; discussed cargo purchasing, loading, and unloading; noted food purchases; and reported on other crew members and other vessels. In his letter of January 21, 1872, Partridge told his wife about the Salista 's steward, who had recently discovered that he was not the father of his favorite daughter. In another letter, Partridge told his wife of a man who had left in the company of two women after his family had returned home (July 1, 1873). Partridge occasionally wrote about food, salt shipping, and consignment agents; his letter of November 13, 1876, contains penmanship practice by his daughter Ada. Partridge frequently commented on his loneliness and desire to meet with his wife upon his returns to Boston and New York.
John Zittlosen, a commission merchant in New York City, wrote a letter to L. M. Partridge on January 27, 1880, concerning Henry Partridge's suicide by gunshot in Gibraltar. Zittlosen copied the text of a telegram he had received, shared his condolences, and requested that the recipient first inform Salista Partridge that her husband was sick, "so that the shock will not come to[o] hard on her at once."