Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Brimblecom Family Papers, 1817-1844

Finding aid created by
Clements Staff, 2003, and Meg Hixon, October 2011

Summary Information
Title: Brimblecom family papers
Creator: Brimblecom family
Inclusive dates: 1817-1844
Extent: 39 items
Abstract:
The Brimblecom family papers are made up of letters that Massachusetts preacher Samuel Brimblecom and his son, Samuel A. Brimblecom, wrote in the early and mid-19th century. The elder Brimblecom discussed his studies at Harvard in the late 1810s, and his son often wrote of his voyages with the merchant marine to India and China in the 1840s.
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:

2000. M-4114.9.

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.

Preferred Citation:

Brimblecom Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Transcripts

Each series is arranged chronologically.


Biography

Samuel Brimblecom was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, on February 11, 1799, and received theology degrees from Harvard in 1817 (A.B.) and 1820 (A.M.). Following his ordination, Brimblecom led Unitarian congregations throughout Massachusetts and Maine and also assisted in establishing the Westbrook Seminary in Westbrook, Maine. During the later years of his life, he lived in Barre, Massachusetts, and he died in Haverhill on June 14, 1879. On October 22, 1822, he married Harriet Buttrick (1798-1878), with whom he had ten surviving children. The couple's eldest son, Samuel A. Brimblecom (b. November 2, 1823), joined the merchant marine and traveled to India and China on several voyages in the mid-1840s. Following his marine career, he moved to California with his wife, Sarah Holden, and became a merchant and lumberman. He died on April 10, 1897.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Brimblecom family papers are made up of letters that Massachusetts preacher Samuel Brimblecom and his son, Samuel A. Brimblecom, wrote in the early and mid-19th century. The elder Brimblecom discussed his studies at Harvard in the late 1810s, and his son often wrote of his voyages with the merchant marine to India and China in the 1840s.

The earliest items primarily consist of letters from Samuel Brimblecom to his sister Mary, which he wrote during his time as a student at Harvard University and during the decade following his graduation. He often included his philosophical musings about a variety of topics, including metaphysics and religion, and described his life at school, as a private tutor in South Carolina, and a young preacher in Massachusetts and Maine. Brimblecom continued to write to Mary over the years with updates on his family, but after 1840 his son, Samuel A. Brimblecom, wrote the majority of the correspondence.

Though he often discussed his daily life and acquaintances in Lynn, Massachusetts, Samuel A. Brimblecom also wrote to his parents and siblings about his travels to Asia. In one letter, he copied a poem dedicated to his mother: "Mother, I'm for the Indies Bound" (January 4, 1841). In letters written throughout 1844, he related his experiences in East Asian cities such as Whampoa, Canton, Macao, Singapore, and Calcutta, and noted the practices of businessmen and local customs. On June 27, 1844, for example, he shared his impressions of the region surrounding Bombay, India.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • East Asia--Description and travel.
    • Harvard University.
    • Huangpu Qu (Guangzhou Shi, China)
    • India--Description and travel.
    • Lynn (Mass.)
    • Merchant marine--United States--History.
    • Unitarians.
    Contributors:
    • Brimblecom, Samuel, 1799-1879.
    • Brimblecom, Samuel A., 1823-1897.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Transcripts.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   25, Small Collections  
    Correspondence [series]
    Folders   32-36  
      March 11, 1817-December 25, 1844, and  undated
    Folders   37-38  
    Transcripts,  March 11, 1817-June 27, 1844
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The father of Samuel Brimblecom Sr. contributed to the following volume: Goodale, Ebenezer. Record of the Proceedings of a General Court Martial: Holden at the Court-house in Salem, in the Country of Essex, Monday, Sept. 28, 1812, by Order of His Excellency Caleb Strong … On the Complaint of Lieut. Col. Samuel Brimblecom and Other Against Ebenezer Goodale, Major General of the Second Division of the Militia.... Cambridge: Hilliard and Metcalf, 1812.

    The Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley, contains collections of Brimblecom family correspondence and Samuel A. Brimblecom's correspondence

    Bibliography

    General Catalogue of the Divinity School of Harvard University . Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University, 1898.

    Pierce, Frederick Clifton. History of Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts, from Its Early Settlement by the Indians in 1647 to the Present Time, 1879. Worcester, Massachusetts: 1879.