Benjamin and William Oliver Vaughan papers (1774-1830, bulk 1774-1803, 1816)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Catalina Oyler, June 2008
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Benjamin and William Oliver Vaughan papers
Creator: Vaughan, Benjamin, 1751-1835 and Vaughan, William Oliver, 1783-1826
Inclusive dates: 1774-1830
Bulk dates: 1774-1803, 1816
Extent: 144 items
The Benjamin and William Oliver Vaughan papers consist of miscellaneous documents relating to the business affairs of Benjamin Vaughan and a business account book from his son, William O. Vaughan. Benjamin and William were both merchants in Hallowell, Maine.
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:

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

1992. M-2821.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation

Benjamin and William Oliver Vaughan Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Benjamin Vaughan (1751-1835) was born in Jamaica to Samuel and Sarah Hallowell Vaughan. Benjamin resided in England and studied law and medicine, though he is most well known for his political work, particularly for his participation in the negotiations of the Treaty of Paris ending the American Revolution. In 1781 Benjamin married Sarah Manning and became involved with his father-in-law's mercantile business. Under political pressure in 1794, he left England and eventually settled in Hallowell, Maine. In Maine, Benjamin worked the land, was involved in real estate, and continued in the mercantile business.

William Oliver Vaughan (1783-1826) was the son of Benjamin and Sarah Manning Vaughan. William Oliver was a gentleman farmer, ship owner, and merchant, primarily involved in the export of lumber and fur, in exchange for various commodities from the West Indies and elsewhere. In 1806, William Oliver married Martha Agry (d. 1856) and they had seven children.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection is comprised of 143 letters and financial documents kept by Benjamin Vaughan and one account book kept by William Oliver Vaughan. The correspondence (19 items) dates from 1774 to 1830 and are related to business matters; many of the letters are fragments. The documents date from 1786 to 1803 and are largely miscellaneous receipts, accounts, and other financial records. The collection contains correspondence and documents respecting business deals, the purchase of goods, and debts; accounts; land agreements; a list of publications; a geometrical drawing; and recipes for industrial goods.

William Oliver Vaughan's account book for 1816 is a record of personal and business expenses. William wrote daily entries, many of which include his expenses. Most notes record only amounts paid or received, with the name of the other party. Some entries some provide information about products such as "Buffaloe skins," clothing, hay, beef, oil, flour, lumber, and various services. Vaughan also kept trip notes, such as for his frequent week-long visits to Boston; he included rates for the stage, food, lodging, and personal items. A few pages in November and October contain written receipts or IOU's signed by various persons to Vaughan.

The account book itself is partially a farmer's almanac for New England with 6 printed pages at the front with information about eclipses, military fines, college vacations, a simple interest table, medical lectures, and lists of local yearly and quarterly meetings of The Society of Friends. An illustrated printed page introduces each month, and displays a list of holidays, a quote about the month, and detailed astronomical calculations.

Subject Terms

  • Almanacs, American--Maine.
  • Fur trade--Maine--History--19th century.
  • Loans--United States--History.
  • Lumber trade.
  • Merchants--United States--History--19th century.
Genre Terms:
  • Account books.
  • Accounts.
  • Almanacs.
  • Financial records.
  • Promissory notes.
  • Receipts (financial records)

Contents List

Container / Location Title
Box   1 Folders   1-3
Benjamin Vaughan, Correspondence,  1774-1830 [series] (19 items)
Folders   4-12  
Benjamin Vaughan, Receipts, accounts, and other financial records,  1786-1803 [series] (124 items)
William Oliver Vaughan, account book,  1816 [series]     located in the back of the box 

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

Vaughan Family Papers, 1768-1950, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Benjamin Vaughan Papers, 1746-1900, American Philosophical Society.