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Hiram Putnam papers

 Collection
Identifier: MRBC-MS-00056

Scope and Contents

The papers of Hiram Putnam and his wife Elizabeth Osgood include their correspondence, bills of lading related to the South American and China trade (1823-1829) and other business documents. There are account books, including one that has accounts and letter book from Putnam's time on the high seas (1813-1816). Some letters relate to his business and political interests in Syracuse, NY, especially those related to the public schools.

There is correspondence related to Dudley Post Phelps of a personal and religious nature (relative to the true nature of Jesus Christ) and his poetry. There are also annotated copies of his: The Phelps record (Syracuse, N.Y., 1885), a genealogy of the Phelps family.

In addition, there is correspondence received by Samuel Holten, Hiram Putnam's maternal grandfather, relative to the U.S. Continental Congress from John Avery, James Lovell and Azor Orne, as well as copies (or drafts) of Holten's letters to Richard Henry Less, Col. Enoch Putnam, Dr. A. Putnam, William Carmichael, Moody Spofford and Azor Orne.

Dates of Materials

  • 1780-1885

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Hiram Putnam was born in Danvers, Mass., on Jan. 30, 1786. He went to sea in 1802 and by 1812 was a ship's captain. He was involved with trade to European and South American ports, as well as with the China trade, until 1827. This included time on the ships Aurora and Rising Empire, and for ten years he was the captain of the ship China, of Salem, owned by Joseph Peabody. Capt. Putnam married Elizabeth Osgood in 1816, the daughter of Dr. George Osgood, of Andover, Mass. There were five children born to this marriage.

The Putnams moved to Syracuse, N.Y. in 1829, where Mr. Putnam was involved with business ventures and civic positions. From 1833-1846 he was in partnership with Thomas B. Fitch in the wholesale and retail drug business. Together these two men also engaged in real estate ventures and brought some 220 acres of land into the city limits of Syracuse. He was also involved with banking interests. Mr. Putnam served on various town boards and was instrumental in developing public education in Syracuse. He also was involved with anti-slavery groups and the underground railroad. In 1838 Mr. Putnam helped in forming the Syracuse Unitarian Society and in the founding of the Church of the Messiah (later re-named the May Memorial Unitarian and Universalist Society). The 1885 church building (now demolished) contained a memorial window to Hiram Putnam.

Elizabeth Putnam died on July 28, 1848. At that time three children were alive: Charles H., who lived in Michigan; E. Augustus, who lived in Syracuse; and Lucy Blythe, who was married to Dudley Post Phelps and also lived in Syracuse. Mr. Putnam lived with the Phelps in his later years and died in their home on Nov. 8, 1874.

Lucy Blythe Putnam (born in Salem, Mass., June 4, 1826) married Dudley Post Phelps on Sep. 3, 1845 in Syracuse. Mr. Phelps was born at Preble, N.Y., Oct. 8, 1817. He was by training an attorney, but was largely involved with the Syracuse and Utica Railroad from the early 1840s until the spring of 1852. From April 1856 to May 1860 he was involved with the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad Company and from 1861 to 1878 was employed in various banking establishments in Syracuse. In addition, Mr. Phelps served on various civic boards. He died on Sep. 25, 1880. Lucy Blythe died June 17, 1907 at Cazenovia, N.Y.

Extent

0.875 linear feet (2 containers)

Abstract

The papers of Hiram Putnam and his wife Elizabeth Osgood. Includes correspondence, bills of lading related to the China trade (1823-1829) and other business documents; account books; and letters relating to his business and political interests in Syracuse, NY, especially those related to the public schools. There is also correspondence related to Dudley Post Phelps of a personal and religious nature and his poetry; copies of The Phelps record (Syracuse, N.Y., 1885), a genealogy of the Phelps family; and correspondence to Samuel Holten, related to the U.S. Continental Congress from John Avery, James Lovell and Azor Orne.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into four series:

  1. I. SAMUEL HOLTEN LETTERS, 1780-1796
  2. II. HIRAM AND ELIZABETH PUTNAM LETTERS, 1800-1856
  3. III. BUSINESS PAPERS AND MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS, 1813-1874
  4. IV. DUDLEY P. AND LUCY PHELPS PAPERS, 1852-1885

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Hiram Putnam Papers were donated to Smith College in 1952 by Wilhelmina Phelps, granddaughter of Hiram Putnam.

Related Material

Joseph Peabody papers at the Philips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass

Processing Information

Processed by Melvin Carlson, Jr., 2007

Title
Hiram Putnam papers
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Melvin Carlson, Jr.
Date
2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)

Repository Details

Part of the Mortimer Rare Book Collection Repository

Contact:
Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063