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Mss:766 1843-1864

Newton, Benjamin. Benjamin Newton Business Records, 1836-1864: A Finding Aid

Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University


Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Mss:766 1843-1864
Repository: Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Creator: Benjamin Newton
Title: Benjamin Newton business records
Date(s): 1836-1864
Quantity: 3 linear feet (2 boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The business records of China trader Captain Benjamin Newton includes financial records and correspondence detailing his business dealings, 1836-1864.


Gift of Charles H. Taylor

Processing Information:

Processed: November 2011
By: Benjamin Johnson

Conditions Governing Access:

Some material may be stored offsite. Please contact histcollref@hbs.edu for more information.

Preferred Citation:

Cite as: Benjamin Newton Business Records. Baker Library Historical Collections. Harvard Business School.

Biographical Note:

Benjamin Newton was a native of Newport, Rhode Island. He acted in the capacity of supercargo and roving merchant for cargoes of many vessels rather than as master of a single ship. In1844-1845, he sailed with the Huntress to Canton and there helped disposeof her cargo. In 1847-1849 and 1849-1850 the Talbot sailed underCapt. Story and Capt. Blish to Singapore while Newton traveled byan overland route through Europe and met the ship at Singapore to sellits cargo. He did the same when the Esther sailed to Canton underCaptain Stevens in 1850. Newton acted as a sort of roving agent for the New York commission merchant Gordon & Talbot and the closely aligned Canton merchant firm Olyphant & Co. The founding partners in both Gordon & Talbot and Olyphant & Co. were also Newport families and it's mostly likely this connection that brought Newton to China. By 1852, Newton was back in the United States, first in Newport and later in New York City. Newton's brother James and his nephew John partnered in a San Francisco, California wholesale dry goods and commission business which Benjamin helped facilitate through his connections with Augustine Heard & Co.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Scope and Content Note:

The papers of China trader Captain Benjamin Newton, 1836-1864 contain correspondence and financial information relating to his business dealings in China and New York. Capt. Newton worked forthe commission merchant firm Gordon & Talbot of New York and had close business associations with Olyphant & Sons and Augustine Heard& Co., both of Canton, China. The collection is composed of business letters,charters, agreements, account sales, accounts current, invoices, billsfor cargoes and bills of lading.The memoranda are miscellaneous notes on cargoes, prices of goods,and articles to be purchased for friends.The correspondence includes personal letters, most of them from members of the Newtonfamily including nephew John B. Newton and brothers Edward and James R. Newton. Also included are letters from Benjamin Newton to his parents and brothers describing events and happenings on his voyages and news from abroad.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Commission merchants.
Export marketing.
Bills of lading.
Boston (Mass.)--Commerce--China.
Newton, Edward.
Newton, James R.
Newton, John B.
Augustine Heard & Co.
Gordon & Talbot.
J.R. Newton & Co.
Olyphant & Co.