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Mss:766 1782-1805 D264

Thomas & William Davis. Thomas & William Davis records, 1782-1846 (inclusive), 1782-1805 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University

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Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Mss:766 1782-1805 D264
Repository: Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Creator: Thomas & William Davis
Title: Thomas & William Davis records
Date(s): 1782-1846
Date(s): 1782-1805
Quantity: 1.26 linear feet (3 boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: This collection contains the records of Plymouth, Massachusetts, father-and-son merchants Thomas (1722-1785) and William Davis (1758-1826), dating from 1782 to 1825. Records include correspondence from merchants, agents, and ship captains, related to the operation of a general store in Plymouth, and the import and export of commodities in the West Indies and Europe; bills, invoices, and accounts current; and a small amount of outgoing correspondence of Thomas & William Davisrelated to business and legal matters. There is also a copy of the will of LeBaron Bradford, Thomas Davis's son-in-law, dated in 1846.

Provenance:

Gift of William Davis, 1932, 1934.

Processing Information:

Processed: May 2016
By: Brooke McManus
Preservation and description were supported in part by the Arcadia-funded Colonial North American Project at Harvard University.

Processing Information:

The Thomas & William Davis records were previously arranged in seven "volumes," and subdivided by document type, such as "store letters," "shipping letters," and "foreign letters." While most of the collection was rehoused, the order of the records and original folder titles were retained.

Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is open for research.
Materials stored onsite. Please contact histcollref@hbs.edu for more information.

Preferred Citation:

Cite as: Thomas & William Davis records. Baker Library. Harvard Business School.

Biographical Note:

Thomas & William Davis was a father-and-son mercantile firm and import/export business in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which traded goods including fish, salt, sugar, and iron, in the West Indies and Europe from approximately 1782 to 1825.
Thomas Davis (1722-1785) and his son, William Davis (1758-1826), operated a general store in Plymouth, and owned ships including the Harmony, the Hope, and the Miles Standish, which exported commodities, primarily fish, in addition to salt, rum, nails, iron, sugar, cloth, anchor palms, tea, and coffee, to the West Indies, Portugal, Spain, and France. Their ships, which sailed from Davis Wharf, imported goods such as molasses and hemp. The Harmony, a schooner captained by Nathaniel Carver (1740-1815), was captured, and later released, by British commander Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) in Massachusetts Bay, in 1782, and after the American Revolutionary War ended, she was again detained by the British in Nova Scotia for improper registration. After Thomas Davis died in 1785, his son continued to operate the business under the same name until his death in 1826.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Scope and Content Note:

This collection contains the records of Plymouth, Massachusetts, father-and-son merchants Thomas (1722-1785) and William Davis (1758-1826), dating from 1782 to 1825. Records include correspondence from merchants, agents, and ship captains, related to the operation of a general store in Plymouth, and the import and export of commodities in the West Indies and Europe; bills, invoices, and accounts current; and a small amount of outgoing correspondence of Thomas & William Davis related to business and legal matters. There is also a copy of the will of LeBaron Bradford, Thomas Davis's son-in-law, dated in 1846.
The correspondence from merchants and agents, including Daniel Sargent (1764-1842), Andrew Leach (1753-1820), and Nathaniel Russell, relate to buying and selling goods out of the general store operated by Thomas & William Davis, in addition to their import/export business. Correspondence from merchants and agents in foreign ports like Lisbon, Portugal, and Bilbao, Spain, concern the market for American goods, and prices they were able to negotiate for commodities sold by Thomas & William Davis. These letters often include discussion of the impact on French Revolutionary Wars on trade and prices. Correspondence from ship captains including Nathaniel Carver (1740-1815) and Eliphalet Holbrook, concern progress of voyages carrying the cargo of Thomas & William Davis to the West Indies and Europe, disposal of the freight upon arrival, and the confiscation or detention of their ships.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Accounting and price fluctuations.
Accounts payable.
Capture at sea.
Coastwise shipping -- 18th century.
Commerce -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
Export marketing -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
First Coalition, War of the, 1792-1797.
Fish trade -- Europe -- 18th century.
Fish trade -- United States -- 18th century.
General stores -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
Import marketing -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
Merchants -- Massachusetts -- Plymouth -- 18th century.
Retail trade -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
Seizure of vessels and cargoes.
Shipment of goods.
Shipping -- 18th century.
Ships -- Cargo.
Bills of lading.
Certificates.
Correspondence.
Invoices.
Deeds.
Receipts (financial records).
Wills.
Bilbao (Spain)
Cadiz (Spain)
Lisbon (Portugal)
Plymouth (Mass.)
Carver, Nathaniel, 1740-1815.
Cushing, Nathaniel, 1762-1827.
Davis, Thomas, 1722-1785.
Davis, Thomas, 1756-1805.
Davis, William, 1758-1826.
Holbrook, Eliphalet.
Leach, Andrew, 1753-1820.
Lincoln, Benjamin, 1733-1810.
Russell, Nathaniel.
Sargent, Daniel, 1764-1842.
Harmony (Schooner)
Hope (Schooner)
Miles Standish (Schooner)
Thomas & William Davis.
Thomas Dickason & Co.
Wales & Clopper.

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