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MS Am 579, MS Am 580MS Am 579, MS Am 580

Bourne family. Bourne family papers, 1687-1791: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: f, b
Call No.: MS Am 579, MS Am 580
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Bourne
Title: Bourne family papers
Date(s): 1687-1791
Date(s): 1730-1791
Quantity: 3 linear feet (11 volumes and 1 box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Primarily correspondence and papers relating to shipping and military activities of the Boston and Barnstable, Massachusetts-based Bourn family (or Bourne family).

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Gift of Judge Joseph M. Day, of Barnstable, Mass.; received: 1896 April 29.

Processing Information:

Finding aid reworked by Bonnie B. Salt, March 2015.
Items have been bound into volumes to form this collection. An index was orginally created and organized alphabetically (see end of finding aid). This index was reorganized in 2015 to produce this volume listing. There is a brief general index separately bound (MS Am 580), with a typescript index to each volume bound into the front of the volume.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Bourne Family Papers, 1687-1791 (MS Am 579-580). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Sylvanus Bourn or Bourne (1694-1763), his son Melatiah Bourn (1722-1778) and grandson Sylvanus Bourn (1761-1817) were successful merchants. Arthur St. Clair (1734-1818) married Balthazar Bayard's daughter; he was a member of the Continental Congress, 1786-1787, and its president in 1787. Samuel Sturgis (1706-1767) was a merchant and notary public for the port of Barnstable. Nathaniel Holmes (1703-1774) operated a distillery with domestic and foreign trade ventures. Joseph Gorham (1725-1790) was an army officer and officer-holder, born in Barnstable, Massachusetts.


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

Chiefly letters, accounts, deeds, wills, bills of exchange, powers of attorney, and other business papers relating to shipping and military activities of the Bourn(e) family in Boston and Barnstable, Massachusetts. Also contains letters and papers concerning families related to the Bourn(e) family by marriage: the Balthazar Bayard family, the James Bowdoin family and estate, the Helena Dekey estate, the Arthur St. Clair family, the Samuel Sturgis family. Includes extensive correspondence of Nathaniel Holmes and Joseph Gorham.
General index to this collection (MS Am 580) is bound and shelved with the Houghton Reading Room reference collection and an electronic version of this index is available at the end of the finding aid. A typescript index to each volume is also bound in at the front of each volume. The reference numbers in the index below refer to the volume and specifc page within the collection.

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