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Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Fr 501.1
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Merlino de Saint Pry, Bennette Claude.
Title: Bennette Claude Merlino de Saint Pry papers and Treat family papers,
Quantity: 1 collection (2 linear feet (4 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in French, English, and Italian.
Abstract: Papers of Boston merchant Bennette Claude Merlino de Saint Pry, and his relations in the Treat family.
Bennette Claude Merlino de Saint Pry [or sometimes written "Merlino de St. Pry"] was a French merchant in Boston from circa 1771-1783, when he returned to France, fell ill and died about 1785. He was a native of Lyons, France and was descended from Italian, Spanish and French families. Bennette was married to Elizabeth Gyles. Bennette Merlino de Saint Pry was friends with the Marquis de Lafayette (Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier Lafayette, 1757-1834). Bennette's daughter was Helena Merlino de Saint Pry Treat (1779-1845), the second wife of Captain Samuel Treat (1750-1806), married circa 1800. Helena and Samuel had a son, James Augustus Treat (1806-1887; Harvard AB 1832) who was the father of John Harvey Treat (1839-1908; Harvard AB 1862), the donor of these papers.Source: The Treat Family by John Harvey Treat. Salem Press: 1893.
See published account of Saint Pry by John Harvey Treat, The Treat Family (Salem, Mass., 1893), 279-283. In this text, Treat mentions these family papers which he used to write his account.
Arranged into the following series:
- I. Bennette Merlino de Saint Pry papers, chronological
- II. Bennette Merlino de Saint Pry papers, alphabetical
- III. Treat family papers
Contains letters, memoranda, agreements, invoices, receipts, account statements and other material concerning Bennette Claude Merlino de Saint Pry. Merlino de Saint Pry was a shipping merchant who was delivering goods to the Boston and Newburyport area, some from the West Indies. He also owned a saltworks in Maine and there are papers here concerning that enterprise. Most of the papers were sorted into groupings by family members and these groups were retained when possible. Much of these earlier papers are fragments, many very faint and hard to read.Also included are papers of Saint Pry's daughter, Helena Merlino de Saint Pry Treat (1779-1845) and a few of her husband Captain Samuel Treat. Among these papers are letters concerning Helena's efforts to regain her inheritance held by France. Apparently Albert Gallatin and the Marquis de Lafayette, as well as many others, assisted her to regain this fortune.
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