Ames, Fisher, 1758-1808. Papers of Fisher Ames and the Ames and Fowler families, 1774-ca.
1900s: an inventory
Harvard University Archives
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: HUM 96
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Ames, Fisher, 1758-1808.
Title: Papers of Fisher Ames and the Ames and Fowler families, 1774-ca. 1900s.
Date(s): 1774- 1900s.
Quantity: .4 cubic feet (1 half-legal document box and 1 flat box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Fisher Ames (1758-1808) was a lawyer and a prominent Federalist statesman from Massachusetts.
Ames received an AB from Harvard in 1774, and he later served in the United States
Congress from 1789 to 1797. This collection contains an embroidered pocketbook, three
pieces of correspondence, and a handwritten political speech related to Fisher Ames
and the Ames family, and a brief handwritten genealogy of the Bayley family, two cabinet
card portraits, and a child's glove. The Ames family was related to the Bayley and
Fowler family through marriage.
This collection was received from the estate of Yolande J. Fowler in 2008.
These papers were received as an accession in 2008 and processed in 2011. Processing
involved a collection survey, re-housing in appropriate archival containers, and the
creation of this finding aid.
This finding aid was created by Diann Benti in July 2011.
Preservation and description of the Papers of Fisher Ames and the Ames and Fowler
families was supported, in part, by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
The Papers of Fisher Ames and the Ames and Fowler families are open for research.
Copying of fragile materials may be limited.
All of the papers have been digitized and are available online. Links accompany detailed
Ames, Fisher, 1758-1808. Papers of Fisher Ames and the Ames and Fowler families, 1774-ca.
1900s. HUM 96, Harvard University Archives.
In the American Antiquarian Society
- Ames, Fisher, 1758-1808. Letters, 1787-1795 (Mss. Misc. Boxes A).
In the Dedham Historical Society
- Ames Family Papers, 1654-1829.
In the Stanford University Libraries
- Ames Family Papers (M003).
Fisher Ames (1758-1808) was a lawyer and a prominent Federalist statesman from Massachusetts.
He was one of five children of Deborah Fisher Ames and Nathaniel Ames, author of the
successful Ames' Almanack.
Fisher Ames was born on April 9, 1758 in Dedham, Mass. He received an AB from Harvard
in 1774 and an AM in 1777. Ames was admitted to the Suffolk County bar in 1781 and
began practicing law in Dedham. In 1786, Ames wrote two series of letters to the Independent Chronicle, a Boston newspaper, assessing Shay's Rebellion, and became a Federalist spokesperson.
In 1788, Ames served as one of Dedham's representatives to the Massachusetts convention
to consider the ratification of the United States Constitution, and in the same year
was elected first to the Massachusetts General Court, and, then in December, to the
United States House of Representatives. Ames served in Congress from 1789 to 1797
as a staunch Federalist, and was well-known for his oratory skills. After retiring
from Congress due to failing health, Ames continued to support the Federalist Party
from his farm in Dedham. In 1806, the Harvard Corporation offered Ames the Presidency,
but he declined due to his failing health. Ames died on July 4, 1808.
Ames married Frances Worthington (1764-1837) of Springfield, Mass. on July 15, 1792.
The couple had six sons and a daughter: John Worthington, Nathaniel, Hannah, William,
Jeremiah, Seth, and Richard.
Fisher Ames's sister, Deborah (b. 1747), married the Rev. Samuel Shuttleworth (also
spelled Shuttlesworth) on January 1, 1792. Samuel Shuttleworth was born in Dedham
in 1751, and he graduated from Harvard in 1777. He taught school in Dedham before
moving to Windsor, Vermont in 1789. Shuttleworth preached in Windsor for a few years
before practicing law in the town. Shuttleworth died in 1834. Following Deborah's
death, Shuttleworth married Laura Benson, and their son, George (b. 1831), appears
to have married Harriet Amelia Bayley (1833-1898), the great-granddaughter of General
Jacob Bayley (1726-1815). Two of General Bayley's sons married sisters in the Fowler
family: Ephraim Bayley married Hannah Fowler, and Joshua Bayley married Anna Fowler.
- Fisher, Philip A. The Fisher genealogy:A record of the descendants of Joshua, Anthony, and Cornelius
Fisher, of Dedham, Mass., 1630-1640. Everett, Mass: Massachusetts Publishing Company, 1898.
- Jordon, John Woolf. Genealogical and Personal History of the Allegheny Valley, Pennsylvania. Vol. 1, Lewis Historical Publication Co., 1913.
- Wright, Condrad Edick and Edward W. Hanson. Biographical Sketches of those who attended Harvard College in the Classes of 1772-1774.
Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1999.
The collection is arranged in six series:
- Embroidered pocketbook, 1774
- Correspondence, 1792-1822
- Political speech, [ca. 1798]
- Cabinet cards, ca. 1880-1890
- Child's leather glove, ca. 1900s
- Genealogy, ca. 1900s
This collection contains three pieces of correspondence, a handwritten political speech,
a brief handwritten genealogy of the Bayley family, two cabinet card portraits, a
child's glove, and an embroidered pocketbook. Notably, the embroidered pocketbook,
correspondence, and political speech help document aspects of Fisher Ames' life as
a young man, brother, and Federalist orator. The correspondence was written by Ames
and his son John Worthington to Ames's sister and brother-in-law, Deborah and Samuel
Shuttleworth. While these items can be associated with the Ames family, their exact
relationship to the other items is unclear. The genealogy, photographs, and glove
are undated and unattributed and appear to have been created in the late 19th and
early 20th centuries. The collection was likely maintained by descendants of the Bayley
and Fowler families, with whom the Ames family appears to have been connected by marriage.
The titles in this collection were supplied by the cataloger.
This document last updated 2016 August 11.
- Series: Embroidered pocketbook, 1774 .01 cubic feet (1 items) HUM 96 Box 1, Item 1,
Date: 1774 Embroidered pocketbook, 1774
Scope and Contents
: This series contains one rectangular, embroidered pocketbook with foldover flaps embroidered
with wool thread in green, red, blue, purple, and cream colors. The interior is lined
with pink silk and has cardboard inserts. "FISHER AMES 1774" is embroidered on one
of the interior flaps of the wallet. This object was most likely made for Fisher Ames
by a female member of his family or a friend, possibly to commemorate his graduation
from Harvard in 1774. A child's leather glove that was inserted in one of the pockets
is also housed in HUM 96 Box 1.
The embroidery is faded and the lining is ripped.
- Series: Correspondence, 1792-1822 .03 cubic feet (3 folders)
Scope and Contents: This series contains three personal letters between Fisher Ames, his son John Worthington,
and his sister and brother-in-law, Deborah and Samuel Shuttleworth that discuss family
and community-related topics. The 1792 letter from Fisher Ames to Samuel Shuttleworth
discusses Ames's marriage to Francis Worthington, and Ames's 1805 letter to his sister
Deborah provides updates on the health of his children, the weather, and local news
from Dedham. The third letter is an incomplete fragment of an 1822 letter from John
Ames to his uncle, Samuel Shuttleworth.
- Letter from Fisher Ames to Samuel Shuttleworth, 1792 July 21 HUM 96 Box 2, Folder 1,
Date: 1792 July 21 Letter from Fisher Ames to Samuel Shuttleworth, 1792 July 21
Scope and Contents: Two folio-sized pages containing a three-page handwritten letter from Fisher Ames
in Springfield, Mass. to his brother-in-law, Samuel Shuttleworth. The letter discusses
Ames's marriage to Frances Worthington on July 15, 1792. The letter is torn.
- Letter from Fisher Ames to Deborah Ames Shuttleworth, 1805 August 27 HUM 96 Box 2, Folder 2,
Date: 1805 August 27 Letter from Fisher Ames to Deborah Ames Shuttleworth, 1805 August 27
Scope and Contents: One folded sheet containing a two-page letter from Fisher Ames in Dedham, Mass. to
his sister "Debby" in Windsor, Vermont. Ames provides updates on the health of his
children and individuals in the community, and discusses the summer heat, including
mention of the likelihood of dysentery, and his attendance at "Mr. Montagu's Church,"
referring to the Dedham Episcopal Church presided over by Reverend William Montague.
- Letter from John Ames to Samuel Shuttleworth (fragment), 1822 July 22 HUM 96 Box 2, Folder 3,
Date: 1822 July 22 Letter from John Ames to Samuel Shuttleworth (fragment), 1822 July 22
Scope and Contents: Fragments of a one-page handwritten letter from John Ames (1793-1833) in Dedham to
his uncle, Samuel Shuttleworth in Windsor, Vermont. The fragments contain some incomplete
lines of text, including a note of the church attendance of "Aunt Ames."
- Series: Political speech, [ca. 1798] .01 cubic feet (1 boxes) HUM 96 Box 2, Folder 4,
Date: 1798 Political speech, [ca. 1798]
Scope and Contents
: Paper notebook containing a twenty-page handwritten political speech bound with a
ribbon. The document is undated and unattributed, but the text promotes a Federalist
ideology that praises the "great and immortal Washington," reflects on the patriots
of the Revolutionary War and the United States Constitution, and references Napoleon
and the "war which exists in Europe." The text begins, "If Ancient and modern nations
have been proud of their Heroes & states-men--and by celebrations and monuments have
endeavored to perpetuate their form, & preserve the memory of great events--shall
we be considered enthusiastic and vain, if we commemorate the day, which gave birth
to our empire..."
The speech may have been written for the July 4, 1798 celebration that Ames sponsored
in Dedham to rally support for the Federalist Party in the face of growing political
tensions with the Republican Party over an appropriate response to increasing tensions
- Series: Child's leather glove, ca. 1900s .01 cubic feet (1 items) HUM 96 Box 1, Item 2,
Date: 1900s Child's leather glove, ca. 1900s
Scope and Contents: This series contains one right-handed, child-sized leather glove with a snap button
labeled "Meyers Make." The glove's seams have hand-sewn embroidery with red and orange
thread. The glove was found in the pocket of the embroidered pocketbook and the items
are housed together in HUM 96 Box 1.
Biographical / Historical: The "Louis Meyers and Son" kid glove company existed from 1864 to 1963.
- Series: Genealogy, ca. 1900s .02 cubic feet (2 folders)
Date: 1900s Genealogy, ca. 1900s
Scope and Contents: This six-page handwritten genealogy of the Bailey family beginning with John Bayley
(dued 1659) of Chippingham, England traces approximately four generations of family
members born into the late-18th century. John Bailey (born 1765) is identified as
"our grandfather." The genealogy does not include dates.
Processing Information: The pages were removed from a binder and the binder and pages housed in separate folders.
- Genealogy HUM 96 Box 2 Folder 7
- Binder HUM 96 Box 2 Folder 8