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Langdon family papers


The Langdon family papers (MS040) reflect the financial management of the Governor John Langdon House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, by husband and wife, Woodbury Langdon (1837-1921) and Elizabeth (Elwyn) Langdon (1871-1945). Comprised mostly of checkbook registers and invoices for goods received and services rendered, the collection provides insight into the daily life of the Langdon household during the early twentieth century. The collection is arranged in three series.


In 1947, Historic New England acquired the Governor John Langdon House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, through the bequest of Elizabeth (Elwyn) Langdon (1871-1945). The papers within the house at the time of purchase formed the bases of the collection: Langdon manuscript collection (now MS040).

Update: 2013-2014

In 2013-2014, through a National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant (Award Number: NAR13-RH-50051-13: "Family Manuscript Collections: Expanding Online Access to New England Heritage Project"), twenty-six Historic New England manuscript collections of family papers were re-evaluated and processed/reprocessed to meet current archival standards and "best practices;" corresponding finding aids were created/updated to be DACS-compliant and converted into electronic Microsoft Word document form; and the finding aids were made accessible/searchable online through the use of the Minisis M2A archival database of the Minisis Collections Management System. The Langdon family papers (MS040) were part of the grant project.

Prior to the 2013-2014 collection processing, the Langdon family papers (MS040) were comprised of three file boxes (approx. 1.25 linear ft.) containing bound checkbook registers, a financial logbook, invoices, and an estate inventory. During processing, the collection was arranged according to record type; most of the original folder titles for the invoices were retained; checkbook registers were placed in folders and labeled accordingly; related folders were combined or rearranged, as applicable; and brief research was engaged to create a biographical/ historical sketch and genealogy. Preservation issues were identified and basic preservation methods were applied, as applicable; and oversize material was rehoused appropriately (or materials were interleafed within file boxes), as applicable. The collection was rehoused (in acid-free folders and boxes), numbered, labeled, barcoded, and stored accordingly; subsequent accessions were tracked and noted with their corresponding items; and related collections held by Historic New England and other repositories were researched and noted. A DACS-compliant, electronic 2010-2013 Microsoft Word document finding aid was created (with corresponding paper finding aid) and entered into the collection record in the Minisis M2A online database.

NOTE: Processing/updating the collection and making the finding aid accessible online were made possible through grants from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (Award Number: NAR13-RH-50051-13), the Bedford Family Foundation, and an anonymous donor.


Collection Name
Langdon family papers
Collection Code
Checkbook registers, invoices, a financial logbook, and an estate inventory, related to the financial management of the Governor John Langdon House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, by Woodbury Langdon (1837-1921) and Elizabeth (Elwyn) Langdon (1871-1945).\n
Acquisition Type
Date of Acquisition
Physical Description
Family papers: 2.09 linear feet (5 file boxes) plus 2 oversize folders
Finding Aid Info
An electric finding aid is available through Historic new England's Collections Access Portal. A paper finding aid is available in the Library and Archives.
Collection Type
Description Level
Custodial History
·1947 - Acquisition of the Governor John Langdon House, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and all its contents through the bequest of Elizabeth (Elwyn) Langdon (1871-1945)

Credit Line
Bequest of Elizabeth (Elwyn) Langdon, 1947
Reference Code

Historical/Biographical Note

John Langdon (1741-1819) was a naval merchant, politician, and four-term Governor of New Hampshire. The Governor John Langdon House was built in 1784. Langdon and his family occupied the house until the governor's death in 1819. Daughter Elizabeth Langdon Elwyn (1777-1860) returned to the house after the death of her husband Thomas Elwyn (1775-1816) and resided there until 1833. The house was owned by several people outside of the Langdon family until 1877 when the property was purchased by Woodbury Langdon (1836-1921), a descendant of John Langdon's brother, Woodbury Langdon (1739-1805). The house functioned as a home for Woodbury Langdon's (1836-1921) mother, Frances Cutter Langdon Bassett (d. 1902), until her death in 1902 when the house reverted back to Woodbury Langdon (1836-1921). In 1904, Langdon deeded the house to his wife and third cousin, Elizabeth (Elwyn) Langdon (1871-1945) whom he married in September 1896. (Elizabeth (Elwyn) Langdon was the great granddaughter of John Langdon (1741-1819)). Upon her husband's death, Elizabeth (Elwyn) Langdon deeded the house to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, now Historic New England. Historic New England acquired the house in 1947, although, Elizabeth (Elwyn) Langdon's sister, Helen Kremer (dates unknown), maintained life rights to the house until her death in 1955.

Material within MS040 "Langdon House History," accessed November 15, 2013, Langdon research files New Hampshire Births and Christenings Index, 1714-1904 ( New Hampshire Marriage and Divorce Records, 1659-1947 ( Charles Henry Browning, Americans of Royal Descent: Collection of Genealogies of American Families Whose Lineage is Traced to the Legitimate Issue of Kings, 2nd edition (Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, 1891) William Richard Cutter, New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1913) Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, Vol. IV (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1907) Genealogy of the Eustis Family (Boston: David Clapp and Son, 1878) John Wentworth, The Wentworth Genealogy: English and American Vol. 1 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1878)

Material in other collections

Papers of John Langdon and the Langdon-Elwyn family. Library, New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord, New Hampshire.

John Langdon, William Whipple and Elwyn Family Papers, 1713-1965 (MS050). Archives, Portsmouth Athenaeum, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.


The collection is arranged in three series: Series I. Checkbook registers and financial logbook. Series II. Estate inventory. Series III. Invoices.

*Collection housing/storage code: #x.x=file box (i.e., #1.2= file box 1, folder 2); C=carton; FB=folio box; FF=fragile files; MB=multi-purpose box; OB=oversize box/folder; OV=oversize volume; VF=vertical files/flat files

Record details

Langdon Family
Other People
Langdon, Elizabeth Langdon (Elwyn), 1871-1945
Langdon, John, 1741-1819
Langdon, Woodbury, 1837-1921
Descriptive Terms
account books
bills of sale
estate inventories
financial records
Material Type
family papers
Portsmouth (Rockingham county, New Hampshire)
Newington (Rockingham county, New Hampshire)
Places (Buildings)
Governor John Langdon House (Portsmouth, N.H.)
This collection is available for research. Unrestricted except for #1.1-1.21, and 2.1, which require handling with care.

Location Note
HGO-02-105-A-E-204; HGO-02-105-A-E-105
Accruals Note
Accruals are not expected.
Conservation Note
See Scope and Content note.
Language Note
Materials in English.
Preferred Citation
[Item identification.] Langdon family papers (MS040). Historic New England, Library and Archives.
Processing Information
·2013 December: Originally processed by Rebecca M. Fullerton, volunteer; with assistance from Bridgette A. Woodall, project archivist; and Jennifer Pustz, museum historian

Rules and Conventions
This finding aid is DACS-compliant.

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