Skip to content

Search Collections

Phillips family papers. Stephen Henry Phillips (1823-1897) papers


The Stephen Henry Phillips (1823-1897) papers (MS045) reflect the personal, social and professional life of Stephen Henry Phillips of Salem, Massachusetts. Included in the collection are papers relating to his organizational affiliations; finances; investments; professional work as a lawyer, legal consultant, and as Attorney General of Massachusetts and of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The collection also includes school papers from Harvard University, correspondence, and speeches. The collection is arranged in eight series.


In 1996, the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation acquired the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust for Historic Preservation House (now the Phillips House), in Salem, Massachusetts, from Bessie "Betty" Gertrude (Wright) Phillips (1906-1996), wife of Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971). In 2006, Historic New England acquired the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust for Historic Preservation House (now the Phillips House) at 34 Chestnut Street in Salem, Massachusetts, from the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation. The papers contained within the house at the time of Historic New England's acquisition formed the bases of the collection: Phillips family papers (now MS051). Portions of the Phillips family papers (MS051) had been divided into smaller collections and partially processed and/or inventoried by the staff of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust for Historic Preservation House (now the Phillips House): Phillips Family Papers, 1770-1909: Guide to the Collection (now MS051); Anna P. Phillips Collection (now MS043); Stephen Phillips Collection (now MS044); Inventory of Stephen Willard Phillips Papers: Unprocessed Collection (now MS046); and Duncan Family Papers: Finding Aid (now MS047 and MS048).

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 Stephen Henry Phillips (1823-1897) papers (MS045) were part of the grant project.

During the 2013-2014 collection processing, materials were sorted according to record types and/or topic; a rudimentary arrangement scheme was applied to the collection; folder titles were created; and the collection was housed in legal-size, acid-free folders and boxes. Most of the papers throughout the collection were removed from envelopes (if applicable), unfolded, and flattened; most oversize material was rehoused appropriately (or interleafed within file boxes, as applicable); and a few fragile and vulnerable items were placed in enclosures or interleafed within folders, as appropriate. Folders and boxes were numbered, labeled, barcoded, and stored accordingly. Scope and content notes were created; brief research was engaged to create a biographical/ historical sketch; 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
Phillips family papers. Stephen Henry Phillips (1823-1897) papers
Collection Code
1828-1897, undated
Business cards, calling/visiting cards; case files; club/committee records; correspondence; ephemera; financial records; journals; legal documents; notebooks; printed material; and speeches; reflecting the personal and public life of Stephen Henry Phillips (1823-1897) of Salem, Massachusetts.
Date of Acquisition
Physical Description
6.42 linear ft. (13 file boxes, 1 carton, plus 3 multi-purpose boxes and 2 oversize folders)
Finding Aid Info
An electronic 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
·2006: Acquisition of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust for Historic Preservation House (now the Phillips House), in Salem, Massachusetts, and all of its contents to Historic New England from the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation
Credit Line
Acquired from the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation, 2006\n
Reference Code

Historical/Biographical Note

Stephen Henry Phillips (1823-1897) was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on August 16, 1823, the eldest son of Stephen Clarendon Phillips (1801-1857) and his first wife Jane Appleton (Peele) Phillips (1802-1837). Phillips graduated from Harvard in 1842 and Harvard Law School in 1845. He entered the office of the Honorable Benjamin R. Curtis of Boston and was admitted to the Suffolk Bar in 1846. In 1850 Phillips moved his office and law practice to Salem. He subsequently served for two years as District Attorney of Essex County and the Eastern Division (1851-1853). From 1856-1857 he served as city solicitor of Salem, followed by election as Attorney General of Massachusetts, an office he held for three years. While in office, he was appointed Judge Advocate General of the Massachusetts Militia. He left Salem in 1866 when King Kamehameha V appointed him Attorney General of the Hawaiian Government.

After Kamehameha's death in 1873, Phillips returned to the United States and established a law practice in San Francisco, California. He had married Margaret Duncan (1847-1926) of Haverhill in 1871. The couple had two sons, Stephen Willard Phillips (1873-1955) and James Duncan Phillips (1876-1954). Phillips and his family returned to Massachusetts in 1881 where he continued to practice law. Stephen Henry Phillips died on April 8, 1897.

Material within MS045 D. Hamilton Hurd, History of Essex County, Massachusetts with Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis and Co., 1888) Memorials of the Essex Bar Association (Salem, Mass.: Newcomb and Gauss, 1900)


The collection is arranged in eight series: Series I. Clubs and organizations. Series II. Correspondence. Series III. Financial records: accounts and receipts. Series IV. Financial records: other financial records. Series V. Other papers. Series VI. Professional papers. Series VII. School papers: Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Series VIII. Speeches.

*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

Phillips, Stephen Henry, 1823-1897
Other People
Duncan, Mary Willis, 1805-1888
Phillips, George W. (George William), 1827-
Phillips, James Duncan, 1876-1954
Phillips, Margaret Duncan
Phillips, Margaret Peele, 1835-1864
Phillips, Stephen C. (Stephen Clarendon), 1801-1857
Phillips, Stephen H. (Stephen Henry), 1823-1897
Phillips, Stephen Willard, 1873-1955
Phillips, Willard P. (Willard Peele), 1825-1901
Sanger, George P., 1819-1890
Other Organizations
Alfred Appleton Trust and Estate
Baldwin Hotel
Bar Association of San Francisco
Bay State Mutual Fire Insurance Company
Boston and Maine Railroad
California Academy of Sciences
California. Supreme Court
Dividend Collection Service
Equitable Life Insurance Company
Essex Company (Lawrence, Mass.)
Essex Railroad
Harvard Club of San Francisco (Calif.)
Harvard College (1780- )
Harvard University
Home Market Club (Boston, Mass.)
Independent Congregational Church, in Barton Square (Salem, Mass.)
New England Historic Genealogical Society
Peabody Institute (Danvers, Mass.)
Prospect Gold and Silver Mining Company
Salem Amateur Orchestra (Salem, Mass.)
Seaman's Orphan Society
Shakespeare Society
Union Club of Boston
World Mutual Life Insurance Company
Descriptive Terms
civil court records
clippings (information artifacts)
clubs (associations)
estate records
financial records
ledgers (account books)
legal documents
military records
powers of attorney
Material Type
personal papers
Beverly (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Cambridge (Middlesex county, Massachusetts)
Danvers (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Hawaii (United States)
Marblehead (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Peabody (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Salem (Essex county, Massachusetts)
San Francisco (San Francisco county, California)
Places (Buildings)
Stephen Phillips House (Salem, Mass.)
·This collection is available for research. Arrangements to access the collection must be made in advance.
·Note: due to aging materials and condition of the materials, the whole of the collection requires handling with care.

Location Note
HAV-01-701-C-F-101; HAV-01-701-C-F-102; HAV-01-701-C-G-103; HAV-01-701-C-G-201; HAV-01-701-X-X-xxx

Related Items
Phillips family papers. Anna Pingree (Wheatland) Phillips (1870-1938) papers
Phillips family papers. Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971) papers
Phillips family papers. Stephen Willard Phillips (1873-1955) papers
Phillips family papers. James Duncan Phillips (1876-1954) papers
Phillips family papers. Margaret (Duncan) Phillips (1847-1926) papers
Phillips family papers. Nannie Jencks (Borden) Phillips (1877-1963) papers
Phillips family papers. Stephen Clarendon Phillips (1801-1857) papers
Phillips family papers. Papers of other Phillips family members
Phillips family film collection, 1925-mid-1940s
Accruals Note
Accruals are not expected.
Language Note
Materials in English
Preferred Citation
[Item identification.] Phillips family papers. Stephen Henry Phillips (1823-1897) papers (MS045). Historic New England, Library and Archives.
Processing Information
2014 July: Originally processed by Alyssa Ramirez, archives assistant; with assistance from Bridgette A. Woodall, project archivist; and Jennifer Pustz, museum historian

Rules and Conventions
Finding aid is DACS-compliant.

Browse Collection

Use the links below to browse up and down the collection hierarchy from the current record.