Phillips family papers. Stephen Clarendon Phillips (1801-1857) papers
The Stephen Clarendon Phillips (1801-1857) papers (MS050) reflect the personal, business, and political life of Stephen Clarendon Phillips of Salem, Massachusetts. The majority of the collection is comprised of Phillips' personal correspondence; Phillips' estate papers; and business records relating to Phillips' railroad endeavors. A few of the papers focus on Phillips' political interests, including his ties to the Free Soil Party as well as his opposition to the annexation of Texas. The collection is arranged in two 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).
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 Clarendon Phillips (1801-1857) papers (MS050) 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 Clarendon Phillips (1801-1857) papers
- Collection Code
- 1814-1887, undated
- Business records; estate papers; invitations; a proclamation; personal correspondence; political papers; printed material; and writs; reflecting the personal and public life of Stephen Clarendon Phillips (1801-1857) of Salem, Massachusetts.
- Date of Acquisition
- Physical Description
2.92 linear ft. (7 file boxes)
- 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
Stephen Clarendon Phillips (1801-1857) was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on November 4, 1801. He was the only child of Captain Stephen Phillips (1764-1838), a captain, ship master, and merchant, and his wife Dorcas (Woodbridge) Phillips (1774-1803). Phillips graduated from Harvard College in 1819 and immediately began working as a merchant, with ships trading in Batavia, Sumatra, Manila, the East Indies, the Fiji Islands, China, and South America. In 1822 he married Jane Appleton Peele (1802-1837). The couple had nine children; Stephen Henry Phillips (1823-1897), the eldest, is also represented in the Phillips family papers. Jane (Peele) Phillips died in 1837; Stephen Clarendon married her sister Margaret Mason Peele (1803-1883) the following year, with whom he had four more children.
In 1830 Stephen Clarendon Phillips entered politics when he was elected State Senator. Four years earlier he replaced Rufus Choate as the representative for the Essex South District in Congress. Phillips retired from Congress after being re-elected once; in 1839 he was selected as the second mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, an office he held for three years. Following his term as mayor, Phillips served with Horace Mann on the Massachusetts Board of Education. An abolitionist, he also ran for governor of Massachusetts as the Free Soil candidate and was active in the formation of the Republican party.
Despite his success in business, Phillips was not immune to financial downturns, particularly after Salem's maritime commerce went into decline in the 1840s. He responded by seeking new business opportunities and was an outspoken supporter of railroad development in Salem. Phillips was encouraged by the founders of Lawrence, Massachusetts, to believe that a link between the new industrial city and the port of Salem would revive the economy. The Salem and Lowell Railroad was incorporated in 1848 with Stephen C. Phillips as its president. The railroad also functioned as transportation for the family's the products of timber and lumber companies on the St. Maurice and Three Rivers in Canada. After visiting one of these firms, he boarded the steamer Montreal on June 26, 1857, which caught fire on the St. Lawrence River. Stephen Clarendon Phillips was one of around 250 passengers who perished in the fire; only around 150 were ultimately rescued.
Michael J. Connolly, Capitalism, Politics, and Railroads in Jacksonian New England (Columbia: University Press of Missouri, 2003)
D. Hamilton Hurd, History of Essex County, Massachusetts, with Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis and Company, 1888)
Finding aid, Phillips family papers, 1636-1897, Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum
The collection is arranged in two series: Series I. Correspondence. Series II. Other papers.
*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
Phillips, Stephen C. (Stephen Clarendon), 1801-1857
- Other People
Phillips, Stephen C. (Stephen Clarendon), 1801-1857
- Other Organizations
Boston and Lowell Railroad Corporation
Free Soil Party (Essex County, Mass.)
Harvard College (1780- )
Salem and Lowell Railroad
Salem and South Danvers Railroad Company
- Descriptive Terms
- Material Type
Salem (Essex county, Massachusetts)
- 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
- 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 Henry Phillips (1823-1897) 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. 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 Clarendon Phillips (1801-1857) papers (MS050). 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.
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