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Alden Perley and Jesse (Carter) White Papers, 1856-1954, 1978

Identifier: MSS 679

Scope and Content Note

The Alden Perley and Jesse (Carter) White Papers contain papers and scrapbooks from this Danvers, Massachusetts, judge and local historian, and his wife. The majority of the collection is devoted to Alden, and his interest in local history and community causes. This collection has been divided into three series.

Series I. Alden Perley White (1856-1933) Papers contains materials created by or about White. It has been divided into four subseries. Subseries A. Business Papers contains papers from White's legal career, including published case summaries and correspondence. This subseries also contains a notary public log book from when he was a notary, and some materials from the Essex Institute, of which he was President. This subseries also includes a scrapbook about his judgeship appointment. Subseries B. Papers Relating to Topics and Causes of Interest has been further divided into two sub-subseries. Most of the material in this subseries was in envelopes that were labeled with different topics; this organization has been preserved with a copy of the envelope included in the front of the folder. Sub-subseries 1. Memorials and Speeches Given contains printed or manuscript versions of memorials for historic persons or friends that White was a part of. It also contains printed or manuscript versions of speeches, some with research notes, that White gave. Sub-subseries 2. Research, Writings, Etc. contains research collected, notes taken, and articles and short stories written by White. There are also a number of scrapbooks about topics and people that he was interested in.

Subseries C. Personal Papers contains a journal with photographs describing a journey on the schooner Colleen Bawn, a land deed, receipts, and photographs. Included in this subseries are scrapbooks about Alden and a photo album. Subseries D. Papers Relating to Alden's Death and Memorial contains correspondence about White's memorial and portrait, a picture of a sculpture of White, and a number of copies of the Essex Bar Association's memorial. The tops of the pages of White's memorial by the Essex Bar Association are uncut.

SERIES II. Jesse (Carter) White (1865-1959) Papers contains materials spanning her life before she married White, and after his death. This series has been divided into two subseries. Subseries A. Papers contains a notebook from a class that she took at Amherst Summer School, credit cards, correspondence, and a notebook of poetry. Also included in this subseries is Hattie B. Griswold's journal from 1862 to 1864; Griswold was most likely a relative of Jesse's. Subseries B. Scrapbooks contains three scrapbooks about Jesse, her life, interests, and children.

Series III. Other contains miscellaneous items found in the collection, and has been divided into two subseries. Subseries A. White Family contains materials related to the White family. Included in this subseries are Emily Alden (White) Hall's expense book, and two scrapbooks about the family. Subseries B. Miscellaneous contains some papers belonging to Emily H. Short, materials about local history, some drawings and some writing by unidentified people. This subseries also contains two scrapbooks.


  • Creation: 1856-1954, 1978


Restrictions on Access

Box 9 folders 1-2 are restricted due to fragility. The rest of the collection is open for research. Some of this collection has been affected by inactive mold. Persons with sensitivities should use caution when handling this collection.

Biographical Sketches

Alden Perley White was born October 20, 1856, to Amos Alden and Harriet Augusta (Perley) White, in Danvers, Massachusetts. Alden attended school in Danvers and Lawrence Academy at Groton. He graduated from Amherst College in 1878, after which he attended Harvard Law School. After being admitted to the Bar, Alden went into practice with William Perry, and later Guy C. Richards, in Salem, Massachusetts. He tried many cases, the majority of them civil but some criminal. He also did a considerable amount of conveyancing early in his career, and had a large probate practice. When Perry died in 1916, Alden continued the practice with Richards, until January 3, 1918, when he became a Judge of the Probate Court, where he remained for fifteen years until his death. He also served as special justice of the First District Court for a short time in 1890, only to resign to accept the position of assistant to the Honorable William H. Moody, District Attorney.

Outside of practicing law, Alden was active on many Salem boards such as the Board of Aldermen, the School Committee, the Public Library, the Athenaeum, the Merchants National Bank, the Chamber of Commerce, and Tabernacle Church, and the Oratorio Society. He was also president of the Hawthorne Memorial Association, the Trustees of Governor Drummer Academy, and the Trustees of the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead of Haverhill. He was also secretary of the Essex Bar Association.

Alden had an interest in New England and local history. He was an original member and President of the Danvers Historical Society, in addition to being a long standing member, officer, and President of the Essex Institute. He conducted research, wrote, and presented on his various topics of interest.

Alden was married twice. His first wife was Mary Howe (1865-1885), and they had one son, Alden Eaton White (1885-1893). Alden's second wife was Jesse Carter (1865-1959), who he married June 2, 1896. Alden and Jesse had four children: Carter (1898-1979), Barbara (Baker) (born 1899), Nancy Perley (1900-1955), and Emily Alden (Hall) (1907-1995). They had a home in Putnamville, Danvers, Massachusetts that was known as Woodchuck Farm. Alden died July 3, 1933, and is buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery, Danvers.

Jesse (Carter) White was born May 31, 1865, in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her parents were Eliza A. and Horatio N. Griswold. She graduated from Smith College with a bachelor of arts in 1887, and was teaching classics at Packer Institute, in Brooklyn when she married Alden White in 1896. Like her husband, Jesse was very active in the community, serving as a member of the Salem Music Club, Salem Settlement Association, Association of Collegiate Alumni, and the Salem Women's Club, and appears to have had an interest in local history as well. She died September 12, 1959, and is buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery, Danvers.


13.5 linear feet (18 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Alden Perley and Jesse (Carter) White Papers contain papers and scrapbooks from this Danvers, Massachusetts, judge and local historian, and his wife.

Series List

SERIES I. Alden Perley White (1856-1933) Papers

  • A. Business Papers
  • B. Papers Relating to Topics and Causes of Interest
    • 1. Memorials and Speeches Given
    • 2. Research, Writings, Etc.
  • C. Personal Papers
  • D. Papers Relating to Alden's Death and Memorial
SERIES II. Jesse (Carter) White (1865-1959) Papers

  • A. Papers
  • B. Scrapbooks

  • A. White Family
  • B. Miscellaneous

Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks


This material was donated by Eliza Conde on August 28, 1996 (accession #1996.043).

Bibliography and Related Collections Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007.

Essex Bar Association. Alden Perley White: A Memorial. Salem: Newcomb & Gauss, 1935.

Leonard, John William ed. Woman's Who's Who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada. NY: The American Commonwealth Company, 1914.

Moynahan, Frank E. ed. Danvers, Massachusetts: a Resume of Her Past History and Progress,Together With a Condensed Summary of her Industrial Advantages and Development: Biographies of Prominent Danvers Men and a Series of Comprehensive Sketches of her Representative Manufacturing and Commercial Enterprises. Danvers, MA: Danvers Mirror, 1899.

Smith College. Annual Register of the Alumni Association of Smith College with Report from 1911. MA: Smith College, 1911.

White, Alden Perley. A Deed to My Wife of Woodchuck Farm. 1941.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, June 2018, updated February 2019.

Processed by: Hilary Streifer; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rajkumar Natarajan; updated by Hilary Streifer.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Phillips Library Repository

Peabody Essex Museum
306 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley MA 01969 USA