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Charles Henry Allen Papers, 1829-1893

Identifier: MSS 385

Scope and Content Note

The Charles Henry Allen Papers contain the shipping and business papers of Charles Henry Allen (1810-1899). The bulk of the papers date from 1835-1855, and the collection has been arranged into 3 series.

Series I. Ships' Papers includes invoices, shipping and crew manifests, receipts, and customs and port documentation for ships Charles mastered or on which he shipped cargo. Of special interest in Allen's ships' papers are log extracts he kept while on the ship George.

Series II. Business Correspondence includes letters to and from Charles Henry Allen as well as two letters between other individuals discussing cargo, financial transactions, and insurance arrangements for ships Allen captained. Names appearing frequently include William B. Davis, Stephen Clarendon Phillips, Thomas Saunders, and Robert Williams.

Series III. Accounts and Receipts includes accounts and receipts for unknown ships, as well as any materials not accounted for in the previous series such as bills, lists, accounts of labor, and notes. This series also includes two newspapers, a photograph of Nehemiah and Isaac Marshall, insurance policies, and a dog license (1863).


  • Creation: 1829-1893


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical Sketch

Charles Henry Allen (1810-1899) was born in Salem, Massachusetts to William and Mary (Hunt) Allen. He began his shipping career in 1827 as cabin boy on the brig Midas. He also worked on the ship Leander as a boy in 1830. Rising through the ranks on the ships George and Brookline, Allen eventually mastered the Brookline from 1836-1844. During this time he also was master on the ship Eliza in 1838. After his time on the Brookline, Allen mastered the ship St. Paul from 1844-1851. He retired from the sea in 1860 after commanding the ship Shirley for Stone Silsbee and Pickman, a prominent commercial shipping firm in Salem.

Allen married Mary Penniman Wright in 1836. They had five children. Their son, George Henry Allen, an assistant for Benjamin H. Silsbee of Stone Silsbee and Pickman, later became a partner in the company under the name Silsbee Pickman and Allen.


3.5 linear feet (4 boxes, 1 flat file)

Language of Materials



The Charles Henry Allen Papers contain the shipping and business papers of Charles Henry Allen (1810-1899).

Series List

SERIES I. Ships' Papers

SERIES II. Business Correspondence

SERIES III. Accounts and Receipts

Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks


This material is an integration of two purchases made by the Phillips Library in 2006 (Acc 2006.013) and 2007 (Acc 2007.016). It also includes a number of folders pertaining to the business practices of Charles Henry Allen from the Allen Family Papers (MSS 1). Materials in Box 2, Folders 5-6 and Box 3, Folders 6-9 are a gift from Joan Vaughan Ingraham.

Bibliography and Related Collections

Hutchinson, Frank Allen. Genealogical and Historical Sketches of the Allen Family of Dedham and Medfield, Mass., 1637-1890. Lowell, Mass.: Privately printed, 1890.

Price, John. "Genealogy of the Allen Family of Manchester, Mass., From the Earliest Settlement to the Year 1886." Essex Institute Historical Collections, Vol. 24, July-Sept 1887.

Putnam, George Granville. Salem Vessels and Their Voyages, Series I-IV. Salem, Mass.: The Essex Institute, 1925.

[Articles of agreement, ship St. Paul, of Salem, Chas. H. Allen, master, bound eastward of the Cape of Good Hope], 1849, Broadside, VK211.A45 A785 1849

[Articles of agreement of ship St. Paul, Chas. H. Allen master, now bound from the port of Salem to ports eastward of the Cape of Good Hope], undated, Broadside, VK211.A45 A785

Allen Family Papers, 1817-1890, MSS 1, contains Charles Henry Allen's personal correspondence.

Stone, Silsbee, and Pickman Records, 1816-1903, MSS 63

Phillips Family Papers, 1636-1897, MH 4 and MSS 58

For logbooks and additional Charles Henry Allen material, please see Philcat, our online catalog.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Rachel Jirka, November 2008.


Processed by: Rachel Jirka; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rajkumar Natarajan.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Phillips Library Repository

Peabody Essex Museum
306 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley MA 01969 USA