Skip to main content

Charles Fretz Derby Papers, 1934-1951

Identifier: MH 77

Scope and Content Note

The Charles Fretz Derby papers are made up of materials that Derby collected that are related to Pitcairn Island. This includes correspondence to Derby from Pitcairn Island native, Ivan Christian, regarding Derby's buying of baskets and stamps from Christian. Christian continued to write to one of Derby's heirs about continuing to sell his goods after Derby's death in 1950. There are photographs that were removed from what appeared to be a page from a scrapbook; a photocopy of the photographs assembled on the scrapbook page has been included in the folder. Other items that Derby collected include stamps, a paper cut-out, leaf paintings, and news clippings about the Island and its inhabitants. Photocopies of the news clippings have been provided in the folder for the researcher's use. There is also a folder that contains information about writers Charles Nordhoff and James Hall, who wrote about and lived on Pitcairn Island. Included in this collection is a photocopy of a letter to John Derby of Salem from Benjamin Bainbridge, dated June 1812. There is no information about where the letter came from, or when the photocopy was made.


  • Creation: 1934-1951


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical Sketch

Charles Fretz Derby was born on May 12, 1886 to John Lea and Susan (Baucker) Derby, in New Jersey. He was a major in the Officers' Reserve Corp of Pennsylvania, in the engineering department in 1919. He also appears to have been a superintendent of lighterage in 1940. Derby had an interest in the British territory, Pitcairn Island, and collected materials related to it. Pitcairn Island, located in the South Pacific, is inhabited by a very small number of people descended from the mutineers of HMAV Bounty and their Tahitian companions.

Derby was married to Mary (?). He died on November 4, 1950 in Philadelphia.


0.25 linear feet (1 box; 1 flat file)

Language of Materials



The Charles Fretz Derby papers are made up of materials that Derby collected that are related to Pitcairn Island.

Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks


This material was found in the collection.

Bibliography Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

The Government of the Pitcairn Islands. "Home Page." Last modified unknown date.

United States, Adjunct-General's Office. Official List of Officers of the Officers' Reserve Corps of the Army of the United States, 1919, Volumes 1-5; Volume 919. 1920.

Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3692; Page: 64B; Enumeration District: 51-159.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, March 2015.

Processed by: Hilary Streifer; 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