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  • Notes on the Manuscript Collection: Copeland Papers

    John B. Carney

    Published Date : April 1987
     The Copeland Papers consist of correspondence, petitions, lists, notes, memoranda, receipts, and an agreement, principally relating to Massachusetts politicians’ promotion of Daniel Webster as a presidential candidate, 1835, 1851-1853.  They were given to the Society in about 1855 by Frederick Kidder, a former business partner of Benjamin Franklin Copeland, and were originally accessioned into the Society’s “Old Manuscripts Collection 8: Autographs, etc.” under Webster’s name.  They are now processed as a separate unit.

    The bulk of the collection is materials received by Benjamin Franklin Copeland (1798-1863), Boston merchant and justice of the peace for Roxbury, Massachusetts, as chairman of a Massachusetts political committee promoting the nomination of Daniel Webster for President of the United States in 1851-1852.  The most significant items among these papers are letters written by prominent state congressmen, lawyers, and merchants discussing campaign tactics, the growth of the Free Soil Party in Massachusetts, and other political matters.  Correspondence includes letters from George Ashmun (1804-1870), Alexander Hamilton Bullock (1816-1882), George Ticknor Curtis (1812-1894), Edward Dickinson (1794-1865), Levi Lincoln (1782-1868), and Tappen Wentworth (1802-1868).  The papers also include petitions gathered from various Massachusetts towns listing the names of local Webster supporters; lists of delegates selected by the towns to attend a “Webster Convention” held at Boston on November 25, 1851; and notes, memoranda, and receipts concerning the activitiesand expenses of Copeland’s committee. The papers also contain an 1835 agreement and an 1853 memorandum relating to Copeland’s business affairs.

    The Copeland Papers have been divided into six sub-groups by type of document.  Correspondence in Sub-group I is chronologically grouped by year and alphabetically within the year by surname of the writer.  Petitions and Lists in Sub-groups II and III are arranged alphabetically by the names of the towns in which the signers or delegates resided.  The items in the remainder of the collection are arranged in chronological order.

    Sub-group I. Correspondence 1851-1853.  54 items.

    Sub-group II.  Petitions, 1851, Webster supporters in Massachusetts towns.  38 items.

    Sub-group III. Lists, 1851, delegates to "The Webster Convention." 25 items.

    Sub-group IV. Notes, memoranda, ca. 1851, concerning Copeland's committee.  6 items.

    Sub-group V.  Receipts for Copeland's committee expenses.  2 items.

    Sub-group VI. Miscellaneous personal papers, 1835, 1853.  2 items.


    Mss 106  1 lineal foot.

    The Dorothy L. Crawford Papers, gathered between 1979 and 1983, constitute a genealogy of the Heywood family for five generations, beginning with John Heywood, ca. 1612-1701, of Concord, Massachusetts, and following his male-line descendants to 1918.  Of the 140 families represented, the majority lived in eastern and western Massachusetts.  Others appeared in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Ohio.  Allied families are not extensively treated.

    Mrs. William D. Crawford, 1910-, became a member of the Society in 1971 and donated her Heywood material to the Society on February 20, 1985.  The material is divided into two sub-groups, and a first-name index is included.

    Sub-group I.  Genealogy: notes and correspondence pertaining to descendants of John Heywood, ca. 1612-1701, of Concord, Massachusetts, 1612-1918.

    Sub-group II.  Miscellaneous notes and correspondence, 1979-1983.

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