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Alfred Augustus Reed papers

Call Number: MS 411

Scope and Contents

The Alfred Augustus Reed papers consist of twenty-nine boxes of correspondence and account books dealing with the personal and business life of Alfred Augustus Reed (1817-1878). The span of the collection is 1845 to 1865. The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence relating to his commercial activities as a businessman and entrepreneur in the Netherland East Indies, based in Batavia on the island of Java.

Alfred Augustus Reed became the Batavia representative of Paine, Stricker & Co. of Amsterdam in 1845. He was one of the few major non-Dutch businessmen active in the East Indies. With his marriage in 1843 to Caroline Suzette van Son (1825-1861), Reed had established family ties with the van Braam, Band, van Alphen, Hasselman, and Cramerus families, all of which were prominent in the commercial or political life of Java (see van son genealogy below, in print version only). These family relationships were of great value to Reed in his trading career, and these names appear frequently in the correspondence.

Alfred A. Reed was active in the Java trade until the end of 1857, when he returned to Boston. From that time until 1865, he continued to maintain commercial relations with the Netherland East Indies through Paine, Stricker & Co. and Cramerus & Co., both ofAmsterdam. Alfred Reed was also very active in the social life of the Western community in Java. He participated in a number of service and charitable projects including the drive to establish a secondary school, in Herwijnen.

A large portion of the collection consists of packets and notebooks into which letters to and from Reed have been sewn or glued. These letters are in general, but not exact, chronological order. The packets have been divided into smallerunitsbut have been left in their original order for the most part. The distinction made by Reed in organizing the packets into Java and Europe-America correspondence and into business and family correspondence has not been careful, particularly since Reed had family ties with many business associates. Further, the Europe and America packets contain letters from correspondents abroad, some in the United States, but mainly in Singapore, Manila, Canton, Hong Kong, Macao, Calcutta, Madras, Cape Town, Amsterdam, and Paris. The material in the collection is in English and Dutch, with the largest part of the correspondence relating to Java, in the latter language.

The papers were the gift of Mrs. William Gordon Reed in 1964. For further information concerning Alfred Reed and these papers see the article by Robert van Niel in the register file.


  • 1845-1865


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. William Gordon Reed, 1964.


9 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Correspondence and account books relating to Reed's activities in Batavia, Netherlands East Indies, as a representative of Paine, Stricker & Company of Amsterdam, a trading company. Correspondents include his wife, Caroline Suzette van Son Reed (1825-1861); the Band, Cramerus, Hasselman, van Alphen, and van Braam families, to which he was related by marriage; and Cramerus & Company, Amsterdam. Includes material relating to service and charitable projects in which Reed participated.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Augustus Reed: representative of Paine, Stricker, & Co. of Amsterdam in Batavia, Netherlands East Indies, from 1845 to 1857; returned to Boston where he retained commercial relations with the firm until 1865.

For a chart outlining the genealogical relations of the Van Son family, please consult the Genealogical Chart.

Guide to the Alfred Augustus Reed Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Staff of Manuscripts and Archives
April 1983
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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