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Baldwin and Company papers

Call Number: MS 56

Scope and Contents


Bound Papers

Included in the account books are 3 day books and 5 journals, 1818-1831, lacking a few months in several years; 4 ledgers, 1820-1832, lacking July, 1823-March, 1827; 12 cash books, 1821-1838; lacking first six months of 1836; 3 sales books, 1820-1834, lacking 1822-April, 1827, and November, 1831-November, 1832; 4 sales memoranda books, 1823-1834; 2 accounts current, 1825-1832; Also included are 6 volumes of freight lists for the Regular Line, 1825-1834; 5 receipt books, 1827-1838; 1 storage ledger and 4 storage journals, 1825-1833; 3 volumes listing notes payable and receiveable, 1824-1831; and 1 volume listing bills payable and receiveable, 1831-1835; 9 volumes containing stubs of checks drawn on the Bank of New York, 1827-1840, and 3 volumes containing stubs of checks drawn on other banks, 1821-1839, lacking 1822-1832; 3 volumes containing stubs of notes drawn, 1825-1834; 9 volumes containing; stubs of freight receipts insured, 1824-1835; 2 volumes of the freight account of the Regular Line, 1825-1835. In addition there are several miscellaneous volumes viz: a small diary of business matters kept by S. Baldwin 1821; a small book containing Otis & Baldwin's account with the Merchants' Bank, New York, 1822-1823; a similar book with S. Baldwin's account, 1823; 4 small journal memoranda (3 of Baldwin & Spooner, 1825, and 1 of Baldwin & Forbes, 1831); a books containing amounts of freight lists for vessels on Regular Line and an account of disbursements for other vessels, 1825-1827; a small ledger and cash account of money spent on portage, 1827-1830; a book containing invoices of goods sent by or to Baldwin & Forbes, 1827-1830; a small book of freight and petty cash, 1828; a book containing a list of ships despatched from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, with cargo, destination, and shipper, 1834-1836; and a small book containing S. Baldwin's account with the American Exchange Bank, 1847-1852.


The correspondence includes 10 letter books, 1822-1831, and 33 boxes of loose letters, 1818-1841 and undated, mainly from other mercantile firms located on the eastern and southern coasts of the United States, Western Europe and the Mediterranean, the West Indies, and ports in South America from Rio de Janiero north to Panama. A large share of the letters deal with the state of the produce market and include prices current for the various places. Others relate to bills of exchange, sales of goods, invoices, orders, and other business matters. There are also some letters from and (in the last box) to the captains of various vessels. There is in addition some correspondence in the papers dealing with individual ships.

Ships' Papers

The papers relating to ships (arranged alphabetically by names of vessels) consist of 19 boxes and deal with voyages to all the ports with which the firm traded. The papers consist of bills of lading, manifests, freight lists, shipping articles, settlements of earnings, consuls' clearances, port charges, disbursements, charter parties, bills of sale, letters of instruction to captains, bills for expenses, portage bills, protests, in cases where the cargo or ship was damaged, invoices and sales of cargoes, crew's releases and wage settlements, captains' accounts with the firm and the firm's accounts with the owners of the vessels and with agents in the various ports, and insurance policies. Following is a list of the ships:

[Ships listed in inventory, boxes 35-44]

Among the partially sorted miscellaneous papers are 6 more boxes, viz: one box of bills of lading for goods shipped by or to S. Baldwin, Baldwin & Spooner, Baldwin & Forbes or Baldwin & Co., 1821-1841, on vessels not included in the above list; of notes, drafts, bonds, acceptances, 1821-1839 and cancelled checks; 1826-1831; box of bills 1818-1841; of miscellaneous papers 1818-1841, consisting of memoranda, orders, receipts, account sales trial balances, accounts current, etc.; and one box marked A, containing insurance policies for cargoes and vessels, 1827-1831, not included in the previous list of ships; regimental orders, etc., 1827-1828, of 14th regiment New York State Artillery, the Governor's Guard, in which S. Baldwin was a captain; the accounts of Thornton & Treadway, 1825-1826; papers relating to the case of Higgins and Henshaw, for which S. Baldwin was one of the arbitrators, 1828; numerous miscellaneous legal papers; the Articles of Agreement to form the Regular Line of packets between New York and Philadelphia, 1824; a memorandum for the lease of a house, 1825; an agreement for the lease of a store, 1828; a list of American vessels loaded at Messina with cargoes of lemons and oranges, 1828-1830; a list of the value of foreign coins in U. S. money; a price current of "several articles for the present use...", ca. 1822; and a copy of the constitution and by-laws of the Independent Literary Society, 1819.

Biographical information compiled by Robert Randolph Greene, 1947.

[For more information, see also Mr. Greene's essay, "The American Merchant in 1830," in box 55.]


Summary of "Diary of a voyage made in the Brig Duroc, 1830-1831" [See box 20]

Diary of a voyage made in the Brig Duroc, August 1830 - April 1831, by Charles Baldwin. The vessel had left New York in March of 1830 and gone to Gibraltar and Malaga before arriving at Rio de Janiero in August, at which point the diary commences. The voyage continued on to Trieste, Messina, Palermo, and back to New York. Also included are two pages describing the harbor and entrance procedure at Rio de Janiero, a list of duties on imports there, a description of the Royal Family of Brazil and a few notes on recent laws. Several pages are written on the quarantine regulations at Trieste, a description of the city, and an account of the weights and measures in use there. Also included are descriptions of Messina and Palermo, the weights and measures in use there, and the duties on imports.

Starting with Page 114 there follows an assortment of miscellaneous items including: Port Charges at Gibraltar, Malaga, Rio de Janiero, Trieste, Messina, Palermo, Port au Prince, Marseilles, Antwerp; a list of standard values of foreign currencies in 1821; "Remarks and useful hints relative to the Marseilles trade; Proformae for some goods purchased at Marseilles and sold at New York, 1828 and 1831; extracts from the Law of the State of New York relative to the inspection of Staves and Heading, and of Spirits; Harbor Regulations at Marseilles; an extract from a letter telling of the availability of brandies at Cette, France; Proformae of sales at Trieste and Marseilles, September to October 1831; copy of a letter from P. Eynaud, U.S. Consul at Malta, concerning the trade there, 1831; also a description of weights, measures, and duties there; Proformae of purchases at Malta, Marseilles and Cette, 1832-1833; a Rule for Compound Equations; quotations from Palermo, 1838; Statistics of importations of almonds, currants, muscatel raisins, and figs into U.S., October 1834 to September 1835; list of vessels sold at auction in New York, 1831; Statistics of importation and exportation of opium into and from U.S., October 1834 to September 1835; list of vessels on hand,1831, and those for sale or charter, with the price asked; a list of vessels chartered in New York; a description of the Grotto of Adlersberg, Garniola, Austria, written in 1833; three letters to C. T. Ralli from C. Baldwin, 1831-1832; copy of the form of a letter of Abandonment [of a vessel]; and a Table of Contents. [Several additional pages have been torn out]


  • 1818-1876


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

A portion of the papers were purchased in 1940 and 1944; a portion were the gift of Charles M. Baldwin, 1937.


49 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


A shipping firm based in New York trading with Europe, South America and various ports in the United States. The principal partner in the firm was Simeon Baldwin of New Haven. The records include account books, correspondence, papers dealing with the general business of the firm and papers dealing with the individual ships. The records for each of the 124 ships consist of bills of lading, manifests, freight lists, settlements of earnings, letters of instruction to captains, captain's accounts and other documents for each voyage. Two diaries are in the collection: Simeon Baldwin's business diary for 1821 and Charles Baldwin's diary of a voyage in the brig Duroc, 1830.

Biographical / Historical

History of Firm

Simeon Baldwin, 1801-1872, of New Haven, Conn., went to Philadelphia in 1818 to learn the business of a merchant. He worked for his uncle, Daniel Barnes, until 1821, when he came to New York and started out on his own. In March of 1822 he formed a partnership with Samuel A. Otis under the firm name of Otis & Baldwin. This arrangement was terminated in June of 1823, Baldwin continuing alone until October, when he formed with Francis J. Spooner the firm of Baldwin & Spooner. This partnership lasted until February of 1827, when Spooner was bought out. In the following month Baldwin joined with Horace D. Forbes to form the firm of Baldwin & Forbes. Baldwin bought out Forbes in October of 1830 and continued the business alone under the firm name until the end of October, 1831. At that time Baldwin admitted his cousin, Sherman Day, and changed the firm name to Baldwin & Co., which continued until it failed in March of 1841. The following October Baldwin became president of the Jackson Marine Insurance Co. and later of the Merchants' Exchange Co. of New York.

Nature of the Business

The business of the mercantile firm was very wide, but consisted primarily of acting as commission agents. Transactions were done with firms in the chief ports of the United States, Europe, and South America. In 1825 Baldwin & Spooner inaugurated the Regular Line between Philadelphia and New York, a semi-weekly freight service by schooners and sloops of approximately one hundred tons. Baldwin & Spooner were the New York agents, while Bailey & Bridges managed the Philadelphia end. The line continued until 1835. Another large share of the business derived from acting as agents for various vessels. In this capacity the firm arranged for the collection of freight, made disbursements, and gave advice on the profitableness of proposed voyages. The firm also owned shares in various vessels for which they provided the cargo despatched on trading voyages.

Character of the Papers

The collection is divided mainly into four parts consisting of account books, correspondence, papers directly relating to individual ships of which the firm was owner or agent, and miscellaneous papers.

Guide to the Baldwin and Company Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Marguerite S. Witkop
January 1980
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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