Hancock family papers, 1712-1854 (inclusive), Volume JH-6, John Hancock letterbook (business), 1762-1783

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Content Notes

Includes personal, business, and foreign correspondence, bills, invoices and receipts, ordinance and gunpowder transactions, legal, insurance and tax documents, contracts and real estate papers, and other records that document the Hancock family's financial interests. Also contains bound volumes including daybooks and waste books, journals, ledgers, letterbooks, invoice and receipt books, and ships' logbooks. The bulk of the collection concerns the business activities of Thomas Hancock, circa 1730 to 1760, and John Hancock, circa 1755 to 1795. Also included are business records concerning Thomas Hancock's father-in-law Daniel Henchman, circa 1720 to 1765, as well as John Hancock's brother Ebenezer, circa 1765-1815, and his nephews Thomas and John, circa 1795-1820. The collection contains a wealth of information on mercantile affairs, politics, and American social, military, and legal history during the colonial and early federal period.
  • Volume JH-6 John Hancock letterbook (business), 1762-1783, is also available in an electronic version.|Volume L-1, Ship Rebecca logbook, kept by James Scott, 1755-1757, is also available in an electronic version.|Volume TG-1, Thomas Goadsby copybook, 1787-1788, is also available in an electronic version.|are available on microfilm (1 reel, 35mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no. 64-4556.|are available on microfilm (1 reel, 35mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no. 65-1446.|are available on microfilm (1 reel, 35mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no. 68-6820.|is available on microfilm (1 reel, 35mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no. 70-9247.|is available on microfilm (1 reel, 35mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no.73-7422.|is available on microfilm (1 reel, 35mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no.74-2648.

Biographical Notes

Influential Boston family that included wealthy colonial merchant Thomas Hancock (1703-1764) and his nephew John Hancock (1737-1793), president of the Second Continental Congress, governor of Massachusetts, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Hancock founded the family fortune during the 1720s as he imported European manufactured goods and exported American rum, whale oil, and other products to Europe and Canada. John Hancock joined his uncle in business in 1754 at the outbreak of the French and Indian War. John inherited the family interests upon Thomas Hancock's death in 1764. By the 1770s, John Hancock was one of the richest men in New England. His heirs continued the Hancock family businesses into the 19th century, but they never attained a similar level of wealth and influence.