Samuel Abbot business papers, 1754-1819 (inclusive)

About this Collection

Abbot, Samuel , 1732-1812
Account books.Bookkeeping records.Cashbooks.Ledgers (account books).Bills of exchange.Daybooks.Estate administration recordsInvoices.Correspondence.Letter books.Promissory notes.Legal instruments.Receipts (financial records).
Collection Title
Samuel Abbot business papers, 1754-1819 (inclusive)
16 linear feet (44 volumes, 38 boxes).
Baker Library, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
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Abbot, Benjamin
Abbot, George
Abbot, Samuel
Abbot, Sarah
Hancock, John
Hayley, Mary
Kellogg, Joseph
Kneeland, John
Kneeland, Samuel Abbot
Penhallow, Prudence
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Content Notes

The Samuel Abbot business papers consist of 46 volumes of daybooks, journals, ledgers, cash books, receipt books, sale books, and letter books, as well as correspondence, accounts, bills of exchange, and legal records, dated 1754-1819.

Biographical Notes

Samuel Abbot, son of Mary Phillips and George Abbot (1692-1768), was born on February 25, 1732 in Andover, Massachusetts. At the age of fifteen, Samuel was apprenticed to his cousin, William White, who owned a retail store in Boston. George Abbot paid White almost £50 toward the cost of Samuel’s apprenticeship. After spending the required seven years with his cousin, Samuel opened his own business in Boston in June 1754. By 1764, his shop was located in Cambridge “at the house of Mr. Mansfield Tapley in Cambridge about a mile from the College on the road to Menotomy meeting house,” according to notices he sent to clients in the New England Letter Book 1764 (Volume 30). The store carried general merchandise such as indigo, tea, molasses, nails, dish ware, dry goods, gunpowder and shot, and hardware. In 1771, Samuel Abbot entered into a partnership with his stepson, John Kneeland (1748-1831), doing business as Samuel Abbot & Co., but soon began to restrict his purchases of the English imports which made up the bulk of the firm’s sales. In January 1774, the partnership was dissolved, the store closed, and stock in the company was liquidated. Abbot removed first to Charlestown during the Siege of Boston, and then retired permanently from active business and returned to Andover. Kneeland remained in Boston and served as Abbot’s agent, managing his investments and the collection of debts owed to Abbot & Co. After his retirement to Andover, became a Justice of the Peace and Town Treasurer, and he was one of the founders of the Theological School in 1807. Initially, he gave $20,000 to support a professor of theology, and upon his death, the school received an additional $100,000. Abbot also remained involved in the lives and education of his stepson’s children, Samuel Abbot Kneeland (1777-1817), who attended Phillips Academy and graduated Harvard College in 1796, and Nancy Kneeland (1778-1854). Abbot married the widowed Sarah (Mulberry) Kneeland in 1761. Sarah’s first husband, Boston merchant John Kneeland, Jr. (1722-1754), had been both landlord and friend to Abbot, and his will named Abbot guardian of the Kneeland children, John, Sarah (born 1750), and Elizabeth (born 1751). Samuel and Sarah Abbot had no issue together, and Samuel died in Andover on April 12, 1812.