Papers of the Bordman family, 1686-1837

Content Notes

The Papers of the Bordman family document real estate and business transactions of the Bordman family. Most documents relate to Andrew Bordman II (1681-1747). Many items in the collection were created as the Bordmans expanded their family's property holdings and engaged in local financial and commercial activities in Cambridge. Documents include a journal and annotated almanacs, deeds of sale, quitclaims, bills and receipts, bonds, counterbonds, wills, two warrants of appointment (photostat copies), and a writ. Aaron Bordman I, Andrew Bordman III, and Andrew Bordman IV, also produced records in the collection.|While most records were created by Andrew Bordman II, the content of the records incorporate many members of the Cambridge community including women and slaves. Notably, a 1717 Deed of sale records the purchase of a slave named "Cuffy." The estate papers and deeds of sale offer resources for studying the role of women in land ownership and inheritance. The personal notebook kept by both Aaron Bordman I and Andrew Bordman II, between 1686-1745, includes assorted financial records documenting Cambridge merchant transactions. The earliest entries, created in the 1680s, record money paid and received for purchases. Aaron Bordman's entries include quarterly bill charges for some members of the Harvard Classes of 1689 and 1690. Most documents in the collection relate to the Bordman family's business activities away from the College, but the personal notebook used by Stewards Aaron Bordman I and Andrew Bordman II include a small amount of Steward's account records.

Biographical Notes

The Bordman family of Cambridge, Massachusetts maintained a long and prominent relationship with Harvard College and the local community. Multiple generations of Bordman men served as the College's Steward and the Cambridge Town Clerk from the mid-17th century through the close of the 18th century. The history of the Bordman family in Massachusetts began with the arrival of William Bordman (c. 1614-1685) from England in 1638. In Cambridge, Bordman worked as a tailor, and accepted the position of the Harvard College Steward in the mid 1660s. The Harvard Corporation appointed the Steward to manage the residential operations of the College. He purchased supplies, supervised staff, and acted as the financial liaison between students and College administration. William served as Steward through 1668, and acted as the College Cook until his death in 1685. William's sons, Andrew Bordman I (1646-1687) and Aaron Bordman I (1649-1702/3) both served as Steward, as did Andrew Bordman II (1670-1747) and Andrew Bordman III (1701-1769 Harvard AB 1719). Andrew Bordman IV (1745-1817) did not serve as a Harvard Steward, but did follow the family tradition of serving as Cambridge Town Clerk.