COLLECTION GUIDES

1852-1975

Guide to the Collection

Restrictions on Access

The Sailors' Snug Harbor of Boston records are stored offsite and must be requested at least one business day in advance. Contact the Library at library@masshist.org or (617) 536-1608 to request materials. Please discuss your request with the reading room staff before requesting cartons by barcode.


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection consists of records of the Sailors' Snug Harbor of Boston, including chronological files, subject files, and bound volumes of trustees' records and expenses, 1852-1975. The collection also includes correspondence, superintendents' reports, and subject files of the National Sailors' Home in Duxbury, Mass., 1891- 1958, which merged with the Sailors' Snug Harbor in 1949.

Biographical Sketch

The Sailors' Snug Harbor of Boston was incorporated in 1852 by Josiah Bacon, Robert Bennet Forbes, and others for the purpose of "relieving and supporting decrepit, infirm or aged sailors," by providing them with a permanent home and provision for old age. R.B. Forbes was the first president. In 1856 a home was constructed at Germantown, Quincy, Mass. By 1947, enrollment in the Sailors' Snug Harbor had dropped to the extent that the trustees voted to sell the Germantown property to the City of Quincy. The sale was finalized in 1949, and an arrangement was concluded with the National Sailors' Home at Powder Point, Duxbury, Mass., to admit and care for men from Sailors' Snug Harbor in the same manner as their own men. The two organizations still existed independently, but residents from both organizations lived together at the National Sailors' Home's Powder Point facility in Duxbury. The Sailors' Snug Harbor purchased that property from the National Sailors' Home on 1 Oct. 1957, and the National Sailors' Home members were disbursed elsewhere. In 1971, Sailors' Snug Harbor's nine remaining residents were found alternative lodgings and the property was conveyed to the Trustees of Powder Point Realty Trust in July 1974. The Sailors' Snug Harbor (headquartered in Boston) continues to the present as a grant-making foundation providing non-residential services to the general aged population in greater Boston and for programs related to the "sea."

Sources

For more information, please refer to the following:

Sailors' Snug Harbor of Boston 150th Anniversary Report (Sailors' Snug Harbor, 2002).

Collection Description

The Sailors' Snug Harbor records consist of two cartons and encompass the years 1852-1975. The collection includes records of both the Sailors' Snug Harbor and the National Sailors' Home, which was located first in Wollaston, Mass., and moved to Powder Point, Duxbury, Mass., in 1931. There are two series in the collection: Sailors' Snug Harbor records (Series I) and National Sailors' Home records (Series II). Each series is subdivided into chronological records (A) and subject files (B). Series I also includes bound volumes (C). Sailors' Snug Harbor records date from 1852-1975, and include trustees' minutes, reports, some correspondence, and subject files on topics such as admissions, cemeteries and burials, legacies, real estate, mortgages, and history. There are also three expense account volumes (1942-1967), and one volume of trustees' records (1878-1957). The National Sailors' Home records date from 1891 to 1958 (bulk dates are 1924-1944), and include some correspondence, superintendent's reports, and subject files on topics such as admissions, cemeteries and burials, history, the Powder Point facility dedication (1931), publicity, real estate, and veterans.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited by Sailors' Snug Harbor of Boston, Inc., on 5 February 2004.

Restrictions on Access

The Sailors' Snug Harbor of Boston records are stored offsite and must be requested at least one business day in advance. Contact the Library at library@masshist.org or (617) 536-1608 to request materials. Please discuss your request with the reading room staff before requesting cartons by barcode.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Sailors' Snug Harbor records, 1852-1975

A. Chronological records, 1852-1973

Items related to Sailors' Snug Harbor are broadly scattered over the years 1852 to 1973, and include correspondence and other records, mainly dated 1951-1973, with trustees' minutes dated Dec. 1957-1971. The trustees' minutes were originally stored in a loose-leaf binder. The 1852 item is a photocopy of the Act of Incorporation for Sailors' Snug Harbor.

Carton 1SH 17BM 0

B. Subject files, 1852-1975

The subject files are arranged alphabetically, and contain material for the following topics: admissions; anti-aircraft installations; cemeteries and burials; history; legacies; mortgages, notes, deeds, etc.; postcards; publicity; real estate, grants, etc.; and reconstruction, 1957-1958.

Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Admissions
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Anti-aircraft installations
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Cemeteries and burials
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
History
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Legacies
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Mortgages, notes, deeds, etc.
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Postcards
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Publicity
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Real estate, grants, etc.
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Reconstruction, 1957-1958

C. Bound volumes, 1878-1967

There are four volumes of records in the collection, all generated by Sailors' Snug Harbor. They are trustees' records (1878-1957); and three expense account books (1942-48, 1955-63, and 1963-67).

Carton 2SH 17BN 1
Trustees records, 1878-1957
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Expense accounts, 1942-1948
Carton 2SH 17BN 1
Expense accounts, 1955-1963
Carton 2SH 17BN 1
Expense accounts, 1963-1967

II. National Sailors' Home records, 1891-1958

A. Chronological records, 1900-1957

The chronological records include one item from 1900 (a copy of a vote passed at a trustees' meeting), but the majority of the material dates from 1924 to 1944. These items were mainly generated by Lieutenant John W. Flannery, superintendent of the Home. They include scattered correspondence, administrative reports, and budget reports.

Carton 1SH 17BM 0

B. Subject files, 1891-1958

The subject files are arranged alphabetically, and include the following topics: admissions; cannon from the U.S.S. Constitution; cemeteries and burials; dossiers of members (five samples); history; Mass. General Hospital; postcards; Power Point dedication (1931); publicity; ration data; real estate; Travelers' Aid societies; U.S. Naval Home, Philadelphia; U.S. Navy vessels (history); and veterans. The earliest item (1891) is a newspaper clipping about the Home.

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Admissions
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Cannon from the U.S.S. Constitution
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Cemeteries and burials4 folders
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Dossiers: Allison, John
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Dossiers: Cooney, Patrick J.
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Dossiers: Flaherty, W. J.
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Dossiers: Lymon, Merton
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Dossiers: Motley, Leo V.
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
History
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Mass. General Hospital
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Postcards
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Powder Point dedication, 19312 folders
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Publicity
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Ration data2 folders
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Real estate, grants, etc. 2 folders
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Travelers' Aid societies
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Uniforms
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
U.S. Naval Home, Philadelphia
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
U.S. Navy vessels, history
Carton 1SH 17BM 0
Veterans

Preferred Citation

Sailors' Snug Harbor of Boston records, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.

Persons:

Bacon, Josiah, 1785-1852.
Forbes, R. B. (Robert Bennet), 1804-1889.

Organizations:

National Sailors' Home (Quincy, Mass.).

Subjects:

Charities--Massachusetts--Boston.
Charities--Massachusetts--Duxbury.
Charities--Massachusetts--Quincy.
Old age homes--Massachusetts--Boston.
Old age homes--Massachusetts--Duxbury.
Old age homes--Massachusetts--Quincy.
Sailors--Societies, etc.