COLLECTION GUIDES

1716-1929

Guide to the Microfilm Edition


Collection Summary

Abstract

This microfilm edition consists of papers of Dabney family members and other individuals from three separate collections held by the Massachusetts Historical Society: the Dabney family papers (Ms. N-1080), the Dabney family diaries (Ms. N-117), and the William H. Dabney letters (Ms. S-540).

Biographical Sketches

The Dabney family was one of the first Boston families to settle in the Azores. John Bass Dabney (1766-1826) was a merchant and wine importer shipping from Bordeaux, France, to ports in the United States until, for business reasons, he moved to Fayal in the Azores. Continuing the consignment trade, he was made first U.S. consul to the Azores, 1806-1826. His son, Charles William Dabney (1794-1871), succeeded him as consul from 1826 to 1869 and continued the business. Samuel Wyllys Dabney (1826-1893), the third son of Charles William Dabney, was consul from 1872 to 1892. He married Sarah Hickling Webster, daughter of John White Webster and Harriet Frederica Hickling Webster. In 1892, Samuel Wyllys Dabney, his family, and his sister left the Azores for San Diego. They were the last of the Dabneys to live in the Azores.

Roxana Lewis Dabney (1827-1913) was the daughter of Charles William Dabney, the granddaughter of John Bass Dabney, and the sister of Samuel Wyllys Dabney. Considered a "literary" woman, she wrote Annals of the Dabney Family in Fayal (Boston, for private circulation, ca. 1899). Rose Dabney Forbes (1864-1947) was the daughter of Samuel Wyllys Dabney and the niece of Roxana Lewis Dabney. She became the second wife of John Malcolm Forbes (1847-1904) in 1892.

Eliza Nevins Townsend Bellows (1818-1869) was married to Unitarian minister Henry Whitney Bellows (1814-1882) in 1839. The couple lived in New York City, with a summer home at Riverside.

Persis Sibley Andrews Black (b. 1813) was the daughter of William Sibley (b. 1779) and Charlotte Buxton Sibley (b. 1783) of Freedom, Maine. Her siblings were Ann Sibley (b. 1806), Reuben Sibley (b. 1807), and William George Sibley (b. 1815). She married first, in 1842, Charles Andrews (1814-1852), and their children were Charlotte Buxton Andrews (b. 1843) and Persis Nevins Andrews (b. 1847). She married second, in 1855, Alvah Black (1817-1882), and they had one child, Charles Alvah Black (1856-1899).

Other families to which the Dabneys were related by marriage include the Nye and Prescott families.

Collection Description

This microfilm edition consists of papers of Dabney family members and other individuals from three separate collections held by the Massachusetts Historical Society: the Dabney family papers (Ms. N-1080), the Dabney family diaries (Ms. N-117), and the William H. Dabney letters (Ms. S-540). These three collections are interfiled for this microfilm edition. Included is correspondence of U.S. consuls John Bass Dabney and Charles William Dabney, as well as letters of William Henry Dabney and a letterbook of merchant Osgood Carney with invoices of ships' cargos. The microfilm also contains diaries of Eliza Nevins Townsend Bellows, Persis Sibley Andrews Black, Roxana Lewis Dabney, and Rose Dabney Forbes; genealogical papers; and miscellaneous printed material.

Acquisition Information

The Dabney family papers (Ms. N-1080) were a gift of Mrs. Weston Howland, 1953. The William H. Dabney letters (Ms. S-540) were a gift of Mrs. Weston Howland, 1978. The provenance of the Dabney family diaries (Ms. N-117) is unknown.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Loose papers, 1716-1900

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains loose correspondence and other papers, primarily from the Dabney family papers (Ms. N-1080). Among the papers of U.S. consul John Bass Dabney is correspondence related to the 1814 attack by a British squadron on the American privateer General Armstrong in Fayal Harbor, including manuscript copies of letters to the Portuguese governor of that neutral port and to the U.S. secretary of state. Papers of Charles William Dabney include depositions, rough drafts, and copies of correspondence concerning the wreck and salvage off Fayal of the ship Ravenswood of New York, 1856, with exact descriptions of the ship and its crew and cargo.

This series also contains detailed accounts of cargos between Cuba, Russia, and Boston, 1831-1834; papers of Persis Sibley Andrews, including letters to her husband in Washington, D.C., primarily about family matters at Paris Hill, Maine, 1851-1852; and papers of other family members. Included are the William Henry Dabney letters (Ms. S-540) to his cousin John Cunningham of Boston about life in the Azores and affairs in Boston, 1834-1835. The William Henry Dabney letters are integrated chronologically with the Dabney family papers.

Reel 1
Undated papers
Reel 1
1716-1796 (copies)
Reel 1
1806-1900

II. Genealogical papers, 1717-1929

This series consists of genealogical notes on the Dabney family.

Reel 1

III. Volumes, 1831-1900

This series consists of the diaries of Eliza Nevins Townsend Bellows, Persis Sibley Andrews Black, Roxana Lewis Dabney, and Rose Dabney Forbes, as well as a letterbook of shipping merchant Osgood Carney. The collections from which these volumes are drawn are identified in italics.

Reel 1
Diary of Eliza Nevins Townsend Bellows, 6 Aug. 1846-9 Jan. 1850

In Dabney family papers (Ms. N-1080). How this diary came to be part of the Dabney family papers is unclear. It was previously unidentified and is labeled as "unidentified" on the microfilm.

The diary of Eliza Nevins Townsend Bellows describes the details of her daily life in New York City. Subjects include time spent with her husband, Unitarian minister Henry Whitney Bellows; her parents Elihu and Elizabeth Townsend; her children Edward Sterns Bellows, Russell Nevins Bellows, Eliza Bellows, Anna Longdon Bellows, and Mary Davis Bellows; and other family members. Included are entries related to her health, the deaths of three of her children, poetry, prayer, summers in Riverside, N.Y., social engagements, and the weather.

For another diary of Eliza Nevins Townsend Bellows, 1843-1846, see the Henry W. Bellows papers (Ms. N-1829).

Diaries of Persis Sibley Andrews Black, 1842-1864

In Dabney family papers (Ms. N-1080). How these diaries and other papers of Persis Sibley Andrews Black came to be part of the Dabney family papers is unclear.

The diaries of Persis Sibley Andrews Black contain sporadic entries pertaining to her life and family matters in Paris Hill, Maine. Subjects include time spent with her first husband Charles Andrews, her second husband Alvah Black, her children, and other family members; social engagements; her health; the Civil War; church attendance; domestic activities; and the weather. Included are volumes 3, 8, 9, 10, and 11 in her self-numbered sequence.

Other diaries of Persis Sibley Andrews Black are held by the Maine Historical Society, Portland, Maine.

Reel 1
Vol. 3, 1842
Reel 1
Vol. 8, 1 May 1853-21 Sep. 1855
Reel 1
Vol. 9, 1 Jan. 1856-31 Aug. 1859
Reel 1
Vol. 10, 4 Sep. 1859-29 Dec. 1861
Reel 1
Vol. 11, 1 Jan. 1862-2 Oct. 1864
Reel 2
Letterbook of Osgood Carney, 1831-1832

In Dabney family papers (Ms. N-1080).

This letterbook contains copies of letters written by Osgood Carney with detailed accounts of the import and export of coffee, sugar, candles, fish, iron, hemp, and other cargos between Havana, Cuba; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Boston.

For additional papers of Osgood Carney, see the Osgood Carney journal and letterbook, 1831-1834 (Ms. N-1993).

Diaries of Roxana Lewis Dabney, 1880-1900

The 1880-1881 diary is in the Dabney family diaries (Ms. N-117). The rest are in the Dabney family papers (Ms. N-1080).

The 1880-1881 diary of Roxana Lewis Dabney describes her day-to-day activities at her home in Fayal, the Azores. Included are descriptions of the social life and customs of the islands and Dabney family activities. The 1884-1900 diaries describe her travels through Russia and Europe and her return to Fayal; a voyage to Boston, Mass., in 1889; life in the Azores and later in San Diego, California, 1900; time spent with family and friends; arrivals of ships and visitors; social engagements; her writings; church attendance; nature; and the weather. Included are volumes 27, 28, and 29 in her self-numbered sequence.

Reel 2
7 Aug.-24 Sep. 1884
Reel 2
4 Apr. 1880-17 Mar. 1881
Reel 2
25 Sep.-29 Oct. 1884
Reel 2
29 Oct. 1884-14 Jan. 1885
Reel 2
15 Jan.-8 Apr. 1885
Reel 2
24 May 1889-1 Aug. 1890
Reel 2
16 Sep.-31 Dec. 1900
Reel 2
Diary of Rose Dabney Forbes, 21 Oct. 1888-29 Jan. 1889

In Dabney family diaries (Ms. N-117).

This diary consists of an account of the day-to-day activities of Rose Dabney Forbes at her home in Fayal, the Azores. Included are descriptions of the social life and customs of the islands and Dabney family activities.

For additional papers of Rose Dabney Forbes, see the Rose Dabney Forbes papers (Ms. N-49.83). Finding aid available at: http://www.masshist.org/collection-guides/view/fa0212.

IV. Printed materials, 1814-1927

Reel 2
Miscellaneous newspaper clippings, 1814-1904
Reel 2
Miscellaneous printed materials, 1814-1927

V. Oversize materials, 1716-1892

This series consists of oversize papers removed from Series I-IV. A note has been inserted at the original location of each item indicating its removal to oversize.

Reel 2

Preferred Citation

Microfilm edition of the Dabney family papers, 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:

Bellows, Eliza Nevins Townsend, 1818-1869.
Black, Persis Sibley Andrews, b. 1813.
Carney, Osgood, 1809-1835.
Dabney, Charles William, 1794-1871.
Dabney, John Bass, 1766-1826.
Dabney, Roxana Lewis, 1827-1913.
Dabney, William H. (William Henry), 1817-1888.
Forbes, Rose Dabney, 1864-1947.

Subjects:

Diplomats.
Family history--1700-1749.
Family history--1750-1799.
Family history--1800-1849.
Family history--1850-1899.
Merchants.