Guide to the Microfilm Edition
|Title:||Dabney family papers
|Microfilm Call Number:||P-425
|Repository:||Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
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.
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.
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
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
The collection is organized into the following series:
|I. Loose papers, 1716-1900
|II. Genealogical papers, 1717-1929
|III. Volumes, 1831-1900
|IV. Printed materials, 1814-1927
|V. Oversize materials, 1716-1892
|I. Loose papers,
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||II. Genealogical papers,
This series consists of genealogical notes on the Dabney family.
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
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
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,
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,
|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,
In Dabney family papers (Ms.
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
For additional papers of Osgood Carney, see the Osgood
Carney journal and letterbook, 1831-1834 (Ms. N-1993).
|Diaries of Roxana Lewis Dabney,
The 1880-1881 diary is in the Dabney family diaries
(Ms. N-117). The rest are in the Dabney family papers (Ms.
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
|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.
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.
|IV. Printed materials,
|Reel 2||Miscellaneous newspaper clippings,
|Reel 2||Miscellaneous printed materials,
|Reel 2||V. Oversize materials,
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
Microfilm edition of the Dabney family papers, Massachusetts Historical
This collection is indexed under the following headings in
the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers
desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should
search the catalog using these headings.
|Bellows, Eliza Nevins Townsend,
|Black, Persis Sibley Andrews, b.
|Carney, Osgood, 1809-1835.
|Dabney, Charles William, 1794-1871.
|Dabney, John Bass, 1766-1826.
|Dabney, Roxana Lewis, 1827-1913.
|Dabney, William H. (William Henry),
|Forbes, Rose Dabney, 1864-1947.