1727-1986; bulk: 1850-1945
Guide to the Collection
|Creator:||Phillips, Arthur Sherman,
|Title:||Arthur Sherman Phillips
|Physical Description:||6 document
boxes and 1 oversize box
|Call Number:||Ms. N-2358
|Repository:||Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
This collection contains the papers of Arthur
Sherman Phillips and the Phillips family of East Bridgewater and Fall River,
Mass., including Mark Phillips (1768-1851), Susan Sherman Phillips, Kathleen
Phillips, and Mark Phillips (1835-1911). Items in this collection include
correspondence, genealogical papers, travel papers, financial records, and
Below are brief biographical sketches of the individuals represented most
prominently within the collection.
Ellen Pratt Currier (b. ca. 1840) lived in
Bloomington, Ill., where she corresponded with members of the Phillips family
and made observations on events related to the Civil War. Although she referred
to Susan Sherman Pratt Phillips as "sister" in her letters, her relationship to
Susan is unclear.
Arthur Sherman Phillips (1865-1941) was born in
East Bridgewater, Mass. to Mark and Susan S. Pratt Phillips. In 1872 the family
moved from East Bridgewater to Fall River, where Phillips graduated from Fall
River High School in 1883. After graduating from Williams College in 1887 and
Boston University Law School in 1892, he worked as a legal assistant for the
defense in the Lizzie Borden case and opened his own law practice in 1894. A
genealogist by avocation, Phillips was a member of several New England
genealogical and historical societies and authored The
Phillips History of Fall River.
Phillips's first marriage was to Elizabeth Lurena Cheney (1870-1905), with
whom he had three children: Lurena Phillips (b. 1894), Kathleen Phillips (b.
1895), and Elizabeth Aubrey Phillips (d. 1965). After Elizabeth's death, he
married May Churchill Wiggin (d. 1943), with whom he had a daughter, Margery
Kathleen "Kay" Phillips (b. 1895) was the
daughter of Arthur S. Phillips and Elizabeth Lurena Cheney. In 1921-1922 she
traveled around the world with three female companions and documented many of
her experiences in her diaries and photograph albums. Her first husband was
Frank Royden Sweet, and her second, Harold Davie. After her father's death in
1941, she became custodian of his genealogical records.
Mark Phillips (1768-1851) was the grandfather of
Mark Phillips (1835-1911) and great-grandfather of Arthur S. Phillips. He was a
Massachusetts farmer and a dealer in ship timber, which he purchased from other
Mark Phillips (1835-1911) was the father of
Arthur S. Phillips and Lillian Phillips (later Easton), and the second husband
of Susan S. Pratt Phillips. A native of East Bridgewater, Mass., he moved to
Fall River in 1870. He was a millwright, and later worked for Kilburn, Lincoln
& Co. and the American Printing Co.
Susan Sherman Pratt Phillips (1841-1928) was the
daughter of Anthony Sherman Pratt (1815-1869) and Susan Loring Holmes Pratt
(1818-1899). Her first marriage to Isaac Wilbar ended in his death in 1862; in
1864 she married Mark Phillips (1835-1911) in East Bridgewater, Mass. She was
the mother of Arthur S. Phillips and Lillian Phillips (later Easton).
Enoch Pratt (b. 1844) was the brother of Susan S.
Pratt Phillips and maternal uncle of Arthur S. Phillips. From 1862-1864, Pratt
served as a Union soldier in the 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery
The Phillips family papers consist of 6 document boxes and 1 oversize box
spanning the years 1727 to 1986, with the bulk from 1850 to 1945. The
collection contains the papers of the Phillips family of East Bridgewater and
Fall River, Mass., and documents the family, their travels, 19th century daily
life in Massachusetts and Bloomington, Ill., and observations on the Civil War.
The collection has been arranged into three series: the Arthur S. Phillips
papers; the Phillips family papers; and Scrapbooks.
Materials in this collection consist of family and personal correspondence,
personal papers, genealogical papers, financial and legal papers, estate
records, school materials, scrapbooks, travel papers and diaries, notebooks of
daily memoranda, printed material, and other miscellaneous papers and ephemera.
The bulk of the collection is comprised of the papers of Fall River attorney
Arthur S. Phillips, in particular his letters to his parents Mark and Susan
Phillips during his time as an undergraduate at Williams College. Other family
correspondence within the collection includes the letters of Ellen Pratt
Currier, Kathleen Phillips, and Enoch Pratt.
Of interest are the 1862-1864 letters of Civil War soldier Enoch Pratt to
his sister, Susan S. Pratt Wilbar (later Phillips) in which he describes his
experiences as a soldier with the 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery
Regiment and the conditions of the camps in which he stayed. Also of interest
are Ellen Pratt Currier's letters to Susan, which describe 1861 Civil War
activity in Bloomington, Ill. The travel journals of Kathleen Phillips, which
record her 1921-1922 journeys to Europe, Asia, South America, and the Near
East, are also of particular note .
Deposited by John Wood Sweet in December 2006 and donated in October
The collection is organized into the following series:
|I. Arthur S. Phillips papers, 1880-1940
|A. Correspondence, 1880-1930
| B. Personal papers, 1880-1940
|II. Phillips family papers, 1790-1986
|A. Correspondence, 1842-1907
|B. Financial and legal papers, 1790-1963
| C. Kathleen Phillips travel papers, 1921-1922
| D. Genealogical papers, 1903-1986
| E. Printed material, 1882-1941
|III. Scrapbooks, 1727-1965
|A. Phillips family genealogical scrapbook, 1727-1965
|B. Williams College scrapbook, 1882-1939
|I. Arthur S. Phillips papers,
This series contains the correspondence and personal papers of Fall River,
Mass. attorney Arthur Sherman Phillips (1865-1941). Family correspondence
consists of letters addressed to his parents, Mark and Susan Phillips, which
detail social and educational experiences during his time at Williams College
from 1883-1887. Personal correspondence documents Phillips's interests in
genealogy and history, as well as his travels in South America. Personal papers
include school papers, notebooks of daily memoranda, and miscellaneous printed
| A. Correspondence,
| i. Family correspondence,
This subseries consists almost exclusively of letters written by Arthur S.
Phillips to his parents, Mark and Susan Phillips, describing everyday social
and educational experiences during his time as an undergraduate at Williams
College in Williamstown, Mass. Topics frequently discussed include: school
sports; class hikes on Mt. Greylock; city and state political races; campus and
classroom lectures; schoolwork; friends and acquaintances; local news; family
affairs and news from home; and requests for financial support. The subseries
includes one 1884 letter to Phillips from his maternal uncle, Enoch Pratt.
|Box 1||Jun. 1880 - Apr. 1885
|Box 2||Folders 1-23|| May 1885 - Mar. 1887
|Box 2||Folders 24-32|| ii. Personal correspondence,
The bulk of this subseries contains correspondence that pertains to Arthur
S. Phillips's genealogical research and memberships in various Massachusetts
genealogical and historical societies. This series also includes drafts of
letters to relative Robert N. Hathaway which detail Arthur S. Phillips's
travels in South America in early 1924.
See also: Arthur S. Phillips's Williams College
scrapbook (Series III, Subseries B) which contains notes and letters received
during his time as an undergraduate, and the Phillips family genealogical
scrapbook (Series III, Subseries A) which contains genealogical correspondence
addressed to Arthur S. Phillips.
|B. Personal papers,
Arranged chronologically and by record type.
|Box 2||Folders 33-35|| i. Loose papers,
Papers within this subseries include Arthur S. Phillips's school papers from
Fall River High School, Williams College (1883-1887), and Boston University Law
School (1891-1892). Also found here are membership papers, certificates, and
See also: Williams College scrapbook (series III,
subseries B) for additional school papers and ephemera.
|Box 3||Folders 1-7|| ii. Notebooks,
This subseries contains Arthur S. Philips's bound notebooks of daily
memoranda, including financial accounts, estate inventories, investments, and
lists of purchases.
|Box 3||Folders 8-9|| iii. Printed material,
Included here is printed material related to Arthur S. Phillips's
involvement with various New England historical and genealogical societies,
newspaper clippings documenting his historical activities, clippings about the
history of Plymouth Colony, and ephemera.
|II. Phillips family papers,
This series consists of family correspondence, financial and legal papers,
the travel papers of Kathleen Phillips, genealogical papers, and printed
material. Family correspondence includes letters from Ellen Pratt Currier,
Enoch Pratt, Anthony S. Pratt, and Kathleen Phillips. Also included are letters
from various family members to Mark Phillips (1768-1851) and Mark Phillips
(1835-1911). Letters detail 19th century daily life, family events, Enoch
Pratt's experiences as a Union soldier, and events related to the Civil War.
|Box 4||Folders 1-7||A. Correspondence,
Correspondence between various Phillips family members illustrates aspects
of mid-19th century daily life, predominantly in East Bridgewater, Mass. and
Bloomington, Ill. The bulk of the family correspondence includes letters from
Ellen Pratt Currier to Susan S. Pratt Phillips (formerly Wilbar) discussing
life in Bloomington, Ill., family affairs, information concerning Enoch and
Horace Pratt, and Civil War activity in the Bloomington area in 1861. Letters
from Enoch Pratt to his sister Susan recount his experiences as a Union soldier
in the 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery Regiment from 1862 to 1864
near Fredericksburg, Virginia, Fort Tillinghast in Arlington, Virginia, Camp
Dixon near the Maryland line, and Gallatin, Tennessee towards the conclusion of
the war. Pratt provides details about the poor conditions of the camps and
soldiers, Confederate activities, prisoners of war, company casualties, and his
own minor injury sustained during conflict. Other letters to Susan S. Pratt
Phillips include those from her father, husband, and other family members.
|Box 4||Folders 8-17||B. Financial and legal papers,
The bulk of this subseries consists of Mark Phillips's (1768-1851) bills and
receipts documenting daily household expenses. The subseries also includes
other bills, receipts, and accounts; the appointment of Susan S. Pratt Wilbar
(later Phillips) as executrix of Isaac Wilbar's estate; and Arthur S. Phillips'
|C. Kathleen Phillips travel papers,
This subseries consists of Kathleen Phillips's travel papers, including her
1921-1922 journals which document her daily activities during her year abroad
in Great Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy,
Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, India, Burma, Singapore, Java, Indonesia, Hong
Kong, China, Korea, Japan, and Hawaii.
Also included in this subseries is Kathleen Phillips' passport, and loose
papers removed from her travel photo albums, including newspaper clippings and
ephemera that document her time overseas.
See also: Arthur Sherman Phillips family photograph
collection, which includes Kathleen Phillips' travel photograph
|Box 4||Folder 18||Passport,
|Box 4||Folders 19-22||Travel journals,
|Box 5||Folders 1-2||Travel journals,
|Box 5||Folders 3-4||Loose papers removed from photograph albums,
|Box 5||Folders 5-20||D. Genealogical papers,
1903-1986, bulk undated
This subseries contains genealogical papers that were probably compiled by
Arthur S. Phillips. The largely undated material relates to Phillips's maternal
and paternal lineages, including the Pratt, Hathaway, Sherman, Washburn,
Porter, Holmes, and Howland lines. Other genealogies related to the Hutchins,
Johnson, McConichy (McConihe) and Sweet families.
See also: Phillips family genealogical scrapbook
(Series III, Subseries A).
|Box 5||Folder 21||E. Printed material,
Printed material includes newspaper clippings that pertain to Phillips
family members, an address delivered by the Old Bridgewater Historical Society
that contains historical and genealogical information about the early settlers
of Bridgewater, Mass., and ephemera.
|III. Scrapbooks, 1727-1965
This series consists of two scrapbooks compiled by Arthur S. Phillips. One
scrapbook contains historical records and documents dating from 1727 to 1965
pertaining to the Phillips family of Plymouth County, Mass., including
genealogical notes related to the Phillips family genealogy. The second
scrapbook documents Arthur Phillips's social and educational experiences as an
undergraduate student at Williams College from 1883-1887.
|OS Box 1||A. Phillips family genealogical scrapbook,
This scrapbook contains papers compiled by Arthur S. Phillips documenting
the history of the Phillips family, as well as the history of Massachusetts and
Plymouth County. The papers include land deeds, legal and estate documents,
genealogical correspondence, poetry, family photographs and other images,
genealogical notes, and other miscellaneous documents. Many of the records
pertain to Mark Phillips (1768-1851).
|Box 6||B. Williams College scrapbook,
Compiled by Arthur S. Phillips, this scrapbook documents his activities as
an undergraduate at Williams College from 1883 to 1887. The material, much of
which is ephemeral in nature, includes pamphlets, ticket stubs, event programs,
examination sheets, newspaper clippings, sports scores, prize ribbons, and
other miscellaneous items. Some correspondence is also included. The scrapbook
also contains material from Phillips's time at Boston University Law School and
other activities in which he was involved after 1887, including a 1939 Williams
College class of 1887 alumni booklet and a photograph of Phillips with other
Arthur Sherman Phillips family papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
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.
|Currier, Ellen Pratt.
|Phillips, Kathleen, b. 1895.
|Phillips, Mark, 1768-1851.
|Phillips, Mark, 1835-1911.
|Phillips, Susan Sherman Pratt,
|Pratt, Enoch, b. 1844.
|United States--Army. Massachusetts Heavy
Artillery Regiment, 1st (1862-1865).
|Asia, Southeastern -- Description and
|Bloomington (Ill.)--Social life and
|China--Description and travel.
|East Bridgewater (Mass.)--Social life and
|Egypt--Description and travel.
|Europe--Description and travel.
|Fall River (Mass.)--Social life and
|Family history, 1800-1849.
|Family history, 1850-1899.
|Family history, 1900-1949.
|India--Description and travel.
|Japan--Description and travel.
|South America--Description and
|United States--History--Civil War,
|United States--History--Civil War,
1861-1865--Regimental histories--Massachusetts Artillery (Heavy), 1st
|Voyages and travels--Diaries.
Photographs have been removed from this collection and are stored onsite in
the MHS Photo Archives. They include:
portraits of Phillips family members, notably Arthur S. Phillips at
various stages in his life; portraits of Fall River High School students, faculty and administration;
portraits of Boston University Law School faculty; three travel photograph albums compiled by Kathleen Phillips documenting
her 1921-1922 trip abroad, particularly of Asia, Egypt, and the
A copy of a silhouette of Ruth Noyes McConihe, Merrimack, New Hampshire, ca.
1848 has been removed from this collection and placed in the MHS silhouette
A 1933 profile pencil sketch of Arthur Sherman Phillips, signed and stamped
by Baumgarten Studio, Chicago World's Fair, has been removed from this
collection and placed in the MHS art collection.
The following items have been removed from the collection and placed in the
MHS printed collections:
Phillips, Arthur S. The Phillips History of Fall
River (Fall River: Dover Press, 1944), 2 vols.
Phillips, Arthur S., My Wilderness Friends
(Fall River: Munroe Press, 1910).