1845-1950; bulk: 1870-1926

Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists primarily of account books, letterbooks, cash books, and other business and financial records of the Atkins family of Boston and Belmont, Massachusetts, sugar merchants engaged in trade with Cuba, 1845-1950. The bulk of the materials in this collection relate to the Soledad estate. Information about the day-to-day management and operation of the estate is found in correspondence between Edwin F. Atkins in Boston and J. S. Murray and L. F. Hughes, two managers of the Soledad estate.

Biographical Sketch

In 1838, Elisha Atkins (EA) (1813-1888) of Boston, Massachusetts, started a business with William Freeman to import molasses and sugar from Cuba. In 1843, the firm of Atkins and Freeman, located at 26 India Wharf, began trading with Cienfuegos, Cuba. This city's sugar business grew rapidly between 1840 and 1860 and became the most important sugar port in southern Cuba. EA continued to trade with Cuban sugar planters under the firm name E. Atkins & Company after Freeman left the firm in 1849. This firm did business with other Caribbean islands, but its sugar business in Cuba became E. Atkins & Company's focus.

Elisha Atkins was married to Mary E. Freeman Atkins (1819-1897), with whom he had three surviving children: Edwin Farnsworth (1850-1926), Grace Evelyn (b. ca. 1852), and Helen (1857-1888). In January 1866 at the age of 16, Edwin F. Atkins (EFA) accompanied his father Elisha on a trip to Havana and Cienfuegos. Two years later, EFA began working with his father's company, and in 1874 he became a partner in E. Atkins & Company. Over the years, EFA was also involved in other business interests, including the Bay State Sugar Refinery, of which he was president from 1876 to 1888; Union Pacific Railroad, of which he was a director from 1888 to 1895; Aetna Mills and the Boston Wharf Company, for both of which he served as president until 1915; American Sugar Refining Company, of which he was chairman of the board until 1916; and Westinghouse Electric, of which he was a director and president (1915).

E. Atkins & Company's most frequent business correspondents in Cienfuegos were the Torriente Brothers. After the Ten Years' War in Cuba (1868-1878), Torriente Brothers had many sugar estates indebted to them, and the firm in turn was indebted to E. Atkins & Company. Torriente Brothers foreclosed on several estates, including the Soledad plantation in Cienfuegos owned by the Sarria family. After a series of negotiations, the Soledad estate was turned over to E. Atkins & Company in 1883. EFA convinced EA to allow him to take on the Soledad estate and its sugar manufacturing business. Although E. Atkins & Company, a sugar-trading company, did not seek to manufacture sugar, it entered this area of the business as an attempt to recover loaned funds. By 1887, Soledad was producing four thousand tons of sugar and was the primary focus of EFA's business. Although E. Atkins & Company owned Soledad, the estate was EFA's personal interest, and he oversaw its operation throughout his life. He maintained private correspondence with the various managers of the estate: J. S. Murray, 1884-1893; J. N. S. Williams, 1893-1898; and L. F. Hughes beginning in 1898.

In 1892, Henry O. Havemeyer of the American Sugar Refining Company and his cousin Charles Senff included EFA in a new sugar company, the Trinidad Sugar Company in Trinidad, Cuba. EFA served as its president and, through E. Atkins & Company, managed its affairs in Cuba. Trinidad was a private enterprise between Havemeyer, Senff, and EFA until 1912 when E. Atkins & Company took full ownership of the estate.

Edwin F. Atkins married Katharine Wrisley (1860-1953) in 1882. They resided in Belmont, Massachusetts, and had three children: Robert Wrisley (1889-1948), Edwin Farnsworth (1892-1923), and Helen (1894-1991). In 1910, Robert W. Atkins (RWA) joined E. Atkins & Company. Five years later, he founded the Punta Alegre Sugar Company, with EFA as its president. Punta Alegre came to own many mills in Cuba. Together with E. Atkins & Company, the Atkinses came to operate many of the top sugar producing sugar mills in Cuba. They controlled the Baguanos, Tacajó Presidente, San Germán and Ermita mills in Oriente province; Caracas, Trinidad, and San Agustín mills in Santa Clara province, and Baraguá Florida, and Punta Alegre mills in Camagüey province.

RWA had other interests, including Belmont Associates and School Street Associates, both real estate firms; Merchant's National Bank of Boston; and Aetna Mills. His brother Edwin F. Atkins, Jr. was briefly involved with E. Atkins & Company before his death in 1923 that resulted from a plane crash off of Key West, Florida. Edwin F. Atkins, Jr.'s two sons also perished in the crash.

In 1921, Frank C. Lowry and Eugene V. Thayer joined E. Atkins & Company as junior officers. Upon EFA's death in 1926, Lowry and Thayer took over the firm and operated it under the name Lowry & Company.


The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) library holds the following books that are related to this collection:

Allen, Benjamin. A Story of the Growth of E. Atkins & Co. and the Sugar Industry in Cuba. N.p.: 1926.

Atkins, Edwin Farnsworth. Sixty Years in Cuba: Reminiscences of Edwin F. Atkins. Cambridge, Mass.: Privately printed at the Riverside Press, 1926.

Ayala, César J. American Sugar Kingdom: The Plantation Economy of the Spanish Caribbean, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. pp. 89-94.

Claflin, Helen Atkins. A New England Family. Belmont, Mass: c. 1956?.

Reed, William Howell. Reminiscences of Elisha Atkins. Cambridge, Mass.: University Press: J. Wilson and Son, 1890.

Collection Description

The Atkins family papers consist of 214 volumes of correspondence, journals, ledgers, cash books, and scrapbooks; and 41 boxes of correspondence, receipts and invoices, and diaries spanning the years 1845 to 1950. The bulk of the collection dates from the mid-1870s to 1926. The collection consists almost exclusively of the business papers of Elisha Atkins, Edwin F. Atkins, and Robert W. Atkins, as well as the records of E. Atkins & Company. The series in this collection were organized in keeping with the records' creation, in clear, separate series indicated by the titles printed on the volumes in the collection; this original order was maintained.

The two largest series are the Edwin F. Atkins papers and the E. Atkins & Company records. The papers of Edwin F. Atkins consist of his personal business correspondence, materials relating to his damage claims to the Spanish government after the Spanish-American War, his personal financial records, and scrapbooks. These materials also touch upon EFA's other business activities, such as the Union Pacific Railroad and Westinghouse Electric; and his involvement in the American sugar industry, including his public statements about the sugar tariff and his testimonies to Congress on this matter. Also included in EFA's papers is an account book of his wife Katharine's personal investments and finances.

The E. Atkins & Company records document the primarily Cuban business dealings of the company. These materials include correspondence, financial records, and the records of the Trinidad Sugar Company.

The bulk of the materials in this collection relate to the Soledad estate. Information about the day-to-day management and operation of the estate is found in Series IV. Soledad Sugar Company records, which consist of correspondence between EFA in Boston and J. S. Murray and L. F. Hughes, two managers of the Soledad estate. This series includes information about the acquisition of land neighboring the estate in which EFA was very active after the Spanish-American War to expand sugar production and for the estate railroad's right-of-way, as well as political and economic conditions on the island. Series II. Edwin F. Atkins papers, also contains information pertaining to Soledad and more generally to EFA's business relations in Cienfuegos. Materials relating to the Soledad estate can also be found in Series III. E. Atkins & Company records; this series documents the more general aspects of the business of the estate, including the purchase and delivery of mill and railroad machinery and materials.

While the bulk of this collection consists of business records, it also includes the personal diaries of various members of the Atkins and Wrisley families. The diaries are found in Series VI. and document both daily life in Belmont, Massachusetts, and travels in the United States and Europe. None of the diaries relate to Cuba.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Helen Atkins Claflin, Belmont, Massachusetts, November 1967.

Other Formats

Digital facsimiles of the Helen Atkins and Mary E. F. Atkins 1877 travel diaries are available on Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture: The History of Tourism, a digital publication of Adam Matthew Digital, Inc. This digital resource is available at subscribing libraries; speak to your local librarian to determine if your library has access. The MHS makes this resource available onsite; see a reference librarian for more information.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Elisha Atkins papers, 1845-1891

A. Letterbook, 1874-1885

This letterbook contains correspondence from Elisha Atkins (EA) to his agents in New York regarding his personal investments. The letters primarily concern his railroad stocks and bonds, including his interests in the Union Pacific Railroad Company. Edwin F. Atkins and J. W. Cummings wrote some of the letters in this book on behalf of EA.

Vol. I.1

B. Financial records, 1846-1891

EA's account books record his business transactions with Cuban persons and companies, including Fowler and Prosper, J. R. Jova, and Torriente Brothers. The ledgers contain information about EA's personal expenses, while the cash books record transactions of his personal investments. The last cash book in this series contains the settlement of EA's estate upon his death.

1. Journals, 1846-1891

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. I.2 XT
4 February 1846-29 June 1855
Vol. I.3 XT
29 June 1855-27 November 1860
Vol. I.4 XT
28 November 1860-30 September 1864
Vol. I.5 XT
14 October 1864-26 November 1888

2. Ledgers, 1852-1888

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. I.6 XT
28 February 1852-January 1862
Vol. I.7 XT
July 1862-December 1888

3. Cash books, 1845-1891

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. I.8
2 January 1845-31 January 1852
Vol. I.9
4 February 1852-17 August 1855
Vol. I.10
18 August 1855-31 March 1858
Vol. I.11
3 April 1858-31 January 1861
Vol. I.12
2 February 1861-31 July 1863
Vol. I.13
4 August 1863-14 June 1870
Vol. I.14
1 July 1870-24 January 1874
Vol. I.15
2 November 1877-31 January 1881
Vol. I.16
1 February 1881-30 September 1885
Vol. I.17
1 October 1885-7 December 1888
Vol. I.18
1 January 1889-20 January 1891 (estate book)

II. Edwin F. Atkins papers, 1875-1950 (bulk: 1875-1926)

A. Correspondence, 1875-1919

1. Incoming correspondence, 1875-1919

Arranged chronologically.

Correspondence received by Edwin F. Atkins (EFA) in Boston came primarily from correspondents in Cuba regarding Soledad estate business. Letters from Soledad estate managers J. S. Murray and J. N. S. Williams and chemist William Skafie are included, as are those from various business agents such as Esteban and Joaquin de la Torriente of Torriente Brothers and Federico de Mazarredo, the Atkins' shipping agent in Cienfuegos. Letters dating from 1895 to 1899 concern the war in Cuba and were written by, among others, William Day and Alvin Adee, Assistant Secretaries of State; John Hay, Secretary of State; and Dupuy du Lome, the Spanish representative in Washington, D.C.

Later incoming correspondence relates to the sugar tariff and Cuban Reciprocity Treaty (1902). EFA testified before Congress several times in relation to the sugar tariff, and box 2 contains a letter from Senator Henry Cabot Lodge on the sugar tariff (1912). For private correspondence between EFA and Soledad estate managers J. S. Murray and L. F. Hughes, see Series IV. Soledad Sugar Company records.

Box II.1
Box II.2

2. Letterbooks, 1878-1912

Arranged chronologically.

The letters in these volumes span many years and several topics. Copies of EFA's outgoing correspondence were retained, and these letters chiefly document EFA's business in Cuba, the focus of which was the Soledad estate in Cienfuegos. Letters in the first three volumes relate to the litigation that led to the acquisition of Soledad by the Atkinses. The bulk of the letters in this series relate to the general management of Soledad, including cane planting and the weather, sugar sales, the building of a railroad on the estate, labor, machinery and equipment, housing and other amenities, visitors to the estate, and livestock. EFA also wrote about various aspects of the sugar business, reporting on the state of the sugar market, sugar prices, competition from other locations and from beet sugar, and advances in sugar producing technology. Some of the letters were written by EFA from Soledad during annual visits in the winter (often January through March). These are noted in the container list as "(from Cuba)."

Many letters in these books relate to debts owed to E. Atkins & Company or EFA by estate owners in Cuba. These letters are to the debtors themselves, such as J. R. Jova, or to the Atkins' Cuban agent, Torriente Brothers. Debts were often settled through the transfer of land mortgages or titles.

In the 1890s, EFA's letters document the war in Cuba and the measures taken to protect his properties and interests there, including the employment of armed guards at Soledad and his relations with the local Spanish militia and insurgent troops. Letters from the early 1900s document the establishment of a botanical garden at Soledad and Harvard University's assistance with it beginning in 1901. EFA was actively interested in this project until he transferred its full operation to Harvard in 1919. The garden then became known as the Harvard Botanical Station. For private correspondence between EFA and Soledad estate managers J. S. Murray and L. F. Hughes, see Series IV. Soledad Sugar Company records.

For EFA's diaries from 1872 and 1877, see Series VI. Diaries.

Vol. II.1
9 April 1878-30 December 1879
Vol. II.2
11 May 1880-5 August 1881
Vol. II.3
10 August 1881-8 September 1882
Vol. II.4
20 September 1882-25 July 1883
Vol. II.5
27 July 1883-29 November 1884
Vol. II.6
3 December 1884-16 July 1886
Vol. II.7
16 July 1886-30 July 1888
Vol. II.8
30 July 1888-21 January 1890
Vol. II.9
22 January 1890-27 June 1891
Vol. II.10
6 July 1891-5 December 1893
Vol. II.11
16 November 1891-11 February 1895 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.12
6 December 1893-21 May 1895
Vol. II.13
13 January-15 April 1894 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.14
12 February 1895-28 April 1896 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.15
9 October 1895-31 December 1896
Vol. II.16
1 January 1897-22 December 1899
Vol. II.17
18 January-23 March 1897 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.18
10 January-24 March 1898 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.19
7 January-19 April 1899 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.20
12 January-13 March 1900 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.21
13 March-15 April 1900 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.22
9 January-6 March 1901 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.23
8 March-30 April 1901 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.24
20 January-26 March 1902 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.25
28 March-19 April 1902 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.26
31 December 1902-15 July 1904
Vol. II.27
12 January-17 March 1903 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.28
17 March-5 May 1903 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.29
2 January-25 February 1904 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.30
26 February-27 April 1904 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.31
18 July 1904-20 October 1905
Vol. II.32
13 November 1906-14 December 1907
Vol. II.33
16 December 1907-28 November 1908
Vol. II.34
15 January-10 March 1908 (from Cuba)
Vol. II.35
28 November 1908-25 November 1909
Vol. II.36
18 November 1909-24 October 1910
Vol. II.37
25 October 1910-30 September 1911
Vol. II.38
30 September 1911-5 August 1912

3. Spanish claims, 1900-1907

Arranged chronologically.

After the Spanish American War, EFA sued the Spanish government for damages to his properties in Cuba, the Soledad and Trinidad estates. The Spanish Claims materials consist of correspondence regarding the damages sustained and letters between Edwin F. Atkins and his lawyer, Crammond Kennedy of the law firm of Pierce and Greer in New York, regarding the claims made. These documents also include copies of the text of legislation creating the Spanish Treaty Claims Commission and testimonies made by EFA and others to support his claims. Correspondents include Richard Olney, George F. Hoar, Alvin A. Adee, and John H. Gillett.

Vol. II.39
21 May 1901-29 June 1907
Box II.3
Box II.4
1903-1905 (printed materials)

B. Financial records, 1890-1926

The journals, ledgers, cash books, and receipts and invoices in this subseries document the various business accounts kept by EFA. They include transactions with his stockbrokers, Chase and Baristow, regarding his Union Pacific, Westinghouse Electric, United Fruit Company, and American Sugar Company investments, as well as taxes paid and personal expenses. The personal expenses logs record EFA's bills for doctors, club memberships, subscriptions, cars, and travel. Finally the receipts and invoices are records of the various purchases made by EFA concerning his personal needs and Soledad-related expenses.

1. Journals, 1889-1926

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. II.40
15 May 1889-29 May 1897
Vol. II.41
9 June 1897-27 December 1916
Vol. II.42
30 December 1916-20 May 1926

2. Ledgers, 1899-1926

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. II.43
7 May 1889-10 January 1905
Vol. II.44
10 January 1905-20 May 1926

3. Cash books, 1889-1926

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. II.45
7 May 1889-3 January 1894
Vol. II.46
3 January 1894-29 April 1898
Vol. II.47
2 May 1898-28 February 1902
Vol. II.48
1 March 1902-30 March 1906
Vol. II.49
2 April 1906-30 November 1909
Vol. II.50
1 December 1909-31 December 1913
Vol. II.51
1 January 1914-31 October 1919
Vol. II.52
1 November 1919-19 May 1926

4. Personal expenses logs, 1917-1926

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. II.53
1 July 1917-12 January 1925
Vol. II.54
15 January 1925-4 May 1926

5. Receipts and invoices, 1890-1893

Arranged chronologically.

Box II.5
Box II.6

C. Katharine W. Atkins account book, 1920-1928

This account book records the investment transactions of Katharine W. Atkins, EFA's wife. See also Series VI. Diaries for Katharine W. Atkins' diary for 1913.

Vol. II.55

D. Scrapbooks, 1884-1950

Arranged chronologically.

EFA kept several scrapbooks of newspaper clippings on topics related to Cuba, such as the sugar market, the Spanish Treaty, the insurgency in the 1890s, beet sugar, the annexation/independence question, the political situation on the island, and the Cuban economy. Volume 52 contains an article about the Harvard Botanical Station that appeared in the Revista de Agricultura, Comercio, y Trabajo (The Magazine of Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor). This article includes photographs of various estates owned by EFA: the Caracas Central, Trinidad, Mantá and Punta Alegre. Clippings about the death of EFA's son, Edwin F. Atkins, Jr., and two grandsons are in volume 69. This volume also contains clippings regarding EFA's death.

Vol. II.56
17 November 1884-28 January 1886
Vol. II.57
14 April 1895-22 December 1896
Vol. II.58
8 November-27 December 1897
Vol. II.59
August 1898-12 December 1901
Vol. II.60
3 February-14 December 1899, 22-23 May 1912
Vol. II.61
5 September 1901-26 December 1902
Vol. II.62
28 September-19 December 1901
Vol. II.63
22 June-27 September 1904
Vol. II.64
5 September 1906-3 October 1907
Vol. II.65
May 1908-3 June 1909
Vol. II.66
10 May 1909-4 May 1910
Vol. II.67
20-27 January 1914
Vol. II.68
25 July 1917-5 January 1922
Vol. II.69
26 December 1921-22 May 1926
Box II.7
Loose clippings, 1903-1950

III. E. Atkins & Company records, 1859-1926

A. Correspondence, 1870-1917

Letters in this subseries consist of the correspondence between E. Atkins & Company and the various companies and individuals with which they did business. The correspondence is variably signed Elisha Atkins, Edwin F. Atkins, E. Atkins & Company, Robert W. Atkins (RWA), J. M. Brooks, or J. H. Shapleigh. The latter two were clerks for E. Atkins & Company. Most frequent correspondents include Cacicedo & Company, Fowler & Company, Bowerman Brothers, García & Company, Hugh Kelly, Federico de Mazarredo, Oscar B. Stillman, the Munson Steamship Line, Balbin y Valle, and Johnson & Higgins.

The letters document the routine business of E. Atkins & Company. Topics include shipping, sugar sales and purchases, sugar prices, market conditions, sales and purchases of land in Cuba, machinery and equipment for the Cuban estates, Soledad railroad construction, transportation on the Manatí river, and labor and wages. Letters from the 1890s discuss aspects of the war on the island. Incoming correspondence is organized into two categories: "General" contains letters relating to the general sugar trading business of E. Atkins & Company, and "Cuba" contains letters from correspondents in Cuba relating to E. Atkins & Company's interests on the island.

The cable books contain telegrams sent by the E. Atkins & Company office to various business associates. Cables were often written in code and include their translations.

1. Letterbooks, 1870-1917

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. III.1
9 November 1870-3 April 1872
Vol. III.2
10 June 1874-22 June 1875
Vol. III.3
7 April 1875-9 May 1876
Vol. III.4
10 May 1876-15 June 1877
Vol. III.5
15 June 1877-30 April 1878
Vol. III.6
30 April-27 December 1878
Vol. III.7
28 December 1878-28 October 1879
Vol. III.8
28 October 1879-30 July 1880
Vol. III.9
31 July 1880-18 May 1881
Vol. III.10
18 May 1881-9 March 1882
Vol. III.11
7 March-20 October 1882
Vol. III.12
20 October 1882-25 May 1883
Vol. III.13
25 May 1883-7 May 1884
Vol. III.14
7 May 1884-6 May 1885
Vol. III.15
12 September 1884-19 June 1886 (J. M. Brooks)
Vol. III.16
7 May 1885- 14 July 1886
Vol. III.17
22 June 1886-31 October 1887 (J. M. Brooks)
Vol. III.18
14 July 1886-17 April 1888
Vol. III.19
17 April 1888-4 February 1890
Vol. III.20
6 February 1890-10 October 1891
Vol. III.21
13 October 1891-20 March 1893
Vol. III.22
21 March 1893-28 February 1894
Vol. III.23
1 March-31 October 1894
Vol. III.24
3 November 1894-18 September 1895
Vol. III.25
19 September 1895-7 December 1896
Vol. III.26
10 December 1896-20 December 1897
Vol. III.27
16 June 1899-24 February 1900
Vol. III.28
26 February-10 October 1900
Vol. III.29
10 October 1900-13 April 1901
Vol. III.30
15 April 1901-21 March 1902
Vol. III.31
22 March 1902-20 January 1903
Vol. III.32
12 December 1903-19 December 1904
Vol. III.33
1 January 1907-14 February 1908
Vol. III.34
15 February 1908-12 March 1909
Vol. III.35
12 March 1909-9 May 1910
Vol. III.36
9 December 1911-6 December 1912
Vol. III.37
13 November 1912-21 October 1913
Vol. III.38
21 October 1913-6 March 1915
Vol. III.39
28 March-30 October 1916

2. Incoming correspondence, 1893-1897

Arranged chronologically.

General, 1893-1897

Box III.1
Box III.2
January-October 1894
Box III.3
November 1894-March 1895
Box III.4
April 1895-December 1896
Box III.5

Cuba, 1893-1897

Box III.6
Box III.7
January 1894-April 1895
Box III.8
May 1895-March 1897

3. Cable books, 1909-1917

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. III.40
29 November 1909-5 October 1911
Vol. III.41
9 September 1914-24 November 1915
Vol. III.42
25 November 1915-29 May 1916
Vol. III.43
29 May-21 October 1916
Vol. III.44
20 October 1916-29 March 1917

B. Financial records, 1859-1926

The journals, ledgers, account books, cash books, and receipts and invoices in this subseries document the various business financial transactions of E. Atkins & Company, including sales, shipments, investments, and accounts receivable and payable. There are two series of cash books that overlap in date and content, the first spans 1859 to 1884 and the second from 1869 to 1921.

1. Journals, 1866-1917

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. III.45 XT
10 January 1866-22 June 1870
Vol. III.46 XT
24 June 1870-24 December 1874
Vol. III.47 XT
24 December 1874-31 December 1878
Vol. III.48 XT
31 December 1878-28 February 1882
Vol. III.49 XT
1 March 1882-31 December 1884
Vol. III.50 XT
2 January 1885-24 February 1890
Vol. III.51 XT
24 February 1890-30 November 1894
Vol. III.52 XT
1 December 1894-31 October 1900
Vol. III.53 XT
2 November 1900-31 May 1906
Vol. III.54 XT
5 June 1906-31 May 1912
Vol. III.55 XT
1 June 1912-30 November 1917

2. Ledgers, 1866-1920

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. III.56 XT
10 January 1866-31 December 1875
Vol. III.57 XT
31 December 1875-19 March 1883
Vol. III.58 XT
19 March 1883-23 December 1892
Vol. III.59 XT
23 December 1892-1 January 1903
Vol. III.60 XT
1 January 1903-31 December 1912
Vol. III.61 XT
1 January 1913-31 March 1920

3. Account current books, 1876-1889

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. III.62 XT
20 November 1876-27 December 1880
Vol. III.63 XT
3 December 1879-26 December 1883
Vol. III.64 XT
28 December 1883-7 June 1889

4. Cash books, 1859-1921

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. III.65
1 August 1859-30 April 1861
Vol. III.66
1 May 1861-31 December 1862
Vol. III.67
1 January 1863-31 August 1864
Vol. III.68
1 September 1864-31 January 1866
Vol. III.69
19 January 1866-21 June 1867
Vol. III.70
21 June 1867-31 December 1868
Vol. III.71
1 January 1869-31 March 1870
Vol. III.72
1 April 1870-31 July 1871
Vol. III.73
1 August 1871-31 March 1873
Vol. III.74
1 April 1873-30 November 1874
Vol. III.75
2 December 1874-29 April 1876
Vol. III.76
1 May 1876-31 October 1877
Vol. III.77
1 November 1877-30 April 1879
Vol. III.78
1 May 1879-30 June 1880
Vol. III.79
1 July 1880-31 July 1881
Vol. III.80
2 August 1881-30 June 1882
Vol. III.81
1 September 1883-29 November 1884
Vol. III.82
15 March 1869-30 March 1872
Vol. III.83
1 April 1872-30 September 1875
Vol. III.84
1 October 1875-31 December 1878
Vol. III.85
1 January 1879-1 July 1881
Vol. III.86
1 July 1881-31 December 1883
Vol. III.87
1 January 1884-30 June 1886
Vol. III.88
1 July 1886-30 April 1891
Vol. III.89
1 May 1891-31 May 1895
Vol. III.90
1 June 1895-29 April 1899
Vol. III.91
1 May 1899-29 November 1902
Vol. III.92
1 December 1902-28 February 1906
Vol. III.93
1 March 1906-27 February 1909
Vol. III.94
1 March 1909-31 May 1912
Vol. III.95
1 June 1912-31 December 1915
Vol. III.96
1 January 1916-29 June 1918
Vol. III.97
7 March-10 October 1921

5. Receipts and invoices, 1893-1897

Arranged chronologically.

Box III.9
January 1893-August 1894
Box III.10
September 1894-December 1895
Box III.11

6. Business papers, 1920-1926

Arranged chronologically.

Box III.12
Contracts, 1920-1925
Box III.13
Audits, 1921-1926

C. Florida Sugar Company letterbook, 16 June 1915-26 July 1916

E. Atkins & Company took control of the Florida Sugar Company when EFA bought 160 of the company's shares in 1915. The Florida Sugar Company had a mill in Camagüey, Cuba. This letterbook contains letters written by E. Atkins & Company to various principles of the Florida Sugar Company, including Charles Thrall, Vice President and Treasurer. EFA or RWA wrote the letters, which concern record keeping, reporting, and contract compliance.

Vol. III.98

D. Trinidad Sugar Company records, 1892-1916

1. Correspondence, 1892-1916

Arranged chronologically.

The Trinidad Sugar Company began as a private venture of EFA with H. Oscar Havemeyer and Charles Senff. E. Atkins & Company gained full control of the Trinidad estate around 1912. Letters in this subseries regard the general business of the Trinidad Sugar Company, including the construction of a railroad on the estate, reports the board of directors, and the acquisition of neighboring estates. Correspondents include estate managers Harry Garnet and W. G. Pullum, H. Oscar and Horace Havemeyer, Charles Senff, and E. J. Franke.

Incoming correspondence is arranged into two categories: "General" contains letters relating to the general business of the Trinidad estate, including letters from members of the Trinidad Sugar Company's board of directors; and "Cuba" contains letters from correspondents in Cuba regarding the management and operation of the estate.

Letterbooks, 1896-1916

Vol. III.99
3 November 1896-30 November 1898
Vol. III.100
4 June 1906-15 June 1907
Vol. III.101
18 June 1907-22 September 1908
Vol. III.102
22 September 1908-8 April 1910
Vol. III.103
12 April 1910-9 October 1911
Vol. III.104
10 October 1911-2 December 1912
Vol. III.105
3 December 1912-5 May 1914
Vol. III.106
7 May 1914-30 June 1915
Vol. III.107
30 June 1915-6 June 1916
Vol. III.108
6 June-1 August 1916

Incoming correspondence, 1892-1897

Box III.14
General, 1894-1897
Box III.15
Cuba, 1892-1894
Box III.16
Cuba, 1895-1896

2. Receipts and invoices, 1893-1896

Arranged chronologically.

These boxes contain receipts and invoices for purchases made for the Trinidad estate. The purchases were primarily of machinery and equipment.

Box III.17
Box III.18

IV. Soledad Sugar Company records, 1884-1916

A. Letterbooks, 1884-1916

1. Edwin F. Atkins, 1884-1916

Arranged chronologically.

While Soledad's business was operated through E. Atkins & Company, the estate was EFA's personal interest. EFA kept separate letterbooks of private correspondence with Soledad managers, some of which make up this series. The letters in these letterbooks are copies of outgoing correspondence written by EFA to J. S. Murray and L. F. Hughes, managers of the Soledad estate. They relate to the general business of Soledad, including machinery, the estate railroad, supplies, shipments, sugar crops, the weather, and labor. The letters also document the business dealings in which EFA was involved in order to purchase or lease the properties neighboring Soledad for sugar production or for right-of-way for the railroad. Some letters discuss political and economic conditions in Cuba and the garden at Soledad. Letters to L. F. Hughes were authored not only by EFA but also by RWA.

Vol. IV.1
23 April 1884-7 January 1885
Vol. IV.2
9 January 1885-14 September 1886
Vol. IV.3
15 September 1886-23 October 1888
Vol. IV.4
27 October 1888-27 August 1891
Vol. IV.5
12 July 1907-24 December 1908
Vol. IV.6
28 December 1908-6 December 1910
Vol. IV.7
5 December 1910-18 November 1911
Vol. IV.8
18 November 1911-21 October 1912
Vol. IV.9
22 October 1912-22 November 1913
Vol. IV.10
22 November 1913-1 September 1914
Vol. IV.11
3 September 1914-8 September 1915
Vol. IV.12
26 May 1915-7 April 1916
Vol. IV.13
7 April-1 August 1916

2. J. S. Murray, 1884-1893

Arranged chronologically.

These unbound letterbooks contain letters written by J. S. Murray from Soledad to EFA in Boston in relation to the general operations of Soledad. Some letters were written by P. M. Beal in Murray's absence to report conditions at the estate.

Box IV.1
15 April 1884-3 November 1885
Box IV.2
5 November 1885-28 October 1886
Box IV.3
2 November 1886-22 August 1887
Box IV.4
25 August 1887-6 May 1888
Box IV.5
7 May-22 November 1888
Box IV.6
26 November 1888-9 September 1889
Box IV.7
12 September 1889-3 July 1890
Box IV.8
7 July 1890-16 March 1891
Box IV.9
23 March-31 December 1891
Box IV.10
2 January-31 December 1892
Box IV.11
2 January-30 December 1893

3. L. F. Hughes, 1915-1916

Arranged chronologically.

L. F. Hughes wrote the letters in these unbound letterbooks to EFA and RWA regarding the general operations of Soledad. In his absence, Walter H. Armsby authored several of the letters.

Box IV.12
14 July-6 December 1915
Box IV.13
27 May-26 July 1916

B. Financial records, 1893-1897

1. Receipts and invoices, 1893-1895

Arranged chronologically.

These boxes contain receipts and invoices for purchases made for the Soledad estate. The purchases were primarily of machinery and equipment.

Box IV.14
Box IV.15

2. Account book, 1896-1897

This account book was kept at the Soledad and records business transactions at the estate.

Vol. IV.14

V. Robert W. Atkins papers, 1909-1926

A. Letterbooks, 1909-1914

Arranged chronologically.

The letterbooks in this series contain copies of RWA's outgoing correspondence that document his personal business, as well as his responsibilities to E. Atkins & Company. The letters relate to routine business matters of the Soledad estate, Belmont Associates (a real estate firm in which RWA was involved), and Aetna Mills. The first volume contains letters to several of RWA's friends asking them to stand in his 1912 wedding. Letters in the third volume discuss his wife Ruth's efforts to have a Christmas tree and presents at Soledad for the children of the estate.

Vol. V.1
31 August 1909-6 July 1911
Vol. V.2
3 February-17 April 1911 (from Cuba)
Vol. V.3
8 July 1911-30 July 1912
Vol. V.4
30 July 1912-30 January 1914

B. Account book, 1926

RWA's account book contains the inscription, "William H. Claflin, Jr. and Eugene V. R. Thayer, Agents. Beginning January 26, 1926: Journal." It tracks RWA's investments and assets, including real estate in Miami Beach, and the disposition of EFA's estate upon his death in 1926.

Vol. V.5

VI. Diaries, 1872-1913

One box containing 16 volumes.

This box contains diaries kept by various members of the Atkins family.

Box VI.1
Edwin F. Atkins, 1872

Journal kept by EFA during travels to Norway, Sweden, and Russia, 17 July-2 September 1872. Visited Bergen, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Hamburg.

Box VI.1
Edwin F. Atkins, 1888

Short account in November 1888 of visits to a clairvoyant in hopes of recovering silver and jewelry stolen from his Belmont home.

Box VI.1
Helen Atkins, 1872

Journal kept by Helen Atkins of Belmont, Massachusetts, 24-25 February, 29-30 March, and 16 April-29 December 1872. Describes her daily activities, including academics and music lessons. Helen took a trip with her family to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia in April.

Box VI.1
Katharine W. Atkins, 1913

Journal kept by Katharine W. Atkins during a cruise to Europe, 5 August-13 September 1913. Describes the ocean voyage in detail and visits to Queenstown, London, Liverpool, Zermatt, and Paris. Entries sparsely spread out, mostly on the ship and in the Swiss countryside.

Box VI.1
Rita Wrisley, 1878-1880

Journal of Katharine W. Atkins' sister as a child in Belmont, Massachusetts, 1 October 1878-22 December 1880. Describes her home life and social activities.

Box VI.1
Mary E. F. Atkins, 1872

Journal kept by Mary E. F. Atkins of Belmont, Massachusetts, in 1872. Describes household duties, her daily activities, and those of her children.

Box VI.1
Mary E. F. Atkins, 1877

Family trip from 20 August-1 September 1877 to upstate New York and Quebec. Describes boat ride to Albany and stays in Glens Fall, Lake George, and Lake Champlain.

Box VI.1
Mary E. F. Atkins, 1886

Describes household duties and her other daily activities and those of her children. Includes descriptions of short visits to the family summer homes in Duxbury and Brewster, Massachusetts. Later journals describe her failing health and loneliness.

Box VI.1
Mary E. F. Atkins, 1888
Box VI.1
Mary E. F. Atkins, 1892
Box VI.1
Mary E. F. Atkins, 1893
Box VI.1
Mary E. F. Atkins, 1894
Box VI.1
Mary E. F. Atkins, 1895
Box VI.1
Mary E. F. Atkins, 1896
Box VI.1
Helen Atkins, 1877

Journal kept by Helen Atkins during a trip throughout the South, 16 April-14 May 1877. Describes visits to Little Rock, Hot Springs, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, and Atlanta. Records traveling conditions, tourist attractions, gardens of various cities, and social calls.

Box VI.1
Unknown Atkins, 1890, 1892

Journal kept by an unidentified Atkins woman on two similar trips across the country and back, 14 August-23 September 1890 and 18 August-19 September 1892. Begins with a train trip from Boston to Chicago and continues with visits to Nebraska, Wisconsin, Denver, Colorado Springs, the Grand Canyon, Salt Lake City, Portland, Tacoma, and Seattle.

Photographs Removed from the Collection

Photographs from this collection have been removed to the Atkins family photographs, ca. 1884-1958. Photo. Coll. 37.

Preferred Citation

Atkins 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.


Atkins, Edwin Farnsworth, 1850-1926.
Atkins, Elisha, 1813-1888.
Atkins, Helen, 1857-1888.
Atkins, Katharine W., 1860-1953.
Atkins, Mary E. F., 1819-1897.
Atkins, Robert W., 1889-1948.
Hughes, L. F.
Murray, J. S.
Wrisley, Margaret (Rita), b. 1868.


E. Atkins and Company.
Florida Sugar Company.
Soledad Sugar Company.
Trinidad Sugar Company.
Union Pacific Railroad Company.


Account books
Boston (Mass.)--Commerce--Cuba.
Spanish-American War, 1898--Cuba.
Sugar--Manufacture and refining--Cuba.
Sugar trade--Cuba.
Sugar trade--Hawaii.
Sugar trade--Massachusetts--Boston.
Sugar workers--Cuba.
Tariff on sugar.