Guide to the Microfilm Edition

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the papers of the interrelated Oliver, Lynde, and Mason families.

Biographical Sketches

Benjamin Lynde (1666-1745) was chief justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature from 1728 to 1745. His son Benjamin Lynde, Jr. (1700-1781) was a representative, councilor, and, on his father's death, justice of the Superior Court.

Brothers Andrew Oliver (1706-1774) and Peter Oliver (1713-1791) both occupied strategic positions during the American Revolution and witnessed first-hand the undoing of Britain's Atlantic empire. Andrew Oliver was lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, 1771-1773, a stamp tax collector, and a Loyalist. Peter Oliver was chief justice of the Superior Court and a member of the Massachusetts House.

Many of the 18th- and 19th-century Olivers were known for their scientific achievements. Andrew Oliver (1731-1799) was a judge and scientist who corresponded with Benjamin Franklin and authored numerous scientific essays. His son Benjamin Lynde Oliver (1760-1835) continued his father's work and himself corresponded with Sir William Herschel and Sir David Brewster. He was particularly interested in optics and grinded his own lenses. Daniel Oliver (1787-1842) and Fitch Edward Oliver (1819-1892) were physicians with large practices.

Jeremiah Mason (1768-1848), whose daughter married Fitch Edward Oliver, was one of the most distinguished lawyers of his day and a colleague of Daniel Webster. He served as U.S. attorney general, U.S. senator from New Hampshire, and president of the Bank of the United States, Portsmouth, N.H.

Collection Description

This collection consists of the papers of the Oliver family and the related Lynde and Mason families. The Oliver family papers include diaries and other volumes, letters, notes, sermons, medical and legal material, writings, and other papers of Andrew Oliver (1706-1774), Peter Oliver (1713-1791), Andrew Oliver (1731-1799), Mary Lynde Oliver, Rev. Thomas Fitch Oliver, Benjamin Lynde Oliver, Benjamin Lynde Oliver, Jr., Daniel Oliver, Fitch Edward Oliver, Peter Oliver (1822-1855), Rev. Andrew Oliver (1824-1897), Susan Lawrence Mason Oliver, Charles E. Oliver, Andrew Oliver (b. 1869), Mary Mason Oliver, Andrew Oliver (1906-1981), and others.

Of particular interest are the historical, legal, and scientific notes of Andrew Oliver (1731-1799); scientific notes and drawings by his son Benjamin Lynde Oliver; medical notes and correspondence of Daniel Oliver and Fitch Edward Oliver; sermons of Rev. Thomas Fitch Oliver; diaries of Rev. Andrew Oliver (1824-1897) and letters to his mother Mary Robinson Oliver and his sister Isabella Louisa Oliver; genealogical information; deeds; maps; and sketches and portraits of family members. Correspondents include William Pynchon, Sarah Pynchon, P. O. Hutchinson, Amos Lawrence, and Thomas Hutchinson.

The collection also contains the diaries, letterbooks, notes, and other papers of Benjamin Lynde and Benjamin Lynde, Jr.; papers of Jeremiah Mason related to the Dartmouth College case, a controversy concerning the Bank of the United States, and the slavery issue; correspondence of Charles Mason and Susannah Lawrence Mason; a manuscript copy of William Pynchon's Revolutionary War diary, 1776-1777; miscellaneous sermons; and an account book for the estate of Amos Lawrence.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Andrew Oliver, 1959, 1963, 1964.

Other Formats

Black and white digital images of this collection--produced from the microfilm edition--are available as part of History Vault: Revolutionary War and Early America, a digital resource from ProQuest. This resource is available at subscribing libraries; speak to your local librarian to determine if your library has access. The MHS also provides access onsite to the Society's contributions to this resource; see a reference librarian for more information.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Personal papers, ca. 1685-1948

A. William Pynchon papers, 1740-1777

Reel 1No. 1
Diary, 1776-1777 [copy]

This diary, kept at Salem, Mass., details news of the Revolution as heard by William Pynchon, his Loyalist leanings and his treatment as a result, his contact with other Loyalists both in and out of the country, and the effects of the war on his business and the Salem economy.

Reel 1No. 1
Fragments, undated and 1740

B. Benjamin Lynde (1666-1745) papers, ca. 1685-1726

Reel 1No. 2
Poetry notebook, ca. 1685
Reel 1No. 2
Translations of Horace, ca. 1692
Reel 1No. 2
Notes on trade, 1714-1726
Reel 1No. 2
Notes on "Narragansett Country," undated

C. Benjamin Lynde, Jr. (1700-1781) papers, 1715-1780

Reel 1No. 2
Diary, 1715-1720 [copy]

This line-a-day diary, kept at Salem, Mass., consists of brief entries describing local news, the weather, and Benjamin Lynde, Jr.'s attendance in court or at town meetings. Included are entries noting his attendance at lectures while a student at Harvard College in 1715.

Reel 1No. 2
Diary, 1732-1779 [copy]

This diary, kept at Salem, Mass., contains sporadic entries recording major family events such as births, deaths, and illnesses; local events at Salem and Boston, including the Boston fire of 1760; and the conduct of Benjamin Lynde, Jr.'s legal practice, including his tenure as chief justice.

Reel 1No. 2
Diary, 1747-1748

This line-a-day diary consists of brief entries describing the weather and Benjamin Lynde, Jr.'s daily activities.

Reel 1No. 2
Account book, 1747-1774
Reel 1No. 2
Letterbook, 1729-1734
Reel 1No. 2
Letterbook, 1778-1780
Reel 1No. 2
Fragment [from the letterbook of Benjamin Lynde, Jr.], undated

D. Mary Lynde Oliver diary, 1751

Entries in this diary, kept at Salem, Mass., describe Mary Lynde Oliver's daily activities, including visits paid and visitors received; attendance at church meetings; family news; and the weather.

Reel 1No. 2

E. Andrew Oliver (1706-1774) notes, 1728-1828?

This subseries consists of manuscript notes on the Oliver family, bound with a printed volume of sermons by Thomas Prince on the deaths of Daniel and Elizabeth Oliver.

Reel 1No. 3

F. Andrew Oliver (1731-1799) papers, 1750s?-1793

Reel 1No. 4
Manuscript notes on a photostat reproduction of select pages from the Massachusetts state constitution, 1780
Reel 1No. 4
"Poetical Amusements" notebook, ca. 1786
Reel 1No. 4
Almanac, 1793
Reel 1No. 4a
Historical notes [by Andrew Oliver], undated
Reel 1No. 4b
Legal notes [by Andrew Oliver], undated
Reel 1No. 4c
Scientific notes, essays, and letters [by Andrew Oliver], 1750s?-1763
Reel 1No. 4d
Journal [by Andrew Oliver], 1770
Reel 1No. 5
Manuscript poems [by Andrew Oliver, Peter Oliver, Benjamin Lynde, Jr., or Benjamin Lynde Oliver, Jr.], undated and 1750s?-1760s?

G. Manuscript sermons and prayers, 1725-1838

Reel 1No. 6
Anonymous sermon, 1766
Reel 1No. 6
Sermon of Samuel Peters, 1769
Reel 1No. 6
Sermon of Bishop Clagget, 1772
Reel 1No. 6
Anonymous sermon, 1838
Reel 1No. 6
Fragments from several sermons, undated
Reel 1No. 6
Prayers pasted to inside covers, 1725-1728

H. Rev. Thomas Fitch Oliver manuscript sermons, 1785-1791

Reel 2No. 7
Sermons, 1785-1788
Reel 3No. 7
Sermons, 1789-1791
Reel 3No. 7
Undated sermons
Reel 4No. 7
Undated sermons

I. Benjamin Lynde Oliver (1760-1835) notes, ca. 1781-ca. 1819

This subseries consists of Benjamin Lynde Oliver's medical notebooks and scientific notes.

Reel 5No. 8

J. Benjamin Lynde Oliver, Jr. (1788-1843) papers, 1838-1843

Reel 5No. 9
Diary, 1838-1843 [2 volumes]
Reel 5No. 9
Notebook [by Benjamin Lynde Oliver, Jr.], undated
Reel 5No. 9
Legal brief [by Benjamin Lynde Oliver, Jr.], undated
Reel 5No. 9
Two law lectures [by Benjamin Lynde Oliver, Jr.], undated

K. Daniel Oliver papers, 1798-1850s?

Reel 6No. 10
Diary, commonplace book, medical journals, and notes, 1812-1850s?

Included is Daniel Oliver's diary, kept at Hanover, N.H., 1829, describing his daily life, lectures given at Dartmouth Medical College, the weather, and social engagements with family and friends.

Reel 6No. 10
Letterbook, 1798-1841

L. William Pynchon Oliver (1822-1855) legal papers, 1785-1844

NOTE: William Pynchon Oliver changed his name to Peter Oliver in 1844. See Peter Oliver (1822-1855) papers below (Subseries N.) for more of his papers.

Reel 7No. 11

M. Fitch Edward Oliver papers, 1840-1888

Reel 7No. 12
Medical lecture tickets, 1840-1842
Reel 7No. 12
Fragmentary diary of a European tour, 1843-1844 [and copy]
Reel 7No. 12
Medical journal, 1846
Reel 7No. 12
Medical notes and lectures, 1850s?
Reel 7No. 12
Manuscript copy of his article "History of the Church of the Advent," published in The Churchman, 1888

N. Peter Oliver (1822-1855) papers, 1846?-1860s?

This subseries consists of historical notes by Peter Oliver, as well as reviews of his The Puritan Commonwealth (1856).

Reel 8No. 13

O. Rev. Andrew Oliver (1824-1897) papers, 1852-1897

Included are Rev. Andrew Oliver's diaries, kept at Cambridge and Springfield, Mass., and most likely Annandale, N.Y. Entries describe the weather, church services at which Oliver preached, information about family and friends, and daily activities.

NOTE: Andrew Oliver changed his name from Samuel Robinson Oliver in 1840.

Reel 8No. 14
Diary, 1859-1864
Reel 9No. 14
Diary, 1865-1872
Reel 10No. 14
Diary, 1873-1881
Reel 11No. 14
Diary, 1882-1889
Reel 12No. 14
Diary, 1890-1897
Reel 13No. 14
Letters to his mother, 1852-1884
Reel 14No. 14
Letters to his mother, 1885-1897
Reel 14No. 14
Miscellaneous notes [by Rev. Andrew Oliver], 1860s?

P. Susan Lawrence Mason Oliver diaries, 1858?-1889

Susan Lawrence Mason Oliver's diaries were kept during a vacation in Europe and at home in Boston, Mass. Her European travel diaries record her thoughts on and descriptions of cultural institutions visited, the weather, daily activities, and meetings and social engagements. Diaries kept at Boston describe social engagements with friends and family; church services attended; daily activities; the death of her father Rev. Charles Mason; trips to Philadelphia, New York, and Washington; and the weather.

Reel 14No. 15
Diary of a European tour, 1858?
Reel 14No. 15
Diary of a European tour, 1859
Reel 14No. 15
Diary, 1862
Reel 14No. 15
Diary, 1878-1879
Reel 14No. 15
Diary, 1888-1889

Q. Mary Mason Oliver diary, 1888

This diary, kept at Boston, Mass., describes Mary Mason Oliver's social engagements with family and friends, church services attended, the weather, and daily activities. Also included are accounts of allowances received and purchases made.

Reel 14No. 16

R. Andrew Oliver (b. 1869) papers, 1910-1948

Reel 14No. 17
Notes on the Panama Canal and the Renaissance, 1910
Reel 14No. 17
Manuscript of his "History of Greek Literature in Graphic Form," 1948

S. Edward P. Oliver (b. 1873) cash book, 1916-1943

This subseries consists of a cash book for the estate of Amos Lawrence, for which Edward P. Oliver was one of the trustees.

Reel 14No. 18

II. Oliver family papers, 1658-1963

Reel 15No. 19a
Copies of legal documents of 1419-1617, undated
Reel 15No. 19a
Reel 16No. 19b
Reel 17No. 19c
Reel 18No. 19d
Reel 19No. 19e
Reel 20No. 19f
Reel 21No. 19g
Reel 22No. 19h
Reel 23No. 19i
Reel 24No. 19j
Reel 25No. 19k
Reel 26No. 19l
Reel 26No. 20
Miscellaneous Oliver family papers, 1886-1946
Reel 26No. 20
Undated Oliver family papers
Reel 27No. 21
Genealogical material on the Olivers and related families, 1780-1959

III. Hutchinson-Watson-Oliver papers, 1769-1892

This series consists primarily of letters of the Hutchinson, Watson, and Oliver families, American Loyalists, mostly concerning family matters. The principal correspondents are Eliza O. Brimmer, George W. Brimmer, Harriet W. Brimmer, Martin Brimmer, Sarah W. Brimmer, Mary Ann Brimmer, Elisha Hutchinson, John Hutchinson, Mary Hutchinson, Mary W. Hutchinson, Peter Oliver, Elizabeth W. Temple, and Phoebe Watson.

Reel 28No. 22

Preferred Citation

Oliver 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.


Hutchinson, Thomas, 1711-1780.
Lawrence, Amos, 1786-1852.
Lawrence, Susannah, 1817-1844.
Lynde family.
Lynde, Benjamin, 1666-1745.
Lynde, Benjamin, 1700-1781.
Lynde, William, 1714-1752.
Mason family.
Mason, Charles, 1812-1862.
Mason, Jeremiah, 1768-1848.
Oliver family--Genealogy.
Oliver, Andrew, 1706-1774.
Oliver, Andrew, 1731-1799.
Oliver, Andrew, 1824-1897.
Oliver, Andrew, b. 1869.
Oliver, Andrew, 1906-1981.
Oliver, B. L. (Benjamin Lynde), 1760-1835.
Oliver, Benjamin L. (Benjamin Lynde), 1788-1843.
Oliver, Daniel, 1787-1842.
Oliver, F. E. (Fitch Edward), 1819-1892.
Oliver, Isabella Louisa, b. 1833.
Oliver, Mary Lynde, 1733-1807.
Oliver, Mary Mason, 1871-1895.
Oliver, Mary Robinson, 1796-1882.
Oliver, Peter, 1713-1791.
Oliver, Peter, 1741-1822.
Oliver, Peter, 1822-1855.
Oliver, Susan Lawrence Mason, 1839-1926.
Oliver, Thomas F. (Thomas Fitch), 1757-1797.
Pynchon, Sarah, 1757-1832.
Pynchon, William, 1723-1789.


Bank of the United States (1816-1836).
Dartmouth Medical College.
Massachusetts--Superior Court of Judicature.
United States--Congress--Senate.


Account books.
American loyalists--Massachusetts.
Banks and banking--New Hampshire--Portsmouth.
Europe--Description and travel--1800-1918.
Family history--1600-1899.
Inventories of decedents' estates--Massachusetts--Salem.
Lawyers--New Hampshire--Portsmouth.
Maps, Manuscript.
Massachusetts--Politics and government--To 1775.
Massachusetts--Politics and government--1775-1865.
Medicine--Early works to 1800.
Medicine--Study and teaching.
Physicians--New Hampshire--Portsmouth.
Politicians--New Hampshire--Portsmouth.
United States--Politics and government--1783-1865.
Voyages and travels--Diaries.
Women travelers--Diaries.

Materials Removed from the Collection

Photographs from this collection have been removed to the MHS Photo Archives.