Guide to the Microfilm Edition
This collection consists of the papers of the interrelated Oliver, Lynde, and Mason families.
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.
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.
Gift of Andrew Oliver, 1959, 1963, 1964.
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
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.
B. Benjamin Lynde (1666-1745) papers, ca. 1685-1726
C. Benjamin Lynde, Jr. (1700-1781) papers, 1715-1780
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.
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.
This line-a-day diary consists of brief entries describing the weather and Benjamin Lynde, Jr.'s daily activities.
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.
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.
F. Andrew Oliver (1731-1799) papers, 1750s?-1793
G. Manuscript sermons and prayers, 1725-1838
H. Rev. Thomas Fitch Oliver manuscript sermons, 1785-1791
I. Benjamin Lynde Oliver (1760-1835) notes, ca. 1781-ca. 1819
This subseries consists of Benjamin Lynde Oliver's medical notebooks and scientific notes.
J. Benjamin Lynde Oliver, Jr. (1788-1843) papers, 1838-1843
K. Daniel Oliver papers, 1798-1850s?
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.
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.
M. Fitch Edward Oliver papers, 1840-1888
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).
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.
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.
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.
R. Andrew Oliver (b. 1869) papers, 1910-1948
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.
II. Oliver family papers, 1658-1963
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.
Oliver family papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
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.
Materials Removed from the Collection
Photographs from this collection have been removed to the MHS Photo Archives.