Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of papers of the Mellus family and the related Thacher family of Lubec and Machias, Maine, including correspondence, genealogies, printed material, accounts, leases, inventories, and estate papers.

Biographical Sketches

Capt. Edward Mellus was born on 7 Mar. 1820 in Dorchester, Mass., the son of William and Amelia (Lyon) Mellus. He married Harriet Preble Thacher (1820-1855) on 11 May 1846. Of their three sons, only Edward Lindon Mellus survived infancy. Capt. Mellus died in China in 1856 while in command of the steamship Antelope.

Edward Lindon Mellus (1848-1922) was born in Lubec, Maine. In the 1860s and 1870s, he was a farmer in Zumbrota, Minnesota, where in 1872, he married Lucy Eveline Stearns (1852-1874), the daughter of Isaac Crosby and Lucy (Wheeler) Stearns. They had one son, Edward, born in 1872. After his first wife's death, Mellus attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, receiving his M.D. in 1878. He married May Gardner Jenks, and the family resided for a time in Worcester and Jamaica Plain, Mass., and in Europe. In 1898, Mellus received an honorary position in the anatomical laboratory of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he worked until 1912. He died in Brookline, Mass. in 1922.

Collection Description

This collection consists of correspondence and other papers of the Mellus family, including letters from sea captain Edward Mellus to his wife Harriet Thacher Mellus and other Thacher family members about his daily life, personal matters, and sailing, and containing descriptions of ports, sent from Hong Kong, Manila, Spain, South America, California, and New Orleans, 1845-1855. Letters from Joseph Thacher, a farmer in Zumbrota, Minnesota, describe daily activities, the difficulty of the frontier experience, and farming, 1866. Letters from Sgt. Charles A. Bailey, quartermaster general for the 30th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 1864, describe the burned Louisiana countryside from Civil War battles, rebel prisoners, and troop movements during the war.

The collection also contains correspondence to Dr. Edward Lindon Mellus while he attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Letters from his wife, Mary Gardner Mellus, describe her travels and sightseeing during his medical residency in Europe. Also included are letters and legal and estate papers of Mary Thacher Mellus; a collection of albums of picture postcards from various parts of the world; letters of Rev. Daniel Dodge, a Baptist minister in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; letters of Jacob Brandt, a merchant in Baltimore, Md. engaged in the transportation and supply of water to troops during the Civil War; business correspondence related to stock speculations and coastal shipping; accounts and receipts; and Brandt family estate papers.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by May Thacher Mellus.

Box List to the Collection

Box 1
Box 2
Box 3
Box 4
Box 5
Box 6
1933-1953, undated
Box 7
Volumes, printed material, and graphics, undated
Folder OS
Oversize material

Preferred Citation

Mellus 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.


Bailey, Charles A., Sgt.
Brandt family.
Brandt, Jacob.
Dodge, Daniel, -1851.
Mellus, Edward, 1820-1856.
Mellus, Edward Lindon, 1848-1922.
Mellus, May Gardner (Jenks), 1852-1932.
Mellus, May Thacher, 1889-1976.
Nichols, Charles L. |q (Charles Lemuel), 1851-1929.
Thacher family.
Thacher, George, 1805-1864.
Thacher, Harriet Preble, 1820-1855.
Thacher, Joseph, 1825-
Thacher, Peter, 1810-1894.


Jefferson Medical College.
United States. Army. Maine Infantry Regiment, 30th (1864-1865).


Baltimore (Md.)--Commerce.
California--Description and travel.
Decedents' estates.
Europe--Description and travel.
Frontier and pioneer life--Minnesota.
Hong Kong (China)--Description and travel.
Louisiana--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Manila (Philippines)--Description and travel.
New Orleans (La.)--Description and travel.
Ocean travel.
Ship captains--Maine.
Shipping--China--Hong Kong.
Shipping--Louisiana--New Orleans.
Shipping--South America.
South America--Description and travel.
Spain--Description and travel.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Equipment and supplies.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons.
Voyages and travels--19th century.
Women travelers.

Materials Removed from the Collection

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