Baker, Capt. Edward Collection

Collection Overview:

Title: The Captain Edward Baker Collection

Dates: 1760 – c. 1915-1925

Creator: Captain Edward Baker and Baker family

Accession: DAL 2009.008 and DAL 2009.003

Repository: Drew Archival Library

Quantity: 9 boxes (1 oversize box, 7 document boxes, 1 photo box)

Language: English (one item in Arabic)

Administrative Information:

Access Restrictions: The Captain Edward Baker Collection is open to researchers. There are no restricted materials in the collection.

Acquisition Information: The Captain Edward Baker Collection was donated by researchers Helen Hill and Dwight Barnes in 2009.

Administrative Note: Envelopes with their corresponding letters within are together considered one item. An envelope separated from its content is its own item, as is each of the content documents on its own. Multiple-page documents also constitute a single item. This includes the Xeroxed copies of various one-page (double-sided) newspaper clippings; the originals were photocopied and then discarded due to their deteriorated condition. All items in each series are listed in the order in which they appear in their respective folders (often decided by size.)    

Related Collections: None.

Preferred Form of Citation: DAL.MSS.045

Finding Aid Prepared by: Rachel Taylor, May 2011

Scope and Content:

            The Captain Edward Baker Collection is comprised of about 258 items spanning the decades from 1760 to circa 1920. It includes 51 journals, 2 scrapbooks, 78 pieces of correspondence, 17 published papers, 68 items of ephemera, 20 financial records and account-papers, 15 personal papers, and 7 donation papers. The material was found in the drawers of a desk belonging to Captain Baker. The correspondence includes 27 notes and letters between Edward Baker and various naval officers regarding military decisions during the Civil War, in which Captain Baker partook as a Union soldier. It also includes 7 business letters and 34 items of communication regarding Baker’s work with maritime employees and underwriters. The vast majority of the correspondence is professional communication, yet there are eight personal letters between Baker and his siblings Levi and Daniel and his wife Sophia (“Sophy”) Baker. There is also a single letter from one Eleanor Thomas to an anonymous friend. The financial records include 18 notices of debt and payment from various companies and personal account-keeping written by Edward Baker himself and 2 accounting books. The published items include 8 newspaper excerpts and 9 pamphlets containing an address to the Sons of Temperance Society. There are five land deeds dating from the 18th century (written and/or signed by Baker’s ancestors) granting and receiving estate to and from various residents of Duxbury andPlymouth. The personal papers are pieces Baker wrote for his own benefit, including 8 items of sightings and notes Baker wrote to himself and 2 large, loose independent diary entries.

            The bulk of the collection is made up of journals and composition books (which were used either for recording Baker’s essays or diary entries). Nearly all of them (49) were authored by Baker, but there are two written by female members of the Baker family. One is by Adeline Baker, Edward’s older sister, and the other is by S.B. (Sophia Bartlett) Baker, Edward Baker’s first wife. Edward Baker kept journals meticulously throughout his life beginning in his youth, during which he described his school days and his quotidian household chores. As he aged, the content of his journals began reflecting his life aboard various vessels as well as his life at home.

            The collection contains a great many items not authored or received by Edward Baker himself, nor indeed even created during his lifetime. Many are the papers of Baker’s siblings, ancestors or of friends and relations of the family, whose papers Baker inherited. Many of the newspaper clippings also date beyond the time of Baker’s death, demonstrating that Baker’s heirs also allowed their own papers and memoranda to mix with his. As a result, the collection reflects not only the lifetime of Edward Baker (whose property does comprise the majority of the collection) but that of his parents, grandparents, family relations and descendents as well, whose lives are linked by that Captain Baker.  

Biographical Information              

            Edward Baker was born on July 24th, 1831 into a marine family as the son of Daniel and Zeruiah Baker. He grew up in Duxbury, Massachusetts, where he was often referred to as “Ned” as a young man. Baker had three siblings, two older and one younger: Daniel (b. 1822), Adeline (b. 1829), and Levi (b. 1835). He was primarily educated at local schools, where he was known as a recalcitrant yet intelligent student, and from an early age he was trained to do farm labor and household work between his studies. Edward was raised a Congregationalist in Duxbury and became an enthusiastic Evangelist in his later years, frequently expressing his faith in the afterlife in his diaries and correspondence. At the age of sixteen, Baker joined his family’s legacy by becoming a sailor. This began a string of voyages which would comprise his naval career from the late 1840’s up until the beginning of the Civil War. In 1848, he set sail on his maiden voyage and would spend the several years following almost entirely at sea. In 1853, Baker would sail with his elder brother Daniel on the ship Amanda (which was wrecked the following year.) In 1854, Edward and Daniel took up a new ship, the Eastern Star, upon which they made many trips across the Atlantic over the following years.[1]  

            During one of his visits home, Edward assisted his sister Adeline in moving back home after her husband’s death in 1855. Adeline, soon after returning home, grew sick and died in June of 1856. In the following October Edward married Sophie Weston, a friend of the late Adeline, after a series of failed courtships. In the years following his marriage Baker kept at sea aboard various ships for much of the time, returning home for brief visits. Although strictly not an abolitionist, Baker fought voluntarily as a Naval Lieutenant for the Union Army during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Also in 1861, Sophie gave birth to their son Neddie May, who lived only a few months. When he returned home, Edward became involved in the missionary practices of the local Evangelical community throughout the coming decades, which would include teaching Sunday school for delinquent youth on the “School Ship” Massachusetts and participating in the Sons of Temperance prohibitionist society. In 1881, Edward’s wife Sophie passed away, leaving her husband deeply saddened. However, in March of the following year, Baker remarried to his ward, Mary Elizabeth Bradley, who bore him three daughters but died giving birth to the third in 1889. Edward gave the resulting daughter, Mary Annie, up for adoption to one Magoun family, having not enough resources at that point to raise all three girls alone. Edward remained a devoted father and Evangelist until his death from apoplexy in 1895, at which point his two elder girls were also adopted.[2]

LC Subject Headings:


Series I            Journals and Scrapbooks

Series II           Correspondence

Series III         Financial Records

Series IV         Personal Papers

Series V           Wallets and Contents

Series VI         Published Papers

Series VII        Photographs

Series List:


Series I – Journals and Scrapbooks: 1844-1895: 53 items


Box 1 Journals 1-16

1. Journal 1 – August 1st, 1844 – to October 31st, 1844

2. Journal 2 – April 8th, 1846 – August 7th, 1846

3. Journal 3 – August 17th, 1846 – December 25th, 1846

4. Journal 4 – Compositions written before 1847

5. Journal 5 – April 20th, 1846 – May 23rd, 1846

6. Journal 6 – May 24th, 1847 – August 8th, 1847

7. Journal 7 – October 8th, 1847 – November 2nd, 1847

8. Journal 8 – December 4th, 1847 – January 29th, 1848

9. Journal 9 – February 4th, 1848 – March 25th, 1848

10. Journal 10 – March 26th, 1848 – May 16th, 1848

11. Journal 11 – July 5th, 1848 – August 7th, 1848

12. Journal 12 – August 18th, 1848 – October 4th, 1848

13. Journal 13 – June 4th, 1849 – December 12th, 1849

14. Journal 14 – May 10th, 1850 – August 22nd, 1850

15. Journal 15 – October 18th, 1850 – March 10th, 1850

16. Journal 16 – March 11th, 1851 – January 19th, 1852

Box 2 Journals 17-21

1. Journal 17 – January 15th, 1852 – August 16th, 1852

2. Journal 18 – August 17th, 1852 – October 15th, 1853

3. Journal 19 – October 15th, 1853 – September 3rd, 1854

4. Journal 20 – September 4th, 1854 – August 15th, 1855

5. Journal 21 – August 18th, 1855 – March 18th, 1856

Box 3 Journals 22-25

1. Journal 22 – April 1st, 1856 – March 15th, 1860

2. Journal 23 – March 16th, 1860 – December 31st, 1860  

3. Journal 24 – January 10th, 1861 – May 25th, 1862

4. Journal 25 – October 5th, 1862 – September 1st, 1863


Box 4 Journals 26-31

1. Journal 26 – September 8th, 1863 – October 14th, 1864

2. Journal 27 – October 19th, 1864 – April 19th, 1865

3. Journal 28 – April 14th, 1865 – January 26th, 1867

4. Journal 29 – March 9th, 1866 – December 15th, 1867

5. Journal 30 – June of 1867; account-keeping in back

6. Journal 31 – July 24th, 1868 – September 12th, 1869; also contains entries from February 1st, 1889 to June 25th, 1890

Box 5 Journals 32-37

1. Journal 32 – March 1st, 1871 – December 17th, 1871

2. Journal 33 – January 1st, 1872 – December 28th, 1872

3. Journal 34 – January 1st, 1875 – August 23rd, 1875

4. Journal 35 – October 1879 – December 1884

5. Journal 36 – January 1st, 1885 – February 1st, 1886

6. Journal 37 – February 2nd, 1886 – February 9th, 1887

Box 6 Journals 38-49

1. Journal 38 – February 14th, 1887 – September 5th, 1887

2. Journal 39 – September 6th, 1887 – January 20th, 1888

3. Journal 40 – January 22nd, 1888 – May 12th, 1888

4. Journal 41 – May 13th, 1888 – August 10th, 1888

5. Journal 42 – August 11th, 1888 – November 6th, 1888

6. Journal 43 – November 7th, 1888 – January 13th, 1889

7. Journal 44 – July 7th, 1890 – September 25th, 1890

8. Journal 45 – October 5th, 1890 – February 26th, 1891

9. Journal 46 – February 26th, 1891 – July 22nd, 1891

10. Journal 47 – August 14th, 1891 – October 12th, 1892

11. Journal 48 – December 1st, 1892 – April 1st, 1894

12. Journal 49 – June 7th, 1894 – March 2nd, 1895

Box 7 Journals 50-51 and Scrapbooks

1. Journal 50 – Journal of Adeline Baker, sister of Edward Baker: entries October 29th, 1852 – April 15th, 1854

2. Journal 51 – Journal of Sophia Bartlett Baker, first wife of Edward Baker: entries October 15th, 1856 – January 15th, 1857

3. First Scrapbook: large green volume, undated

4. Second Scrapbook: large brown volume, undated

Series II – Correspondence: 78 items


Box 8


Folder 1: Civil War Correspondence with Naval Officers 1861-1862: 15 items


Folder 2: Civil War Correspondence with Naval Officers 1863-1868: 12 items


Folder 3: Correspondence Relating to Work with Maritime Underwriters 1850’s – 1880’s: 16 items


Folder 4: Correspondence Relating to Work with Maritime Underwriters 1890’s and Undated: 18 items


Folder 5: Family/Personal Correspondence 1850-1868: 10 items

  1. Letter from Eleanor Thomas to unnamed female recipient, dated November of unknown year.
  2. “Balsamic Court Plaister London” business card
  3. “Emery Souther: Apothecary” business card (both 2 and 3 were with the letter from Eleanor Thomas.)  
  4. Letter from Levi Baker to Edward and Sophie Baker, dated October 10th, 1868, Belfast.
  5. Letter from Daniel Baker to Sophie Baker, dated April 14th, unknown year, New York.
  6. Letter from Daniel Baker to Sophie Baker, dated May 2nd, unknown year, New York. (Both 3 and 4 are kept in the same sleeve.)
  7. Empty envelope addressed to Edward Baker; the words “important” and “save this” are written on it.
  8. Letter from Levi Baker to brothers, dated May 31st, 1868, Paysander.
  9. Letter from Edward Baker to Sophie and brothers, dated July 6th, 1850.
  10. Letter from Levi Baker to Edward Baker, January 29th, unknown year, Cadiz.



Folder 6: Business Correspondence: 7 items

  1. Letter from Collector’s office to Edward Baker, dated March 8th, 1894
  2. Letter from Collector’s office to Edward Baker, dated March 15th, 1894
  3. Letter from David Holton to Lieutenant Edward Baker regarding the descendents of Eleanor Winslow Baker (back of page is “Extracts from the By-Laws of the Pilgrim Record Society,” undated
  4. Accompanying note written on torn page of book by David Holton regarding copies of books intended for descendents of Eleanor Baker
  5. Note of payment by Eleanor Winslow of eight dollars and ninety-two cents to a Mrs. Nancy Baker, dated May 21st, 1831
  6. Folded paper with words “Father American Protection” written by Edward Baker on the back
  7. Note of payment to Capt. Edward Baker for $125.00 from Stephen Bartlett, datedAugust 16th, 1867


Series III: Financial Papers: 1810’s to 1870’s: 20 items


Box 8


Folder 1: Financial Records: 18 items


Folder 2: Account-Books: 2 items

  1. First Blue Account-Keeping Book
  2. Second Blue Account-Keeping Book


Series IV: Personal Papers: 1773-1860’s: 15 items


Box 8


Folder 1: Personal Notes: 8 items

1-7: Sightings written by Edward Baker off ofMobileBay, 1860’s

8. Note with graphics explaining use of navigational optics, undated

Folder 2: Single-Page Diary Entries: 2 items

  1. Double-sided entry written on large piece of brown paper
  2. Double sided entry written on large piece of folded blue paper


Folder 3: Deeds of Land/Estate: 5 items

  1. Samuel Darling land to Thomas Baker, July 1794
  2. Charles Samson grants land to Thomas Baker, June 6th, 1787
  3. Elijah Baker grants land to Thomas Baker, June 4th, 1825
  4. Solomon Hewit grants land to Charles Samson, November 18th, 1773
  5. Elijah Baker grants land of deceased David Sampson to Charles Baker, undated




Series V: Wallets and Contents: 68 items


Box 9


Folder 1: Manila Envelope Folder: 16 items

  1. Envelope addressed to Captain Edward Baker with grocery list on other side
  2. Duxbury Free Library Card made out to Mr. Edward Baker
  3. Thank-you letter from Arthur P. Ford of the Plymouth County Journal, dated February 22nd, 1875
  4. Pink hymnal card inscribed with hymn titled “The Burden-Bearer”
  5. Letter titled “correspondence” addressed to the Hon. S.G. Goff (sp?), dated February 12th, 1880
  6. Hand-written note with possible plans for a religious service
  7. Note from Phenix Insurance Company of Brooklyn regarding a $23.69 credit, dated April 26th, 1894
  8. Typed note about pension checks from U.S. pension agent W.H. Osborne
  9. Scrap of paper with handwritten account-keeping
  10. Letter from Edward Baker to a Mr. Sampson of Sampson, Murdock & Co., dated January 29th, 1859 – written response from Sampson on same page, dated February 6th, 1889
  11. Note of debt from Daniel Baker to Edward Baker, dated October 31st, 1865
  12. Bill made out to Edward Baker from Carpenter, Woodward & Morton for $8.00, dated December 13th, 1876
  13. Blank grocery bill inscribed “bought of Edward Baker”
  14. Bill from Luther White for Captain Edward Baker for purchased lumber, dated October 28th, 1885
  15. Note to self written by Edward Baker on large brown paper
  16. Manila Envelope


Folder 2: Maroon Purse Folder: 3 items

  1. Letter to Mr. Amariah Churchill in Plymouth from son, dated December 10th, 1778
  2. Letter of personal nature from Anna Seymour to unnamed “amiable” friend, dated June 14th, 1808
  3. Maroon Silk Purse removed from file


Folder 3: Brown Leather Pouch Folder: 12 items

  1. Newspaper Clipping with headline: “Receipts from the Internal Revenue”
  2. Newspaper Clipping with headline: “Captain Frank E. Brownell”
  3. C-shaped newspaper clipping, no headline
  4. Copy of bill to Edward Baker
  5. Copy of clipping of newspaper column
  6. Note of record-keeping to Elijah Baker, dated December of 1810
  7. Business note from Dura Wadsworth to Mrs. Anna W. Baker, dated December of 1844
  8. Account-record from William Rankin & Son, Ship Store Merchants
  9. Business record regarding “Kind of Policies” and premiums
  10. Chas. D. Fullerton insurance card
  11. Standish Monument Association Dr. note of payment from Capt. Edward Baker
  12. Brown Leather Pouch Removed from File


Folder 4: Brown Leather Wallet Folder: 29 items

  1. Statement of land grant from William Baker to Kenlem Baker of Mansfield and his wife Tabitha – dated February 8th, 1760.
  2. Statement of land grant from Mark Keen to Thomas and Elijah Baker, dated April 13th, 1796
  3. Letter of personal nature from Hannah Baker to unnamed friend, dated September 21st, 1805
  4. Certification of citizenship of Daniel Baker written by the Deputy James Warren, July 26th, 1810.
  5. Letter from Ichabod Thomas addressed to Elijah Baker, dated June 1813
  6. Tax bill from Dura Wadsworth to Mrs. Anna Baker for $1.39 in 1844.
  7. Note of debt acknowledgement from Anna Whittemore to Daniel Wright for five pounds, dated March 23rd, 1790
  8. Letter of financial settlement for $300 made by a Mr. Jameson to Henry Keith, dated February 23rd, 1853
  9. Letter of account-keeping by Capt. Jediah Southworth, dated March 1809
  10. Financial record written by Elijah Baker, undated
  11. Letter from John Hammond to Captain Baker, dated October 28th, 1781
  12. Note of property tax of three dollars for Elijah Baker from August 16th, 1814
  13. Birth Certificate for Daniel Baker (son of Elijah Baker) on July 2nd, 1791, re-issued on July 14th, 1811.
  14. Financial record for payment of reparations written by Elijah Baker, November 3rd, 1809.
  15. Letter of personal nature from Mr. Benjamin Warren to parents, dated August 11th, 1784
  16. Note of tax received by from Elijah Baker, February 1816.
  17. Letter of land agreement between Henry Keith and William Jameson, dated January 1st, 1852.
  18. Note of box rent from January 1st to March 31st, 1894
  19. Letter regarding land claim payments from Joshua Thomas, dated July 12th, 1792
  20. Letter of value received from Elijah Baker, dated June 6th, 1815.
  21. Business record of Wachusett Mutual Fire Insurance, dated 1893
  22. Letter of regiment order – Plymouth, April 9th, 1783
  23. Letter of real estate deed estate of Elijah Baker, dated November 26th, 1827
  24. Note of received payment from Elijah Baker, dated February 15th, 1812
  25. Newspaper clipping with headline “Deserters Cannot Vote”
  26. Account-keeping slip-handwritten
  27. Account-keeping note, dated June 9th, 1810
  28. Torn envelope
  29. Brown Leather Wallet with brass lock removed from file



Series VI: Published Items: 1826-c.1915-1925: 17 items


Box 8


Folder 17: Sons of Temperance Speech Pamphlets: 9 items

Items 1-9: Copies of an address made to the Sons of Temperance regarding the moral rectitude of non-drinkers.


Folder 18: Newspaper Clippings: 8 items

  1. Full first page the Old Colony Memorial and Plymouth County Advertiser, from December 16th, 1826 – Vol. 5 No. 34
  2. Full first page of the Old Colony Memorial from February 2nd, 1861, Vol. 40 No. 5
  3. Full first page Old Colony Sentinel from April 20th, 1867, Vol. 3, No. 39
  4. Column clipping from unknown newspaper, headline “Money Now Behind it” on front
  5. Page of the Taunton Daily Gazette from January 31st, 1912
  6. Second Page of the Taunton Daily Gazette from January 31st, 1912
  7. Unknown Arabic newspaper, circa 1915-1925, containing caricatures of various religious and political groups.
  8. Clipping with headline “Brother Jonathan’s Retrospect” on front, undated


Series VII: Photographs


Box 8


Folder 1: Photographs Folder: 8 items

  1. DAL Baker 001 – Photograph of Marti Prime, Captain – Removed from Brown Leather Pouch
  2. DAL Baker 002 – Photograph of unnamed bearded man, taken by N.C. Sanborn – Removed from Brown Leather Pouch
  3. DAL Baker 003 – Photograph of A.M. Pierce of Louisiana (fought at Mobile Bay on August 5th, 1864) – Removed from Brown Leather Pouch
  4. DAL Baker 004 – Photograph of a Mr. Olney taken by B. Whiting – Removed from Manila Envelope – Removed from Manila Envelope
  5. DAL Baker 005 – Photograph of Captain James H. French – Provost Marshal in New Orleans – Removed from Manila Envelope – Removed from Manila Envelope
  6. DAL Baker 006 – Photograph of front view of wooden box belonging to Baker
  7. DAL Baker 007 – Photograph of angle view of wooden box belonging to Baker
  8. DAL Baker 008 – Photograph of back view of wooden box belonging to Baker


[1] Information obtained largely from Helen Hill’s biography A Proud and Fiery Spirit, published by the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society,Duxbury,Massachusetts, 1995.

[2] Information obtained largely from Helen Hill’s biography A Proud and Fiery Spirit, published by the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society,Duxbury,Massachusetts, 1995.

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