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1841-1865 ARCHIVE OF HANDWRITTEN CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN CINCINNATI SHIP-BUILDER JOHN SWASEY AND SALEM MARITIME MERCHANT, EDWARD D. KIMBALL

Ohio, Cincinnati / Swasey, John Comprises 63 items, totaling more than 80pp of holograph material: 51 letters and three telegrams from Swasey to Kimball, and nine retained copies (unsigned) of Kimball's letters to Swasey. Of the 51 Swasey letters, 15 have stampless covers from Cincinnati, 10 are stamped & canceled covers, and the rest are folded for mailing, without envelopes. Included in the total are one promissory note and one bill of exchange. Some of the longer letters incorporate invoices into the text. Some discuss hardships and sufferings during the "Civill War," along with building iron-clad Monitors, &c. The Swasey letters are signed variously as "John Swasey," "John," or "John Swasey & Co." Most are docketed by Kimball. The Swasey letters are dated as follows: 1841 (5 letters); 1842 (6); 1849 (5); 1851 (1); 1852 (11); 1853 (2); 1856 (3); 1861 (1); 1862 (10); 1863 (5); 1864 (1); 1865 (1). Written on blue and off-white stock. Occasional holes from removal of wax seals, usually with no loss. All of the letters have interesting content about maritime trade via canal boats, steamboats, and larger ships, including insurance and mortgages on various vessels, the prices of and demand for goods (pork, lard, coffee, flour, etc.), news of currency exchanges and the scarcity of money, &c. // John Swasey (1808-1888) was a noted Cincinnati merchant and shipbuilder, born in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1835, he went overland to Cincinnati, Ohio, then considered the limit of much travel to the great west. In Ohio, Swasey invested in real estate and in other business until he accrued a fortune for those days, much of which he lost during the Civil War. The letters in this archive represent, in part, the rise and fall of Swasey's business. Swasey was one of the founders of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants Exchange. He was accustomed to making annual trips by boat, canal, and stage to the old homestead in Salem, accompanied by his wife and seven children. // The correspondent, Edward D. Kimball, was a noted Salem maritime merchant, shipper, banker, and textile magnate. His early career included New England coastal trading in produce and lumber. In 1842, Kimball expanded into Ohio-Boston produce trading. He then began to use midwestern shipbuilders to construct his vessels. About 1845, Edward and his brothers combined efforts to develop and expand the Kimball shipping industry. Although the main thrust of their trade was with the west coast of Africa, their vessels sailed also to the East Indies, South America, Pacific Islands, Australia, and Asia. In his off-hours, Kimball served as Mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, and as a leader of the Naumkeag Bank and the Naumkeag Steam Cotton Company.