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Luce and Swift family correspondence

Call Number: MS 293


This collection is composed of letters written between two seafaring families, the Luces and Swifts, in the late 1800s. The letters portray daily life in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts and highlight life aboard a whaling vessel.


  • Creation: 1858 - 1930


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.


.5 Linear Feet (1 document case)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Luce family letters are primarily written by Martha Luce, (thought to be the wife of Franklin Luce, mother of Grafton Luce), and her children, Fannie, Maddie and Rhoda. Other correspondents, also thought to be relatives are Martha's brother, Benjamin Luce, and her cousins, James Luce, Meribah Luce, West Luce, Irene Luce and Irene's daughter, Minnie and son, Alfred. A cousin in Australia, Annie Elizabeth Luce Boohe, wrote to an uncle West Luce. Friends who also wrote to the Luce family include: E.F. Devoll, Mary Gease [?], Sarah Marsh, Jaas May, Allie [?], and Ellen Whitten.

The Swift family letters are primarily written to Hannah V. Smith (1823-1901), house wife, mother and Charles H. Swift (1817-1884), ship-carpenter and father of Timothy Swift (circa 1843), seaman, Elizabeth Luce Ames (1844-1899), housekeeper and dressmaker, Sarah H. Swift Verril (circa 1846), Charles Hiram Swift (1848-1875), seaman, Holmes Athearn Swift (1852-1910), sailor and William "Willie" Smith Swift (1860-1936), laborer. Other correspondents include Charles Peter Verril, who married Sarah H. Swift, as well as an unidentified cousin and Mariah Washburn, a friend of the family.

Physical Location

MS 293

Guide to the Luce and Swift Family Collection
Luce and Swift family correspondence
Finding aid prepared by mrm, 2010. Finding aid encoded by mrm, 2010.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Luce and Swift family correspondence, MS 293, Department of Special Collections, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States