Log In | Contact Us| View Cart (0)
Browse: Collections Digital Content Subjects Creators Record Groups

Maxwell Family Papers



Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Captain Noble Maxwell, 1829-1871

Captain William Kilburn Maxwell, 1854-1872

Alfred Maxwell, 1864-1865, 1909-1913

Contact us about this collection

Maxwell Family Papers, 1829-1913 | Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

By Anastasia S. Weigle

Printer-friendly Printer-friendly | Email Us Contact Us About This Collection

Collection Overview

Title: Maxwell Family Papers, 1829-1913Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1840-1870

Primary Creator: Maxwell, Noble, Captain (1792-1887)

Other Creators: Maxwell Family (1858-1924), Maxwell, Alfred S. (Alfred Skolfield) (1858-1924), Maxwell, William Kilburn, Captain (1828-1905)

Extent: 2.0 Boxes


The collection is separated into three groups, each representing a generation:

GROUP 1 contains Capt. Noble Maxwell papers and has three series: 1.1 Correspondence, Shipping Business (1834-1850), 1.2 Vessel Papers (1829-1852) and 1.3 Personal Papers (1835-1871).

GROUP 2. contains Capt. Maxwell Kilburn Noble and contains two series, 2.1 Vessel Papers (1863-1971) and 2.2 Personal Papers (1868-1872).

GROUP 3 contains the personal papers of Alfred Maxwell (1865-1864, 1909-1913).

Subjects: Account books, Clara L. Preble (Ship), Florence (Bark), G. F. and J. Patten, Majestic (Ship), Maxwell, Alfred S. [Skolfield], 1848-1924, Maxwell, Noble, Captain, 1792-1887, Maxwell, William Kilburn, Captan, 1828-1905, Maxwell Family, Merchant seamen, Monmouth (Ship), Noble (Bark), Osteonthe (Ship), Seamanship, Sheffield (Ship), Shipbuilders, Ship captains, Trenton (Ship), Wages

Languages: English


Personal papers of Capt. Noble Maxwell, his nephew, Capt. William Kilburn Maxwell and W. K. Maxwell's son, Alfred S. Maxwell. Included are invoices, receipts and correspondence relating to vessels both Noble and William K. were shipmasters. Noble's relationship with the Patten family is evident in this collection as he was master of a few Patten ships and worked closely with the George F. and John Patten's shipbuilding business.  Personal papers include their own accounts, invoices, letters and a small number of ephemeral items. Also included is a ledger book belonging to Capt. William Kilburn Maxwell that shows disbursement costs for various vessels he was shipmaster on or had an interest in.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection is organized into three groups—1) Capt. Noble Maxwell, 2) Capt. William Kilburn Maxwell; and 3) Alfred S. Maxwell. In the first two groups there are two series, Vessel Papers and Personal Papers. Group 3 is the smallest belonging to Alfred S. Maxwell and only contains personal papers.            

The Vessel Papers are mostly correspondence and account summaries, invoices and receipts.  Under Capt. Noble Maxwell, are found Patten-built ships for which Noble was either a shipmaster or owner/investor, or both.

Noble’s personal papers contain a few personal letters. The majority of his personal papers are invoices and receipts covering his lifelong investments in banks, railroad and manufacturing shares. Other receipts are room and board fees between 1835 and 1847, receipts for personal items 1841 to 1871, freight bills transporting his own goods 1848 to 1870 and subscription receipts to various publications (New-York Weekly Whig, Daily Evening Traveler, Boston Daily Advertiser, Boston Daily Journal, Massachusetts Ploughman, Merchants Exchange and News Room, and the Merchants' Exchange).      

Capt. William Kilburn Maxwell papers also include vessel papers, in particular Albert (Bark), Noble (Bark), Clara L. Preble (Ship) and Otseonthe (Ship). An accounts ledger of disbursements for various vessels and crew names and wages is also included with his papers.  Personal papers include invoices of personal goods purchased and letters from family members including his brother James M. Maxwell and his nephew Charles Maxwell.            

The Alfred S. Maxwell papers are all personal related and include a few invoices, freight bills and two letters. As mentioned previously in Provenance, these two letters don't seem to fit within the Maxwell Family Papers. One is written to a Mrs. Frank Williams and sent by C. F. Heustis and the other is written to Capt. Andrew Williams sent by Snow & Burgess. The connection with these two letters may be with Alfred's wife, Grace L. (Williams) Maxwell.

Biographical Note

Captain Noble Maxwell, son of James Maxwell and Margaret Patten, was born in Bowdoinham, Sagadahoc County, Maine on April 9, 1792. His father, James Maxwell, was born on August 13, 1849 in Scarborough (now Portland). Noble's father, James Maxwell, and James' brother George, ventured up the Kennebec River and settled in the town of Bowdoinham. On November 27, 1777, James Maxwell married Margaret Patten, the daughter of John Patten. As son-in-law to John Patten, James partnered with the Patten family shipbuilding business becoming shipmaster of their schooner, Industry.

The money he gained from this venture made it possible for him to purchase land and take up farming. From there, James and Margaret raised nine children, 6 sons and 3 daughters. James Maxwell died on July 26, 1831.

Noble’s siblings were sisters Mary, Betsy and Peggy and brothers James, Robert, William, Actor and John. Noble had a simple education going to sea as a youngster and saw some action during the War of 1812.  Noble Maxwell was a very private man and kept personal matters to himself making his early years as a seaman not well known. He died peacefully at the Vendome Hotel in Boston on September 13, 1887, at age ninety-six.

Subject/Index Terms

Account books
Clara L. Preble (Ship)
Florence (Bark)
G. F. and J. Patten
Majestic (Ship)
Maxwell, Alfred S. [Skolfield], 1848-1924
Maxwell, Noble, Captain, 1792-1887
Maxwell, William Kilburn, Captan, 1828-1905
Maxwell Family
Merchant seamen
Monmouth (Ship)
Noble (Bark)
Osteonthe (Ship)
Sheffield (Ship)
Ship captains
Trenton (Ship)

Administrative Information

Repository: Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on the use of these materials for study or research.

Use Restrictions: The material described herein is the physical property of the Maine Maritime Museum Library.  Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of the various items, or to their legal representatives, or to Maine Maritime Museum.  For further information, consult the library staff.

Acquisition Source: Donated by Miss Alice Maxwell and Francis K. Moon in three separate accessions between 1966 and 2010, accession Nos. 66.1819, 73.181, 2010.04.01

Acquisition Method: The Maxwell Family Papers were donated to the Maine Maritime Museum in three different accessions. Miss Alice Maxwell, a descendant of the Maxwell Family in Bowdoinham, Sagadahoc County, Maine, donated the bulk of the collection in 1966. The remaining papers were donated in two separate accessions, 1973 and 2010, by Francis K. Moon (Mrs. Phillip G. Moon), another distant relative of the Maxwell family through the Patten—Moon line. Accession Nos. 66.1819, 73.181, 2010.04.01.

Preferred Citation: Maxwell Family Papers, MS-011, Research Library, Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine.

Processing Information:

Although these papers were accessioned from two different donors on three different occasions, the collections had similar items belonging to both Noble and William K. Maxwell. The papers were initially in two boxes, one from donor Miss Alice Maxwell and other from the donor Francis K. Moon (Mrs. Philip G. Moon). They were already loosely organized within each box. It is not uncommon for family papers to be split up among relatives. However, this practice of splitting family papers destroys the provenance of the collection. Since both donors are descendants of Capt. Noble Maxwell, all accessions were treated as one collection in an attempt to protect the provenance and original order of the papers.          

Alfred S. Maxwell papers were in accession 66.1819 donated by Miss Alice Maxwell and the letters to the Williams family were in the 2010.040.01 accession donated by Francis K. Moon with a note from her explaining the relationship between the Williams family and Alfred's wife Grace. These were placed together.          

The collection was broken into three groups, each representing a general: Noble Maxwell, William Kilburn Maxwell and Alfred S. Maxwell.

Other Note: Index of vessel names available in Repository.  Ask librarian for assistance.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Group:

[Group 1: Captain Noble Maxwell, 1829-1871],
[Group 2: Captain William Kilburn Maxwell, 1854-1872],
[Group 3: Alfred Maxwell, 1864-1865, 1909-1913],

Group 3: Alfred Maxwell, 1864-1865, 1909-1913Add to your cart.
Series 3.I: Personal papers (1864-65, 1909-13)Add to your cart.

Page Generated in: 0.238 seconds (using 208 queries).
Using 10.44MB of memory. (Peak of 10.64MB.)

Powered by Archon Version 3.21 rev-1
Copyright ©2012 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign