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Tucker Family archive

Identifier: C-113

Scope and Contents

Collection contains approximately 116 holograph letters, mostly written from New Bedford and Providence, with a few from the Midwest, all from 1860 to 1862. Letters are composed in ink, most retaining their original envelopes. The letters provide insight into the dynamics of the family and their core beliefs of charity and goodwill towards others as they struggled with the damage which was wrought upon their homes, businesses, and community. The family also discusses at length their attempts to save their eldest son from his struggle with profligacy and gambling.

Also included with collection is one copy of New Bedford's Civil War by Earl F. Mulderink III (2012).


  • Creation: 1860-1862


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email:

Biographical / Historical

The Tuckers were a prominent Quaker family that was part of the great whaling industry in New Bedford, Massachusetts; and who were confronted with the devastating fallout from the Civil War.

Charles R. Tucker, the patriarch of the family, was born in 1809 in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. He attended the Friends' School in Providence and became a teacher in Westport. In 1830, he arrived in New Bedford and entered into partnership with Edward D. Mandell, establishing the business house of Charles R. Tucker & Co. He became president of Merchant's National Bank, president of the Commercial Mutual Marine Insurance Company, and a member of the Board of Investment of the New Bedford Institution for Savings. He founded the "John West Fund" for the assistance of the poor and was a member of the School Board. He married Dorcas Fry in 1833 and had seven sons: Benjamin, John Fry, Henry Russell, Charles Russell, Robert Earle, Edward Tobey, and George Fox.

Benjamin Tucker's letters are written from Milwaukee, where he was pursuing interests in the wood, coal, and grain business. Many letters concern Benjamin's financial difficulties and his struggle with gambling.


2 Boxes


Collection is arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection was purchased by Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives (date unknown).

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States