1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Christopher A. Whitman Papers


 Size: 12 volumes

 Catalog number: MSS 108

 Processed by: Cindy Bendroth, July l992

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

Christopher A. Whitman was born May 25, l795, son of Judge Elisha Whitman. According to the Biographical Cyclopedia of Rhode Island, Whitman was very industrious, starting his own business at the age of seventeen.

He was early in his life involved with the textile industry, but was also officer of the Bank of Kent, Merchants and Weybosset Bank, and the Providence, and Warwick Institutes of Saving. He also started the Coventry Bank. He was elected to the General Assembly for Coventry for several years.

He died May 30, l869. His marriage to Betsey Arnold produced a son (Thomas A. Whitman) and three daughters. After Betsey died, he married Mary Arnold.

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Scope and content:

The l2 volumes in this collection primarily relate to his textile ventures. They include power loom accounts of women weavers, rent and board accounts and the company store accounts. Some are home accounts and accounts of his father, Elisha Whitman, who was involved in textile machinery production and his son, Thomas A. Whitman. There is an account book started by Whitman's father-in-law, Thomas Arnold and finished by Whitman. The years range from l8l8 to l87l, the bulk dates being l828 to l85l.

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The Christopher A. Whitman account books were a gift from Mr. Claflin in l992. Several other ledgers came with this gift, including another Thomas Arnold ledger, two Peter Howard ledgers, and the J. Balch & Co. prescription book.

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Book #l                       Christopher A. Whitman, Cranston, l8l8-l82l (store accounts, some weaving, some loom buying)


Weaving Book            Cranston, l8l9-l849 (also lists l845-49 who cotton was shipped to--stops short l820 and starts again, l840)


Weaving Book            l829-l832 (power looms)


Book #3                      Coventry, l828-66


Book #4                      C.A. Whitman & Co., l846-l87l (general store accounts including his pay for one year's work as overseer)


Cashbook #l                Cranston, l8l8-l825


Cashbook #2               Coventry, l825-l837 (mostly personal accounts, some weaving, bobbin accounts and school bills)


Cashbook #3               Coventry, l837-l843


Cashbook #3               Coventry, l837-52 (mostly duplicate of the other cashbook)


Journal                        l835-l85l (Mostly talks of weather, some notes on going to meeting house, going to Providence, father at legislature, daughter to house keeping October 22, l850 and Dorr Rebellion, June 25, l842)


Daybook                     Thomas Arnold, l784-l806, Weaving book, C.A. Whitman, l832-l834


Account book             Elisha Whitman, l829-43 (mostly accounts for making textile machinery-looms, dresses, speeder, a lot of work for the Coventry Mfg. Co.) Thomas A. Whitman, l849-l862 (mostly household accounts and cost of surveying equipment)

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Arnold, Thomas.

Whitman, Thomas A.

Whitman, Elisha.

Textile Industry - Rhode Island - Coventry.

Coventry (R.I.)

Cotton manufacturing.

Whitman, Christopher A., 1795-1869

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