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

 Crawford Allen Papers

 Merchant, of Providence, R.I.

 Papers, 1818-1873

 Size: 0.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1084

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, January 2002

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Crawford Allen (1798-1872) was a partner in Philip Allen & Sons, the firm which preceded Allen Print Works, from 1830 to 1870. He was also engaged in business as a cotton broker under the name Crawford Allen & Co. In 1870, he was placed under the care of a guardian. He was the brother of renowned Providence industrialist Zachariah Allen (1795-1882) and Philip Allen (1785-1865), who served as governor of Rhode Island. Crawford Allen is buried in Providence's North Burial Ground.

Return to top

Scope and content:

            This collection consists primarily of the commercial correspondence of the firm of Crawford Allen & Co. from 1838 to 1853. A few earlier letters are addressed to Allen personally, or to George C. Nightingale (perhaps an early partner) in his care. At least four letters were written by Crawford Allen to his partners (1/20/1840, 3/13/1841, 8/10/1843 and 9/28/1844). The collection also includes an 1830 textile machinery deed, miscellaneous personal receipted bills, and the 1871-1874 financial accounts of Allen's guardian.

Return to top


            The folder of correspondence re Crawford Allen & Co. arrived from two sources. 27 letters were purchased from Robert F. Lucas in 1998, and 147 letters dated 1838 to 1850 (the bulk of the collection) were donated by Richard L. Righter in 2001. The 1837 notarized letter re administration of the R. Reynolds estate was purchased from Patrick T. Conley in 1970. The provenance of the remainder is unknown, but probably dates before 1980. The estate account book was clearly cataloged before 1944.

Return to top

Processing note:

Return to top



Mostly Crawford Allen & Co. cotton brokerage correspondence. 26 letters, 1834-1854 and undated. The only Rhode Island correspondents are Arthur M. Kimball of North Providence and George James Adams of East Greenwich. Some letters are addressed to George C. Nightingale, who may have been a partner in the firm.

Two particularly interesting items are a single leaf containing letters received re seizure of vessel by Portuguese government, from John Hammond, 9/15/1830; John Hammond, 8/16/1831; and U.S. Secretary of State Edward Livingston, 10/25/1831. Also a photostat letter from George W. Curtis, 1/22/1840, re the discovery of William [Brenton?]'s frozen body clinging to a boat in Long Island Sound, and the discovery of important papers on his body.

Folder 1. 1830, 1834-1839

Folder 2. 1840

Folder 3. 1841

Folder 4. 1842-1843

Folder 5. 1844

Folder 6. 1845

Folder 7. 1846

Folder 8. 1847

Folder 9. 1848-1849

Folder 10. 1850-1854 and undated

Folder 11. Miscellaneous accounts, 1818-1846, 1871:

Including bill from Edward Smith of Newport for dozens of pounds of lobster, tautog and bass, July 1844; and numerous other accounts for provisions and shipping. Also two receipts from brother Zachariah Allen re stock in Bernon Manufacturing Company, 1871. Deed from Nathan Buffington of North Providence, of textile machinery stored in mill leased from Pardon Jenckes in Pawtucket, 5/25/1830.


Folder 12. "Estate of Crawford Allen, in account with Moses B.I. Goddard, Guardian", January 1871 to June 1872; became "Estate of Crawford Allen (dec'd) in account with Moses B.I. Goddard, Executor", July 1872 to October 1873. One volume.

Return to top


Adams, George J.

Allen, William H.

Buffington, Nathan

Cotton trade - Rhode Island

Curtis, George W. (1824-1892)

Frothingham, Samuel

Goddard, Moses B.I. (1831-1909)

Kimball, Arthur M. (1809-1889)

Laurence, Trimble & Co.

Livingston, Edward (1764-1836)

Nightingale, George C. (1812-1892)

Reynolds, R.

Textile industry - Rhode Island

End of finding aid - return to top