Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Tucker Shipping Papers

Tucker Shipping Papers, 1826-1890.

18.5 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M177

Series List:


Agency History / Biographical Note:
The Tucker family owned and operated a shipping firm at a time when Wiscasset, Maine, was a major center of trade. The founder, Richard Hawley Tucker (1791-1867), was descended from a long line of mariners. He started the business in 1827, managing the ships and their operations until his death.

Richard's sons, Joseph Tucker (1821-89) and Richard Holbrook Tucker (1816-95), both served as captains, Joseph from 1843 to 1859 and Richard from 1838 to 1848. After leaving the sea, Richard (Bowdoin 1838) looked after the family's interests in Charleston, S.C., (1848-54), then returned to Wiscasset where he engaged in various businesses, many of which were independent of the shipping business. Joseph took over the management of the business upon his father's death in 1867, running it until the last ship was sold in 1882.

The Tuckers operated only sailing ships, each in service from one to twenty years, although the younger Richard superintended the building of a steamship for South Carolina stockholders. They plied the cotton trade routes from Wiscasset, Charleston and the east coast to Liverpool, and other Atlantic ports; and, in the west, traded from San Francisco, Seattle and the west coast to Melbourne, Hong Kong and other Pacific ports, carrying grain, guano and other goods.

Scope and Content:
The collection includes letters, documents, receipts, insurance records, and other material relating to operation of the Tucker family's shipping business, 1826-1890. It includes records of the operation of 16 ships, letters to and from their captains, and information on the trips made and the cargos carried. A card index and typescripts of the private records and business correspondence, prepared by the donor, is available for in-house use.


Cite as: Tucker shipping papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.
Access Restrictions: None.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · scaref@bowdoin.edu · (207) 725-3288