Scope and Content
Title: Samuel Adams Journal and Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1849-1901
Collection number: MS 1 (Vault)
Adams, Samuel, 1810-1888
1 box (6 folders)
ca 40 items (.42 linear ft.)
California Historical Society, North Baker Research Library
678 Mission Street
San Francisco, California 94105-4014
Abstract: Two original journals cover the voyage to California and Adam's first months in San Francisco (4/1/1849 - 3/18/1850). The
bulk of the Adams papers comprises letters from Adams to his wife, business correspondence, and Mrs. Adams' letters to her
son Samuel G.
Physical location: Consult repository
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to California Historical Society. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing
to the Director of Research Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of California historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Samuel Adams Journal and Papers. MS 1 (Vault), California Historical Society, Manuscript Collections.
Gift of A.T. Shine, 3/14/1949
Samuel Adams arrived in California aboard the Barque
Mazeppa on December 3, 1849 after a ten-month voyage at sea. He had left New York on January 27, 1849 with a carge of merchandise
which he had been commissioned to sell for the firm of Rowland and Whitehouse of Brooklyn, N.Y. Adams had previously managed
a drugstore in Brooklyn for Rowland, but when it and the house he had been preparing for his family burned, he agreed to act
as a commercial factor in order to support his family. The voyage of the
Mazeppa was plagued by storms, lengthy repairs to the ship after it was forced to return to Rio de Janeiro, and long delays in navigating
around Cape Horn. Adams helped to pass the time by writing a journal for his wife and children living in Winthrop, Me. Some
sections are addressed to the children and in them he describes details of life at sea--what the sailors ate, where they slept,
and how they were disciplined; how to reckon the speed of the ship in knots, and the awesome responsibilities of the captain.
Adams' arrival in San Francisco, at the height of the gold rush, began with a concentrated period of bargaining and selling
the merchandise in his cargo. By March 15 he had disposed of the bulk of the goods, had purchased some small parcels of land,
and had set up his own drug store. (From other sources it has been determined that the store was located on Washington St.
below Kearny; that he was burned out every year until he started his fourth store in 1853.) Adams returned to Winthrop, Me.
in 1853 (probably after having been awarded free passage to New York as an agent of the Postoffice Dept.) and returned to
San Francisco later that year with his family.
Adams was married to Philemela Johnson. They had three children--Eve, Samuel, and George Russell Adams, who became the youngest
member of the Exploring Expedition in Russian America, 1865-1867, as described in an article by Harold F, Taggart, CHS Quarterly,
Scope and Content
The Adams collection includes five bound journals. Two volumes the original journal; the remaining three volumes contain typewritten
or longhand copies of the original volumes. The first volume of the original journal covers the period 4/1/49 to 6/8/49 and
is entirely devoted to the voyage. It is prefaced by a compass rose and a sketch of the Barque
Mazeppa by George E. Young, a shipmate and later a California state senator. Volume 2 covers the period 7/14/49 to 3/18/50 and describes
the end of the voyage and Adams' first months in San Francisco. The names of the officers, crew, and passengers of the ship
appear in the back of Volume 2. Tables of latitude and longitude of the
Mazeppa from May 1, 1849 to Nov. 4, 1849 are recorded in the back of Volume 2.
The bulk of the Adams papers comprises letters from Adams to his wife and Mrs. Adams' letters to her son Samuel; documents
relating to Adams' agreement to work for Whitehouse and Rowland and to his attempt to become a government mail agent; and
various notes and clippings relating to family matters. Two copies of addresses by George E. Young are included.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Girdler, John Captain
Adams, Samuel G.
Voyages to the Pacific coast
San Francisco (Calif.)--History
California Historical Society Photograph Collection contains a photograph of his nephew George Adams and his aunt, Sarah Adams.