Main content

Journal of Robert Capen


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Robert Capen lived in Canton, Massachusetts, in the early 19th century.

Thompson and Gridley was a Boston, Massachusetts, shipping firm that operated in the mid- to late-18th century.

Biographical and historical information derived from the journal.

This volume is a receipt book kept by the Boston, Massachusetts, shipping firm of Thompson and Gridley for the period 1758-1765 and is interspersed with the diary of Robert Capen. The diary was written in 1811 and 1812. The entries document the weather and wind direction as well as occurances in the town of Canton, Massachusetts. There is also a single account for Samuel Capen of Canton to Robert Capen, for the period 1810-1812.

The majority of the volume contains receipts of payments made to Thompson and Gridley for services rendered and goods sold, mainly to fisherman and coastal shippers, from 1758-1765. The goods sold by the firm include lime, lumber, oars, pitch, food stocks, and material used to repair vessels. Also recorded are the wages of Thompson and Gridley employees for services rendered onboard various ships.

Journal of Occurances and other events that may, occasionally, happen worthy of remarking in writing, whether experienced in reading, writing, meditation, or information from any other source The diary entries of Robert Capen of Canton, Massachusetts, are interspersed throughout the Thompson and Gridley financial transactions (which were recorded half a century earlier). Accompanying the entries are pages of inspirational sayings and biblical quotes. The diary entries become consecutive at the end of the volume. Capen began each entry with a description of the weather and wind direction, then briefly discussed occurances in his life such as visits by relatives, the activities of his family, and interactions with townspeople. He also includeded occasional recipies for products such as cider and ink. On one page there is a handwritten chart documenting the population of the United States in 1810, listing the population of each state and territory.

There is a single account and record of transations from Samuel Capen of Canton to Robert Capen for the period of 1810-1812. The transactions mainly involve hat repair and alterations. The last page of the volume contains a diagram and instructions for calculating the movement of the Earth and Sun.

The volume has a velum cover with sewn-on tape between board covers and features metal clasps meant to keep the volume closed. One of the clasps is missing and the binding is frayed and separating from the pages. The pages themseves are stained and several are torn.

Item 0075: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097

Purchase, 1957.

Processed and encoded by Evan Echols, January 2012.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2012 January 30
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Receipt Book, 1758-1812.
Item 0075
Physical Description

1 volume

Print, Suggest