Edmund Pike Graves Family
Papers, 1865-1919 (bulk 1898-1919)

Mss: 761

Historical Note:

Edmund Pike Graves, Senior:

Edmund Pike Graves (1856-1913), a wool buyer in Argentina, was a native of Newburyport, Massachusetts. He married Mary Warner Caldwell, also of Newburyport, in 1883; they had four daughters, Ellen, Mary, Nancy and Ruth, and one son, Edmund Jr.

In 1898 Graves moved with his family to Buenos Aires to become a buyer of wool. Prominent among the firms he purchased wool for were the Bigelow Carpet Company and George Willcomb and Company. He remained in business in Argentina until his death in 1913.

Graves and his family became a part of the English-speaking colony in Buenos Aires. Graves was active in efforts to raise funds for a statue of George Washington to be presented as a gift to the Argentinean people, and at the time of his death he was vice-president of the American Society of the River Plate. In addition, the records indicate the family belonged to various associations and clubs including: a Yacht Club, the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, the British and American Benevolent Society and the English Literary Society.

Despite their involvement in the life of Buenos Aires, the Graves family did not remain in South America after Graves' death in 1913. His daughter, Nancy Graves, married Samuel Cabot of Boston and lived in Massachusetts. The records indicate that her mother and sisters also returned to New England soon after 1913.

Edmund Pike Graves, Junior:

Edmund Pike Graves, Junior, (1891-1919) began his education at an English boarding school in Argentina, but was enrolled in the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts in about 1906. He graduated from Harvard with a B.A. in 1913. After college, he accepted a job with the Great Northern Railway and moved to North Dakota. He remained with Great Northern until 1916, when he was forced to leave due to an illness. Regaining his health by the following year, Graves went to Canada to enlist in the Royal Flying Corps. He became a pilot instructor in Texas (winter quarters of the Royal Flying Corps) and taught himself to "stunt" with the Curtiss airplane. In May 1918 he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant.

Graves, Jr. sailed to Europe in 1918, but arrived in Scotland only to learn that World War I was coming to an end. He still sought active service, however, and remained in the Royal Air Force after the Armistice. He volunteered for a number of post-war activities, remaining in the military until July 1919. He then joined the newly formed Kosciuszko Squadron of American pilots to fight on behalf of the Polish Republic against Russia. Graves engaged in several flights over enemy lines. On November 22, 1919, Graves was in Lemberg, Poland, taking part in a flying exhibition. As he was attempting to execute a "double roll" at an altitude of only 150 feet, the wing of Graves' plane broke. Graves jumped from the plane, but his parachute did not open in time. He was killed instantly.

Scope and Content:

The collection includes business and personal papers of Edmund P. Graves Senior, and personal papers of Edmund P. Graves, Junior. The material includes business and personal correspondence, bills of exchange, invoices, records detailing wool specifications, and shipping information. The business correspondence includes letters to Graves from the Bigelow Carpet Company as well as letters and telegrams from business associates in Argentina. Most of the correspondence is in English, but a number of the letters from Graves' Argentinean associates are in Spanish.

The personal papers in the collection include correspondence, household accounts, household bills, invitations and a small amount of Graves family genealogical information. There are a number of letters from Graves to his sister Georgianna Perry (Mrs. Charles F. Perry), describing life in Buenos Aires. There are also letters to Graves from his sister and others relating the news from home. The household bills give a picture of life in Argentina for an American family, detailing books purchased in Boston and shipped to Buenos Aires; pew rents at the Episcopal Church; English-language newspaper subscriptions; tuition bills for the children's schooling; and household expenses. Two folders of invitations and mementos of social events illustrate both the variety of social activities and the intermingling of the North American and British communities in Buenos Aires. These include programs from a fourth of July celebration; invitations to events celebrating the coronation of King Edward VII; and memorial services for William McKinley, Queen Victoria, and King Edward.

The papers of Edmund P. Graves Jr. contain one folder relating to his youthful interest in stamp collecting but primarily concern the years after his graduation from Harvard. There are several folders of correspondence concerning his employment with the Great Northern Railway as well as material related to his military experience. Also included is a typewritten "diary" describing his experiences in working his way from Boston to Liverpool as a cattleman on the freighter Lancastrian in 1912.

Only a few items in the collection predate the Graves family's move to Argentina. These include a bill for services rendered a dying member of the Graves family in 1865, the 1883 wedding invitation of Edmund P. Graves and Mary Caldwell, a small notebook detailing stocks and bonds owned, presumably by Edmund Graves, in the 1880's and a few letters regarding the estate of Graves' brother-in-law Charles F. Perry.

Series Description:

Series 1: Business papers of Edmund P. Graves, Sr., 1898-1913
Series contains correspondence, invoices, wool specifications and shipping information, and bills of exchange.
Series 2: Personal papers of Edmund P. Graves, Sr., 1891-1913
Series contains correspondence, household bills and accounts, family genealogy, invitations, and souvenirs.
Series 3: Personal papers of Edmund P. Graves, Jr., 1903-1904, 1913-1919
Series contains correspondence and newspaper clippings.

Provenance : Gift of N. David Scotti, 1978

Amount: 4 volumes, 1 carton, 3 boxes

Container List -Series 1:
Vol. 1. Outgoing letters, foreign, May 1912 - September 1913
Vol. 2. Outgoing letters, "general", June - September, 1913
Vol. 3. "Documents", specifications, invoices of wool shipments, May 1912-July 1913
Vol. 4. Invoices, October 1912 - July 1913
Carton 5:
Folder 1 - - Correspondence: F.E. Amespil, 1912-1913
Folder 2 - - Correspondence: Atlantic Company, 1910-1911
Folder 3 - - Correspondence: Bigelow Carpet Company, 1898-1900
Folder 4 - - Correspondence: Bigelow Carpet Company, 1901-1904
Folder 5 - - Correspondence: Bigelow Carpet Company, 1905-1908
Folder 6 - - Correspondence: Bigelow Carpet Company, 1909-1913
Folder 7 - - Correspondence: Bigelow Carpet Company, 1899-1906
Folder 8 - - Correspondence: Samuel Cabot, Godfrey L. Cabot, 1910-1912
Folder 9 - - Correspondence: Ferro Carril Central Argentina, 1913
Folder 10 - - Correspondence: E. Garlot, 1912-1913
Folder 11 - - Correspondence: London and River Plate Bank, 1912
Folder 12 - - Correspondence: London and River Plate Bank, 1913
Folder 13 - - Correspondence: Lowell Manufacturing, 1897-1900
Folder 14 - - Correspondence: Modesto Gonzales, 1912-1913
Folder 15 - - Correspondence: Rosario letters, Nov. 1911-Jan. 1912
Folder 16 - - Correspondence: Rosario letters, Feb.1-June 1912
Folder 17 - - Correspondence: Rosario letters, July 1912-Aug. 1913
Folder 18 - - Correspondence: Rosario telegrams, 1913
Folder 19 - - Correspondence: Tattersfield & Company, 1907
Folder 20 - - Correspondence: Business telegrams, 1902, 1911-1913
Folder 21 - - Monthly accounts, 1907-1909
Folder 22 - - Monthly accounts, 1910-1913
Folder 23 - - Numbered bills, 1-249
Folder 24 - - Numbered bills, 250-399
Folder 25 - - Numbered bills, 400-549
Folder 26 - - Numbered bills, 550-699
Folder 27 - - Numbered bills, 700-799
Folder 28 - - Numbered bills, 800-899
Folder 29 - - Numbered bills, 900-1010
Folder 30 - - Gold transfers, Juan Shaw & Hijos, 1912-1913
Folder 31 - - Insurance policies, 1910-1912
Folder 32 - - Invoices, n.d., 1898-1910
Folder 33 - - Miscellaneous business notes, n.d., 1910-1913
Folder 34 - - Wool/hair specifications, 1911-1913
Folder 35 - - Bills of exchange, Brown, Shipley & Company, 1904-1908
Box 6:
Folder 1 - - Bills of exchange, 1912-1913
Folder 2 - - Legal documents, n.d., 1898-1901
Folder 3 - - Contents of trunks, n.d.
Folder 4 - - Printed information re: shipping, n.d., 1911-1912
Folder 5 - - Wool shipped, n.d., 1899, 1911-1913
Folder 6 - - Wool shipments to Boston, 1913
Folder 7 - - Wool specifications, 1912-1913
Series 2:
Box 6 cont:
Folder 8 - - Unidentified index, n.d.
Folder 9 - - Reception for Secretary of State Elihu Root, 1906
Folder 10 - - General correspondence, n.d., 1891-1904
Folder 11 - - General correspondence, 1905-1913
Box 7:
Folder 1 - - Outgoing correspondence, 1897-1909
Folder 2 - - Social engagements, ca1900-1900
Folder 3 - - Social engagements, ca1900-1913
Folder 4 - - Family genealogy, news clippings, n.d., 1865-1918
Folder 5 - - Memorial notices, calling cards, n.d., 1900-1910
Folder 6 - - Code for cyphers [sic], n.d., 1902
Folder 7 - - Stocks and bonds owned, n.d., 1880's; accounts, 1909-1910
Folder 8 - - Accounts current, n.d., 1905-1913
Folder 9 - - Bills and receipts, 1899-1913
Folder 10 - - Domestic bills, 1898-1913
Series 3:
Box 8:
Folder 1 - - Letters from stamp collectors, 1903-1904
Folder 2 - Incoming correspondence, 1913-1917
Folder 3 - - Outgoing correspondence, n.d., 1913-1917
Folder 4 - - Great Northern Railway, 1914-1916
Folder 5 - - Miscellaneous, n.d., 1903-1917
Folder 6 - - Obituary, news clippings, 1919
See Also:
Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Co. (Mss. 461 1828-1953 B592)