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William Appleton and Company Collection
Catalog Record
Mss 766 1840-1889
Volumes 175-180

William Appleton (1786-1862) was a shipping merchant based in Boston, Massachusetts. He dealt in textiles, raw cotton, and lumber. William Appleton withdrew from the business in 1859. Between 1851 and 1855, he served as a congressman for the state of Massachusetts. His brother, Nathan Appleton, was one of the Boston associates who first invested in the mill town of Lowell. William's daughter, Sarah, married Amos A. Lawrence, whose family was also involved in the textile industry.

The Appleton papers contain six letter books comprising correspondence to and from various members of the family, including many female members. The earliest letters date from the winter of 1815 and comprise the correspondence of William and Mary Ann Appleton, written during the first year of their marriage. The letters describe their infant son, William, Jr., family life, and social engagements.

The volumes also include a diary written by Mary Ann on a trip to White Sulfur Springs, which she took with her son, William, and a Mr. and Mrs. Warren. Her diary describes the journey by boat, steam rail, and mail coach. While on route, they stopped in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. In the capital, they visited the White House and had tea with President Andrew Jackson, his nieces, and Martin Van Buren (at that time the Secretary of State).

Another of the volumes contains letters written to Sarah (Appleton) Lawrence, the daughter of Mary Ann and William Appleton and the wife of Amos Abbott Lawrence. This volume mainly contains letters from her parents and siblings. It also contains two poems written by Mary Ann Appleton. One is entitled, "To a Father upon the death of his first born." Many of the letters are from her parents, Mary Ann and William, written while her father served in Congress.

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