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Commercial Insurance Company Collection
Catalog Record
Mss 798 1823-1867 C734
Box 3

The Commercial Insurance Company Collection contains personal records of Moses L. Hale, which include letters written by Mrs. Lucy B. Hale in Newburyport, Massachusetts, to her nephew, Moses Hale. Moses Hale was the manager of her children's finances and the executor of her late husband's estate. The letters discuss news of family and friends, and her children's finances and bills. An 1852 letter lists her daughter's school expenses, which included concert and lyceum tickets, books, drawing materials, clothing, rides, and board.

Other letters discuss her feelings about how her daughter, Lucy, should appear in society, especially in terms of dress. On December 24, 1853, Mrs. Hale wrote:

I have no desire to clothe her expensively, but as you are well aware, that she is a descendant from two highly respected families, and some of her young cousins think themselves among the aristocracy and move in the first circles of society. This being admitted, I cannot feel willing that my only daughter, with her means, should make an appearance so much inferior to them, that they would be unwilling to own the relationship. Some of our neighbors who work at trades wear their silk velvet capes & brocades, but these are beyond my mark, and I do not wish to do anything to countenance lavish expenditure in dress, which I think is the crying sin of the present day.

Two volumes in the collection document the income and expenses of Miss Lucy B. Hale, showing her income from stocks, rents, and notes, as well as her expenses for taxes, journeys, investment, medicine, and, in 1855, her wedding outfit. Expenses related to her marriage include things needed for setting up housekeeping: furniture, travelling trunk, a mattress, piano cloth, chamber set, carpets, and dry goods.

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