Guide to the Eliza Ann McCleave Books, circa 1869-1874

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Research Library at the Nantucket Historical Association. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the internet.

Collection Details

Collection Number:
Eliza Ann McCleave Books
circa 1869-1874
McCleave, Eliza Ann, 1811-1895
Nantucket Historical Association
Material is in English.

Information for Users

Restrictions to Access: No restrictions. Open for research.

Restrictions to Use: No usage restrictions.

Copyright Notice: Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], in the Eliza Ann McCleave Books, Nantucket Historical Association.

Acquisitions Information:

Gift of Mrs. Helen Hussey Ludolph.

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Nantucket Historical Association assumes no responsibility.

Subject Headings

  • Personal Term
    • McCleave, Eliza Ann, 1811-1895.
    • McCleave, Robert.
  • Genre Term
    • Journals (Diaries).

Biographical Information

Eliza Ann McCleave (1811-1895) was born to Job Chase and Ruth Macy. She married Robert McCleave (1809-1876), son of Joseph McCleave and Sally Chase. The couple had one son, Henry P. McCleave.

By the mid-nineteenth century, Eliza had converted a room of her home at 109 Main Street into a museum. In this space, she gathered together the items acquired by her husband during whaling voyages, charging a small admission fee and delivering daily theatrical poetic lectures. The collection consisted of artifacts from the islands of the South Pacific as well as natural specimens and Nantucket knick-knacks provided by friends and visitors. Thus, the museum featured an arrangement popular among many early American museums, showcasing unrelated objects valued for their oddities. An island novelty, the McCleave museum was popular among many both for its collection and for Eliza’s performances.

Scope and Content

The Eliza Ann McCleave books include two personal journals with records of births, deaths, Nantucket history, and some information concerning Captain Robert McCleave’s ships. There is also a catalogue of Eliza Ann McCleave’s museum in Nantucket, Mass.


  • Folder 1 Journal of personal museum collection and Nantucket stories, circa 1869
  • Folder 2 Journal of Nantucket facts and figures, circa 1874

Processing Information

Processed by NHA staff. Finding aid by Abbie Minard and Amelia Holmes, July 2018 with additional description by Sarah Lerner in September 2018.

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