Guide to the Joy Family Papers, 1799-1920

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:
Joy Family Papers
Joy family
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 Joy Family Papers, Nantucket Historical Association.

Acquisitions Information:

Folder 15 gift of Alice M. W. Seavern; Scrapbook SV-7/1 gift of Moses Joy Jr.

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.

Related Collections

  • MS10 Account Books Collection, Nantucket Historical Association
  • MS64 Scrapbook Collection, Nantucket Historical Association

Subject Headings

  • Personal Name
    • Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895.
    • Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879.
    • Joy, Charlotte Austin, 1817-1892.
    • Joy, David, 1801-1875.
    • Joy family.
    • Joy, Moses, 1781-1847.
    • Joy, Moses Jr, 1807-1895.
    • Joy, Moses III, 1853-1937.
    • Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884.
  • Topical Term
    • Antislavery movements—Massachusetts—Nantucket—19th century.
    • Businesses—Massachusetts—Nantucket—19th century.
    • Whaling—Massachusetts—Nantucket—19th century.

Biographical Information

The Joy family first came to Nantucket, Mass., in 1708, where they became members of the Society of Friends. Third-generation Moses Joy (1781-1847), born to David Joy (1743-1818) and Phebe Coffin Joy (1743-1783), married Deborah Macy (1783-1842) in 1800. They had three children, David Joy (1801-1875), Moses Joy Jr. (1807-1895), and Mary Ann Joy (1810-1879).

With his wife Charlotte Austin Joy (1817-1892), David Joy (1801-1875) worked actively against slavery, for complete temperance, and for schools offering equal education to blacks. He was elected Nantucket’s Representative to the General Court in 1834 and 1837, and became a member of the Governor’s Council in 1838. He was also one of two founders of the Nantucket Atheneum. He and Charlotte moved to the Isle of Wight in 1870, and it was there that he died in 1875.

David’s brother Moses Joy Jr. (1807-1895) was closely identified with the island’s business interests at the height of Nantucket whaling. Early in his life, he made a voyage as cooper on the Ship Sea Lion, after which he joined his brother in the cooperage and whale oil refining business. He also shared his brother’s concern for temperance and the abolition of slavery. He was married three times: to Ann B. Russell (1814-1858) circa 1839, Emmeline Paddack (1809-1876) in October 1864, and Mary Ann Baker (1823-1914) in July 1879. He had three children with his first wife: Frederick Joy (1840-1864), Elisabeth Joy (1842-1877), and Moses Joy III (1853-1937), who later founded the Wanacommet Water Company in Nantucket, Mass.

Scope and Content

The Joy Family papers consist chiefly of financial papers from Moses Joy and Moses Joy Jr., concerning the shipping of oil and candles. Also included are two scrapbooks which record the work and travel of David Joy and Charlotte Austin Joy.

The Charlotte Austin Joy scrapbook, 1875, contains letters of condolence from friends, including William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Frederick Douglass.


Items Separated

  • Separated volumes (SV-7/1–2)
  • Oversize paper item (OP-7/1)

Processing Information

Processed by NHA staff. Finding aid by Abbie Minard and Amelia Holmes, June 2018.

Materials in this collection were digitized with support from Connie and Tom Cigrran.

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