Guide to the Kezia Coffin Fanning Papers, 1775-1820

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:
Kezia Coffin Fanning Papers
Fanning, Kezia Coffin, 1759-1820
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 Kezia Coffin Fanning Papers, Nantucket Historical Association.

Acquisitions Information:

Folders 1, 2, and 4 gift of Margaret H. Wood; Folder 5 gift of Walter Starbuck in 1952 (Acc. 1952.42).

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

  • MS327 Nantucket Bank Robbery Papers / Owen-Pray Collection, Nantucket Historical Association
  • MS335 Edouard A. Stackpole Collection, Nantucket Historical Association

Subject Headings

  • Personal Name
    • Fanning, Kezia Coffin, 1759-1820.
  • Topical Term
    • Businesses—Massachusetts—Nantucket.
    • Women—Massachusetts—Nantucket—Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775—Diaries.
    • Women—Massachusetts—Nantucket—19th century—Diaries.
    • Women—Massachusetts—History—18th century.
    • Women—Massachusetts—History—19th century.
  • Geographic Name
    • Massachusetts—Nantucket—History—Revolution, 1775-1783.
    • United States—History—Revolution, 1775-1783—Personal narratives.

Biographical Information

Kezia Coffin Fanning (1759-1820) was born in Nantucket, Mass., to John Coffin (1708-1788) and Kezia Folger Coffin (1723-1798). She married attorney Phineas Fanning (1750-1798) in 1777, with whom she had eight children.

Scope and Content

The Kezia Fanning Coffin papers consist of original pages from and copies of Kezia Coffin Fanning’s diary. Fanning’s diary records family events and news of Nantucket, particularly births, deaths, and marriages. Notable entries describe the robbery at the Nantucket Bank and politics during the American Revolution. Entries also describe fishing, whaling, commerce, and trade. Fanning began her diary at age sixteen and continued writing until her death. The record originally numbered 50 booklets, all lost, excluding the collection’s original pages and copies made by family members.


  • Box 1 Folder 1 Diary original pages, 1797
  • Box 1 Folder 1.5 Diary handwritten extracts, 1779-1820
  • Box 1 Folder 2 Diary handwritten extracts by Dr. Thomas Fanning Wood, 1783-1820
  • Box 1 Folder 3 Diary typewritten copy of extracts and notes, 1775-1820
  • Box 1 Folder 4 Letters concerning history of the diary and daguerreotype, 1877-1938
  • Box 1 Folder 5 Diary transcript of notes and extracts (bound volume), 1775-1820

Processing Information

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

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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