Guide to the Marshall-Pinkham Family Papers / Brown Collection, 1823-1990

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:
Marshall-Pinkham Family Papers / Brown Collection
Marshall family. Pinkham 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 Marshall-Pinkham Family Papers / Brown Collection, Nantucket Historical Association.

Acquisitions Information:

Gift of Helen Marshall Hall Brown (RL1994.21, RL2013.68, RL2014.42, RL2014.48, RL2014.97, RL2015.05, RL2017.15, RL2018.22, RL2019.49, RL2019.22, RL2020.21, RL2020.33).

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

  • MS164 Pinkham Family Papers, Nantucket Historical Association

Subject Headings

  • Personal Name
    • Belcher, Helen M. Pinkham, 1834- .
    • Belcher, Joseph H.
    • Crosby, Elizabeth C. Pinkham, 1816-1897.
    • Crosby, William H.
    • Locke, Harriet Pinkham, 1828-1874.
    • Locke, John G. (John Goodwin), 1803-1869.
    • Marshall family.
    • Marshall, Helen, 1851-1939.
    • Marshall, Joseph, 1811-1879.
    • Marshall, Joseph W., 1841- .
    • Marshall, Malvina Fitzalan Pinkham, 1820-1885.
    • Mitchell, Rebecca C. Pinkham, 1818-1870.
    • Mitchell, Robert, 1816-1891.
    • Pinkham family.
    • Pinkham, Mary Brown, 1791-1874.
    • Pinkham, Philinda Fisher, 1834- .
    • Pinkham, Seth, 1786-1844.
    • Pinkham Jr., Seth.
    • Plaskett, Henry R., 1812-1893.
    • Plaskett, Mary B. Pinkham, 1814-1910.
  • Corporate Name
    • Aurora (Ship : 1837-1861).
    • Sea Queen (Bark).
  • Topical Term
    • Furniture -- New England.
    • House furnishings -- New England.
    • Whaling.

Biographical Information

The Marshall family originated with James Marshall of Scotland who settled in Boston, Mass., and married Ruth Hawkins. James Marshall’s great-great grandnephew, Joseph Marshall (1811-1879), was a prominent whaling captain who married Malvina Pinkham (1820-1885) circa 1841, and had a daughter, Helen (1851-1939). Together, Joseph Marshall with his wife and daughter traveled the world aboard the whaleships Aurora and Sea Queen. Helen was born in a small village in the Azores and spent the first eight years of her life sailing with her parents around the Pacific. Her travels eventually brought her to Nantucket, Mass., where she spent the remainder of her childhood. She left the island in 1872 to attend Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. After further study, she became a teacher on Nantucket, and later in Norwich, Conn.

The Pinkham family can trace their roots to Richard Pinkham, originally of English descent, who came to Nantucket and married Mary Coffin circa 1683. Richard’s great-grandson Seth Pinkham (1786–1844) was a whaling captain and husband to Mary (Brown) Pinkham (1791–1874). An illustrious sea-faring family, Seth’s brother, Alexander Pinkham commanded the brig Clio for the Coffin School, while his other brother, Reuben, participated in the battle of Quallah Battoo, Indonesia.

Elisabeth Barnard (1800-1876) was born to William Barnard (1756-1804) and Elisabeth Inott (? -1801). She married Caleb Powell of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with whom she had one daughter, Phebe Powell (1820-1878). She later married Matthew Crosby (1791-1878), son of Sylvanus Crosby (1747-1817) and Huldah Pease (1750-1833), in 1825. The couple had nine children.

William H. Crosby (1815-1896) was born to Matthew Crosby (1791-1878) and Lydia Coffin (1793-1823). He married Elizabeth C. Pinkham (1816-1897), daughter of Seth Pinkham (1786-1844) and Mary Brown (1791-1874). The couple did not have any children.

Harriett B. Pinkham (1828-1874) was born to Seth Pinkham (1786-1844) and Mary Brown (1791-1874). She married John Goodwin Locke (? -1869) in 1859, with whom she had four children, including Helen Locke (1866- ?).

Helen Locke married Robert Edward Farrier of New Rochelle, N.Y. The couple had six children including Ednah Crosby Farrier (1893-?), Robert Locke Farrier (1894- ?), and Gordon LeBaron Locke Farrier (1899- ?).

Helen Pinkham (1843- ) was born to Seth Pinkham and Mary Brown. She married Joseph H. Belcher (? -1903) in 1858. The couple did not have any children.

Malvina F. Pinkham (1820-1885) was born to Seth Pinkham and Mary Brown. She married Joseph Marshall (1811-1879), son of Obed Marshall (1787-1848) and Eunice Macy (1791-1874), after November 1841. The couple had one daughter, Helen Marshall (1851- ?).

Prior to marrying Malvina F. Pinkham, Joseph Marshall was married to Phebe P. Whippey (1815-1841), daughter of Joseph Whippey (1781-1851) and Mary Paddack (1782-1862). The couple had one son, Joseph W. Marshall (1841- ?).

Joseph W. Marshall married Anna B. Coffin (1848- ?), daughter of Henry S. Coffin (1815- ?) and Phebe F. Barnard (1818- ?), in 1865 in California.

Mary Brown (1791-1874) was born to William Brown (1764-1840) and Elisabeth Coffin (1763-1843). She married Seth Pinkham, son of Jethro Pinkham (1745-1820) and Susan (Susanna) Coffin (1748-1827). The couple had seven children.

Mary B. Pinkham (1814-1910) was born to Seth Pinkham and Mary Brown. She married Henry R. Plaskett (1812-1893), son of Joseph Plaskett (1775-1827) and Persis Colesworthy (1773-1842). The couple had one daughter.

Rebecca C. Pinkham (1818-1870) was born to Seth Pinkham and Mary Brown. She married Robert Mitchell (1816-1891), son of Samuel Mitchell (1785-1866) and Hepsabeth Joy (1790-1845). The couple lived in Holyoke, Mass., and had two children.

Seth Pinkham Junior was born to Seth Pinkham and Mary Brown. He married Philinda Fisher (1834- ?), daughter of Leonard Fisher (1791-1875) and Lydia Chase (1797-1860). The couple went to California.

Scope and Content

The Marshall-Pinkham Family Papers / Brown Collection consists of three series, with the first series composed of family correspondence. Subjects include detailed accounts of the issues of the day, daily events, and Nantucket gossip. Some letters also contain detailed descriptions of home furnishings, including the furniture, carpets, fabrics used, and room arrangements. The addition of 2019 added Florence Farrier Hall’s handwritten transcription of the Malvina Marshal letter “Crossing the Isthmus 1852” to this series.

The second series consists of personal papers of the Marshall-Pinkham family that include poems, plays, notes, miscellaneous writings, and genealogical information. The addition of 2019 added a receipt for a lot in Prospect Hill Cemetery to this series.

The third series consists mainly of materials that belonged to Helen Marshall (1851-). Some of the materials in this series belonged to her while she was on board the ship Aurora as a child. The addition of 2019 added autobiographical material of Helen Marshal to this series, as well as a graduate proposal by Thomas W. Hall on the life of Helen Marshall.


Series 1: Correspondence, 1823-1970.

About 160 items.
Letters arranged by family member and then chronologically.

    • Box 1 Folder 1-2 Elizabeth (Pinkham) Crosby, 1858-1861, 1896
    • Box 1 Folder 3 William H. Crosby, 1851, undated
    • Box 1 Folder 4 Harriet B. (Pinkham) Locke, 1839, 1850
    • Box 1 Folder 5 Helen (Locke) Farrier, 1892, 1926
    • Box 1 Folder 6 Helen (Pinkham) Belcher, 1858-1897, undated
    • Box 1 Folder 7 Joseph H. Belcher, undated
    • Box 1 Folder 8 Malvina (Pinkham) Marshall, 1857-1871, undated
    • Box 1 Folder 9 Joseph Marshall, 1851-1860
    • Box 1 Folder 10 Joseph W. Marshall, 1860, 1866
    • Box 1 Folder 11-16 Mary (Brown) Pinkham, 1850-1860
    • Box 1 Folder 17 Seth Pinkham, 27 April 1823
    • Box 1 Folder 18 Mary (Pinkham) Plaskett, undated
    • Box 1 Folder 19 Rebecca C. (Pinkham) Mitchell, 1850-1859
    • Box 1 Folder 20 Seth Pinkham, Jr., 1852-1860
    • Box 1 Folder 21 Philinda (Fisher) Pinkham, undated
    • Box 1 Folder 22 Helen Marshall, undated
    • Box 1 Folder 23 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1853-1894, undated
    • Box 4 Folder 46 Robert Edward Farrier, 1909-1938
    • Box 4 Folder 47 Ednah Crosby Farrier, 21 April 1915
    • Box 4 Folder 48 Gordon LeBaron Locke Farrier, 15 May 1928
    • Box 4 Folder 49 Marshall Farrier, 1955-1956
    • Box 4 Folder 50 Robert Locke Farrier, 21 October 1970

Series 2: Personal Papers, 1861-1990.

About 100 items.
Arranged chronologically and by topic.

    • Box 2 Folder 24 Calling cards, undated
    • Box 2 Folder 25 Clippings, 1898, 1947, undated
    • Box 2 Folder 26 Deeds and wills, 1865-1969
    • Box 2 Folder 27 Envelopes, 1861, 1867
    • Box 2 Folder 28 Genealogical notes, 1850-1886
    • Box 2 Folder 29 Journals of Elizabeth (Pinkham) Crosby, 1853
    • Box 2 Folder 30 Notes, undated
    • Box 2 Folder 31-33 Poetry and plays, 1868-1875, undated
    • Box 2 Folder 34 Photographs circa, 1916, undated
    • Box 2 Folder 35 Receipts, 1880, 1888-1889
    • Box 2 Folder 36 Loose papers, undated
    • Box 4 Folder 51 Farrier family stencil, undated
    • Box 4 Folder 52 Plans, 1926-1956
      Includes plans of the Farrier family’s Squam Road property.
    • OPF-283/1 Plans, 1931-1962
      Includes plans of the Farrier family’s Squam Road property.
    • Box 4 Folder 53 Squam Head article, 1990

Series 3: Helen Marshall materials, 1856-1915.

About 10 items.
Arranged chronologically.

    • Box 2 Folder 37 Mother Goose in Hieroglyphics, 1856
      Signed [Helen] Nelly Marshall.
    • Box 3 Folder 38 Tales of Many Lands, 1860
      Signed Helen Marshall, Valparaiso.
    • Box 3 Folder 39 A Captain of the Vanished Fleet by Benjamin Sharp, 1915
      Signed Helen Marshall.
    • Box 3 Folder 40 [Untitled], undated
      Helen Marshall’s first book aboard the ship Aurora
    • Box 3 Folder 41 Journal, 1883
      Entries begin on Nantucket and detail family life, the weather, and school work.
    • Box 3 Folder 42 Notebook, 28 February 1872-12 June 1874
      Contains clippings of poetry.
    • Box 3 Folder 43 Loose papers, undated
      Contains miscellaneous loose papers written by Helen Marshall.
    • Box 3 Folder 44 Helen Marshal autobiographical manuscripts, circa 1915
      Contains Memories, 24 pages handwritten; and My Childhood on a Whaler, 35 pages typescript.
    • Box 3 Folder 45 Thomas W. Hall Graduate Project Proposal on Helen Marshall, 1925
      Submitted to New York University in 1925.

Items Separated

  • OPF-283/1 Plans

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Helm, August 2014. Addition of 2018 processed by Sarah Lerner, November 2018. Additions of 2019 processed by Alex McGrath in February 2020. Additions of 2020 processed by Ashley Miller, January 2022.

Finding aid written by Sarah Helm, August 2014, with additional description by Sarah Lerner and Amelia Holmes in November 2018. Additional description by Ashley Miller, January 2022.


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.

We use cookies to deliver our online services. Details and instructions on how to disable those cookies are set out in our Privacy Policy. By clicking I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies unless you have disabled them.

> >