Guide to the Pinkham Family Papers, 1735–1990, bulk 1820–1860

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.


The Pinkham family included Richard Pinkham (d. 1718), who came to Nantucket from the Isle of Wight around 1680; Richard’s grandson, Paul Pinkham (1736–1799), and Paul’s son, Paul Jr. (1763–1807). Richard’s great-grandson Captain Andrew Pinkham (1767–1840) married Deborah Bunker Pinkham (1771–1840) and had four sons, Alexander Bunker Pinkham (1792–1843), Reuben R. Pinkham (1800–1839), Dr. Thomas Pinkham (1802–1884), and William Pinkham (1810–1892). This collection contains the correspondence, wills, deeds, financial papers, personal writings, and other materials belonging to the Pinkham Family.

Collection Details

Collection Number:
Pinkham Family Papers
1735–1990, bulk 1820–1860
Pinkham family.
1 linear foot, approximately 150 items.
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 Pinkham Family Papers, Nantucket Historical Association.

Acquisitions Information:

Folders 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 20, 21, 22, 26, and 27 gift of Stackpole family in June 2008 (Acc. RL2008.60). Letter from Hannah Gardner to Paul Pinkham, 1801 gift of Mrs. Peter M. Hussey in 1955 (Acc. 1955.22). Alexander Bunker Pinkham letters, 1828, 1830 gift of Admiral George Hussey, Jr. Paul Pinkham letters gift of Mrs. Peter M. Hussey in 1955 (Acc. 55-22). Richard Pinkham letter to son NHA purchase (Acc. 1056(6)). Share of Nantucket Atheneum for Seth Pinkham gift of unknown donor (Acc. 289).

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

  • MS283 Marshall-Pinkham-Farrier Family Papers, Nantucket Historical Association.

Subject Headings

  • Personal Names
    • Pinkham, Alexander B. (1792–1843).
    • Pinkham, Andrew (1767–1840).
    • Pinkham, Reuben R. (1800–1839).
    • Pinkham, Richard (–1718).
    • Pinkham, Thomas (1802–1884).
    • Pinkham, William (1810–1892).
    • Pinkham family.
  • Topical Terms
    • Correspondence.
    • Diaries.
    • Land deeds--Massachusetts--Nantucket.
    • Whaling.
    • Wills--Massachusetts--Nantucket.

Biographical Information

Richard Pinkham (d. 1718) came to Nantucket from the Isle of Wight, England, aboard the sloop Rochester around 1680. He married Mary Coffin (1665–1741) around 1683, and together they had nine children: Jonathan (1684–1735), Shubael (1691–1767), Nathaniel (1692–1750), Deborah (1694–1767), Daniel (1697–1770), Barnabus (1699–1772), Peleg (1702–1774), Theophilas (1705–1782), and James (1707–1792).

Theophilas Pinkham married Deborah Paddack (1708–1760) in 1728, and together they had seven children, including Paul Pinkham (1736–1799) and Jethro Pinkham (1745–1820). Deborah Paddack Pinkham died in 1760, and Theophilas married Lydia Coleman Starbuck (1717/8–1813) in 1761. They had no children.

Paul Pinkham (1736–1799) was a whaler, the first keeper of the Nantucket lighthouse at Great Point, and a pilot, known for his charts and maps of Nantucket and its surrounding waters. Paul married Jemima Gardner (1738–1820) in 1761, and together they had four children: Deborah (1761–1839), Paul Jr. (b. 1763), Matilda (b. 1770), and Margaret (1773–1801).

Jethro Pinkham (1745–1820) married Susan “Susanna” Coffin (1748–1827) in 1765. Together, they had nine children, including Reuben (d. 1798), Andrew (1767–1840), and Seth (1786–1844). Reuben Pinkham died in his early thirties in Batavia, Dutch East Indies (Jakarta, Indonesia).

Captain Andrew Pinkham (1767–1840) married Deborah Bunker (1771–1840), and together they had four children: Alexander Bunker (1792–1843), Reuben R. (1800–1839), Thomas (1802–1884), and William (b. 1810). Andrew Pinkham was captain of the Alliance of Nantucket and the President of New Bedford, Mass. In 1811, Andrew and Deborah moved to Ohio along with several other Nantucket families.

Alexander Bunker Pinkham (1792–1843) had an active naval career, eventually reaching the rank of commander, and also served on merchant vessels. In 1828, Pinkham conducted a walking tour of the British Isles. In 1829–1830, he was the master of America’s first privately owned sailing training vessel, for the Coffin School of Nantucket, established by Sir Isaac Coffin. Pinkham married Lydia H. Davis of Portsmouth in 1835, and together they had three children, Charles, Lydia, and Alice. In 1837, he became superintendent of the naval shipyard at Gosport, England. Alexander Bunker Pinkham died in Portsmouth, Va., in 1843 at the age of 51.

Reuben R. Pinkham (1800–1839) also had an active naval career and served on merchant vessels. He married Lydia Grover (1806–1876) of Nantucket in 1825 and had three children, Harriet (1826–1902), Charles (1828–1850), and Judith (1830–1850). Reuben died in 1839 while serving as fourth Lieutenant on the USS Constitution off the coast of Patagonia.

Dr. Thomas Pinkham (1802–1884), third son of Andrew and Deborah Pinkham, graduated from Cincinnati Medical College in 1828 and was a prominent physician in Cincinnati, Ohio. He married Cynthia West around 1836, and they had two children, Thomas Adolphus Pinkham (1855–1943) and Elizabeth “Eva” (1860–1953). Cynthia West Pinkham’s brother was Vincent T. West (1812–1889). He studied medicine with Thomas and settled in Pike County, Ind. Son Thomas Adolphus Pinkham (1855–1943) married Celia Dillingham Hayford in 1883, and they had one child, Eva Marie Pinkham, who married George Schubert.

Andrew and Deborah Pinkham’s fourth son, William Pinkham (1810–1892) became a farmer and tradesman in Loveland, Ohio. He married Eunice Maria Levitt (1812–1901) and had two children, Oliver Pinkham (1851–1866) and Mary Ann Pinkham (1842–1938), who married James Reeves.

Deborah Pinkham (1816–1874), was the illegitimate daughter of Reuben R. Pinkham and Elizabeth Amy Arey, who offered the child for adoption to Andrew and Deborah Pinkham in 1821. Pinkham married Washington West (1815–1874) around the year 1835 and settled in Indiana.

Scope and Content

This collection contains the correspondence, wills, deeds, financial papers, personal writings, and other materials belonging to the Pinkham Family. Correspondence is primarily between members of the Pinkham family, including a large number of letters of the sons Reuben R. Pinkham, from Nantucket and at sea, and Alexander Pinkham, chiefly at sea, to their parents Andrew and Deborah Pinkham, in Bethel, Cincinnati, Ohio, and correspondence from the father to these sons. Also included are a journal of Alexander Pinkham, 1828–1832, that records his pedestrian tour of the British Isles and contributions to the restoration of the birthplace of John Paul Jones; a 1949 copy of the journal of Thomas Adolphus Pinkham (grandson of Andrew Pinkham) detailing his life on the Ohio farm at 16 years old for the year of 1871; and a book of verse by Reuben R. Pinkham with notations of dates between 1827 and 1833.


Folder 1 Coffin, Isaac, 30 August 1830

Folder 2 Coffin, Mary “Mollie” S., 1872

Folder 3 Locke, Harriet B. Pinkham [copy], undated

Folder 4 Lunt, Eliza Marshall Bigelow, 1858–1859

Folder 5 Marshall, Barker B., 1859

Folder 6 Marshall, George, 1860, undated

Folder 7 Pinkham, Abigail Folger, 1784

Folder 8 Pinkham, Adolphus [copy], 1949

Folders 9–11 Pinkham, Alexander Bunker,1813–1832

Folder 12 Pinkham, Andrew, 1811–1837

Folder 13 Pinkham, Daniel, 1735

Folder 14 Pinkham, John Coffin [photocopy], circa 1990

Folder 15 Pinkham, Mercy Cobb, undated

Folder 16 Pinkham, Paul,  1763–1801

Folder 17 Pinkham, Paul Jr., 1791–1797

Folder 18 Pinkham, Peleg, 1791

Folder 19 Pinkham, Reuben Gardner, 1817–1851

Folders 20–22 Pinkham, Reuben R., 1819–1838, undated

Folder 23 Pinkham, Richard, 18 May 1791

Folder 24 Pinkham, Shubael, 1790

Folder 25 Pinkham, Silas Gardner, undated

Folder 26 Pinkham, Thomas, 1822–1850

Folder 27 Pinkham, William J., 1826–1883

Folder 28 Pollard, Charlotte Marshall, 29 February 1872

Folder 29 Turner, Abner, undated

Processing Information

Processed by Ashley Miller, October 2022. Finding aid by Ashley Miller, October 2022.

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

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