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Peirce Family Papers

Identifier: SpC MS 0396

Scope and Contents

The collection is arranged in four series: papers of Waldo Treat Peirce, papers of William B. Hayford, papers of Mellen C. Peirce, and papers of other Peirce family members. Each series is further divided into several sub-series. The collection had been re-foldered at an earlier time by Library staff and those folder headings have mostly been retained in this guide. Each series contains both personal and family papers and business records.

The papers of Waldo Treat Peirce include four sub-series: correspondence, legal and business records, financial records, and lumbering records. Many records are from the firm of W.T. and H. Peirce, a partnership between Waldo Peirce and his brother Hayward Peirce. The correspondence, 1847-1868, contains personal letters from family members, business letters from correspondents in South American and Caribbean cities, and letters concerning Peirce's land holdings and lumber business. The legal and business records consist of copies of deeds, agreements, mortgages and notes, as well as writs of attachment and tax records. The financial records contain account books, bills and receipts. Lumbering records contain mostly permits for land use and bills of lading and other records of lumber shipped.

The papers of William B. Hayford also contain four sub-series: legal and business records, papers of Laura Hayford, records of Hayford and Stetson, and records of ancillary companies. The legal and business records include information about Hayford's assets, 1869-1883, copies of deeds and promissory notes, and bills and receipts. The papers of Laura Hayford contain bills and receipts, 1885-1895, mainly for groceries and other household expenses. The records of Hayford and Stetson contain the articles of co-partnership between Hayford and Franklin Stetson, 1874, and letter books of outgoing correspondence, 1870-1928, which also reflect the work of Mellen Peirce after William Hayford's death. Maps of Hayford and Stetson lands in Aroostook County, Maine, and information on woods and stumpage scales, boomage bills, and financial information about the company complete this sub-series. The records of ancillary companies contain records of incorporation and meetings of the directors of the Seboois Log Driving Company, 1880-1881; and articles of agreement, correspondence, and stock certificates of the Green Mountain Railway Company, 1882-1889. William Hayford was president of the Seboois Log Driving Company and a director of both companies.

The papers of Mellen C. Peirce include eight sub-series: correspondence; legal records; records of the estate of William B. Hayford; bills, receipts and financial information; lumbering; Dirigo Ice Company records; miscellaneous personal material; and papers of Anna Peirce. The records strongly reflect his involvement in managing the property and business of his father-in-law after William Hayford's death in 1887. The correspondence contains personal letters from Mellen Peirce's mother and father and other family members but is primarily business correspondence related to the management of his financial affairs and of the Hayford estate and land holdings. The legal records contain deeds and tax documents; the records of the estate of William Hayford include financial information about the property and other holdings in the estate, as well as tax information, bills and receipts.

The sub-series with bills, receipts, and financial information is a mix of business and personal materials, 1887-1923, with a cashbook, 1925-1926, and a ledger of rents collected, 1928-1929. Lumbering records include a land book describing Peirce land holdings, and field notes and plans from various surveys of Hayford and Peirce timberlands. The records of the Dirigo Ice Company, of which Mellen and Anna Peirce were incorporators, include articles of agreement and minutes of directors' meetings, 1880-1911, as well as stock certificates, proxies, deeds, etc. Miscellaneous personal material of Mellen Peirce includes notes, maps, and information about social activities. The papers of Anna Peirce consist mostly of financial information and income tax documents, as well as six Peirce family photograph albums, 1889-1906; many of the photographs were taken by Anna Peirce.

The final series, papers of other Peirce family members, is made up primarily of personal correspondence, including that to Hannah Jane Hills Peirce, 1829-1860, much of it from her husband Waldo Treat Peirce as he traveled on business or during his time in Augusta while in the Maine legislature. Another large group of letters, 1843-1853, is to Waldo Treat Hills Peirce, son of Waldo Treat and Hannah Jane Peirce. Other family letters are addressed to Ada and June Peirce, Waldo Treat Peirce's sisters, as well as members of the Hills family. Most of the folders in this series contain original letters as well as typewritten copies provided by an unknown transcriber.

The last sub-series, records of Silas Peirce and Company, appears to have been given by Herbert Kelley of Boston in 1953 and 1954 to Waldo Peirce, Mellen Peirce's son. Mr. Kelley, originally from Maine, worked for Silas Peirce and Co. for many years. Silas Peirce, born in Scituate, Massachusetts, in 1793, was an uncle of Waldo Treat Peirce, and founder of a wholesale grocery company in Boston which operated for over a century. The records in this collection are mostly pages from daybooks, 1820s-1860s, which document the sales made by the business. The user interested in records of Silas Peirce and Company should note that company records are contained in the collections of the Baker Library, Harvard Business School, Boston, and the Holy Cross College Library, Worcester, Massachusetts.

The researcher interested in the Peirce family may also want to consult the papers of Ada Peirce McCormick, daughter of Mellen and Anna Peirce, which are also held by the Special Collections Department of Fogler Library.


  • 1812-1940
  • Majority of material found within 1850-1930


Restrictions on Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Use Restrictions

Information on literary rights available in the Library.

Biographical Note

The collection contains the business records and personal papers of several generations of the Peirce family of Bangor, Maine. It centers on materials of Waldo Treat Peirce and his son, Mellen Chamberlain Peirce. Also included are papers of Mellen Peirce's father-in-law, William B. Hayford.

Waldo Treat Peirce was born in 1804 in Frankfort, Maine, the son of Waldo and Catherine Treat Peirce. In 1828, he married Hannah Jane Hills. Waldo T. Peirce and his brother, Hayward, both of Bangor, were merchants and partners in the firm of W.T. and H. Peirce. Waldo Peirce also did business as a shipping and commission merchant in Bangor and owned timberlands in northern Maine. He also served in the Maine legislature in the 1850s. Waldo Treat Peirce had several children, including Mellen Chamberlain Peirce, Luther H. Peirce, Waldo Treat Hills Peirce, June, Florence and Ada Peirce. Waldo Treat Peirce died in 1858.

Mellen Chamberlain Peirce was born in 1846 in Bangor and lived there almost all of his life. Early in his life he was in the wholesale hardware and grocery business. In 1882 he married Anna Hayford, the daughter of William B. and Laura Hayford. After Hayford's death in 1887, Mellen Peirce managed the timberlands and business property of the Hayford estate. He was also a director and officer of the Dirigo Ice Company of Bangor. Mellen and Anna Peirce had three children: Ada Peirce McCormick, Hayford, and Waldo Peirce. Mellen Peirce died in 1936.

William B. Hayford was born in Belfast, Maine, in 1827, the son of Arvida Hayford. The family moved to Bangor when William Hayford was fourteen. He went to Wisconsin as a young man, entered into business and married his wife, Laura, there. Returning to Bangor, he went into business with his son George under the name of W.B. Hayford and Son, until George's death. William Hayford owned large parcels of timberland and operated a lumber business on the Penobscot River. He built a steam mill in partnership with A.B. Sutton, and in partnership with Franklin Stetson of Bangor, he formed the company of Hayford and Stetson in 1874. With its office at Carleton, St. John, New Brunswick, the company manufactured spruce and pine lumber, cedar shingles, etc. Hayford also was president of the Kenduskeag National Bank, acting president and manager of the European and North American Railway, one of the incorporators of the Medway Railway Company, and president of the Green Mountain Railway and the Bangor and Piscataquis Railroad. He was elected mayor of Bangor in 1876. William Hayford died in 1887.


18 cubic feet (13 boxes)

5 linear feet (ledgers)

Language of Materials



Papers of several generations of the Peirce family of Bangor, Maine centered on materials of Waldo Treat Peirce and his son, Mellen Chamberlain Peirce. Also included are papers of Mellen Peirce's father-in-law, William B. Hayford.

Conservation Note

The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Documents have been surface cleaned as needed and metal fasteners removed. Photographs have been housed in polypropylene sleeves and remain with the relevant documents.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Peirce Family Papers came to the Raymond H. Fogler Special Collections Department, University of Maine, Orono.

Guide to the Peirce Family Papers
Box And Folder List Available
February 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States