Thomas W. Smith Papers
Scope and Contents
The Thomas W. Smith papers are arranged in two series: Business Records and Augusta Bank Records. There are no sub-series. Although the collection was largely unarranged when it arrived at the Fogler Library, Mr. Smith often labeled his papers on their versos by their type or function: letters, orders, bills, etc. These groupings were followed in arranging the papers. The Business Records series begins with letters to Mr. Smith, 1817-1852, concerning his lumber trade, shipping, delivery of goods for his grocery and dry-goods businesses, and his holding of notes and mortgages. This section is followed by a group of letter books, 1828-1851, containing copies of Smith's outgoing correspondence. A large section of orders, 1811-1844, follows. These were presented to Smith at his stores, entitling the bearers to use various sums of money to buy goods of all descriptions: sewing silk, brandy, molasses, sugar, coffee, tea, fish, nails, etc. The items labeled memos contain lists of lumber needed by various people. The group of papers labeled bills, 1811-1839, contains bills from suppliers for Smith's grocery, dry-goods, and lumbering businesses. Bills for things such as shingles, rum, coffee, candles, goose feathers, muslin, gingham, pork, and shoes are included, as well as bills for surveying timber, repairing hinges, painting blinds, etc. Items labeled accounts list expenditures and credits for goods and services; receipts contain records of things bought by Smith. The series also includes a group of items such as bills of lading, receipts for items shipped, wharfage books, and storage information which concern Smith's shipping business. Blotters, journals, and ledgers provide financial information about Smith's many activities. A small section of legal and personal papers ends this series. The Augusta Bank Records series begins with a large section labeled Accounts, proxies, etc., 1814-1852. These folders contain papers concerning the daily operation of the bank; many are addressed to George Crosby or George W. Allen, both cashiers at the bank. Included are proxies appointing various individuals to receive dividends from the bank's stock, some deposit and account information, receipts from the state of Maine for tax received on capital stock, and bills and receipts for bank expenses. Also included is correspondence from banks such as the Northern, Central and Suffolk Banks and correspondence to the bank cashiers. Bank charges and accounts also contain bills to the bank for expenses and salaries. The final items in this series provide information about the bank's activities and holdings. They include bank returns, 1816-1822, submitted to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and after 1820 to the state of Maine listing capital, value of real estate, bills in circulation, bank profits, etc. Also included are weekly bank statements, 1814-1827, giving liabilities, reserved funds, debts due, bills in circulation and delinquent notes. The series ends with forms listing notes proposed for discount each week at the bank. The user should note that a part of the Smith collection containing primarily political correspondence of Smith's son-in-law, James W. Bradbury, was given to the Special Collections Department at Bowdoin College at the same time the Smith papers came to the Fogler Library.
- Creation: 1809-1853
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1811-1840
- Smith, Thomas W., 1785-1855 (Person)
Restrictions on Access
Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.
Information on literary rights available in the Library.
Thomas Westwood Smith was born in Dover, New Hampshire on February 22, 1785. In 1805 he came to Augusta, Maine, and started a business. Although small at first, the business gradually enlarged and Smith became a principal partner in various firms selling dry-goods, groceries, and hardware. He was also involved in purchasing lumber and sold lumber, shingles, clapboards and other products. He purchased and enlarged the Gage Wharf in Augusta and engaged in shipping goods between Augusta and Boston as well as storing items for his customers. He was also a director in the Kennebec and Portland Railroad during its construction. Smith was chosen a director of the Augusta Bank when it was organized in 1814 and held this position for 40 years. In 1840 he became president of the bank and continued as such until his death in 1855. The bank had a capital of $100,000 at its formation and its incorporators were James Bridge, William Robinson, Reuel Williams, John Eveleth, Bartholomew Nason, Samuel Howard and James Child. Although the time was somewhat inauspicious for the formation of a bank, subscription in excess of capital required was achieved within 30 days of the date of the charter. At the first meeting of the incorporators, James Bridge, Daniel Cony, John Davis, Benjamin Brown, Jr., John Eveleth, Samuel Wood and Thomas W. Smith were chosen as directors; James Bridge became president and George Crosby cashier. In 1834, after the death of James Bridge, Daniel Williams became president, followed by Thomas Smith in 1840. The bank was required to loan one tenth of its capital to those engaged in agriculture and manufacturing in an attempt to encourage growth in these areas. Discounts to local firms were made at a vote of the directors on a regular weekly discount day, helping to foster business and provide local merchants with a reliable line of credit. Thomas Smith married Abigail Page in 1810, and they had three children: Henry Roby, born in 1811; Eliza Ann, born in 1815; and Elizabeth Westbrook, born in 1831. Thomas Smith died on March 11, 1855.
16 cubic feet (13 boxes)
Language of Materials
Records of Thomas W. Smith, principal partner in various firms selling dry-goods, groceries, and hardware between Augusta, Maine and Boston. Arranged in two series: Business Records and Augusta Bank Records.
Organization of the Records
These Records are Organized into 2 Series: Bank Records and Augusta Business Records
- Guide to the Thomas W. Smith Papers
- Box And Folder List Available
- November 2003
- 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.