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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in two series. Correspondence is arranged in alphabetical order by the sender's last name. Documents are arranged in chronological order. Selected material cataloged; remainder listed and arranged.
Scope and Contents
The collection is primarily composed of the personal and professional correspondence and business documents of the Bowdoinham, Maine merchant ship's captain John Otis Given (1819-1889). The collection also contains some correspondence belonging to his wife, Annie Rachel Given. Annie Rachel Given's letters to her sister describe events of a voyage with her husband. Many of the letters reveal interesting sidelights on the seafaring life of the day.
Also included is a typewritten copy of an account of an incident at sea, thought probably to have been written by Annie Rachel Given. Included among the business documents are insurance policies, crew agreements, and accounts for ships including the S. V. Given, Juan Fernandez, Vigilante, Marcia Greenleaf, E. S. Thayer, Warren Adams, and R. D. Spear. There is also a ship's log for an 1859 voyage on Given's ship, the Juan Fernandez. Finally, there are several photographs of the Givens' home in Maine.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
The following boxes are located off-site: 2-4. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); John Otis Given papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
Gift of Professor Margaret Bancroft, 1952, 1960-1964, 1970.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 06/--/89.
Materials were intellectually arranged into two series at the same time the finding aid was converted to EAD. The biographical notes was also expanded. Nothing in the collection was physically rearranged.
2020-05-29 PDF finding aid converted to EAD by CLB.
History / Biographical Note
John Otis Given (1819-1889) was a merchant ship captain who lived in Bowdoinham, Maine.
Given was born on April 16, 1819 in Bowdoinham, Maine, to William and Mary Whitmore Given. His brother and sometime business partner, Saint Vincent Given (1805-1861), was also a ship captain. Between 1855 and 1857, John O. Given sailed the ship Juan Fernandez (built at Bowdoinham in 1854) from Orleans, France to Liverpool, England; then to Calcutta, India; London, England; and Callao, Philippines. In 1860, he paid over $11,500 to build the ship John Leslie, which he sailed between Liverpool and Philadelphia in 1862.
John O. Given married Annie Rachel Kelley (1827-1911) in Boston, Massachusetts on December 4, 1854. They had three children: John L. Given (1858-1920), Mary Whitmore "Minnie" Given (circa 1865-), and Margaret E. Given (1870-).
He died on January 22, 1889 in Maine.