William Clapp papers

Creator: Clapp, William
Abstract: The William Clapp papers are the diaries, farm registers, and account books of William Clapp and other members of the Clapp family, who had a thriving fruit orchard in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in the mid-nineteenth century. The entire collection appears to have been the personal property of William Clapp, although a few account books record information about the finances of other family members. William Clapp lived either with or near his parents and brothers, who are mentioned almost every day in the diaries and farm registers; other relatives are also regularly mentioned in the diaries and ledgers. The focus of all three types of record books--diaries, farm registers, and ledgers--is the nursery business. The account books provide detailed information about the number of laborers necessary for various jobs in the orchard and around the property, laborer wages, and the prices for which the Clapps sold their produce. While William's focus was the work of the family orchard, his daily notations also included the family, social, intellectual, and cultural scope of his life. The significance of this collection lays in the complete record of one mid-nineteenth century New England family's management of an orchard business. Another significant aspect of this collection lays in the interests and activities of William Clapp himself. Though William did not use his diaries to express feelings, emotions, and opinions, and though he noted his activities and current events with only brief factual statements, the record he left of his interests and activities depicts a man who combined practical business activity with intellectual and cultural interests. In many ways, William was an example of the American yeoman farmer as idealized by Thomas Jefferson: independent, enterprising, well-informed, and civic-minded
Date(s): 1843-1884
Call Number: MSS 0389