Sylvanus Packard Family Papers, 1824 -- 1904


Title: Sylvanus Packard Family Papers
Dates: 1824 -- 1904
Creator: Packard, Sylvanus
Call Number: MS021
Size: 1.0 Cubic Feet
Language(s): English  
Permanent URL:
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


This collection contains material of or relating to members of Sylvanus Packard's family. The bulk of the collection consists of receipts belonging to Sylvanus's wife, Sarah Packard. Many of the receipts deal with matters of Sylvanus Packard's estate. Also included are wills, deeds, and leases belonging to Sylvanus Packard, and correspondence from Sylvanus Packard, his brother John Packard, and Henry Metcalf. There is also some biographical information supplied by Wendall Packard.


This collection is organized in one series.


Biographical / Historical

Sylvanus Packard, son of Lemuel Packard and Sarah Hunt, was born in North Bridgewater, Massachusetts on April 6, 1789. From 1804-1810, he was apprenticed to his brother, a merchant, in Boston. In 1810 he established his own business which he led successfully until his business partner caused its collapse in 1840. Packard married Sarah Freeman from New York on July 11, 1818 in Schenectady, New York, and with the help of his wife, revived his business after its collapse. In the 1840s and 1850s he worked as a cotton broker in Boston. Packard donated to various charities related to the Universalist church (he was long connected with the School Street Church) and accumulated a vast fortune of several hundred thousand dollars before he died in 1860.

Packard helped establish Tufts College and served as its trustee from 1852-1866. He gave money to start the college and continued to support it during his lifetime. Packard died on April 23, 1866 after a long illness, and with no heir, left the college land and money to create a school of theology, paid for the education annually of ten students, and offered $200 annually for scholarly prizes. The Packard Professorship in Theology was created in 1869.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproduction and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Any intellectual property rights that the donor possesses have been transferred to Tufts University.

Collection History

Processing Notes

This collection is processed.

Custodial History

Materials from Sarah Packard's household were transferred to the archives by the Assistant Secretary of the Corporation from the Board of Trustees meeting working papers in 1997. This collection was artificially created by combining the material transferred from the Trustees Office with material from the Development vertical files in 1999.

Subjects and Genre Terms

Series Description

  1. Sylvanus Packard family, papers, 1824 -- 1904

    This series contains material of or relating to members of Sylvanus Packard's family. The bulk of the series consists of receipts belonging to Sarah Packard (wife of Sylvanus.) Also included are wills, deeds, and leases belonging to Sylvanus Packard as well as correspondence belonging to Henry Metcalf, John Packard (brother to Sylvanus,) and Sylvanus Packard. Also contains biographical information supplied by Wendall Packard.