Albert L. Freeman Letters

Manuscripts Collection 118

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Freeman, Albert L.
Title: Albert L. Freeman Letters
Dates: 1853-1862
Extent: 125 pieces
Abstract: This is a collection of letters from Freeman to Charles Cullis (1833-1892), mostly written while Freeman was an agent in Shanghai for H. Fogg & Company, ship chandlers and agents, headquartered in New York, N.Y., including descriptions of his first voyage to China on the bark STORM, subsequent trips to China (acting as a free agent), travels by sea, the cities of New York, San Francisco, and London, missionary work and activities with seamen’s missions, and medicine. Included are opinions on the Civil War, the arts, and religion.
Identification: Coll.118

Biography of Albert L. Freeman

Albert L. Freeman was born and educated in the Boston area. His birth and death dates have not been established, however, we can surmise that he was a very close friend of Charles Cullis’ and worked for Fogg Brothers, a New York merchant house, between 1847 and 1861. In January 1855 he sailed to China aboard the bark STORM. Arriving in Shanghai in April, he helped establish H. Fogg & Co., ship chandlers, agents, etc. In 1861 he sold out the interest he had acquired in the business because Fogg Brothers failed to invest in a Cullis business venture.

Freeman left Shanghai in August 1861 and arrived home around February 1862, after stops in Marseilles and London. He left again in April for China; he writes from San Francisco in June, and by October he is back in Shanghai, this time seeking investors for his own ships and cargos. He did not have immediate success, and one of his vessels was overdue. By December he had employed men and machines to build wharves, and was pursuing other investments in China.

Freeman’s letters are informative, and many are quite lengthy. Included are accounts of conditions in China as they appeared to a New England merchant during the 1850’s. At this time Shanghai, one of the first Treaty Ports, had just recently been opened, and foreigners were just beginning to be allowed to travel to the interior. The opium trade was being legalized, there were constant rebellions, and war lords were active.

Freeman’s first passage to China, aboard to STORM, is detailed in several letters to Cullis, as are his subsequent travels at sea. Descriptions of New York City, London, Shanghai, San Francisco, and other places are present, accompanied by accounts of Bethel activities, missionary work, medicine, and the latest news from “home.” Freeman comments on the progress of our Civil War, and offers his opinions on the arts and religion.

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Biography of Charles Cullis

Charles Cullis (1833-1892) was evidently infirm as a youth and remained more or less an invalid all his life. After serving as a clerk in a mercantile house he turned to the study of medicine, later becoming a well-known homeopathic physician.

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Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division

Restrictions on Use

Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.


Cullis, Charles–Correspondence

Corporate Bodies (Including Vessels):

H. Fogg & Company
Storm (Bark)


China–Commerce–New York (State)–New York
London (England)–Description and travel
New York (N.Y.)–Commerce–China
New York (N.Y.)–Description and travel
San Francisco (Calif.)–Description and travel
Shanghai (China)–Description and travel
United States–History–Civil War, 1861-1865


Voyages and travels
International trade
Merchant mariners–Religious life
Ship chandlers–China–Shanghai


Commercial agents–China–Shanghai

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 118, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Index to Vessel Names

NOTE: The fraction(s) indicate the Box and Folder numbers where that particular reference can be found. For example, the researcher will find information about the steamer FIERY CROSS in Box 1, Folder 9 of the collection.
FIERY CROSS (Steamer) 1/9
GOLDEN AGE (Steamer) 1/10
NABOB (Ship) 1/8
OLYMPIA (Whaler) 1/3
STORM (Bark) 1/3
SWORDFISH (Ship) 1/8
UNION (Whaler) 1/3
VESTES (Steamer) 1/9

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.


Letters 1853-1862
Box Folder
1 1 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis; 1853
2 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis; 1854
3 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis; 1855
4 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis; 1856
5 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis; 1857
6 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis; 1858
7 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis; 1859
8 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis; 1860
9 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis; 1861
10 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis; 1862
11 Letters from Albert L. Freeman to Charles Cullis and 4 poems; undated

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