George H. Newton Collection

Manuscripts Collection 197

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Newton, George H.
Title: George H. Newton Collection
Dates: date
Extent: ca 500 pieces
Abstract: This collection is organized chronologically and stored in one Hollinger document box. Nearly half of these pieces are admission tickets to the Whale Exhibition, while the remaining pieces include correspondence, bills receipts, clippings, and advertisements, all relative to the operation of the whale show. The correspondence includes letters and telegrams between Newton and his son, Warren; from Engelhardt to Newton; and from several employees in the show to Newton. There are bills for rental of railroad cars and other expenses. The clippings and advertisements provide information about the show, embalming activity, and Sarah Burnhardt’s visit to see the whale in Boston. Overall condition of this material is good, although many of the clippings and ads are fragile, and should be handled with care.
Identification: Coll.197

Biography of George H. Newton

George H. Newton was born June 13, 1831 in Monson, Massachusetts. He was a man with many occupations, including lawyer, insurance agent, real estate broker, auctioneer, lecturer, showman and promoter. On November 22, 1880 he purchased a Right Whale carcass at Provincetown for $450.00. The whale was then towed to Boston, where it was hoisted out of the water, put aboard two 32′ railroad flatcars, and transported to Chicago, Illinois for exhibit. Arriving in Chicago on December 20th, the exhibition was put into the hands of Fred J. Engelhardt, who purchased a half interest in the whale from Newton, and became its manager. The partnership was known as the Pioneer Inland Whaling Assocation, with Newton the senior partner acting as pitch man, and presenting a discourse on the whale to all those paying admission (10 to 25 cents each.) After a four week stay in Chicago, the Show hit the road (by rail), visiting Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, and Detroit, before finally renting a camp site, named “Camp Baliene,” near Bay County, Michigan in May, 1881. Here they attempted to embalm the deteriorating carcass, and otherwise prepare for another exhibit season. By the end of June they were back on tour again, but with much less success than before. Traveling through the Mid-West, South, and East, they fought continuous financial problems. Newton and Engelhardt eventually dissolved their partnership, and the show finally went bust at Poughkeepsie, N.Y. in September 1882, when the troupe could not pay their bills to get out of town. The fate of the rotting whale carcass remains unknown.

George H. Newton died May 6, 1895.

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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.


Engelhardt, Fred J.

Corporate Bodies (Including Vessels):

Pioneer Inland Whaling Association.


Monson (Mass.)


Entertainment events–Illinois–Chicago.
Right whales.
Whales. Whaling–Exhibitions.

Document Types:

Advertisements Tickets.


Entertainers Promoters.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 197, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Index to Personal, Corporate and 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 vessel ACUSHNET in Box 1, Folder 1 of the collection.
Ballinger, E.C. 1/3
Barnum, P.T. 1/1
Bennet, John 1/2
Bowser, H.E. 1/1
Carroll, Tom 1/3
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway 1/3
Cook, Phillip 1/1, 1/5
Englehardt, Fred J. 1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4
Fisher, J.G. 1/5
Fitch, E.S. 1/2
Fowles, ? (Mrs.) 1/3
Freeman, S.C. 1/3, 1/4
Garvin, S.E. 1/2
Harding, L.M. 1/2
Haverly, J.H. 1/1
Haynes, E.G. 1/1
Haynes, Tilly 1/1
Hill, E.M. 1/1
J.C. Ayer Co. 1/1
Jordan, Thomas 1/1
Jordan, Thomas W.D. 1/2
Kingsbury, F.H. 1/3
Lewis, George S. (Jr.) 1/5
MacDonald, J.A. 1/4
McCarthy, ? 1/2
McCarthy, ? (Capt.) 1/1
McCullough, John 1/4
Mummery, ? (Prof.) 1/3
Newton, Warren F. 1/1, 1/2
Peck, C.L. 1/5
Rogers, ? 1/3
S.&O. Kipp 1/5
Simpson, E.P. 1/4
Smith, R.F. 1/1
Treach, Waterman 1/4
Tufts, ? (Col.) 1/5
Upton, Walton & Co. 1/3
Washburn, J.H. 1/3
Whaling, James P. 1/3
Wiliams Lecture & Musical Bureau 1/5
Williams, B.W. 1/5
Wright, Fred 1/4

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Detailed Description of the Collection

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

Box Folder
1 1 Papers related to whale exhibition in Mid-West,

Papers and Correspondence, 1880-1884

2 Papers and Correspondence,
3 Papers and Correspondence,
1881 Jan – Apr
4 Papers and Correspondence,
1881 May – Dec
5 Papers and Correspondence,

Whale Show- Broadsides, Advertisements, Clippings, undated

6 Whale Show- Broadsides, Advertisements, Clippings,

Business Cards, undated

7 Business Cards,

Miscellaneous, undated

8 Miscellaneous,
9 Admission tickets,

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