Saunders Family Collection

Manuscripts Collection 262

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Saunders family
Title: Saunders Family Collection
Dates: 1879-1990
Extent: 500 pieces
Abstract: Correspondence, documents, research notes, clippings and articles collected by John A. and Laura S. Saunders regarding the Saunders’ family shipbuilding, shipyard and ferry operations. The Saunders family built several schooners, steamboats, ferries and yachts in their Rhode Island shipyards. Several members of the family held either Pilot’s Certificates or ship master’s licenses which, along with some bills of sale, are included in the collection.
Identification: Coll. 262

History of the Saunders Family

The Saunders family were Rhode Island shipbuilders and shipyard owners from the early nineteenth century until 1960. John A. and Laura Saunders are family descendants with an avid interest in family history.

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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.

Person names:

Saunders, John A. (1787-1832)
Saunders, John A. (d.1996)
Saunders, Laura S.

Corporate Entities:

Evelyn (Schooner)
Gypsy (Steamboat)
Hazel III (Launch)
J.A. Saunders (Steamboat)
Nonsuch (Schooner)
West Side (Steamboat)


Rhode Island–Industries–History


Boatbuilding–Rhode Island
Steamboats–Rhode Island

Document Types:

Bills of sale–Rhode Island
Pilot certificates
Research (document genres)
Shipmasters licenses

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 262, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

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


Papers, 1879-1990.
Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence (A-K), written and received regarding the Saunders’ research into family shipyards and models ca. 1970-1975
2 Correspondence (L-Z), written and received regarding the Saunders’ research into family shipyards and models ca. 1970-1975
3 Clippings, notes, etc. regarding Rhode Island ferry boats ca. 1970
4 Information regarding HAZEL THIRD (launch) undated
5 Information regarding boat building on Narrow River, Rhode Island ca. 1987
6 Sketches, coasting license (photocopy), and notes regarding NONSUCH (Schooner) ca. 1970
7 Photographs (copies) of Albert E. Saunders Sr. and George A. Saunders Sr. undated
8 Letters, clippings and sketch regarding Saunders Skiff ca. 1984
9 Notes, clippings (photocopies), and sketch regarding Saunderstown, Rhode Island boat building undated
10 Clippings, notes, articles, and research from the Wickford Standard regarding the Saunders’ family and their boats undated
11 Research, “Vessels Built by Capt John Aldrich Saunders, 1808-1882” undated
12 Miscellaneous research, notes, clippings, etc. regarding John and Laura Saunders’ work on family shipbuilding history undated
13 Bill of Sale, EVELYN (Schooner), 1/2 share from Amasa Sprague to Martin L. Saunders 1879 Jul 30
14 Bills of Sale (3), WEST SIDE (Steamboat), GYPSY (Steamboat), and J.A. SAUNDERS (Steamboat); 1/3 share from Stillman Saunders to John A. Saunders 1905 Jan 17
15 Steamboat Pilot’s Certificate, Martin L. Saunders 1889 Jun 11
16 Steamboat Master’s Licenses, Harry L. Saunders; and John A. Saunders 1906 Nov 21; 1917 Jun 1
17 Master’s License, Inspector of Steam Vessels, District of New London, Conn. to Stillman Saunders 1907 Aug 17
18 Articles written by John and Laura Saunders. “The Saunders Family and Their Catboats,” “Early 19th Century Merchant Sail in Rhode Island”, “The Shipbuilding Saunders.” Early Public Transportation to the Islands of Rhode Island,1990 1976; 1976;1973
Research Card File – “Boats, Half Models, and Pond Models, Etc.”, 1878-1832.
Box Folder
2 1 Files of vessels built, managed, or sailed by the Saunders family. Organized by name (approx. 12) beginning with John Aldrich Saunders Approx 300 cards in file. 1787-1832

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