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Carpenter family papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Carpenter Family

Scope and Content of the Collection

Genealogical information, correspondence, photographs, and other mementos of the Carpenter family, and other related families including Snow, Isham, and Manierre.

The collection seems to have been assembled by Harriet Isham Carpenter, wife of George A. Carpenter, and contains genealogical research into her background, including the Isham, Manierre, and Snow families. Her grandfather George Snow built one of the first houses in the U.S. to utilize "balloon frame" construction and some material pertains to her quest to assert that he was the inventor of this method, but this has not been proven. Other materials include genealogical information on the Carpenter family, a book of notes on corporate legal cases kept by George A. Carpenter, letters from Abigail and Benjamin Carpenter, a written reminiscence of the arrivals of the Williams and Snow families in Chicago by Mary W. Blatchford, photographs, and other mementos.


  • Creation: 1813-1947



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Carpenter family papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Carpenter family papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of the Carpenter Family

Prominent Chicago business family.

Benjamin Carpenter was born in Manlius, Onondaga County, New York in 1809. He studied law and practiced for several years in Ohio, but later turned to the trading and shipping business. He came to Chicago in 1850 and joined Sylvester Marsh in the packing business, establishing the house of Marsh & Carpenter on North State Street. He was one of the city's first packers and a member of the city's first board of public works. He married Abigail Hayes, daughter of Col. Richard Hayes, in 1832. They had six children, George Benjamin, Clinton, Mary Ellen, Cornelia, and two daughters who died early. Benjamin Carpenter died in 1881.

George B. Carpenter was born in Ohio in 1834. He was first a merchant and ship chandler, and eventually joined his father in business at Marsh & Carpenter. In 1857 he bought into the ship chandlery house of Gilbert, Hubbard and Co., taking sole proprietorship upon the death of Mr. Hubbard. He continued the business as George B. Carpenter & Co. He married Elizabeth Curtis Greene in 1861 and they had four sons, Benjamin, George A., Hubbard, and John. He died in 1912.

George A. Carpenter was born in Chicago in 1867. He was the only son of George B. Carpenter who did not join his father in business at George B. Carpenter & Co., but rather went into law. He studied at Harvard and was admitted to the bar in 1890. He entered the firm of Abram M. Pence and became a partner in1892. He was elected judge, Circuit Court of Cook County in 1906, and was eventually appointed U. S. District Court judge in 1910 where he served for 23 years until his retirement in 1933. He married Harriet Isham in 1894 and they had three children, Katherine, George Benjamin, and Isham. He died in 1944.


1 Linear Feet (2 boxes and one rolled document)


Genealogical information, correspondence, photographs, and other mementos of the Carpenter family, and other related families including Snow, Isham, and Manierre.


Materials arranged alphabetically.

Collection Stack Location

1 8 7, 1 16 3


Gift of Harriet Isham Carpenter, ca. 1946.

Processed by

Lisa Janssen, 2010.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Carpenter family papers, 1813-1947
Lisa Janssen
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2011-08-17: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States