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Sylvanus Packard Family Papers

Call Number: MS021

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1824 -- 1904


Language of Materials



This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

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.


1.0 Linear Feet


This collection is organized in one series.

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.

Processing status

This collection is processed.

Repository Details

Part of the Tufts Archival Research Center Repository

35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States