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Chandler-Cleaveland family papers

Identifier: M029

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Scope and Content

The collection documents three generations of the Chandler-Cleaveland family formed by the 1837 marriage of Peleg Whitman Chandler and Martha Ann Bush Cleaveland, as well as the personal and professional lives of several extended members of the Chandler and Cleaveland families. The bulk of the collection is composed of personal, financial, and professional materials related to Peleg Whitman Chandler and his son Horace P. Chandler, as well as the diaries, travel journals, and banking records of Horace’s two daughters, Ellen and Grace. Of particular note is the diary Peleg maintained while a student at Bowdoin College from 1831 to 1833, as well as the religious notebooks of Horace P. Chandler that document his association and that of his extended family’s with the Swedenborgian faith.

The collection also includes extensive material related to two members of the Chandler family: Theophilus P. Chandler and Charles Peleg Chandler. Materials related to Theophilus P. Chandler largely concern efforts of his brother, Peleg W. Chandler, to exonerate him in a case where his subordinate at the Customs House in Boston, Julius F. Hartwell, illegally lent money from the subtreasury. The Charles Peleg Chandler material primarily relates to his Civil War service and largely comprises letters to Chandler's mother from 1861 and 1862 that are descriptive of his war-time experience, including a series of letters describing the Battle of Williamsburg (May 11, 1862-May17, 1862). There is also a small amount of Civil War related correspondence from Gen. Hooker, Gov. Andrew, C. E. Stowe, J. P. Fessenden, William W. Bullock, and others, and letters regarding the search for the whereabouts of Col. Chandler after the Battle of Malvern Hill, and his death.

A general correspondence series (1803-1937) contains letters from a broad range of family members across several generations, including: Andrew Campbell Chandler, Sr. and Jr.; Cora Evelyn (Bean) Chandler; Frederick Hewett Chandler; Parker Cleaveland; James Bowdoin Cleaveland; and Martha Ann Bush Cleaveland Chandler (1812-1881). There is also a series of family materials, including the business ledger of Parker Cleaveland’s son, John Appleton Cleaveland; an account book of Esther Chandler, a cash book of William Chandler, and two diaries of Helen C. Weld, a friend of the Chandler-Cleaveland family. There are also several photograph albums, most containing unidentified family images, a small amount of realia, and digital surrogates of Chandler family materials that are privately owned.


  • Creation: 1803-1949, undated

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying of digital surrogates of materials not held by Bowdoin College is not allowed.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Chandler-Cleaveland family line began with the marriage of Peleg Whitman Chandler (1816-1889) to Martha Ann Bush Cleaveland (1812-1881) on November 30, 1837. Peleg Whitman Chandler (Bowdoin 1834) was born in New Gloucester, Massachusetts (now Maine), on April 12, 1816, to Peleg Chandler Jr. and Esther Parsons Chandler. Chandler was an attorney in Boston, Massachusetts (1837-1889), City Solicitor (1846), Member of the Massachusetts legislature (1845-1847), and of the Executive Council (1853); and Trustee of Bowdoin College (1871-1889). In 1838 he established the Law Reporter and compiled American Criminal Trials. Martha Ann Bush Cleaveland was the daughter of Martha Bush and Parker Cleaveland, a scientist and long-time member of Bowdoin's faculty (1805-1858), who taught chemistry, mineralogy, and natural philosophy as well as in the Medical School of Maine. Martha Anne Cleaveland's brother John Appleton Cleaveland (1819-1873, Bowdoin 1840), was a businessman in Brunswick and Boston, and a clerk at the U. S. Treasury in Boston (1862-1873). Peleg Whitman and Martha Chandler had three children: Ellen Maria Chandler (1839-1908); Horace Parker (1842-1919), a poet; and Parker Cleaveland (1848-1908), an attorney in Boston and New York City.

Horace Parker Chandler was born in Boston, September 13, 1842. He attended Boston Latin School and Harvard University, graduating in the Class of 1864, after which he moved to Chicago to work as a lawyer. Poor health forced him to change careers, and within a year he became a partner in a publishing venture, E. B. Meyers and Chandler. In 1865 he married Grace Webster Mitchell (1843-1915). The couple relocated to Boston in 1868, where Horace opened a real estate and brokerage firm in 1869, a venture he maintained until 1916. Chandler wrote extensively for various newspapers and published a number of books, including several books of poems. He and Grace had six children: Cleaveland Angier Chandler (1867-1937), Grace Florence Chandler (1870-?), Whitman Mitchell Chandler (1876–1899), Ellen Chandler Quinn (1880-?), James Mitchell Chandler (1882-1951), and Peleg Whitman Chandler (1884-1963). Horace P. Chandler passed away on June 7, 1919.

Grace Chandler (born 1870) and Ellen Chandler Quinn (born 1880) were the daughters of Horace P. Chandler and Grace Webster Mitchell. Both daughters remained in the family's Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, home for many years following their parents' death, only separating when Grace married later in life.

Theophilus P. Chandler (1807-1886) was the brother of Peleg W. Chandler. Chandler practiced law in Boston for more than forty years, fifteen of which he shared offices and at one time partnerned with John A. Andrew (Bowdoin 1837), a prominent anti-slavery lawyer and Governor of Massachusetts during the Civil War. Chandler served as the Assistant Treasurer of the United States at the Customs House in Boston from 1863 to 1868.

Charles Peleg Chandler (Bowdoin 1854; 1835-1862) was the nephew of Peleg W. Chandler and Theophilus P. Chandler. Charles was born on January 4, 1835, in Foxcroft, Maine, to Charles Parsons Chandler (Bowdoin 1822), who was an attorney and Maine State Senator (1854-1857), and Sarah Wheeler Chandler. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1857, he worked as an attorney in the law office of Gov. John A. Andrew. During the Civil War, Chandler served with distinction as an officer at the First Battle of Bull Run, after which he was commissioned major of the 1st Mass. Volunteers (1861), and then lieutenant colonel. On June 30, 1862, the same day he received his commission as Colonel, Chandler was killed at the Battle of Malvern Hill, Richmond, Virginia, while leading his regiment during the charge of Hooker's Brigade.


12 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection documents three generations of the personal and, to a lesser extent, professional lives of the Chandler-Cleaveland family. The collection includes extensive information about Peleg Whitman Chandler and Martha Ann Bush Cleaveland, who married in 1837, as well as their son, Horace P. Chandler, and his two daughters, Grace and Ellen. There is also materials related to Parker Cleaveland, the father of Martha; Theophilus Chandler, the brother of Peleg; and Charles Peleg Chandler, the newphew of both Peleg and Theophilus. Among the topics documented are the legislative, legal, financial and personal relationships of the family that included multiple connections to Bowdoin College, the Civil War, and the Swedenborgian church.


The collection is arranged into ten series: Correspondence; Family Materials; Photographs; Realia; Peleg Whitman Chandler Materials; Horace Parker Chandler Materials; Grace Chandler Materials; Ellen Chandler Quinn Materials; Theophilus P. Chandler Materials; and Charles Peleg Chandler Materials.

Guide to the Chandler-Cleaveland Family Papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288