HIGGINSON, Stephen (1743-1828)

HIGGINSON, STEPHEN, a Delegate from Massachusetts; born in Salem, Mass., November 28, 1743; attended the common schools; engaged in mercantile pursuits and was an active and successful shipmaster 1765-1775; served in the Massachusetts legislature, 1782; Member of the Continental Congress in 1783; naval officer at the port of Boston 1797-1808; prominent in putting down Shays' Rebellion; served as lieutenant colonel of the Boston regiment; became a Federalist in politics; died in Boston, Mass., November 22, 1828; interment in Central Burying Ground.

Massachusetts Historical Society
Boston, MA
Papers: In the Stephen Higginson Letters,1798-1801, 1 narrow box.
The collection contains copies of letters written by merchant Stephen Higginson while he was a naval agent in Boston. Correspondents include Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott in Philadelphia and letters to and from the Navy Department in Washington, D.C., pertaining to Stephen Higginson's duties, such as the purchasing of ships and supplies; purchasing of material for the construction and repair of ships and buildings; acting as a liaison between the Navy and civilian contractors; and making recommendations regarding projects, contractors, sailors, and prisoners. Some originals papers are located at the Connecticut Historical Society and some at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Papers: In the Higginson Family Papers, 1631-1902, 2 boxes and 1 volume.
The papers of Stephen Higginson, a Continental Congressman and merchant, include letters to Elbridge Gerry, Henry Knox, and Arthur Lee on Massachusetts and national politics; business accounts; and business correspondence and accounts with Salem and Boston merchants Elias Derby, LeRoy and Bayard Co., and Richard Derby.

Papers: In the Higginson Family Papers II, ca. 1795-1908, 3 boxes.
Correspondents include Stephen Higginson.

Papers: In the Patrick Tracy Jackson Papers, 1766-1869, 34 cased volumes, 4 extra tall volumes, and 1 box.
Other authors include Stephen Higginson. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.


Boston Athenaeum
Boston, MA
Papers: In the William Tudor Papers, 1786-1826, 125 items.
Correspondents include Stephen Higginson.


Cape Ann Historical Association
Gloucester, MA
Papers: In the Robin Hood (Ship) Collection, 1781, 0 .5 linear foot.
The papers for the ship Robin Hood include account sheets, receipts, tallies, manifests, shipping instructions, and correspondence, relating to a vessel built by Joseph Clark and owned by Stephen Higginson, Ebenezer Parsons, and Daniel Sargent and its voyage to Scandinavia from March through December 1781.


Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, 1783-1792, 8 items.
The papers of Stephen Higginson include correspondence concerning political affairs, public finance, the Revolutionary War, foreign relations, and shipping. Also included is a Massachusetts treasury certificate (1787).


The New-York Historical Society
New York, NY
Papers: In the Samuel Osgood Papers, 1775-1812, 1 volume.
Correspondents include Stephen Higginson.


University of Virginia
The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
Charlottesville, VA
Papers: In the Jefferson Randolph Kean Papers, 1765-1938, approximately 50 items.
Correspondents include Stephen Higginson.

  • Higginson, Stephen. Letters of Stephen Higginson, 1783-1804. Washington: G.P.O., 1897.
  • ___. Ten Chapters in the Life of John Hancock. Now first published since 1789. New York: N.p., 1857.
  • ___. The Writings of Laco. Boston, MA: N. p., 1789.
  • Higginson, Thomas Wentworth. Life and Times of Stephen Higginson, Member of the Continental Congress (1783) and Author of the "Laco" Letters, Relating to John Hancock (1789) by Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1907.