Skip to main content

New Bedford Total Abstinence Society records and Pitman and Borden receipts

 Collection — Container: 1
Identifier: MC-048

Scope and Contents

The first 19 pages of the ledger were used to record the business of the Total Abstinence Society. The last 40 pages (pages 321-360) list, in alphabetical order, all those individuals who signed the constitution, which is in effect a list of members. The remainder of the ledger records receipts from the law practice of Robert C. Pitman, and later, Pitman and Borden. The receipts appear to be limited to a record of money received from pension applications due to Civil War veterans and widows. Many additional receipts pasted in. Volume collated by cataloguer.


  • 1849-1864

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Not restricted. Public domain.

Biographical / Historical

The New Bedford Total Abstinence Society was incorporated in 1849, and a general first meeting was called by Henry H. Crapo at the First Congregational Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts. One became a member of the society by signing the constitution and thereby agreeing, according to Article 2 of the constitution, “that they abstain from the use of all intoxicating drinks as a beverage; that they will not provide them for their friends or for persons in their employ, and that they will discountenance their use as a beverage in the community.” Activities of the society, as documented in this ledger, included arranging for temperance sermons and special religious services at local churches. The first such sermon arranged by the society’s executive committee was delivered by Reverend William Alger of Roxbury, MA on October 14, 1849. The society was divided into wards, which conducted individual meetings; a general meeting was scheduled annually, and the executive committee, with representatives from each ward, met on a monthly basis. It is not know how long the society lasted. The first secretary of the society was Robert C. Pitman, who is listed in New Bedford City Directories as a judge of the superior court. After he was secretary he apparently used this ledger to record receipts from his law practice.


1 Volumes (360 pages) ; 13 7/8 x 8 ¼ x 1 7/16”

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase from David R. Nelson Booksellers, accession # 04-16.

MC 48, New Bedford Total Abstinence Society records and Pitman and Borden receipts
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Repository

285 Old Westport Rd.
N. Dartmouth MA 02747 USA