Benjamin Fewkes (1788-1869) emigrated from England to the United States in 1818. He was a lace maker by trade and brought with him what is believed to be the first stocking machine in New England. In 1820 he established the New England Lace Company in Watertown Massachusetts which then moved to Ipswich Massachusetts in 1822.
His fourth son, Jesse Fewkes (1826-1911) was born in Ipswich, Mass. and in 1850 moved into a home on Maple Street in Watertown, Mass., near the Newton line. He was a woodcarver by trade but was also an antiquarian and dabbled in inventing. He was married twice, first to Susan Emeline Jewett in 1850 then to Catherine Helen Lemon in 1863. He had four children. He had an ardent and life long interest in natural history and particularly in early New England and Indian history. He was a member of the historical societies of Newton, Watertown and Ipswich. Jesse Fewkes was a prolific writer, his essays, poems and other writings form a large part of the collection.
Jesse Walter Fewkes (1850-1930) was the son of Jesse Fewkes and his first wife, Susan Emeline Jewett. He was born in Newton was graduated from Harvard in 1875 (Ph. D. in 1877) and became a renowned marine zoologist and ethnologist. His many accomplishments in these fields include appointments as assistant in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University (1881-91), secretary of the Boston Society of Natural History (1889-91) and Chief of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Museum (1918-1928). In 1893 he married Harriet O. Cutler. Dr. Fewkes research work in the Southwestern part of the United States, particularly on the religious ceremonies of the Hopi Indians, earned him many honors and contributed greatly to the study of archaeology and anthropology in that region.
The collection consists of three boxes of essays, correspondence and photographs with some additional research materials dated from 1856 to 1961. The remainder of the collection includes notes from book sources for Jesses essays and inventions, newspaper clippings and other ephemera. The bulk of the collection dates from 1837 to 1920 and consists of Jesse Fewkes' essays, poems and other writings, both the original manuscripts and multiple copies. Another significant part of the collection is dated 1866 to 1928 and comprised of the professional publications and correspondence of Jesse Walter Fewkes related to his work as a marine zoologist and ethnologist. Photographs in the collection date from 1886 to 1920. The bulk of the photographs are dated 1919 to 1920 and are contained in four photograph albums of Jesse Fewkes' niece Laura B. Fewkes and her family.
No. of boxes: 3 MS boxes
Finding Aids: Manuscript box/inventory.
Whos Who In America, 1899-1900, Chicago: A. N. Marquis, 1899; Hough, Walter, Biographical Memoir of Jesse Walter Fewkes 1850-1930, Washington: The National Academy of Sciences, 1932. pp.261-267. Rowe, Henry K., A Tercentenary History of Newton, 1630-1930, 1930.