Federal Fire Society Records, 1790-1941 – MS112

Federal Fire Society Records, 1790-1941 – MS112

Provenance: Placed on deposit at the Portsmouth Athenaeum by the Federal Fire Society, Richard G. Kaiser, clerk, in 2012

Citation: Federal Fire Society Records, MS112, on deposit at the Portsmouth Athenauem

Size: 3 Linear Feet (6 Hollinger Boxes)

Access: No restrictions

Processed by: R. Schuyler Seldon

Scope and Content:

The Federal Fire Society collection, 1790-1941 (bulk 1830-1930), documents the history of the Federal Fire Society founded in 1789. The collection includes bills, financial records, reports, correspondence, menus for dinners, society songs, and photographs.

Formats include handwritten papers, handwritten and typed letters, printed menus, society booklets, and photographs. Collection is arranged chronologically except for Correspondence which is arranged alphabetically by last name.

Historical Note:

The Federal Fire Society was organized in 1789. It was the third private fire society in Portsmouth, prior to the establishment of a municipal fire department. In 1834 the city of Portsmouth organized a town fire department and the Society’s role changed to a social group. After 1843 the society gradually became an eating and drinking club.

Separated Materials:

Hide covered hinged box with ‘A.S.’ written in tacks on lid. 30.25”x15.75”x12”

Wooden hinged box with ‘FFS 1789’ painted on the side. 33.25”x18.25”x13.375”

Printing plate with signatures of original members (stored within the above wooden box).

Federal Fire Society Flag (stored within the above wooden box).

Photographs: PS 2721_01 – PS 2721_25 (photographs of Federal Fire Society members)

Folder List

Box 1

Box 1 (arranged by date)

Folder 1 Warden’s Reports 1831-1853
The Warden’s Report was an annual report on the condition and readiness of members’ firefighting equipment. As the society became more of a social nature these reports became light hearted with some being composed in verse.
Folder 2 Warden’s Reports 1854-1866
Folder 3 Warden’s Reports 1867-1878
Folder 4 Warden’s Reports 1879-1887
Folder 5 Warden’s Reports 1888-1895
Folder 6 Warden’s Reports 1896-1904
Folder 7 Warden’s Reports 1905-1913
Folder 8 Warden’s Reports 1914-1924
Folder 9 Warden’s Reports 1925-1933, 1940
Folder 10 Regulations of various Fire Societies

Box 2

Folder 1 Receipts and Bills 1790-1816
Folder 2 Receipts and Bills 1822-1849
Folder 3 Receipts and Bills 1850-1865
Folder 4 Receipts and Bills 1866-1879
Folder 5 Receipts and Bills 1880-1891
Folder 6 Receipts and Bills 1892-1903
Folder 7 Receipts and Bills 1904-1912
Folder 8 Receipts and Bills 1913-1921
Folder 9 Receipts and Bills 1922-1932
Folder 10 Members’ Biographical Information

Box 3

Folder 1 Abstracts 1790-1797 #5-35 (numbers are the society’s original ordering of papers)
The Abstracts record the dues, fines and payments by the members of the Federal Fire Society. Typically the Abstracts were composed biannually with one in the spring and one in the autumn.
Folder 2 Abstracts 1809-1819 #82-107
Folder 3 Abstracts 1820-1834 #108-137
Folder 4 Abstracts 1835-1850 #138-168
Folder 5 Abstracts 1857-1867 #169-202
Folder 6 Abstracts 1868-1883 #203-234
Folder 7 Abstracts 1884-1899 #235-266
Folder 8 Abstracts 1900-1915 #264-298
Folder 9 Abstracts 1916-1932 #299-331
Folder 10 Menus 1873-1890 not inclusive
Folder 11 Menus 1891-1902
Folder 12 Menus 1903-1913

Box 4

Folder 1 Menus 1914-1924
Folder 2 Menus 1925-1933, 1941
Folder 3 Correspondence A-B 1838-1933 (bulk 1880-1930) Arranged alphabetically by writer’s last name.
Folder 4 Correspondence C-D
Folder 5 Correspondence E-F
Folder 6 Correspondence G
Folder 7 Correspondence H-J

Box 5

Folder 1 Correspondence K-M
Folder 2 Correspondence N-Q
Folder 3 Correspondence R-T
Folder 4 Correspondence U-Z
Folder 5 Reports 1794-1823
The Reports are the findings of the annual audit of the Federal Fire Society’s treasurer’s accounts. Some reports contain investment information.
Folder 6 Reports 1824-1835
Folder 7 Reports 1836-1855
Folder 8 Reports 1856-1891
Folder 9 Miscellaneous Reports 1792-1884 arranged by date
Reports on ladders, meeting minutes, calls for meetings, and subscriptions.

Box 6

Folder 1 Poems, handwritten
Folder 2 Poems and Songs, printed ‘Esto Perpetua’, ‘Little Brown Jug’, ‘Our Flag is there’, ‘All Round my Hat’, ‘The Owl’, ‘Freedom’s Land, -America’.
Folder 3 Printed Materials – Printed booklets from fire societies including; Federal Fire Society, Wiscasset Fire Society, Worcester Fire Society, The Fire Clubs of Salem, United Fire Society,
Folder 4 Miscellaneous Items – unused envelopes, small pieces of paper with society articles with adhesive on the reverse side.

Box 7

Ledger book, a compliation written in 1889 of;
Meeting Minutes and Records (1789-1889) and
Dues paid by members (1809-1889).