Augustine Heard (1785-1868) established Augustine Heard and Company in 1840 with partner and friend Joseph Coolidge.
Heard managed the business before retiring leaving day to day operations to his four nephews. which carried on a commission business in China from 1840 to the spring of 1875.
In 1858 the Chinese government was forced to admit opium into the country and imposed a duty.
It was originally part of a 1000 cubic foot body of records from Jardine, Matheson & Co. Some medical notes (1814-1815) were transferred to the Harvard Medical School, and papers concerning the education of some family members at Harvard (1803-1823) were transferred to the Harvard University Archives.
This collection was first processed in the 1940s and since has been microfilmed.
The first, Heard I, was purchased from Alice Heard in 1931. This material is now located in Series I, Subseries U.
A letter book, given as a gift by John Heard in 1941, had been placed with Heard I, Part 2. in 1875.) The collection originally went as a gift to Yale in 1935, but was transferred to Baker Library in 1942.
He later became sole owner of the distillery and expanded the business after the Revolution by importing rum from the West Indies.
He married Sarah Staniford in 1777 and they had nine children including Augustine, George Washington, and Mary Heard.
For example, John Heard's administrative records are AA with a numeric volume or box indicator following the letter sequence.
It has been difficult to draw a hard and fast line in the division of Augustine Heard's papers. All of Augustine Heard's business papers after 1841 have been placed in Subseries E.
Within each series a letter has been given to each type of material, i.e.: administrative records, day books, correspondence, etc.