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Owen Mayfield Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Mayfield, John S., 1904-1983.
Title: Owen Mayfield Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1658-1960
Bulk Dates: 1953
Quantity: 0.25 linear ft.
Abstract: Collection of material about Owen Mayfield, Mayor of Cambridge; built around a farthing token struck by him in 1658, probably for use in his tavern.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Information contained in the collection indicates that Owen Mayfield (1628-1685) was a 17th century vintner in Cambridge, England. He was named auditor of the city in 1664, alderman in 1669-1670 and Mayor in 1671. He also owned and operated a tavern called The Mitre in Trumpington Street in St. Edward's parish, and was Vintner to the University.

English merchant tokens are small coins, often of copper or copper alloy, that were put out by merchants, cities, companies, etc. in the 17th and 18th centuries to meet the need for small-denomination currency.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Owen Mayfield Collection consists of information relating to Owen Mayfield of Cambridge, collected by John S. Mayfield, possibly a descendant. The genesis of the collection was evidently John Mayfield's acquisition of the farthing token struck by Owen Mayfield in 1658. The collection contains correspondence, printed material, and the token itself.

Correspondence consists of letter to Mayfield in response to his inquiries about his presumed ancestor, and includes transcriptions of information in St. Edward's Church register, photograph of Mayfield's tombstone, biographical information from various sources, and sketches of the monument in St. Edward's Church and of the Mayfield crest.

Printed material consists of a copy of The Diary of Samuel Newton Alderman of Cambridge 1662-1717 (Cambridge, 1890) and The Reformation of the Corporation of Cambridge, July 1662 by W. M. Palmer, M.D. (Cambridge Antiquarian Society reprint, 1914) inscribed to John Mayfield by Thomas Turton of Cambridge. There are also a copy of a coin collecting magazine and a newspaper clipping about Cambridge University in the 17th century.

The Token itself is much worn and darkened by age. It bears Owen Mayfield's initials on one side (S.O.M.) and a drawing of a bishop's cap on the other, likely a reference to Mayfield's tavern, The Mitre.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged chronologically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

The FitzWilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge has a good collection of merchants' tokens, including several examples of Mayfield token.

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Subject Headings


Mayfield, John S., 1904-1983.
Mayfield, Owen.
Palmer, W. M. -- Reformation of the corporation of Cambridge, July 1662.

Associated Titles

Diary of Samuel Newton alderman of Cambridge 1662-1717.


Coins, English.
Tokens -- England -- Cambridge.


Cambridge (England) -- History.

Genres and Forms


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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Owen Mayfield Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of John S. Mayfield.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 3 Mar 2011
Revision history:

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Box 1 Incoming, miscellaneous 1953, 1960
Printed material
Box 1 Books 1890, 1914
The Diary of Samuel Newton Alderman of Cambridge 1662-1717 (Cambridge, 1890)
The Reformation of the Corporation of Cambridge, July 1662 by W. M. Palmer, M.D. (Cambridge Antiquarian Society reprint, 1914)
Box 1 Magazines, clippings 1953, 1960
Box 1 Farthing token, Owen Mayfield, Cambridge 1658

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