Colonial History

A Brief Examination and State of Liberty Spiritual, etc.

A Brief Examination and State of Liberty Spiritual, etc.

Albert Cook Myers’ collection of William Penn materials, 1668-1955 (Chester County Historical Society):  Albert Cook Myers (1874-1960) was a Pennsylvania historian, who dedicated his life’s work to the identification, study and organization of William Penn’s published writings and personal papers. Beginning in 1910, after securing an endorsement from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, he set out to publish The Complete Works of William Penn.  All told, Myers devoted fifty years of his life to this project. Though his publication goals were never realized, he assembled a massive and notable body of information about William Penn. To complete his studies, Myers travelled abroad and throughout the United States. As a result of his efforts, he came to be regarded as an expert on the topic and often spoke publicly on the life and times of William Penn. The Albert Cook Myers research collection of William Penn materials contains the information gathered by Myers in his pursuit to thoroughly research and publish a volume documenting the complete writings of William Penn. Researchers will find Myers’ notes, transcriptions, photocopies of documents, newspaper clippings, various author articles, first editions and other early editions of Penn’s works, picture postcards of places related to Penn, and photos and original manuscript material. The bulk of the collection is “The Manuscript” series, which focuses on Myer’s work on Penn’s own writings. Researchers should be aware that the bulk of the collection is Myers’ notes and only a small portion is original manuscript material related to Penn. The collection spans the dates of 1645 to 1960, however, the bulk of the material was collected and created by Myers from 1910 to 1960.
Read the blog post about this collection »
Explore the Albert Cook Myers collection of William Penn materials using the collection guide »

Defense of the Raleigh

Defense of the Raleigh

Barry-Hayes papers, 1723-1875, bulk: 1778-1861 (Independence Seaport Museum):  John Barry (1745-1803), often credited as the Father of the American Navy, served the Continental Navy and the United States Navy for seventeen years. He and his descendants, particularly his nephew Patrick Hayes and grand-nephew Patrick Barry Hayes, became prominent members of Philadelphia society, serving as seamen, merchants, businessmen and politicians. The Barry-Hayes papers are the business, political and personal papers of John Barry and of his family, especially Patrick Hayes and Patrick Barry Hayes. The collection includes correspondence, letterbooks, diaries, logbooks, legal and financial papers related to Barry’s career in the Navy, the business ventures of the Hayes, Keen and Somers families, and their personal lives.
•  Explore the Barry-Hayes papers using the collection guide »

Buffington-Marshall papers, 1707-1876 (Chester County Historical Society): The manuscripts in the collection cover the years 1707 to 1876. The bulk of the collection is connected to two families, Buffington and Marshall. Buffington family manuscripts begin with emigrant Richard Buffington (d. 1747/8). He was married three times and his children included Ann, Ruth, Richard (d. 1741, married Phebe Grubb), Thomas, William, John, Hannah, Mary, Elizabeth, Lydia, Abigail, Joseph, and Alice. The Marshall family manuscripts originated from the family of emigrant Abraham Marshall (1669-1767) and his wife, Mary Hunt Marshall (d. 1769). Topics include: farming, botany, legal system, politics and elections, the poor, education, medicine, crime (includes murder, fornication and bastardy cases, etc.), slavery, etc.
Explore the Buffington-Marshall papers using the collection guide »

Colonel Richard Thomas papers, 1741-1919 (Chester County Historical Society): Richard Thomas (1744-1832) was a Revolutionary War colonel and a politician. He served in the Revolutionary War in the 5th Battalion Association despite his Quaker faith and served as an Assembly man from 1796 to 1790, as Pennsylvania Senator from 1790 to 1794, and as Congressman from 1794 to 1798. The collection dates from 1741 to 1919 with the bulk of materials dating from 1741 to 1857. The materials in the collection document the history of Chester County and the United States as well as the personal side of the Thomas family.
•  Explore the Colonel Richard Thomas papers using the collection guide »

Letter to Susanna

Letter to Susanna

Dillwyn and Emlen family correspondence, 1770-1818 (Library Company of Philadelphia):  The Dillwyn and Emlen family was joined in 1795 when Susanna Dillwyn married Samuel Emlen, Jr. Both the Dillwyn and Emlen families were prominent in early America as Quakers and advocates for abolition. This collection consists of six disbound volumes of letters written to and from William Dillwyn of London and his daughter Susanna Dillwyn in America from 1770 to 1795; and thereafter until 1818, to and from Susanna and her husband Samuel Emlen, Jr. of Burlington County, New Jersey. Although Susanna lived almost her entire life apart from her father, their letters are frequent and deal primarily with family matters and kin. However, there is frequent comment concerning such topics as yellow fever; abolitionism and slavery; Native Americans; breast cancer; and American and European politics, including the Napoleonic wars and the embargo, as well as their effects upon trade and merchants in Philadelphia and London.
Read the blog post about this collection »
Explore the Dillwyn and Emlen family correspondence using the collection guide »

"On Continental Money"

"On Continental Money"

Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson papers, 1752-1795 (Library Company of Philadelphia):  Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson (1737-1801), considered to be the outstanding female poet of her place and time, was a leader in the literary world of colonial Pennsylvania and an avid writer, who composed poems, songs, travel accounts and other writings, referencing literature, natural history, religion, politics and current events. This collection consists of six volumes of writings which probably represent all of her work, most of which is unpublished. Researchers interested in Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson, women authors in colonial America and the early United States, or a female commentary on contemporary events will find this collection to be extremely valuable.
Read the blog post about this collection »
Explore the Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson papers using the collection guide »

Hatfield and Hibernia Park records, 1743-1975 (Chester County Archives): The County of Chester owns the Hatfield and Hibernia estates, both of which played parts in the early iron industry in Pennsylvania. The families who lived on those estates (the Hatfields, Downings, Brookes and Swaynes, to name only a few) were involved with other ventures such as a general store and a convalescence home. The Hatfield and Hibernia Park records document the families, businesses, and property transfers of the families living in the Hatfield and Hibernia homes from the 1700s to the 1900s. Researchers interested in land and property records, iron works, 19th century general stores, and rest homes will find this collection to be extremely valuable.
Explore the Hatfield and Hibernia Park records using the collection guide »

Jacob Cist correspondence and documents, 1794-1829 (Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia): Jacob Cist (1782-1825) was an American naturalist, artist, inventor, businessman, author, treasurer and United States Postmaster. He was also one of the most important pioneers in the marketing of anthracite coal and a leading authority on its economic potential. This collection includes personal and business letters, documents, agreements, memorabilia, clippings and records of Cist’s service as United States Postmaster of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. His accounts as treasurer of the Wilkes-Barre Bridge Co. are included, as are records of his activities as a co-founder and officer of the Luzerne County Agricultural Society and his service as a Commissioner from his county to the Pennsylvania Commission for Internal Improvement. His tax accounts as County Treasurer, with supplementary letters give details of the procedures in vogue during that era. The collection also includes some typescript and some facsimile copies.
Explore the Jacob Cist correspondence and documents using the collection guide »

Taxables in Pennsylvania, 1760 and 1771

Taxables in Pennsylvania, 1760 and 1771

John Dickinson papers, 1676-1885 (Library Company of Philadelphia):   John Dickinson (1782-1808), a Philadelphia lawyer and politician, was a major figure in colonial Delaware and Pennsylvania governments and during the early national period. He was an active presence and prolific writer during the American Revolution and early Republic from the passage of the Sugar Act (1764) until the Jefferson presidency. He also served in the military as colonel, private, and brigadier general. He married Mary Norris in 1770. John Dickinson died in Delaware in 1808. The John Dickinson papers contains incoming and outgoing correspondence; revolutionary and early national government documents; Revolutionary War documents; Delaware and Pennsylvania government papers; land papers; legal papers; bills and receipts; collected essays, notes and commonplace books; and estate material. The papers provide a clear picture of the way in which colonists envisioned their new country and how these new Americans worked, compromised and adapted in order to achieve their visions. Mary Norris Dickinson is documented through two volumes: one of letters and one of poems.
Read the blog post about this collection »
Explore the John Dickinson papers using the collection guide »

Deborah Logan's description of George Washington

Deborah Logan's description of George Washington

Logan family papers, 1640-1770, bulk 1767-1769 (Library Company of Philadelphia):  The Logan family was prominent in Philadelphia from the start of the province, serving the people in many capacities, including political, medical and literary. This is a collection of manuscripts obtained by the Library Company of Philadelphia that relates to the Logan family. The collection includes papers of the Logan family members Albanus Charles, Algernon Sydney, Deborah Norris, William Jr., and James as well as family materials collected by Frances A. Logan and William Logan Fox. The collection dates from 1684 to 1925 and consists of family papers, correspondence, diaries, writings, medical texts, lecture notes, financial records, poetry, visiting cards, and invitations.
Explore the Logan family papers using the collection guide »

... to keep the peace ...

... to keep the peace ...

Logan family papers, 1638-1964 (Historical Society of Pennsylvania): The Logan family was a prominent Philadelphia family dating back to 1699, when James Logan, the family patriarch, arrived in Philadelphia to serve as the first secretary of the Pennsylvania colony. Through work in agriculture and politics, Logan and his descendants were intimately involved in the development of the Pennsylvania colony and, later, the fledging United States. James Logan’s prominence resulted in connections, both professional and familial, with other prominent colonial families, including the Norris and Dickinson families. The Logan family papers, 1638-1964 (bulk 1670-1872), documents James Logan’s personal and professional life, as well as that of several generations of his descendents. There are papers documenting the lives of his son William, his grandson George Logan, his great-grandsons Albanus Charles Logan and Algernon Sydney Logan, and the subsequent relationships with the Dickinson and Norris families. John Dickinson, who married one of James Logan’s descendents, is well documented in this collection as are his activities with the Pennsylvania and Delaware governments and his legal practice. This collection is rich in the history of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the formation of the colony of Pennsylvania, the relationship of early colonials with the Native Americans, the bid for independence and the later formation of the United States of America. Included in the papers are correspondence, legal records, estate records, financial records, land and property records, diaries, and writings. Not only are prominent political figures (James Logan, George Logan, and John Dickinson) well documented in this collection, but women are also well documented, largely thanks to Deborah Norris Logan who kept a diary for most of her adult life. Her diaries and letters and those of some of her female relations reveal a glimpse into the lives of educated and prominent women in the Philadelphia area during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Explore the Logan family papers using the collection guide »

New Spain and Early Independent Mexico manuscripts, 1519-1855 (Rosenbach Museum and Library): After 1927, Dr. Rosenbach negociated with Count Antonio Pignatelli and his agents or the purchase of portions of the family archive or Hernando Cortés to enhance a very sizeable collection of Mexican manuscripts he had collected in 1922. He focused on the colonial period of Mexico because of the materials available and a latent curiosity derived from his research into sixteenth century Spain. Quite apart from the Doctor and his activities, the 1920s and 1930s were a remarkable era for the wealth and quality of Latin American materials offered to collectors and librarians. This collections consists of manuscripts that are overwhelmingly devoted to the common people of the colonial period–people who made no major or famous contributions to history. Generally, these individuals left few records of their lives, but valuable biographical data on some of them may be found in the Rosenbach manuscripts. The information ranges from physical descriptions, genealogies and inheritances to occupations, marriages and political and religious beliefs and practices. Social historians rather than political or economic historians will make the most fruitful search through these documents. The Cortés and Cortés-related manuscripts are the most important collection regarding the Marquis outside of Mexico and Spain. The contents of virtually all the items have been published, but always from faulty copies.
New Spain and Early Independent Mexico manuscripts using the collection guide »

Surveying New Lands

Surveying New Lands

Penn family papers, 1592-1960 (Historical Society of Pennsylvania):  The Penn family papers house the personal and governmental records of William Penn, the proprietor of Pennsylvania, and his family. This collection, which dates from 1592 to 1960 (bulk of materials dating 1629 to 1834), consists primarily of correspondence, legal records, governmental records, surveys, deeds, grants, receipts, and account books; there are also 19th and 20th century auction catalogs and other secondary materials. This collection documents the creation of the Pennsylvania colony through records created by William Penn and his associates. The records continue beyond this and document the development of the colony through the records of Penn’s descendants. These records reveal valuable insights into Penn’s relations with American Indians, the Pennsylvania/Maryland border dispute, government framework, as well private correspondence between family members and close associates.
Read the blog post about this collection »
Explore the Penn family papers using the collection guide »

Peruvian and other South American manuscripts, 1536-1914 (Rosenbach Museum and Library): Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach formed this collection of Peruvian historical manuscripts. During his later years, he and his brother established The Philip H. & A.S.W. Rosenbach Foundation Museum (later the Rosenbach Museum & Library) as a permanent home for their personal collections of antiques and fine art, and manuscripts and books, reached fruition. Consequently, this institution came into possession of one of the largest collections of Latin American manuscripts in the United States. The Peruvian and other South American manuscripts, dating from 1536 to 1914, consists of legal and official documents, letters, marginal notations, and descriptive manuscripts.
Explore the Peruvian and other South American manuscripts using the collection guide »

List of Distilleries of Rum in the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia, 1772

List of Distilleries of Rum in the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia, 1772

Pierre Eugene Du Simitière collection, 1492-1783 (Library Company of Philadelphia):  Pierre Eugène Du Simitière (1737-1784) was a collector, artist, and historian, who opened the first public museum, the American Museum, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the American Museum, Du Simitière presented his many materials collected during his travels and from his collections. The Library Company of Philadelphia purchased many of the manuscript materials at an auction in 1785 following Du Simitière’s death and the closing of the American Museum. The collection is Du Simitière’s manuscript collection purchased at this auction. The collection reflects his interests and his lifestyle and includes poetry, sketches, watercolors, newspaper excerpts and clippings, treatise, correspondence, lists of nature, historical chronologies, bibliographies, and copies and originals of historical documents. The collection includes compiled information on places such as the West Indies, Pennsylvania, New England, New York, and the Carolinas in the form of historical chronologies, documents, bibliographies, sketches, and narratives. It includes information, documents, and research on many Native American groups and Creoles. The collection also contains information, documents, and research on historical events in the United States such as the Jacob Leisler case, politics in New York, the American Revolution, the colonization of America, and the Pennsylvania Line Mutiny. With the exception of a few miscellaneous items, the collection’s focus is on the years 1720 to 1780.
Explore the Pierre Eugène Du Simitière papers using the collection guide »

Letter to Samuel Meredith from William Penn

Letter to Samuel Meredith from William Penn

Read family papers, 1736-1896 (Library Company of Philadelphia):  The Read family consistently played an important role in American government and politics from the time that George Read, a Delaware resident, signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Throughout the 17th to 19th centuries, the Reads served as lawyers, judges, politicians, generals, consul-generals and foreign ministers. This collection contains the papers of four generations of the Read family of Philadelphia, consisting of John Read, Judge John Meredith Read, General John Meredith Read, and Harmon Pumpelly Read. The materials date from 1736 to 1896, with the bulk dating from 1792 to 1896, and include extensive correspondence, bills and receipts, genealogical notes, legal documents, newspaper clippings, photographs, scrapbooks and ephemera. The majority of the collection consists of General John Meredith Read’s papers relating to his family history and genealogy, correspondence, and political materials. The collection is particularly valuable in illustrating Philadelphia social life, global and local politics, as well as Civil War experiences, as it includes extensive correspondence describing first-hand accounts as well as with several key political figures during the Civil War era.
Explore the Read family papers using the collection guide »

rush

Letter regarding education in Colonial Pennsylvania

Rush family papers, 1748-1876 (Library Company of Philadelphia):  The Rush Family papers includes material from Benjamin Rush, physician, social activist, educator, writer and patriot; his brother Jacob Rush, lawyer, Supreme Court judge, and patriot; and Benjamin’s son James Rush, physician and Treasurer of the United States Mint. These American men were “strong characters, zealous patriots during the stirring period in which they lived, tenacious of their convictions and of the high standard of individual duty which they set for others, and typified in themselves,” (Richards, page 53). The bulk of the collection is the papers of Dr. Benjamin Rush and his son Dr. James Rush. Judge Jacob, John, Richard and William are represented, but to a much lesser degree. The other Rush family members are represented in a very limited manner. The collection contains correspondence; financial records; medical notes, lectures, and case histories; writings regarding medicine, politics, and the judicial system; and observations on colonial Philadelphia, the formation of the United States, and the new nation.
Read the blog post about this collection »
Explore the Rush family papers using the collection guide »

Taylor, Harris, Roman, Frazer, and Smith families papers, 1683-1980 (Chester County Historical Society):  The families in the Taylor, Harris, Roman, Frazer, and Smith family papers, 1633 to 1980 (bulk 1685 to 1851) are all related by the marriage of Marianne Smith to Dr. Stephen Harris on April 14, 1833. Both sides of the lineage represented in this collection immigrated to Pennsylvania because of religious persecution in England and Ireland. As Presbyterians and Quakers, they no longer wished to live under a series of laws which forced non-Anglicans out of public office, schools and the church as well as prohibiting meetings for non-Anglican worship. These newcomers contributed to the establishment of the government and religious expression in early Chester County. The documents, covering topics such as land surveying, Native Americans, the Revolutionary War, astronomy, publishing, the iron industry, and religious persecution, provide a broad picture of early Chester County and its residents as they interacted with each other at home and in Philadelphia through business, religious, and social transactions.
Explore the Taylor, Harris, Roman, Frazer, and Smith family papers using the collection guide »

Accounts

Accounts

Thomas Leiper and family business records, 1771-1947 (Library Company of Philadelphia):  Thomas Leiper (1745-1825) was introduced into the business of tobacco shortly after his arrival in Virginia in 1763, and within several years, moved to Philadelphia where he opened a tobacco shop. During the Revolutionary War, Leiper became the principal tobacco provider in Philadelphia. In 1776, Leiper purchased land in Delaware County that included a mill at a waterfall on the Crum Creek. He established snuff mills and later purchased a stone quarry. The Thomas Leiper and family business records include correspondence, country estate records, and business and financial records of the family’s paper, lumber and word working businesses, quarry business, and tobacco business dating from 1771 to 1947.
Read the blog post about this collection »
Explore the Thomas Leiper and family business records using the collection guide »

Waln family papers, 1759-1888 (Historical Society of Pennsylvania):  The Walns were a family of prominent Quaker merchants in Philadelphia. In 1774, Richard Waln, moved the family to Crosswicks, in Monmouth County, New Jersey, where he purchased “Walnford” and established a flour mill. The Waln family papers document primarily the family’s business activities. Richard Waln (1737-1808) who was engaged in the milling business in Walnford, New Jersey, also was involved with financial concerns in Philadelphia. His nephew Robert (1765-1836) was the director of the Philadelphia Insurance Company from 1804 to 1813. Robert a successful merchant, joined into a partnership with his cousin Jesse, and traded with England and the West Indies, and later with East India and China. The collection consists largely of correspondence and financial records.

Weiss family of Weissport, Pennsylvania papers, 1777-1916 (Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia):  The Weiss family was prominent in the coal business in eastern Pennsylvania during the late 1700s and 1800s. The Weiss family collection dates from 1777 to 1916 and documents, most fully, Jacob Weiss (1750-1839), Francis White (1773-1845), and Francis White (1819-1888). The papers include diaries, geological and surveying notebooks, maps and observations; personalia and biographical notes; transcribed documents, portraits, scrapbooks, business journals, daybooks, mercantile records and account books as well as correspondence of many members of the family.
Explore the Weiss family of Weissport papers using the collection guide »

Leave a Comment