Special Collections Department
WILLIAM S. AUCHINCLOSS
1862 – 1892
Manuscript Collection Number: 420
Accessioned: Purchase, February 1989
Extent: 1 vol. (.3 linear ft.)
Content: Correspondence, maps, tickets, papers, photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, advertisements, and drawings.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: Ryan K. Thompson, August 2001
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
William Stuart Auchincloss (1842-1928) was the son of John Auchincloss (1810-1876), a prominent New York dry goods merchant. John Auchincloss was in partnership with his brother under the business name John and Hugh Auchincloss; they built upon the firm established by their own father, who had come to American as an agent for the family manufacturing business in Paisley, Scotland. William S. Auchincloss, who trained as a civil and mechanical engineer, was graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1862. His later activities included those of author, traveler, inventor, and public speaker. He married Martha T. Kent of Philadelphia several years after graduation, and they lived in Wilmington and Philadelphia; they had at least one child.
In 1867, Auchincloss was elected as an honorary member of the United States Commissioners to the Universal Exposition in Paris, which he attended. Auchincloss served as vice-president of the Jackson & Sharp Co. Delaware Car Works, manufacturers of narrow gauge rail cars in Wilmington. In the 1870s, the company contracted with the São Paulo e Rio de Janeiro Railway for construction of railway rolling stock. In 1875, Auchincloss gave a lecture to the Wilmington Board of Trade on the importance of developing commercial relations with South America. The following year, he acted as host and tour guide to the Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro Segundo, on his visit to Wilmington, Delaware.
Auchincloss served as president of the Wilmington Institute (precursor to the Wilmington Public Library) in 1876. Following an extensive trip to Egypt, Jerusalem, and Europe, Auchincloss gave a series of public lectures in Wilmington in 1877. Auchincloss moved in 1879, from Wilmington to Philadelphia, to work for J. & P. Coates, the spool cotton manufacturers. He presented one of his inventions, the averaging machine, and a paper titled Exponent of the Principle of Moments, at meetings of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1881 and 1882; at the fifth annual meeting of the Business Educators’ Association of America in Washington, D.C., in 1883; to the Bookkeepers Beneficial Association of Philadelphia in 1883; and at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1884. He was awarded the Medal of Excellence by the American Institute of the City of New York. In 1892, he read a paper titled Yearly Tides before the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia.
Auchincloss was affiliated with a number of professional societies and clubs. He was made a correspondent member of the Instituto Polytechnico Braziliero in 1875, a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia in 1879, a member of the American Association of the Advancement of Science 1880 and was elected as a fellow of the same in 1886. He became a member of the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia in 1881, and was elected a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1881. He was invited to meetings of the American Meteorological Society in 1882 and attended meetings of the American Association of the Advancement of Science in 1880, the twelfth annual convention of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1880, and the fifty- fourth meeting of British Association for the Advancement of Science in Montreal, 1884.
Throughout his lifetime, Auchincloss authored a number of books in a variety of fields. They include the following: Examination of the Telegraphic Apparatus and the Processes in Telegraphy (1869), The Practical Application of the Slide Valve and Link Motion to…Engines (1869), Report Upon Steam Engineering, as Illustrated by the Paris Universal Exhibition 1867 (1869), A Lecture on the Importance of Extending and Developing Our Commercial Relations with South America (1875), Waters Within the Earth and Laws of Rainflow (1897), Ninety Days in the Tropics, or, Letters from Brazil (1900), Saint Peter, the Apostle of Asia (1901), The Only Key to Daniel’s Prophecies (1903), Bible Chronology from Abraham to the Christian Era (1905), Christian Era: An Extract from the Book of Daniel Unlocked (1906), To Canaan in One Year with Map of Route (1906), How to Read Josephus (1906), Christianity and the Britons (1907), The Mask of Eddyism 1908), Auchincloss’s Chronology of the Holy Bible (1911), Dates of the Holy Bible; An Abridged Edition of Auchincloss’s Chronology of the Holy Bible (1912), Submarine Journeys. Prophetic Weeks. Israel of the Exodus (1913), No Myths in the Bible (1914), and Standard Chronology of the Holy Bible (1918).
Historical and biographical information obtained from the collection.
This one-volume scrapbook, with contents spanning 1862- 1892, includes correspondence, maps, tickets, papers, photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, advertisements, and drawings; and was largely assembled from the professional activities of William S. Auchincloss. Evidence within the scrapbook points to the wide range of interests that captured the attention of Auchincloss, a civil and mechanical engineer, originally from New York who later resided in Wilmington, Delaware, and in Philadelphia. He traveled widely, participated in numerous professional societies and meetings, corresponded with a variety of individuals about an array of interests, created useful inventions and innovations, offered public lectures on topics from several areas of expertise, and wrote extensively about his travels, professional work, and biblical studies.
The scrapbook appears to have been compiled in the retiring days of Auchincloss’s life, using personal ephemera and professional papers to provide an autobiographical narrative of his significant accomplishments and life events. Newspaper clippings and other printed sources document the public sphere of Auchincloss’s work and activities. Patents, documents, and business correspondence on official letterhead, much of it international, reflect Auchincloss’s engagement as an American inventor with developing business and commerce in America and around the world.
For his scrapbook, Auchincloss used a “Shipman’s improved adhesive Letter and Invoice File,” patented 1871 and distributed by Asa L. Shipman & Sons, New York. The scrapbook contains roughly thirteen sections that treat different aspects of Auchincloss’s personal and professional life. Some sections were designated and labeled by Auchincloss; other sections have been suggested by the author of this finding aid. The scrapbook is one single volume; marked section dividers have been laid into the volume to facilitate access to the different sections.
The thirteen sections are: 1) Personal Life, 2) Averaging Machine, 3) Auchincloss’s Interest Rule, 4) Yearly Tides (paper), 5) Treenail Machine, 6) Link and Valve Motions (book), 7) National Narrow-Gauge Railway Convention, 8) Travel, and 9) Exposition Universelle de 1867 à Paris, 1867, 10) Navy Department, 11) South America, 12) Lecture on South America, and 13) Ninety Days in the Tropics (book).
Section 1 – Personal Life
Auchincloss saved a number of items from his personal life, including artwork from his children and boat plans from his own childhood and several drawings. His 1862 graduation announcement from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, as well as newspaper clippings of the event, are included. Other news clippings announce his marriage to Martha T. Kent of Philadelphia on May 3 (year not mentioned), and describe a later carriage accident involving both Martha Auchincloss and their young child. Auchincloss received letters of recommendation from the Novelty Iron Works in New York, as well as a letter from Troy & Greenbush Rail Road. He kept a number of advertisements for machine shops and businesses with which he was associated. Auchincloss also received numerous invitations, tickets, and memberships in a variety of clubs and professional societies including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Meteorological Society, the American Association of the Advancement of Science, the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
Sections 2 – Averaging Machine
Auchincloss’s invention of an averaging machine, 1880, raised considerable interest. The machine was “specially designed for averaging the monthly purchases of Messrs. J & P. Coats Best Six-Cord Thread.” He kept pictures, advertisements, drawings, directions, correspondence, and news articles about his invention and his presentation of it to various groups. Correspondents included Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Edge Moor Iron Company, Pusey & Jones Company, Harlan & Hollingsworth Company, First National Bank of Wilmington, R. L. McDonald & Co. Dry Goods, Spencerian Business College, Thomas J. Mustin & Co., Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, and the Meteorological Observatory of New York. The averaging machine was reviewed in Bookkeeper and Mechanics.
Section 3 – Auchincloss’s Interest Rule, 1891-1892
Auchincloss developed pocket-sized cards demonstrating his rules for calculating interest on accounts and saved several sample cards in the scrapbook, as well as a letter from J. Hay & Sons Wholesale Dry Goods & Notions about the benefits of the cards.
Section 4 – Yearly Tides (paper), 1892
Auchincloss included a copy of Yearly Tides, a paper read before the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia in 1892, as well as a letter from the Wisconsin Weather Service, and a newspaper clipping about the paper he read to the club.
Section 5 – Treenail machine, 1878
This small section includes a photo and description of the treenail machine, along with several newspaper clippings about Auchincloss in the 1870s.
Section 6 – Link and Valve Motions, 1869-1870
Auchincloss kept announcements of a new edition and book reviews and articles about his book, Link and Valve Motions (New York: Van Nostrand, 1869-1870), as well as several news clippings reporting the death of his father, John Auchincloss, in 1876. He also preserved correspondence he received from the Erie Railway, Rogers Locomotive and Machine Co., U. S. Naval Academy, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lehigh University, Sheffield Scientific School of Yale College, and the Southmark Foundry.
Section 7 – National Narrow-Gauge Railway Convention
Found in this section are newspaper clippings about narrow gauge railways and the Centennial Awards from the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, 1876. Jackson & Sharp Co. received an award in the “railway plant, rolling stock, engines” category for its passenger, boudoir, and library cars. Auchincloss also kept a letter from São Paulo, Brazil, and several business cards and advertisements for Jackson & Sharp Company.
Section 8 - Travel
This section contains a map of North America, Europe, and the Mediterranean marked to show the progress of Auchincloss’s 1867 trip abroad. He also collected ticket stubs from Egypt, Jerusalem, Germany, and France; a Custom House Certificate from Jerusalem; notes and correspondence from Egypt and France; a letter of credit dated 1867; and a membership card from the Wilmington Young Men’s Christian Association. Also present are correspondence with the Young Men’s Christian Association and news clippings about public lectures on travels to the Holy Land that Auchincloss delivered in Wilmington in 1877.
Section 9 – Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1867
Following his election as an honorary member of the United States Commissioners to the Exposition Universelle de 1867 à Paris, Auchincloss saved many of the notes, articles, and correspondence related to the Exposition, including three letters from the Department of State. Auchincloss contributed a report on Railway and Marine engines in the official reports of the Commissioners.
Section 10 – Navy Department
Found in this section are photos of various patents, photographs of Admiral C. H. Davis and Professor A. D. Bache, a ticket stub to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and correspondence from the Navy Department and the U. S. Coast Survey Office.
Section 11 – South America
Contained within this section is correspondence with Dom Pedro Segundo, Emperor of Brazil, and other material related to his 1876 visit to Wilmington. Auchincloss also saved news articles related to the Emperor’s visit to Wilmington and the Jackson & Sharp Company, of which Auchincloss was the vice-president in 1876.
Section 12 – Lecture on South America, 1875
Saved here are several news articles reporting on Auchincloss’s lecture to the Wilmington Board of Trade on the importance of developing commercial relations with South America. The lecture was delivered on April 13, 1875.
Section 13 – Ninety Days in the Tropics, 1874-1879
Between January and April 1874, Auchincloss traveled to Brazil, and upon his return he authored a book, Ninety Days in the Tropics. This section primarily includes correspondence related to the trip or the book, which was widely distributed to friends and colleagues. Two maps are also included in the section: one of the West Indies and a second of South America; together they are marked with the progress of an 1874 trip to Rio de Janeiro. The section includes notification of Auchincloss being made a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and a correspondent member of the Instituto Polytechnico Braziliero. Prominent Delawareans acknowledged Auchincloss’s book, including Thomas F. Bayard, Samuel Harrington, Henry du Pont, and William W. Lobdell. Correspondents include the Minister of Public Works of the Empire of Brazil; Professor Joseph Henry, Smithsonian Institution; Baldwin Locomotive Works; the Delaware Fire Insurance Company; Harlan & Hollingsworth Company; O Nuvo Mundo and La America Ilustrada; the University of Virginia; W. R. Grace & Co.; Henry C. Patterson & Co.; Consulate of the United States; Wilmington Board of Trade; James, Kent, Santee & Co.; The American Dredging Company; Henry du Pont; Lehigh Valley Rail Road Co.; the University of Pennsylvania; Railway and Car Builders’ General Supplies; Yale College; Botanical Garden Rail Road Company (Rio de Janeiro); Empreza da Estrada de Ferro (S. Paulo e Rio de Janeiro); Western R. R. Co.; J. & P. Coats; Star Rail Line; Jacksonville, Pensacola & Mobile Rail Road; W. P. Clyde & Co.; James E. Mills, Geologist and Metallurgist; C. Ludmann & Co.; The Trustees of the New York and Brooklyn Bridge; Keokuk & Des Moines Railway Co.; and the Louisville Bridge and Iron Company.