University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


Baker-Fales-Rush
Family Papers

1800 - 1926
(bulk dates 1820 - 1920)

Manuscript Collection Number: 311
Accessioned: Gift of the Moyerman Family, 1972.
Extent: 3 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, speeches, essays, contracts, sketchbooks, estate inventories, ledgers, financial journals, a passport, and checks.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: December 1994-January 1995 by J. Andrew Armacost.

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Table of Contents


+To Contents List of Baker-Fales-Rush Family Papers

Biographical and Historical Note

The affluent Baker Family of Philadelphia was closely tied to two other prominent Philadelphia families, the Fales and the Rush families. Alfred G. Baker had married the daughter of George Fales, originally from Bristol, Rhode Island, who in turn had married the daughter of Lewis Rush. This branch of the Philadelphia Rush family does not seem to be related to either the family of Benjamin Rush, the famous Philadelphia doctor, or William Rush, the Philadelphia sculptor.

Alfred Gustavus Baker (1831-1892) was born in Philadelphia on December 17, 1831, the son of Michael V. Baker and Caroline Shaw. He entered the University of Pennsylvania with the sophomore class of 1848, where as a senior he was elected president of the University's Zelosophic Literary Society. After graduating with the class of 1851, he worked in the Philadelphia dry goods firm of David S. Brown & Co. He then went into business with Samuel Leonard in the firm of Leonard & Baker, with which he was involved until 1870. It was at this time that he was named president of the Franklin Fire Insurance Company of Philadelphia, a post which he held until 1882. During this period, Alfred Baker maintained the financial stability of the company despite the overwhelming claims that were the result of the great fires in Chicago and Boston in 1871 and 1872. Later during the period 1877-1880, he served as president of the National Building Fire Underwriters of New York City. Since 1858, Alfred Baker had also served as Director of Philadelphia's Commercial Bank, a post which he held until 1883 when he was named Director of Independence National Bank.

Complimenting his professional life, Alfred Baker maintained a lifelong patronage of the arts. Atop the Baker building at 1520 and 1522 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Alfred Baker erected the first all-glass art studio space in America. This he lent to artists for free so they could draw and sketch at all hours and in all weathers. In addition to the visual arts Baker was a patron of music and opera as well. In 1884 he became president of the American Academy of Music in Philadelphia, a post which he held until his death. It was his intervention in the Academy corporation that allowed for a greater yearly program of opera and symphony to be presented.

During 1891 and 1892 Alfred Baker made two trips to Europe where he traveled widely in England and on the continent. He died soon after his return in Philadelphia on December 20, 1892. In 1862 he married Henrietta Rush Fales (1838-1897), daughter of George Fales and granddaughter of Lewis Rush. In the period after 1866, he served as executor in many family estates related to the Baker, Fales, and Rush families.

In 1866, Alfred Baker administered the estate of his father Michael V. Baker (d. Circa 1866). Michael V. Baker, the son of Michael Baker, was a wholesale dealer and importer of hardware and cutlery on Market street in Philadelphia. For a period of time, he was the partner of John Moss in the firm of Baker and Moss. In 1846, about twenty years before his death, he was said to be worth $50,000.

Alfred Baker also administered the estate of his father-in-law George Fales (1787-1879) in 1879. George Fales was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, on December 1, 1787, and was the fourth son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bradford Fales. He was the brother of the wealthy Samuel Fales of Boston with whom he was a business partner until 1811. After this he may have gone into business with B. Cheever in Boston in the firm of "Cheever & Fales"; however, by the 1830s he had moved to Philadelphia where he was in a dry-goods business with Mr. Lothrop under the name "Fales, Lothrop, and Company." Although this firm underwent many successive name changes, "Fales, Wharton and Company," "Wharton, Atkinson, and Company," "Vanuxem, Wharton, and Company," George Fales continued to be involved with the business until two weeks before his death in 1879. On October 1, 1830 he was married to Ann Rush (1800-1887), daughter of Colonel Lewis and Mary Marshall Rush, by Reverend Gilbert Livingstone, pastor of the First Reformed Dutch Church, Crown Street, Philadelphia. It was said that although he made some of his money in the dry goods and commission business he made the majority of his money by marrying Lewis Rush's daughter, Ann. In 1846, at age 59, George Fales was said to be worth $75,000. After the death of Lewis Rush in 1836, George Fales was named as co-executor of the Rush estate with J.K. Hassinger, a position he held until the year of his death. George Fales and Ann Rush Fales had five children, only two of which lived past the age of sixteen, Lewis and Henrietta. George Fales died in Philadelphia on January 14, 1879, and was buried in Laurel Hill cemetery.

Colonel Lewis Rush (1764-1836), son of Conrad Rush, was born January 16, 1764. He married Mary Marshall in 1792. He served as Captain of the Philadelphia militia in 1799, and later as Colonel of all the Pennsylvania militia in the war of 1812. He also served as treasurer of the Schuylkill Flat Rock Bridge Company. Lewis Rush and Mary Marshall had at least seven children: Ann, Mary, Lewis Shaw, Henrietta, John, William, and Thomas M. Lewis Rush died in late September 1836. Upon his death his estate was said to be worth about one hundred thousand dollars (F 48). The estate of Lewis Rush was set up in part to invest his money in the form of an endowment to benefit his children. His children were to receive stipends throughout their lives. At their deaths these stipends were to be divided among their children or individuals they designated. These investments were managed by the administrators of the estate, Jonathan K. Hassinger and George Fales. Their administration proved controversial, for their choice of investments were challenged in court in 1846 and on numerous other occasions. With the death of J.K. Hassinger, the administration of the estate was passed solely to George Fales, and in the 1870s to Alfred G. Baker.

George Fales Baker (1836-1929), son of Alfred G. Baker and Henrietta Rush Fales Baker was born in Philadelphia on July 14, 1863. Like his father he attended the University of Pennsylvania which he entered in 1879, and was a member of the Zelosophic Literary Society. After obtaining his certificate of proficiency in 1883, he went on at the University of Pennsylvania to obtain an M.D. in 1887. With the death of his father in 1892 George F. Baker became president of the American Academy of Music, and director of the Franklin Fire Insurance Company. By 1900, he was also Director of the City Trust Company, and the Independence National Bank. His profession, as described by a University of Pennsylvania alumni catalog, was that of a "capitalist." On December 30, 1900, he married Lillie Ingham Walker of Pittsburgh. In addition to his numerous professional affiliations, George Fales Baker was active in Philadelphia society. He was a member of the Memorial Pathological Society of Philadelphia, the Medical Jurisprudence Society of Philadelphia, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and was a life member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He inherited valuable property in Bristol, Rhode Island, which had been in the Fales family for several generations, and the sword of Colonel Lewis Rush. George Fales Baker died on July 6, 1929 of complications associated with Parkinson's Syndrome at age 65. Like his father, during his lifetime he administered many Family estates. He served as executor for the estate of his mother, Henreitta Rush Fales Baker, in 1897, and the estates of his relatives Mary Baker (d. circa 1894) and Elizabeth W. Baker (d. circa 1900).

George Fales Baker's sister was Anne Henrietta Rush Fales Baker, who was born in Philadelphia on December 9, 1868. She married John Frederick Lewis in 1895. Lewis, a member of the Pennsylvania bar, had been a special lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, and president of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Their children were Alfred Gustavus Baker Lewis born May 20, 1897 and John Frederick Lewis, Jr., born May 29, 1899.

Sources:

Birch, Thomas R. The First one hundred years of the Zelosophic Literary Society. Philadelphia: [s.n.], 1929.

A Biographical album of prominent Pennsylvanians. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: The American Biographical Publishing Company, 1888.

Fales, de Coursey, The Fales family of Bristol, Rhode Island. privately printed, 1919.

The financiers of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Financial, 1900.

Marion, John F. Within these walls: a history of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Restoration Office, The Academy of Music, 1984.

Memoirs and auto-biography of some of the wealthy citizens of Philadelphia, with a fair estimate of their estates-founded upon a knowledge of the facts. Philadelphia: By the booksellers, 1846.

University of Pennsylvania, biographical catalogue of the matriculates of the college. Philadelphia: Society of the alumni, 1894.


                                
            Hypothetical Genealogy of the Baker Family
            (Based largely upon information in F23)
                                
Michael Baker (d. circa 1852) m. Elizabeth
     1.  Mary Baker (d. circa 1894) 
     2.  Abraham Baker 
     3.  Michael V. Baker (d. circa 1866) m. Caroline Shaw
          1. Michael Baker (d. circa 1891)
          2. Alfred G. Baker (1831-1892) m. 1862  Henrietta Rush Fales (1838-1897) 
               1.  George Fales Baker (1863-1929) m. 1900  Lillie Ingham Walker
               2.  Anne Henrietta Rush (b. 1868) m. 1895  John Frederic Lewis (b. 1860)
                    1. Alfred G. Baker Lewis (b. 1897)
                    2. John Frederick Lewis, Jr. (b. 1899)
     4.  Elizabeth W. Baker (d. circa 1900)

Genealogy of the Rush-Fales-Baker Family Conrad Rush 1. Col. Lewis Rush (1764-1836) m. 1762 Mary Marshall (d. 1849) 1. Ann Rush (1800-1887) m. 1830 George Fales (1787-1879) 1. Lewis R. Fales (1831-1866) 2. George Fales, Jr. (1833-1845) 3. Mary M. Fales (1835-1838) 4. Henrietta Rush Fales (1838-1897) m. 1862 Alfred G. Baker (1831-1892) 1. George Fales Baker (1863-1929) 2. Anne Henrietta Rush Baker (b. 1868) 5. Bradford Fales (1843-1849) 2. Mary Rush 3. Lewis S. Rush 4. Henrietta Rush 5. John Rush 6. William Rush 7. Thomas M. Rush

Scope and Content Note

The Baker-Fales-Rush Family Papers consists of three linear feet of material related to these interrelated Philadelphia families. Materials in the collection span over more than a century from 1800 to 1926. The bulk of the material in the collection, however, is from the period 1820-1920. The collection preserves a variety of genres including correspondence, essays, speeches, contracts, estate inventories, ledgers, financial journals, and checks.

The collection has been organized around two members of the Baker family, Alfred G. Baker and his son George Fales Baker. The series of papers related to Alfred Baker comprises the bulk of the collection. It contains his personal papers and the papers related to the family estates he handled. Some material has been preserved from his early years including sketchbooks, college essays from the University of Pennsylvania, and speeches. A small amount of material has also been preserved from the end of his life when he made two trips abroad. Beyond these personal papers is a large body of material related to estates Alfred Baker administered. Many of these estates include personal papers and financial ledgers from the deceased. These estates have been arranged chronologically in the order Alfred Baker administered them.

Alfred Baker first administered the estate of his father Michael V. Baker, in 1866. Preserved, in addition to the estate papers, are several of Michael V. Baker's financial ledgers, some of which record the estate of his father Michael Baker who may have died around 1852.

In 1879, Alfred Baker administered the estate and papers of George Fales, his father-in-law. The correspondence of George Fales is preserved from 1828 to 1876 with several financial account books. In addition to these papers that Alfred Baker inherited from George Fales, was the Lewis Rush estate. George Fales had been the executor of the Rush estate from the death of Lewis Rush in 1836 to the time of his own death in 1879. With the death of George Fales, Alfred Baker assumed the administration of the Rush estate. Although Alfred Baker's involvement in the estate was limited to the 1870s and 1880s, he inherited a large body of previous estate accounts and personal papers of Lewis Rush. The papers of Lewis Rush are preserved from 1803-1835, and document aspects of his life other than his military career. In addition to Alfred Baker's ledger for the estate of Lewis Rush, are eight other previous ledgers and receipt books. With this collection of materials related to Lewis Rush are limited materials related to his wife Mary Marshall and his sons John, Thomas, and William.

The papers of William Rush preserve copies of letters that record his mercantile voyages to Porto Rico and other locations in the Caribbean during 1814. In these letters are discussions of the British embargo, discussions of the various other ships he encountered, and discussions of the state of various markets. Other correspondence reveals that William Rush had travelled to various locations in Venezuela.

The second series of papers is organized around Alfred Baker's son, George Fales Baker. This collection includes limited materials from his childhood, such as two sketchbooks and a Latin exercise notebook. More substantially documented, however, is his involvement with the Philadelphia College of Physicians. Material from 1907-1925 is preserved recording the financial transactions he made on behalf of the college. Several groups of papers related to family estates he processed are also included. The estate and papers of his mother Henrietta Rush Fales Baker, and his relatives Mary and Elizabeth W. Baker are also included. One sketchbook attributed to his sister Anne Henrietta Rush Baker has also been preserved.

Related collections:

MS 129 John Frederick Lewis Papers

MS 308 American Academy of Music Papers

MS 096 Account books: Baker and Moss account books


Series Outline


I.  Papers of Alfred G. Baker
     1.  Sketchbooks
     2.  University of Pennsylvania
     3.  Personal and professional material
     4.  Trips abroad 1891 and 1892
     5.  Estate and papers of Michael V. Baker
     6.  Estate and personal material of Henrietta Rush
     7.  Estate of Mary Rush Hassinger
     8.  Estate and papers George Fales
     9.  Estate and papers of Colonel Lewis Rush 
     10. Estate and papers of Ann Rush Fales 
     11. Estate of Michael Baker 

II.  Papers of George Fales Baker
     1.  Childhood material
     2.  Personal correspondence
     3.  Philadelphia College of Physicians
     4.  Estate and personal material of Mary Baker 
     5.  Estate and papers of Henrietta Rush Fales Baker
     6.  Estate of Elizabeth W. Baker 
     7.  Papers of Anne Henrietta Rush Baker


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