Special Collections Department
Shipley Family Papers
1841 - 1911
Manuscript Collection Number: 248
Accessioned: Gift of Moyerman Family, 1972
Extent: 229 items (.75 linear ft.)
Content: Correspondence, financial and legal documents, receipt and account books, and printed materials
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: Fall 1991 by Neva J. Specht
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
Thomas Shipley was a conveyancer and dealt primarily in the business of drawing deeds, leases, or other writings for transferring the title of property, and settling estates. He worked from his office located at 21 North 7th street in Philadelphia. His business thrived for almost four decades, beginning around 1850 and lasting until 1888 when his son, who had joined his father's business in 1883, left to form his own firm. Thomas Shipley was married to Eliza M. Drinker and they had a son, Walter Penn. The Shipleys were active members of the Society of Friends. They were also political supporters of the Republican party.
Walter Penn Shipley was born on June 20, 1860. He attended Haverford College prior to graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1883. He studied law with P. Pemberton Morris before being admitted to the bar in 1883. After working with his father for five years, he joined with Effingham B. Morris and George Vaux, Jr. to form the firm Morris, Shipley and Vaux in 1888. Following the death of both his law partners, Walter Shipley continued his general law practice independently until his own retirement in 1927.
Walter Penn Shipley had a lifelong interest in chess. He wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer's chess column for 34 years, co- authored the “History of Chess in Philadelphia,” and won numerous city and state tournaments as an amateur player. In addition to his chess interests, Walter Penn Shipley was a director for the John C. Winston Company, a member of the Friends Meeting house at Green and Coulter streets, served as treasurer for the Germantown Preparative Meeting of Friends, and was involved in helping the Home of Aged and Infirm Colored Persons.
Walter Shipley married Anne Emlen on October 17, 1879. They had three sons: Thomas Emlen Shipley (b. 1890); James Emlen Shipley (b. 1894); and Walter Penn Shipley, Jr. (b. 1897). On February 17, 1942, at the age of 81, Walter Penn Shipley died at his home in Germantown where he had lived most of his life.
“Walter P. Shipley, Expert on Chess” (obituary), New York Times, February 18, 1942, p. 19, section 3.
Note: Biographical information on Thomas Shipley was derived from the collection.
The Shipley Family Papers contain 229 items including correspondence, printed documents, receipts, and account books pertaining to Thomas Shipley and his business, as well as to his son Walter Penn Shipley. The bulk of the material relates to the years when Thomas Shipley was most active as a conveyancer, 1850- 1888; however, a few items date from the 1840s, and Walter Penn Shipley's correspondence reaches into the first decade of the twentieth century.
This collection contains many documents which deal with title transfers, leases, and real estate sales in Philadelphia. In addition, the collection contains correspondence, documents, and receipts that relate to the settlements of the estates of Samuel J. Henderson, John W. Furlong, Joseph Banes, Reynolds Hamm, and John Phillips. Much of the correspondence between Thomas Shipley and his clients concerns problems with tenancy, especially such problems as evictions, rent collection, maintenance of property, and real estate sales. Also in the collection are receipt and account books which deal with Samuel J. Henderson's estate, Thomas Shipley's personal expenses, rents and small accounts, and his household accounts. The household, double entry account book documents purchases for the Shipley household for 1859-1861. Also included in the collection is a receipt book from Walter Penn Shipley's business.
Other items include plans and maps of the Philadelphia surrounding area showing proposed railroad routes, and property divisions; letters between Walter Penn Shipley and his friends about his July 1880 vacation to Hot Springs, Virginia, and about his interest in chess. There are also letters from job applicants to Walter Shipley's wife, Anna, about an opening in 1907 for Matron of the Industrial Home for Colored Women.
The papers have been arranged chronologically and divided into three series. Series I consists of the correspondence and documents that relate to Thomas Shipley and his business. The last folder in this series contains the undated items in the collection pertaining to Thomas Shipley. Included in Series II are miscellaneous items. These include plans and maps, newspaper clippings, and Thomas Shipley's various receipt and account books. Series III includes correspondence and documents of members of the Shipley family. Included are letters to and from Walter Penn Shipley, letters to Anne Shipley and a receipt book for Walter Shipley's business.
I. Correspondence and Documents of Thomas Shipley, 1841-1885 II. Miscellaneous, 1845-1889 III. Family Correspondence and Documents, 1876-1911
Box -- Folder -- Contents
Series I. Correspondence and Documents of Thomas Shipley, 1841-1885 181 items, 235 leaves Includes correspondence and documents relating to Thomas Shipley and his business. 1 F1 Correspondence and Documents, Dec 1841-Jun 1847 Includes title transfers and documents related to the John Northrop estate. F2 Correspondence and Documents, Mar 1850-Jun 1851 Includes printed document of legal claim by Samuel J. Henderson, the defense attorney in Barnet vs. Darrah, for a new trial; documents dealing with resale of four lots owned by the Mentz family in Bristol township; settlement of John A. Drew real estate; and a rough draft of a letter concerning the estate of Mr. Henderson for whom Thomas Shipley was the executor. F3 Correspondence and Documents, Sep 1852-Dec 1855 Includes documents pertaining to the John W. Furlong estate; a release of lien to Edmund R. Helmbold, and a bond of indemnity between Helmbold and Thomas Shipley; and miscellaneous business receipts. F4 Correspondence and Documents, Jan-May 1856 Transactions with the William P. Hamm estate; notice for advertisement to be placed in the Public Ledger. F5 Correspondence and Documents, Feb 1857-Aug 1860 Second account of Samuel J. Henderson; documents related to the Furlong estate; list of mortgages; tax receipts. F6 Correspondence and Documents, Apr 1863-Dec 1874 Printed pamphlet “Brief of title to 25 contiguous lots of ground situated on the Southside of Master Street”; correspondence on J. Northrup estate; building permit requests; tax receipts. F7 Correspondence and Documents, Apr 1875-Dec 1879 Tax receipts, note and poem sent to Thomas Shipley's doctor; documents about life insurance; rough draft and printed letter to the editor about the naming of the Germantown Railroad station. F8 Correspondence and Documents, Mar 1880-Jun 1881 Notice for a meeting of the Conveyance association with attached documents with proposed changes; tax and other miscellaneous receipts for Joseph M. Banes estate. F9 Correspondence and Documents, Jul-Dec 1882 Correspondence concerning the Banes estate from E. Hopper, Sarah Banes, John Rees, Howard Banes, Richard Hulme, Phillip Leman, Henry K. Pearson, and Thomas Shipley. Also included a list of the Banes tenants. F10 Correspondence and Documents, 1883-1885 Includes printed document about Perot Lardnes estate; list of Banes's tenants and amount owed; correspondence on taxes; fence construction contracts for Thomas Shipley residence. F11 Correspondence, Documents and Miscellaneous notes, [n.d.] Includes two pages of algebra notes; John Watts epitaph; sonnet on the Lord's Prayer by Judge Conrad; real estate appraisals; miscellaneous receipts; descriptions of real estate; list of attorneys; and abstract of a will. Series II. Miscellaneous, 1845-1889 Includes items associated with Thomas Shipley and his business. Includes receipt and account books, plans, maps, and newspaper clippings. Dates are listed when available. 17 items. 2 F12 Plans and drawings, 1845-1882 5 items, 5 leaves Includes a plan of H.H. Houston, December 28, 1882, railroad penciled on map; drawing of Pulaski and Wayne Streets in Philadelphia shows a drawn red line that appears to be plans for a proposed railroad; 1880 drawing of planned route for the Pennsylvania RR through Chestnut Hill [oversized]; plan of Olney, estate of Samuel C. Ford, in Bristol Township, drawn October 1845 by William L. Roberts [Oversized]; copy of a 1751 drawing of Lower Merrian Township copied from the Charles Lehmans Survey Book [oversized]. F13 Preservation copies of newspaper articles, [n.d.] Unidentified clippings from The Semi-Weekly Times. Include articles on 1856 Democratic Presidential convention, North and South Notions on dueling, speech by Wm. H. Seward on “Political Parties of the Day,” and a congressional report on the attack of Senator Preston Brooks on Senator Charles Sumner May 28, 1856. F14 Original Newspaper clippings, [n.d.] Unidentified clippings from The Semi-Weekly Times. See F13, above, for subjects covered. F15 Receipt books, 1846-1851 and 1853-1865 General receipt book for Thomas Shipley for the period 1846-1851 and Estate receipt book for Samuel J. Henderson for the period 1853-1865. F16 Rent book, 1879-1889 Thomas Shipley Rent book containing accounts of tenants and accounts of interest money for the period 1879-1889. F17 Household Account Book, 1859-1878 Double entry account book kept by Eliza Shipley. Shows what was purchased for household and how much it cost for the period 1859-1878, (bulk dates 1859-1861). Series III. Family Correspondence and Documents, 1876-1911 30 items, 35 leaves Includes correspondence and documents from Thomas Shipley's son Walter Penn and his business. In addition there is a small group of letters written to Anne Shipley (Thomas Shipley's daughter-in-law). 3 F18 Walter Penn Shipley's Correspondence and Documents, 1876-1908 Includes correspondence concerning a trip in July 1880 to Hot Spring, Va., and chess, documents about land settlement, and descriptions of property. F19 Mrs. Anne Shipley's Correspondence, 1907-1911 Includes correspondence concerning the hiring of a person for Matron of the Industrial Home for Colored Women. Letters are from both job applicants and references. F20 Walter Penn Shipley's Receipt Book, 1900-1903 Includes receipts and accounts of interest for land and estates.
Last modified: 01/19/11