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America to 1860

Selected Primary Resources

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

Manuscripts and Archival Resources

Historical manuscripts and archives include the papers, letters, diaries, photographs, account books, ledgers, and records of individuals, families, and organizations. Unpublished finding aids to manuscript and archival collections are available in Special Collections, and a growing number of these have been posted on the Library's server for access via the Internet.

In general, University of Delaware manuscript finding aids include biographical notes, scope and content notes, series outlines, series descriptions, and container lists. All complete finding aids, including container lists, are available in the repository. In addition to the unpublished finding aids and inventories, Special Collections maintains a database of literary and historical correspondence and manuscripts.

A selected listing of these sources is included below, along with their manuscript collection numbers. For assistance of any kind, please contact a Librarian in Special Collections.

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MSS 096 Account Books and Ledgers Collection

Account books, ledgers, receipt books, etc. from various individuals, businesses, and organizations. A finding aid with descriptions is located in Special Collections. Selected examples are listed below.

Elizabeth Ashburnham. Receipt book from Wilmington, Delaware, 1824-1866.

Receipts for taxes paid and receipts from renters for board.

[General store]. Account book from a general store in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, 1817-1818.

Records individual transactions for various merchandise.

Item 051 Farmer's Bank of the State of Delaware. Ledger, 1813-1865.

Robinson Perkins. Account book for a watch and clock repairman from Jaffrey, New Hampshire, 1801-1829.

Item 076 William H. Russell. Daybook and account book for store in Newark, Delaware, 1825- 1838.

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MSS 097 Diaries, Journals, Ships' Logs Collection

Numerous diaries, journals, and personal narratives from different individuals. A finding aid with descriptions of each diary or journal is available in Special Collections. The descriptions include name, dates, place, physcial description (number of volumes), and scope notes. Selected examples are listed below, and for additional diaries and journals documenting various aspects of American history, visit the online exhibition of Self Works: Diaries, Scrapbooks, and Other Autobiograhical Efforts

Lucien Cyrus Boynton. Journal, 1835-1853.

Location East Coast, including Wilmington and Newark. Introspective journal of Eastern lawyer with particular comments on religion, nature, and higher learning.

Item 013 John Clarke. On board the ship Governor Morton, 1852 March 10–1852 December 20; 1 v. (ca. 200 p.)

Journal kept on voyage from New York to San Francisco with details of daily matters such as food, weather, and fellow passengers and crew.

Item 036 Ship Herald Stonington, 1841 September 12–1845 August 10; 1 v. : ill. (ca. 220 p.)

Locations Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean. Ship's log for the Herald of Stonington, Connecticut, on two separate whaling voyages: 1841-1843 to the Indian Ocean and 1845 to the Pacific Ocean.

Mary A.H. Hoskins. Diary, 1857.

Location Philadelphia. Diary entries mostly concern family matters, social activities, and domestic life.

Craigie P. Jenks. Diary, 1851.

Location Boston. Diary kept by farmhand reflecting work, religious convictions, social activities, and family matters.

[Unknown] "Lonely hours: a collection of miscellaneous songs and poems," 1848.

Location Wilmington. Album of poetry and song compiled by unknown author. Includes an epic poem entitled "Evanore: a tale of the Brandywine in two parts."

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Manuscript and Archival Collections

MSS 255 Albertson Family Papers, 1774-1880, bulk dates 1800-1862.

Personal and business papers of this Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, family. The Albertson family established the Plymouth Railroad in 1836 to deliver lime from their mining business. The collection also documents the family's involvement with the Plymouth Friends Meeting House.

MSS 175 James C. Booth Papers, ca. 1787-1888.

Consists largely of the papers of James C. Booth (1810-1888), an American geologist and chemist. Personal and professional correspondence, business documents, notebooks and journals, family papers, an extensive group of material relating to Booth's mother's family, and a collection of his father's (George Booth) literary manuscripts.

MSS 290 Thomas R. Booth Diaries, 1855-1860.

Six diaries kept by Booth, working as an engineer for the Pacific Railroad Co. (and other lines) in Missouri. The diaries note engineering challenges, personalities involved in management and construction of the railroad, details of daily life, and thoughts predicting the dark future of the Civil War.

MSS 242 Andrew Clow & Co. Papers, 1783-1814.

Business records and correspondence of Philadelphia-based importing/exporting firm. Partners Andrew Clow and David Cay primarily traded textiles with merchants in ports of London, Baltimore, Liverpool, and Cadiz.

MSS 271 George Gillespie Evans Papers, 1815-1904.

Trustee of Newark College and storekeeper. Collection includes correspondence, diaries, ledgers and accounts, and records of loans, real estate, and other investments.

MSS 117 Latimer Family Papers, 1690-1927, bulk dates 1770-1870.

Collection detailing the personal and business affairs of this family in the area of Chester County and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Particularly interesting for historical and economic documentation in the context of revolutionary America and early 19th century trade. Features papers of Dr. Henry Latimer, appointed in 1781 as Surgeon General of the Northern Division of the Continental Army, later elected member of the Delaware State Legislature and member of the U.S. House of Representatives; and John R. Latimer, who established an overseas trading business with China, 1815-1834.

MSS 130 Lewis Family Papers, 1700-1931, bulk dates 1780-1860.

Personal and legal papers of Newark, Delaware, family. Of particular note are papers of Albert Gallatin Lewis (1798-1883) concerning land purchases in and around Newark.

MSS 161 Lukens Family Papers, 1750-1904, bulk dates 1759-1800.

Personal papers and business records of members of the Lukens family of Philadelphia. Bulk of the collection concerns John Lukens, Surveyor-General of Pennsylvania and Delaware, 1761-1776 and 1781-1789. Includes much information on surveying, business and land transactions, and estate settlements.

MSS 203 Cornelius Masten Papers, 1811-1886.

Personal, business, and legal correspondence of Cornelius Masten, Judge of Yates County, New York.

MSS 240 Samuel Meredith Papers, 1730-1823.

Primarily business records and correspondence of Philadelphia merchant, Samuel Meredith. Meredith was appointed Treasurer of the United States, a position he held from 1789-1801.

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