Rare Americana: Manuscripts

Rare Manuscripts from 18th century, 19th century, early 20th century American HistoryDiaries, Handwritten Journals, Correspondence, Account Books, Business and Family Archives

Ca. 1793 Manuscript with Yazoo Land Scandal Connection: “Observations on the Pine Land of Georgia”

Report by Judge William Stith Jr., a prominent speculator in the Yazoo land scandal, a fraudulent scheme to sell land in Alabama and Mississippi. Lands in Georgia’s Pine Barrens were also at this time the subject of land speculation and is about these Georgia pine lands that Judge Stith here writes.


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1901 Legal Case of a Female Philadelphia School Teacher who Refused to be Vaccinated

Bill of Complaint or “paper book” outlining her suit against the Board of Education and its Committee on Hygiene. Issues of liberty, public safety, and due process resonate with today's controversies over vaccination.


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Archive: American Sailor Seeks Bounty for Destroying Spanish Fleet during the Spanish-American War Battle of Santiago de Cuba

1905–1924 Archive of letters and documents of a disgruntled American sailor who served on board the U.S.S. “Texas” and later became an officer. Detailed history of one sailor’s service in the U.S. Navy and a close look at the mechanisms of naval bureaucracy at this time.


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Address Book and Letters kept by Philadelphia Homeopathic Physician Walter M. James, ca. 1904

Dr. James was the author, and publisher of the “Homeopathic Physician.” The 350 names and addresses found within shed light on his network of personal and professional friends and acquaintances.


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1826 Estate Financial Inventory and Accounts of 19th-Century New Orleans Banker and Millionaire Benjamin Morgan, formerly of the firm of Price and Morgan

Financial statements and accounts reveal Morgan’s wealth to be “one Million of Dollars clear of incumbrance.” Morgan was a wealthy Philadelphia merchant, sugar planter, a director of the New Orleans branch of the Bank of the United States, 1805–1811, and the first president of the Bank of Orleans.


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Ca. 1813 Manuscript Copy of Will of Timothy Edwards, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Edwards was the oldest son of Jonathan Edwards and the uncle and guardian of Aaron Burr. He served in the Continental Congress in 1778 and as a Berkshire County judge.


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