Levett Harris letterbook  1813-1814 (bulk 1814)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 2 volumes of financial figures, notes, and accounts kept by Philadelphia Quaker merchant Thomas Wistar and his partners; the account books record commercial and personal income and expenditures. One account book is for Adams & Wistar (127 pages, 1783-1800); the other is for Thomas Wistar (139 pages, 1791-1801).

The Adams & Wistar Account Book contains financial accounts, receipts, and detailed invoices for 1783-1800, as well as a loose document dated January 17, 1793. Most entries pertain to cotton and fabrics, though the firm handled goods of many kinds. The loose item is a copy of a legal document in which Adams ceded his interests in the venture and transferred the firm's assets and debts to Wistar. This document also includes a record of outstanding balances as of November 30, 1792.

The Thomas Wistar Account Book dates from October 14, 1791, to March 25, 1801. Early entries contain Wistar's accounts with buyers for a variety of goods, especially fabric. Notes from late 1791 concern trade with ships sailing into Philadelphia, often from Liverpool, and include calculations based on exchange rates between American dollars and pounds sterling. Thomas Wistar frequently dealt with members of his family, including his brother Caspar.

The bulk of these accounts are brief notes of expenses paid or received, though Wistar occasionally provided more detailed remarks. One early note states that goods are to be paid for in hams and that they are "to be deliverd at Philaa. packs in Casks in one week after the navigation opens in the Spring" (December 2, 1791). Another mentions the city's 1793 yellow fever epidemic ([September-November 1793]).

Later transactions concern Wistar's personal finances, including some labeled "House Expence" and "Building Expence." One of these records Wistar's tax payment of January 23, 1793.

The accounts also concern Wistar's estate and land holdings in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, and in New Jersey. The first page of the volume contains a memorandum: "Robert McKeighan is to have my Tract of land containing about 303 acres situate in Mifflin County" (January 30, 1793). Another note pertains to a payment for a "Lot in High Street… Legacy left me by my Father for my half part at the same rate purchased my brother Caspar's half part" (March 25, 1801). The account book mentions ships including the Adriana , the Atlantic , the Birmingham Packet , the Clothier , the Dolly , and the Harmony .

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