The Joseph Shipley, Jr., collection (1 linear foot) contains business and personal correspondence related to the Shipley and Bringhurst families of Wilmington, Delaware. The earliest items include letters to Joseph Bringhurst from correspondents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who commented on the cotton trade and finances from 1813-1817. The bulk of the collection is made up of business and personal letters to Joseph Shipley, Jr., from 1819 to the mid-1850s. Shipley, who lived and worked in Liverpool, England, regularly heard from merchants and family in Philadelphia and Wilmington and sometimes in New York and Manchester. The collection also includes some letters that Shipley wrote to his brothers. The Shipley correspondence often pertains to the shipment of cotton and other goods between the United States and Europe, to banking, and to family news from "Brandywine Mills."
Writers sometimes commented on current events or political affairs, such as elections, the advent of the "Native American" (Know Nothing) party and tensions between nativists and Irish Catholics in Philadelphia (May 14, 1844, and July 14, 1844), the "Oregon question," and the Mexican-American War. A letter from August 15, 1832, informs Shipley about the alarm over the cholera epidemic in Philadelphia. Several letters from the early 1840s mention the decline of the Bank of the United States, such as Richard Price's letter of October 30, 1840, which includes financial figures related to the bank. Shipley's later correspondence concerns personal and family matters, and he often received letters from his nieces and nephews in Delaware and Pennsylvania. The last items are letters written among members of the Bringhurst family. In one letter, Edward Bringhurst wrote to his wife Sarah about attending a religious service at the Sistine Chapel, presided over by the Pope (April 9, 1851). The collection also includes bills of lading, receipts, and indentures.