Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Benjamin Franklin Correspondence, 1865-1866

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, April 2012

Summary Information
Title: Benjamin Franklin correspondence
Creator: Franklin, Benjamin, fl. 1865-1866
Inclusive dates: 1865-1866
Extent: 120 items
Abstract:
This collection is made up of 120 incoming business letters addressed to Benjamin Franklin of Burlington, New Jersey, in 1865 and 1866, concerning the oil industry in Kentucky and Tennessee. The letters relate to the discovery of new wells and deposits, the purchase of oil fields, the cost and delivery of equipment, and other subjects.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1985. M-2196.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Benjamin Franklin Correspondence, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Biography

Benjamin Franklin lived in Burlington, New Jersey, in the 1860s, and invested in multiple oil wells in Kentucky and Tennessee just after the Civil War. He frequently corresponded with business contacts in Louisville and Glasgow, Kentucky. Franklin was involved in the oil industry until at least 1866.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of 120 incoming business letters addressed to Benjamin Franklin of Burlington, New Jersey, in 1865 and 1866, concerning the oil industry in Kentucky and Tennessee. The letters relate to the discovery of new wells and deposits, the purchase of oil fields, the cost and delivery of equipment, and other subjects.

Though Franklin lived in New Jersey, he occasionally traveled south to look after his business affairs. He primarily received letters from business partners in Louisville and Glasgow, Kentucky, who provided him with detailed descriptions of local oil lands, including physical characteristics, anticipated yields, and the interests of other prospectors. Writers frequently encouraged Franklin to consider purchasing various properties. Other correspondence pertains to the progress of Franklin's wells and to the delivery of machinery, such as steam engines. Most letters directly or indirectly concern Franklin's finances, including content about his stock holdings and costs associated with his oil interests. Partial copies of his draft responses accompany a portion of his incoming letters.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Burlington (N.J.)
    • Glasgow (Ky.)
    • Louisville (Ky.)
    • Oil wells--Equipment and supplies.
    • Petroleum industry and trade--History.
    • Petroleum industry and trade--Kentucky.
    • Petroleum industry and trade--Tennessee.
    • Petroleum industry and trade--United States.
    • Petroleum--Prospecting.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
     
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   1 Folders   1-9
     March 28, 1865-April 6, 1866, and  undated