James B. Price papers  1818-1848 (bulk 1818-1830)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Price papers consist of 39 letters written by James B. Price and/or his wife, Ellen, to James' sister, Elizabeth Price in Philadelphia. The earliest letters in the collection focus on James' personal life and suggest a critical interest on his and Elizabeth's part in contemporary literature. These letters contain scattered some information on medical matters, such as mention of the yellow fever epidemic of 1819 and the decision of the Philadelphia Board of Health to evacuate a portion of the population to safer grounds in New Jersey.

Price's letters from New Orleans provide excellent descriptions of the scenery and population of Louisiana. His contempt for New Orleans and mistrust for the "Creole" and "French" populations are vividly expressed. These letters are also of interest in drawing a strong, non-technical portrait of medical care and the effect of disease on the population of the New Orleans area in the 1820s. Ellen's letters focus on family and personal matters.

Among the more noteworthy letters in the collection are one concerning the Hicksite schism (1827 July). Although Price had ceased as a practicing Quaker, his sympathies remained with the Friends. In a letter dated September 28th, 1828, Price discussed his attitudes toward slavery which, if not actually pro-slavery, at least view the institution as largely benevolent, because, he felt, slaves were taken care of and not forced to work as hard as many whites.

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