Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
James Philips Letter Book, 1800-1801

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, August 2011

Summary Information
Title: James Philips letter book
Creator: Philips, James, d. 1808
Inclusive dates: 1800-1801
Extent: 1 volume
Abstract:
The James Philips letter book (552 pages) contains copies of the Philadelphia merchant's business correspondence from February 7, 1800-June 4, 1801. Philips was involved in shipping and wrote to merchants throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Great Britain about a variety of foodstuffs and other commodities.
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:

1991. M-2623l.

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:

James Philips Letter Book, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

James Philips, originally of Manchester, England, lived in Philadelphia in the early 19th century. He had at least three brothers: Henry, John L., and Hardman. A merchant, James Philips traded flour, sugar, indigo, tea, and other goods. He died in 1808. Henry Philips founded the town of Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, and upon Henry's death James became an executor of his brother's estate. John Lee Philips lived in Manchester, England, and Hardman Philips became a community leader in Philipsburg.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The James Philips letter book (552 pages) contains copies of the Philadelphia merchant's business correspondence from February 7, 1800-June 4, 1801. Philips was involved in shipping and wrote to merchants throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Great Britain about a variety of foodstuffs and other commodities. The first 69 pages once held pasted-in documents, but all are now blank, with the exception of page 43 (which has a copy of a two stock certificates, dated February 6 and 7, 1800).

Most of the letters concern shipping and have notations about the safe arrival of cargo in various ports. Writing from Philadelphia, Philips discussed commerce with his mercantile contacts in various locations such as London, England; Manchester, England; and Havana, Cuba. In a letter of March 12, 1800, he warned Captain N. A. Perry of the difficulties inherent in shipping to distant locations, especially St. Domingo. On other occasions, he discussed the dangers of flooding the market and other economic subjects (April 14, 1800; June 5, 1800; et al.). His letter of December 30, 1800, contains a lengthy passage regarding his concerns about recent American political shifts; he also foresaw some of the conflicts that would take place during the War of 1812. The letter book has an index of recipients.

Partial List of Frequent Correspondents

  • [Jim] A. Brown, Baltimore
  • Samuel Corp, New York
  • Corp, Ellis & Shaw, New York
  • Charles Holmes, New York
  • Lawrence & Van Tandt, New York
  • C. T. & J. Marriott, Manchester (England)
  • J. & W. Mellish, London
  • Marriott & Robinson, Manchester (England)
  • Samuel Newton, Liverpool
  • J[ohn] L. Philips & Brothers, Manchester (England)
  • Luke Tiernan, Baltimore
Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Merchants--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.
    • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Commerce.
    • Shipment of goods.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    James Philips letter book,  February 7, 1800-June 4, 1801 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    Philipsburg Revitalization Corporation. "Early History." Philipsburg, Pennsylvania. 2005-2011. Online.