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.
Herman Alricks Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Herman Alricks was born in Juniata County, Pennsylvania, on August 27, 1803, and moved with his parents to Harrisburg, where he worked with his father as a clerk for the Dauphin County Orphans' Court. Alricks studied law with Thomas Elder while working at the court, and eventually went into practice with him before opening his own law office. Throughout his successful professional career, Alricks maintained a commitment to the Orphans' Court. In 1863, he served for a few months as an orderly sergeant in the Pennsylvania militia. Alricks married Mary Elder Kerr on December 15, 1831, and they had five surviving children. He died on January 28, 1874.
The Herman Alricks letters consist of a selection of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania lawyer's incoming business correspondence, regarding several aspects of his legal practice. A number of professional acquaintances around Harrisburg and throughout southeastern Pennsylvania often requested legal advice or asked Alricks to take specific actions on their behalf. Some discussed the money collected by Alricks for them. Other writers requested other legal advice; Joel B. Ferree of Mifflin Township inquired, for example, on the legal power of a justice of the peace to make judgments in cases of trespass and related damages. Though the letters are overwhelmingly professional in nature, Alricks maintained friendly relations with several of his correspondents, and they occasionally included brief, more personal notes among their business discussions, such as William Whiteside's musings about local Anti-masonry politics and an upcoming election (August 17, 1838). The letters provide a picture of a lawyer's daily professional concerns in the early 19th century.