Manuscripts Division William L. Clements Library University of Michigan
Finding aid for William and Isaac Perkins Papers, 1784-1794
Finding aid created by Shannon Wait, April 2010
Title: William and Isaac Perkins papers Creator: Perkins, Isaac, 1741-ca. 1795 Inclusive dates: 1784-1794 Extent: 0.5 linear feet Abstract:
The William and Isaac Perkins papers contain correspondence written between brothers William Lee Perkins and Isaac Perkins, 1784-1794, concerning politics, their careers, and family news.
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
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.
William and Isaac Perkins Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The letters are arranged chronologically.
William Lee Perkins was born on February 10, 1736, in Suffolk, Massachusetts, and his brother Isaac was born on September 4, 1741. They were the sons of physician John Perkins and his wife, Abigail Lee. Like his father, William studied medicine; in the 1760s, he was recognized for his work in Massachusetts fighting smallpox with inoculation. A Loyalist, he was exiled to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1776, and several years later returned to England, where he continued to practice medicine at Kingston upon Thames, and where he published several articles on medicine. He died in 1797. His brother Isaac, a deacon, remained in North America at Ashford, Connecticut.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The William and Isaac Perkins papers contain 18 letters written between brothers William Lee Perkins and Isaac Perkins, of Ashford, Connecticut, and Kingston upon Thames, England. Their correspondence, written from 1784 to1794, frequently touched on politics, including a fairly long account of Shays' Rebellion (January 25, 1787), mention of the Constitutional Convention (May 28, 1787), and speculation by William on the chances of a reunion between the United States and Great Britain (May 14, 1787).
Also present are comments on Loyalists, the national debt, and news concerning their families and careers. In his letter dated April 4, 1788, William Lee Perkins commented on his medical writing, including attempts at "arranging and distinguishing diseases, which I am contributing my poor Endeavours to introduce in this Country." He also gave medical advice in several letters.
Kingston upon Thames (London, England)
Shays' Rebellion, 1786-1787.
United States. Constitutional Convention (1787)
United States--Politics and government--1783-1809.
Perkins, William Lee, 1736-1797.
Perkins, Isaac, b. 1741.
Container / Location
Box 46, Small Collections
William and Isaac Perkins papers [series]
September 9, 1784-July 18, 1785
July 30, 1786-January 25, 1787
March 12, 1787-April 4, 1788
July 3, 1788-April 1794
Additional Descriptive Data
This collection was originally thought to be related to the Perkins family papers, but no connection between the two families has been found.