Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Burd-Shippen Papers, 1738-1847

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, September 2009

Summary Information
Title: Burd-Shippen papers
Creator: Burd, James, 1726-1793 and Shippen, Edward, 1729-1806
Inclusive dates: 1738-1847
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
The Burd-Shippen papers contain personal and business documents concerning Edward Shippen, Edward Burd, and their families and Philadelphian colleagues. Many of Major Edward Burd's items concern the 1st Battalion of the Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot in the early years of the Revolutionary War.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1980. M-1898.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Burd-Shippen Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized by person and further divided into various subseries:

  • Series I: James Burd
  • Series II: Edward Burd
  • Series III: Edward Shippen
  • Series IV: Edward S. Burd
  • Series V: William Tilghman
  • Series VI: Miscellaneous

Each series is organized into the following subseries: Correspondence, Accounts (personal and business), Documents, Maps, and Receipts. Each subseries is organized chronologically. Edward S. Burd's legal notebook is filed at the end of the collection.


The prominent Philadelphian Edward Shippen was born on February 16, 1729, to Edward Shippen and Sarah Plumley Shippen. A moderate loyalist during the Revolution, Edward Shippen served as judge in Philadelphia until 1791, when he became associate justice for the state supreme court. From 1799 until his death in 1804, he served as Chief Justice for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. One of his daughters, Margaret, married Benedict Arnold; another, Elizabeth, married Shippen's friend and business associate, Edward Burd.

James Burd was born in Scotland in 1726, moved to Pennsylvania, married Sarah Shippen (1731-1784) in 1748, and died in 1793. His son Edward Burd (1750-1833) rose to the rank of major in Haller's Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp in 1776, and was taken prisoner at Long Island that same year. After Edward's release, ill health prevented his reentering the service, and he returned to his legal practice. He served with great distinction as prothonotary of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (1778-1806). Edward married Elizabeth Shippen (b. 1754), daughter of Edward Shippen, in 1778. Their son, Edward Shippen Burd (1779-1856), became a specialist in property law.

William Tilghman (1756 -- 1827) was a Maryland born lawyer and Politian who succeeded Edward Shippen as Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1804.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Burd-Shippen papers (184 items) contain personal and business documents concerning Edward Shippen, Edward Burd, and their families and Philadelphian colleagues. Many of Major Edward Burd's items concern the 1st Battalion of the Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot in the early years of the Revolutionary War.

The bulk of the collection is comprised of approximately 75 letters addressed to Edward Burd and his son Edward Shippen Burd, with a small group of correspondence from Edward Shippen. The collection also contains ten items concerning Edward S. Burd and his legal colleague William Tilghman. The remainder of the collection is composed of receipts and various legal documents, most relating to Edward Shippen, including a receipt for a slave and a woman's petition against her husband for abandonment of their child.

Edward S. Burd's legal notebook (95 pages) covers from 1817 to 1846, and contains real estate transactions, illustrated plans of lots, title briefs, and cost lists.

Subject Terms

    • American loyalists--Pennsylvania.
    • Lawyers--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.
    • Real property--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.
    • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
    • Burd, Edward, 1750-1833.
    • Burd, Edward S., 1779-1856.
    • Burd, James, 1726-1793.
    • Shippen, Edward, 1729-1806.
    • Tilghman, Willliam 1756 - 1827.
    Genre Terms:
    • Legal documents.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Maps.
    • Notebooks.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Burd, James [series]
    Box   1 Folder   1
    Military Documents and Receipts,  1760-1776
    Folder   2  
    Map,  1773
    Burd, Edward [series]
    Folder   3  
    Correspondence,  1768-1790
    Folder   4  
    Correspondence,  1791-1794
    Folder   5  
    Correspondence,  1794-1805
    Folder   6  
    Accounts,  1787-1832
    Folder   7  
    Documents,  1790-1800
    Shippen, Edward [series]
    Folder   8  
    Correspondence,  1769-1805
    Folder   9  
    Personal Accounts,  1738-1755
    Folder   10  
    Personal Accounts,  1755-1756
    Folder   11  
    Personal Accounts,  1763-1769
    Folder   12  
    Personal Accounts,  1769-1770
    Folder   13  
    Personal Accounts,  1770-1789
    Folder   14  
    Business Accounts,  1763-1803
    Folder   : Oversize Manuscripts  
    Oversize Business Accounts,  1764-1771
    Box   1 Folder   15
    Documents,  1754-1797
    Folder   16  
    Miscellaneous,  1776-1787
    Burd, Edward S. [series]
    Folder   17  
    Folder   18  
    Accounts,  1812-1847
    Folder   19  
    Documents,  1807-1824
    Notebooks,  1817-1846    [Note: the notebooks are located at the back of Box 1]
    Tilghman, William [series]
    Folder   20  
    Correspondence,  1799-1824
    Folder   21  
    Receipts,  1802-1833
    Folder   22  
    Documents,  1807-1827
    Miscellaneous Materials [series]
    Folder   23  
    Correspondence,  1756-1815
    Folder   24  
    Receipts,  1773-1844
    Folder   25  
    Documents,  1721-1803
    Folder   26  
    Photographs and Miscellaneous Notes and Fragments
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library has more Burd-Shippen related material in the following collections. See the Clements Library card catalog for details:

    The Chaloner papers

    The Miscellaneous collection

    The Native American History collection

    The Anthony Wayne papers

    The Clements Library Map Division has two related maps:

    Additional institutions with Burd-Shippen materials include:

    • The Burd-Shippen Family collection is located in the Pennsylvania State Archives.
    • The Burd Family papers are located at the University of Delaware, Special Collections.

    The Corcoran gallery in Washington D.C. owns a portrait of Edward Shippen, painted by Gilbert Stuart.