Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Dutilh & Wachsmuth Collection, 1769-1833

Finding aid created by
Ellen Poteet, 2004, and Erin Platte and Meg Hixon, November 2012

Summary Information
Title: Dutilh & Wachsmuth collection
Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1769-1833
Bulk dates: 1781-1810
Extent: 0.75 linear feet
The Dutilh & Wachsmuth collection is made up of business correspondence, financial records, and documents related to the Philadelphia merchant company in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Many items concern George Louis Stockar, a Swiss merchant living in La Rochelle, France.
Language: The material is in French and 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:

1936-2004. M-305, M-763, M-1898, M-2662n, M-3074.1, M-3334, M-3349, M-4106.2, M-4217.2, M-4348.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


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:

Dutilh & Wachsmuth Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged into the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence and Documents
  • Series II: Financial Papers
  • Series III: Printed Items

The correspondence and documents series is arranged chronologically, followed by bundled materials (kept together to preserve original order). The financial papers series is arranged chronologically, followed by account books, accounts, and bundled materials.


Etienne Dutilh was born in Clairac, France, in November 1756. In 1783, he sailed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he established his first of multiple businesses. One of his partners was John Godfried Wachsmuth , with whom he founded Dutlih & Wachsmuth at the end of the 18th century. The company primarily traded coffee, sugar, cocoa, and logwood, with merchants in the West Indies and northern Europe. Dutilh and his wife Catherine had three children: Edmund J. Dutilh (b. 1798), Edward Dutilh (1799-1833), and a daughter who died young. Etienne Dutilh died on February 26, 1810.

George Louis Stockar , a Swiss citizen, moved to La Rochelle, France, in the late 18th century. He established a commercial house there in 1781 and later relocated to Philadelphia.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Dutilh & Wachsmuth collection is made up of approximately 160 letters and documents, 250 financial records, and 12 printed items related to the Philadelphia merchant company in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Many items concern George Louis Stockar, a Swiss merchant living in La Rochelle, France.

The Correspondence and documents series contains approximately 160 items, including the incoming business correspondence of Dutilh & Wachsmuth. The firm frequently dealt with food and lumber, and traded with merchants in French port cities, such as Bordeaux and Marseille, and in Philadelphia. Correspondents occasionally reported on the wheat trade and sometimes commented on political events in France and Haiti. Within a group of 14 items related to Captain Jean Christopher Sicard is a chart concerning a shipment of cargo between Marseille and New York, transported by Captain Sicard and signed on May 28, 1793. A group of approximately 10 items dating from 1781 to 1785 relate to George Louis Stockar, and include papers about his establishment of a business in La Rochelle, France. One letter, dated May 27, 1790, is written in German by M. Lang to John Godfried Wachsmuth, detailing a trip from Philadelphia to Fort Pitt. Lang notes the death of a pet dog, being injured by a captive bear, conflict with German settlers, and being persuaded by a wealthy family travelling with slaves to serve as their guide and protector against Native American attacks as they descended to Kentucky.

The Financial papers consist of approximately 250 items, such as account books, loose accounts, receipts, and other types of financial records, mostly related to the Dutilh & Wachsmuth firm's financial affairs. Some of the accounts pertain to John Dutilh's personal finances.

Among the collection's 12 Printed Items are a declaration by King Louis XVI, issued on June 20, 1784, to the citizens of the Canton of Schaffhausen, and a public letter to the citizens of the Pays-Bas region (May 26, 1795).

Subject Terms

    • France--Commerce--United States.
    • France--History--Revolution, 1789-1799--Economic aspects.
    • La Rochelle (France)
    • Philadelphia (Pa.)
    • United States--Commerce--France.
    • De Stockar, George Louis, d. 1793.
    • Dutilh & Wachsmuth (Philadelphia, Pa.)
    • Dutilh, Etienne, 1748-1810.
    Genre Terms:
    • Account books.
    • Accounts.
    • Contracts.
    • Declarations.
    • Letter books.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Receipts (financial records)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Correspondence and documents [series]
    Chronological correspondence and documents [subseries]
    Box   1 Folders   1-15
     May 9, 1769-August 4, 1832;  [February 26, 1865]; and  undated (157 items)
    Folder   1 : Oversize Manuscripts  
    Oversize Correspondence and Documents,  1781-1789
    Folder   2 : Oversize Manuscripts  
    Oversize Correspondence and Documents,  1791-1832
    Jean Christophe Sicard bundle [subseries]
    Box   1 Folders   16-18
     [August 12, 1791]-January 10, 1794 (14 items)
    Letter book [subseries]
    Folder   19  
     July 30, 1787-[February 27, 1788]
    Financial Papers [series]
    Folders   20-35  
    Chronological financial papers [subseries]
     January 13, 1780-January 6, 1838, and  undated (220 items)
    Folder   1 : Oversize Manuscripts  
    Oversize Legal and Financial Papers,  1781-1789
    Folder   2 : Oversize Manuscripts  
    Oversize Legal and Financial Papers,  1791-1832
    John Dutilh bundle [subseries]
    Box   2 Folders   1-2
     January 1782-December 26, 1802 (6 items)
    Account books [subseries]
    Folders   3-7  
     January 1783-May 1810 (5 items)
    Printed Items [series]
    Folder   8  
     1783-1833 and  undated (12 items)
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The William L. Clements Library's Michigan collection includes a letter addressed to Dutilh & Wachsmuth (November 9, 1795).

    The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has a collection of Dutilh and Wachsmuth papers.


    Schell, Ernest H. Inventory, Dutilh & Wachsmuth Papers at HSP. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1976.

    Wilcox, Pauline Seymour. "Engraved Portraits of American Patriots Made by Saint Memin in 1796-1810." Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine 48.1 (January 1916): 12-14.