John Bartram (1699-1777) was one of the towering figures of American botany during the 18th century, and founder of the longest-lived and most significant botanical gardens in the middle colonies. A committed Quaker, self-taught, Bartram established an international reputation in the field, earning notice for his acuity in locating, raising and describing the flora of the American colonies, as well as for his moral stance against war and slavery. John Bartram had two sons, Richard and Isaac, by his first wife, and five sons and four daughters by his second wife.
Upon John's death in 1777, the 38-year-old William followed in his father's shoes, becoming and important botanist in his own right. John Bartram, Jr., at 34, assumed the management of Bartram Gardens, Bartram's estate and botanical garden in Philadelphia, and maintained the horticultural and botanical business there. Like his father, John, Jr., maintained an active interest in medically or ornamentally useful plants, publishing at least one sales catalog, Catalogue of American trees shrubs and herbacious plants, most of which are now growing, and produce ripe seed in John Bartram's garden, near Philadelphia. The seed and growing plants of which are disposed of on the most reasonable terms (Philadelphia, 1784). Both Isaac and Moses Bartram became druggists and established successful apothecaries in Philadelphia. Isaac's business, documented in this account book, was located at 39 N. 3rd Street. His son, Isaac, Jr., continued the business after his father's death in 1801. Isaac's half-brother Moses and Moses' son owned an apothecary at 58 N. 2nd Street.