William Ellery account and letter book  1751-1773
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This volume contains approximately 350 pages of manuscript and typed minutes from meetings of the "Kekwan," a group of friends who met monthly on the northeast side of Philadelphia during the years 1899 to 1917. At their meetings, often held at members' homes, the group ate dinners, smoked cigars, and discussed political matters. Some minutes contain references to Native American culture, African Americans, and women.

The minutes cover the group's regular meetings between December 1899 and February 1907, with a few gaps, as well as two meetings held in 1911 and 1917. The members most frequently met at private residences in northeastern Philadelphia, though they occasionally traveled to suburban locations or cultural centers. The secretary sometimes utilized dialects or terminology from ethnic minorities, such as referring to women as "squaws." The minutes contain information respecting the foods eaten during the group's dinners and the cigars that followed many meals. The Kekwan members sometimes discussed current events.

Many minutes entered after 1905 were typewritten and pasted or laid into the volume. One member's formal resignation from the club and a manuscript that concerns the Kekwan's early history are also enclosed. The final entry in the volume, dated 1917, refers to the impact of the First World War on the group. Some of the members, too old for military service, had sons in the armed forces and were motivated to collect money for a war relief fund.

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