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Pemberton Family papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1036

Scope and Contents

Correspondence (personal and business) and other papers of Israel Pemberton (1715-1779), James Pemberton (1723-1809) and John Pemberton (1727-1795). They were the sons of Israel Pemberton (1684-1754) and Rachel Read Pemberton of Philadelphia. They were prominent in both Society of Friends affairs and in the Philadelphia business community.

Letters to and from Israel Pemberton are noteworthy for discussing “Friendly Association for the Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures” matters and Indigenous Americans; letters of James Pemberton deal almost exclusively with business matters and letters of John Pemberton primarily discuss Friends, their activities and business matters.


  • Creation: 1741-1789


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Biographical / Historical

John Pemberton (1727-1795) was born in Philadelphia, Pa. February 27, 1727, the youngest son of Israel Pemberton Sr. and Rachel Read. Pemberton went to England for his health in 1751, and accompanied John Churchman on the voyage and on the preacher's travels in England. Pemberton first spoke as a minister in Penzance, Cornwall. He was involved in Indigenous American issues and was present at the Treaty of Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1758. Pemberton married Hannah Zane in Philadelphia in August, 1766. During the American Revolutionary War, in 1777, Pemberton was taken prisoner as a non-combatant in Winchester, Virginia. Pemberton went again on religious visit to Europe in 1794, where he became ill and died. He was buried in Pyrmont, Germany, January, 31, 1795.

James Pemberton (1723-1809) was born in Philadelphia, Pa. on the 26th day of the 6th month, 1723, the sixth son of Israel and Rachel Pemberton. Pemberton was a sucessful Philadelphia merchant, a founder of the Pennsylvania Hospital, and a member of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, of which he became president in 1790. He was sent as an exile to Virginia in 1777, when he was accused of disloyalty for not joining the military during the American Revolution. Pemberton was married three times. He married Hannah Fishborne Lloyd (d. 1764), with whom he had six children. He later married Sarah Smith (d. 1770), with whom he had one daughter, and his third wife was Phebe Lewis Morton (d. 1812), whom he married in 1775. James Pemberton died in 1809.


.25 linear ft. (1 box)

Language of Materials



Correspondence (personal and business) and other papers of Israel Pemberton (1715-1779), James Pemberton (1723-1809) and John Pemberton (1727-1795), the sons of Israel Pemberton (1684-1754) and Rachel Read Pemberton of Philadelphia.


Pemberton, Israel (chiefly letters addressed to him) ca. 22 items (1743-­1773) includes letters, receipt, bill, memorandums

Pemberton, Israel (chiefly letters written by him) ca. 12 items (1756­-1773), includes letters, drafts of letters, address, memorandum, minutes

Pemberton, James (letters addressed to James Pemberton) ca. 23 items (1741-­1785), includes letters, bills and receipts, accounts

Pemberton, James 2 items (1773, 1784)

Pemberton, John 3 items (1768, 1782)

Pemberton, John (letters addressed to John Pemberton) ca. 51 items (1753-­1789) includes letters, accounts



Related Materials

John Pemberton diaries (HC.MC-975-01-055)

Indian Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Records (QM.Phy.83)

Processing Information

Revised and box list updated by Lillian Sweeney, February 2020.

Pemberton Family papers, 1741-1789
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • February 2020: Revised and box listed added by Lillian Sweeney
  • June 2022: by Nathaniel Rehm-Daly, Harmful Language Revision Project

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