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Dorothy Merriman Schall papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1182

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of the papers of the Burd, Hubley, Patterson, Schall and Shippen families. The main protagonists are Edward Shippen, Sr., Edward Shippen, Jr., and Edward Burd. An additional, significantly-represented correspondent is James B. Hubley. Historically-prominent letter writers include: David Bacon, Owen Biddle, William Bradford, Benjamin Chew, George Clymer, Tench Coxe, John Dickinson, Josiah Dickinson, Henry Drinker, John Fothergill, Reuben Haines, Thomas Holme, Benjamin Levy, James Logan, Timothy Matlack, Thomas McKean, Anthony Morris, Israel Pemberton, John Penn, Willaim Plumsted, David Rittenhouse, Benjamin Rush, Nicholas Scull and Conrad Weiser.

The collection as a whole provides a view of 18th and19th-century Philadelphia. The greatest emphasis of the collection is on legal matters and cases appearing before the Pennsylvania Courts: divorce, assault, trespassing, murder, theft, counterfeiting, burglary, and property. There are also personal financial accounts, which provide a picture of life in 18th-century Philadelphia for people of means. The series on individual or family papers includes wills and property documents, such as for the estates of John Alford, William Allen and Humphrey Morrey, Edward Hubley, and James B. Hubley. Included in Edward Burd’s court accounts is a list of payment to witnesses in the trial of John Roberts and Abraham Carlisle, two Quakers executed for treason during the Revolutionary War. Of special interest may be documents related to Richard Morrey’s lease of land to Cremona (or Mooney), a Black woman.

The Patterson family papers include correspondence of Francis H. Patterson, with the US Patent Office and Scientific American in 1887-8 relating to his new photographic camera and patent process. Edward Shippen, Sr. correspondence is primarily on legal matters, some indicating how he and his son, Edward Shippen, Jr. worked together. There are also legal documents and accounts as well as personal accounts, the latter indicating household purchases for himself, family and servants, or services retained. Edward Shippen, Jr. letters relate to both family and business matters, especially land and money. There are also personal and business accounts, as well as documents on legal matters, including the shipment and sales of goods. There are documents reflecting both Edward Shippen, Sr. and Jr.’s involvement with the College of Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania).

The series on financial accounts include Supreme Court (Pa.) or other legal costs, Corporation or City of Philadelphia accounts which relate primarily to the building and maintenance of the city, taxation, and fines, but also to civil affairs, and some miscellaneous personal, court or other legal financial records.

The series on legal documents relates to court, mostly criminal, matters. The legal documents point to the range of cases appearing before the Pennsylvania Courts: divorce, assault, trespassing, murder, theft, counterfeiting, burglary.

The series on organizational papers, graphics and miscellaneous includes information on the establishment of the Bank of Pennsylvania, on Philadelphia business, including petitions to the mayor and on city services; a list of subscribers to the Turnpike Road Company at Lancaster; an unattributed diary of a business trip to PA and NY; some genealogical and biographical information on the Evans, Gregg, Hubley, Patterson, Potter and Schall families; and some miscellaneous graphic materials.

The series on shipping, land and monetary documents includes documents relating to cargo, sale, ownership, accounts, insurance and condemnation of vessels, as well as agreements of sale for land in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Berks, Bucks and Schuylkill Counties and some personal promissory documents.


  • Creation: 1686-1897


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical / Historical

Edward Shippen Sr. (1703-1781) was born in Boston, MA and died in Lancaster, PA. In 1725, he married Sarah Plumly. He was in business with James Logan in 1732 and later with Thomas Lawrence in the fur-trade business. In 1744, he was elected mayor of Philadelphia. From 1745 and for several years, he was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1752, he moved to Lancaster where he served as a prothonotary (chief clerk of a court, including recorder of deeds) until 1778. Shippen was also paymaster for supplies for British and Provincial forces, a county judge under the provincial government. He founded Shippensburg College and was a founder of the College of NJ (Princeton), Pennsylvania Hospital, and the American Philosophical Society, an original subscriber to the University of Pennsylvania and was the first chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Edward Shippen Jr. (1728/9-1806) was born and died in Philadelphia. At the age of 17, he began to study law, completing his studies in London at the Middle Temple. He was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia in 1750. He was appointed judge of the Vice-Admiralty in 1752, prothonotary of the Supreme Court from 1762-76, a member of the Provincial Council from 1770-75. He became the president judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 1784 and simultaneously, judge of the Court of Error and Appeals from 1784-1806. He was made justice for the dock ward in Philadelphia in 1785, president of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Peace and Oyer and Terminer in 1785, Associate Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 1791-99 and Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 1799-1805. He was a treasurer of the College of Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania) in 1764 and was a trustee of the university from 1791-1800 wrote the first law reports in Pennsylvania in 1790 and received an LL.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Shippen Jr. often worked on behalf of his father, both in business and personal matters.

Edward Burd (1750/1-1833) was a lawyer, practicing in Reading, Pa. until 1776 when he joined the colonial army as a volunteer. Appointed to the High Court of Errors and Appeals, he was also Prothonotary of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court until 1805.

James B. Hubley (b. 1788) was a practicing attorney for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held at Lancaster. The Bank of PA was founded in 1781.

(Information from Appleton’s Cyclopedia, University of Delaware website and internal evidence)


6 linear ft. (12 boxes)

Language of Materials



A view of 18th-century Philadelphia with especial emphasis on legal matters in which Burd, Hubley, Patterson, Schall and Shippen family members participated. The main protagonists were Edward Shippen, Sr., Edward Shippen, Jr., and Edward Burd.


Materials are arranged in the following series: Series I. Individual or Family Papers Series II. Financial Accounts Series III. Legal Documents Series IV. Organizational Papers, Graphics, and Miscellaneous Series V. Shipping, Land and Monetary Documents


Gift of George Schall, December 1999.

Related Materials

Gulielma M. Howland Collection (MC 1100)

Dorothy Merriman Schall papers, 1686-1897
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • October 2020: Reboxed and information updated by Lily Sweeney
  • June 2022: by Nathaniel Rehm-Daly, Harmful Language Revision Project

Find It at the Library

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