Skip to main content

Robert Proud manuscripts

 Collection
Identifier: HC.MC-950-152

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of the single folder collection of Robert Proud's manuscripts. The majority of the collection is comprised of notes on Robert Proud's life, presumably written by a descendant. The most significant item is titled "Notes & memorandums by Robert Proud of Philadelphia respecting his early turn of mind, education etc., anno 1786." There is also information in another hand about other Proud family members, a Robert Proud signature, and some fragments.

Dates

  • Undated.

Creator

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Biographical Note

Robert Proud (1728-1813) was born on May 10, 1728, in Yorkshire, England, to William and Ann Proud. After his primary schooling, he was sent to a Quaker boarding school where he became immersed in classical studies. By 1750, he ended his schooling and became a Latin tutor for prominent Quaker families in London.

He moved to Philadelphia in 1759, and changed residence 12 times, living with people such as Anthony Benezet, Israel Morris, and Benjamin Morgan. He attempted to start his own Latin school, but it closed by 1761, and he began a teaching position in the Friends School. He left his teaching job in 1770, and attempted a business enterprise with his brother John in England, which failed. While Proud was a strong Loyalist, during his time living with the liberal-leaning and anti-slavery advocate Anthony Benezet, he started to soften his views on “the American cause,” considered becoming involved in civic affairs, and wrote several documents regarding misuse of funds in the city. By 1774, and with the beginnings of uprisings of certain Patriot groups, Proud returned to his Loyalist roots.

From 1775 to 1780, Proud left his position at The Friends School and went into seclusion, where he began writing on various subjects, and working on his best-known work, The History of Pennsylvania in North America. During this time, he was under the watchful eye of the Patriot committees in the city, but avoided being formally addressed.

The full title of Proud's history is: "The history of Pennsylvania, in North America : from the original institution and settlement of that province, under the first proprietor and governor, William Penn, in 1681, till after the year 1742; with an introduction, respecting, the life of W. Penn, prior to the grant of the province, and the religious society of the people called Quakers: with the first rise of the neighbouring colonies, more particularly of West-New Jersey, and the settlement of the Dutch and Swedes on Delaware. To which is added, a brief description of the said province, and of the general state, in which it flourished, principally between the years 1760 and 1770. With an appendix written principally between the years 1776 and 1780, by Robert Proud."

The History of Pennsylvania in North America was actually Proud’s attempt to continue the work begun by Samuel Smith, who focused on the history of New Jersey. Proud was believed that he would be compensated by members of his Quaker meeting for this project. He decided to change the focus of the book to Pennsylvania, focusing on what he considered the most prestigious years in Pennsylvania history. Proud mostly focused on William Penn and Quakerism, during the years 1681-1725 and 1760-1770, and avoided discussing The Revolutionary War, save for one paragraph in his two-volume work. In 1793, after leaving another position as a teacher at the Friends School, he began to look for a publisher, and worked with Zachariah Poulson, Jr. in Philadelphia. Though he had found a publisher, Proud was responsible for selling his book, and he had few subscribers. In desperation, he shipped books to his brothers hoping they could sell them in England. Proud attempted to have his Quaker meeting support him in the sales of the remaining copies, but none was given. The book was highly unsuccessful, due to its Loyalist leanings, and some very strong inaccuracies. Robert Proud died in 1813, at the age of 85.

Source: From the Finding Aid for the Robert Proud collection, col. 0529, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Extent

.01 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language

English

Overview

This collection is comprised of the single folder collection of Robert Proud's manuscripts. The majority of the collection is comprised of notes on Robert Proud's life, presumably written by a descendant. The most significant item is titled "Notes & memorandums by Robert Proud of Philadelphia respecting his early turn of mind, education etc., anno 1786." There is also information in another hand about other Proud family members, a Robert Proud signature, and some fragments.

Acquisition

The Robert Proud manuscripts were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 1981 by the William Penn Charter School through Grace Wheeler.

Related Materials

  • HC.MC.850.5 Lantern slides (miscellanous Quaker portraits and Henry J. Cadbury travels)
  • HC.MC.900 John Jay smith papers
  • HC.MC.966 Nicholas Waln family papers
  • HC.MC.1115 William Penn Charter School archives
  • HC.MC.975.01.085 Elizabeth Wilkinson journal

Processing Information

Processed by Kara Flynn; completed March, 2016.

Title
Robert Proud manuscripts, undated
Author
Kara Flynn
Date
March, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting reproductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

Contact:
370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US