James Wilson papers

This collection of Wilson’s papers, housed in sixteen boxes, four volumes, and two flat files consists of original documents and a full set of photocopies of the original papers. Some of the original papers have been microfilmed. Because the original papers were once housed in volumes, each box is...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Wilson, James 1742-1798. (Creator)
Collection:James Wilson Papers
Collection Number:0721
Format: Manuscript
Language:English
Subjects and Genres:
Online Access:Link to finding aid
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LEADER 06998ntc a2200385 u 4500
001 ead-0721
008 130311i xx eng d
040 |e dacs 
041 0 |a eng 
099 |a 0721 
100 1 |a Wilson, James  |d 1742-1798.  |e creator 
245 1 |a James Wilson papers  |f 1710-1877, undated; bulk 1775-1794 
300 |a 6.4 Linear feet  |f ; 16 boxes, 4 volumes, 2 flat files 
500 |a Processing Information: Original pages from Volume 2, pages 58-64, containing some of Wilson's legal notes and a possible Constitutional draft, have been removed from the collection. Please see an HSP librarian if you wish to look at these pages. 
506 |a Researchers are asked to please use the service copies in Boxes 1-7 prior to consulting the original documents. The original deeds and legal papers in Boxes 8-9 are open for use without restriction. 
520 |a This collection of Wilson’s papers, housed in sixteen boxes, four volumes, and two flat files consists of original documents and a full set of photocopies of the original papers. Some of the original papers have been microfilmed. Because the original papers were once housed in volumes, each box is labeled with old volume numers and each item retains old volume and page numbers. These same numbers have been transferred to the photocopies. On occasion, some pages are notes as "missing," denoting what were once blank pages in the volumes. The collection contains material on the early federal government and on Wilson's business and professional activities. There are drafts of the Constitution and a corrected copy of the same from 1787; notes of debates and resolutions in the Constitutional Convention; drafts of treaties, memoranda on regulation of immigration, and establishment of the national bank; and business correspondence. Other materials include letters and miscellaneous documents; deeds and wills; surveys and maps of lands in Pennsylvania; articles of agreement, bonds and accounts; and letters of Mary Wilson Hollingsworth from 1801-1812. Besides the letters of Mrs. Hollingsworth, the collection contains other scattered material that dates from well after Wilson's death in 1798. Among these are letters and legal papers dating from the 1820s to 1850s, many of which are to or from Wilson's son Bird, who lived in New York and was an Episcopal minister. Although not extensive, Wilson’s correspondence is richly detailed and cover a variety of topics. For example, Silas Deane's letters to Wilson reveal his frustration at being accused of embezzlement by the Congress; while his letters from Paris -- partially in code -- report of the attitudes of the English and other European powers. Wilson's notes from the Constitutional Convention document some of the more interesting discussions of the meetings, including whether or not there should be a bill of rights. Mary Wilson Hollingsworth's letters to Abby and Sally Chauncey cover social and cultural aspects, such as travel, illness, and daily activities of an upper-class young woman. There are also some letters between Wilson's sons regarding the younger boy's stay at a boarding school in Reading.  
520 |a James Wilson (1742-1789) was one of Pennsylvania's leading politicians during the nation's founding years. He signed the Declaration of Independence, assisted in drafting the United States Constitution, and was a member of the Continental Congress. Wilson was also one of six men apointment by George Washington to the first Supreme Court of the United States. This collection contains a variety of papers on the early federal government and on James Wilson's business and professional activities. There are copies of drafts of the Constitution and a corrected copy of the same, notes of debates and resolutions in the Constitutional Convention, items on the establishment of the national bank, Wilson's business and personal correspondence, letters of Mary Wilson Hollingsworth, and miscellaneous documents. 
524 8 |a Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], James Wilson papers (Collection 721), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 
541 1 |a Gift of Emily Hollingsworth over several years starting in 1876. Some material was also the gift of Israel W. Morris, 1908. 
545 |a James Wilson (1742-1798) was one of America’s “founding fathers” and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was born in Scotland and moved to Philadelphia in the mid 1760s. While in Scotland, he studied to become a Presbyterian minister, but he did not enter the seminary. Instead, he went to Edinburgh to study bookkeeping. Soon after establishing himself in Philadelphia, he accepted a job at the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) as a Latin teacher; but he quickly gave this up when the opportunity arose to study law with John Dickinson. Wilson attained the bar in 1768 and moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, where he set up his own legal practice. In 1771, he moved again, this time to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he married Berks County native Rachel Bird in 1771. The couple had six children: Mary (1772-1832), who went on to marry Philadelphia merchant Paschall Hollingsworth, William (1775-1840), Bird (1777-1859), Emily (1782-1809), and Charles (1785-1810). Wilson entered politics in the 1770s. In 1774, he accepted the chair of Carlisle’s committee of correspondence. The next year, he was elected to the Continental Congress, where he sat on military and Indian affairs committees. He went on to sign the Declaration of Independence for Pennsylvania and eventually helped frame the United States Constitution. In 1789, he was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President George Washington. A year later, he became the College of Philadelphia's first professor of law. In his later years, Wilson turned his attention to land speculation, but a number of bad deals left his finances in ruin, and he even spent a few years in debtors' prison. In the 1790s, he moved to Burlington, New Jersey. He died while visiting a friend in North Carolina, where he was buried in 1798. His body was moved to Christ Church burial grounds in Philadelphia in 1906.  
555 |a Finding Aid Available Online:  
600 1 7 |a Hollingsworth, Mary Wilson.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Wilson, Bird  |d 1777-1859.  |2 NACO Authority File 
650 0 |a Banking law--United States--History. 
650 0 |a Banks and banking--United States. 
651 0 |a United States--Emigration and immigration. 
651 0 |a United States--Foreign relations. 
651 0 |a United States--Politics and government--1789-1809. 
655 0 |a Accounts. 
655 0 |a Agreements. 
655 0 |a Bonds (financial instruments). 
655 0 |a Maps. 
655 0 |a Surveys (land). 
852 |a The Historical Society of Pennsylvania  |b James Wilson Papers  |l 0721 
856 4 2 |y Link to finding aid  |u http://www2.hsp.org/collections/manuscripts/w/Wilson0721.html