Wister and Butler Families Papers

The Wister and Butler families were prominent in Philadelphia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and had ties to numerous other prominent families in the Philadelphia region, Georgia, and Great Britain. The bulk of the collection concerns Pierce (Mease) Butler and his daughters Sarah Butler...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Authors: Butler, Pierce 1807-1867. (Creator), Leigh, Frances Butler 1838-1910. (Creator), Wister, Sarah Butler 1835-1908. (Creator)
Collection:Wister and Butler Families Papers
Collection Number:1962
Format: Manuscript
Language:English
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Online Access:Link to finding aid
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Physical Description: 21.5 Linear feet ; 46 boxes, 55 volumes, 17 flat files
Summary: The Wister and Butler families were prominent in Philadelphia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and had ties to numerous other prominent families in the Philadelphia region, Georgia, and Great Britain. The bulk of the collection concerns Pierce (Mease) Butler and his daughters Sarah Butler Wister and Frances Anne Butler Leigh. Butler's former wife Frances Anne Kemble (Butler), known as Fanny Kemble, and various other family members are also represented. The bulk of the collection is correspondence and estate papers; it also includes diaries, newspapers and newspaper clippings, business papers, real estate papers, ledgers and other financial documents, photographs, and other miscellaneous papers. The collection provides insights into a wide variety of topics, including women's history, the Civil War, African American history, family history, politics, culture, and the life of actress Fanny Kemble and her daughters. The materials concerning the Butler plantations both before and after the Civil War are particularly interesting.
This collection contains the papers of Pierce (Mease) Butler, his daughters Sarah Butler Wister and Frances Anne Butler Leigh, and many other members of the Butler, Wister, and related families. The collection contains primarily correspondence and estate papers, but it also includes diaries; newspapers and newspaper clippings; business papers; real estate papers; ledgers and other financial documents; photographs; and a variety of miscellaneous papers. The collection is arranged in ten series, preserving an earlier arrangement schema that grouped materials by family member. This plan may have been created by Florence Bayard Kane, a private librarian hired by Owen Wister in the 1930s to arrange the family papers. Kane left brief annotations on slips of paper throughout the collection. Note that the divisions between family members' papers are not always tidy, and researchers may find relevant materials in multiple series. Family members who did not warrant their own grouping in that older arrangement schema have been arranged alphabetically in Series 10 (Miscellaneous family papers). Volumes are arranged alphabetically by family member, and then chronologically within each series.