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Adams & Wistar Letter Book

An inventory of their item(s) at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRR
Date: 26 May 2006

Biographical History

Thomas Wistar (or Wister), 1764-1851, was a Philadelphia merchant. The Wistar family was a well-known one in Pennsylvania: Thomas' grandfather, Caspar Wistar, was a maker of brass buttons and later founded the first successful American glass house in Alloway Township, New Jersey in 1739, while Thomas' brother Caspar Wistar was a renowned physician, an early proponent of vaccination, and President of the American Philosophical Society. The Wistars were members of the Society of Friends.

About Wistar's partner, Richard Adams, little is know other than that he was taken on in late 1785 ("I have recently taken on a Partner in Trade [and] the Business in future will be carried on under the Firm of Adams and Wistar," 12 Nov 1785) and that by Sept of 1792 the partnership had been dissolved ("...closing the general accounts of the late Partnership of Adams and Wistar," 3 Sep 1792).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection consists of a leatherbound letter book containing copies of a hundred or so business letters from the firm to various customers and suppliers between 1785 and 1793. The letters concern outstanding bills, orders, and other business matters, mention imports ranging from indigo to silk handkerchiefs to seed, and are addressed to correspondents in England, Ireland, France, Jamaica and more.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Wistar, Thomas, 1764-1851.
Adams, Richard.

Corporate Bodies

Adams and Wistar.


Businessmen -- Pennsylvania -- 18th century.
Merchants -- Pennsylvania -- 18th century.


Pennsylvania -- Economic conditions -- 18th century.
United States -- Commerce -- 18th century.

Genres and Forms

Letter books.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Adams and Wistar Records,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchased, n.d.

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