William Nisbet papers
Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
William F. Nisbet was a retired businessman and travelor from a wealthy New York family. In 1865, at the age of 30, he retired in order to travel. In 1858, he traveled to South America, and from 1865 to 1868, he traveled around the globe. During his travels, he wrote letters and sent artifacts and artwork back home to his family in New York. His obituary reads:
"William F. Nisbet of 400 West End Avenue, a well-known resident of this city, died yesterday of apoplexy, aged 71 years. On his mother's side he was of old Dutch stock. His father was a Presbyterian clergyman of Scotch descent. In early life he was interested in the Architectural Iron Works, but in 1865, retired from business and became an extensive traveler and art collector. He resided in Yonkers for many years, where for a long time he was President of the Board of Education. Mr. Nisbet was of striking and magnetic personality, and a gentleman of the old school. He leaves a wife and two sons." (Information from his obituary in the New York Times, February 6, 1906)
The bulk of this collection consists of about 60 letters written by William Nisbet to his mother and sister during his travels abroad in the 1860s. He traveled to countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The places he wrote from include: Paris, France; Cairo, Egypt; Thebes, Upper Egypt; Alexandria; Jerusalem; Damascus; Constantinople; Pesth, Alugary [?]; London, England; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Copenhagen, Denmark; Kristiansund, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia; Venice, Rome, and Naples, Italy; Malaga and Cadiz, Spain; Zurich and Lucern, Switzerland; Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland; Bombay, Nagpur Central, Delhi, and Lahor, India; Srinagar and Islamabad, Vale of Kashmir; Calcutta; Hong Kong; Shanghai; Peking (Beijing); Rio de Janeiro; Rio Grande do Sul; Buenos Aires; and while on a boat in transit. In addition to these letters, there are also some about travels in South America and some about his inquiries into the genealogy of his family. There are also certificates and legal documents pertaining to William Nisbet and other family members. There are documents inside the folder "Correspondence from Travel to South America" from Michael Brown Rare Books that give additional information about the collection and provide a selected amount of transcription from the correspondence.
This small collection is arranged into six folders. They are arranged into: Certificates & Legal Documents, Genealogical Correspondence, Correspondence from Travel to South America, Correspondence from Travel Around the World, and Correspondence and Financial Documents.
Processed by Madison Arnold-Scerbo; completed, May 2018.
- Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Madison Arnold-Scerbo
- Finding Aid Date
- May, 2018
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).
This folder contains: a certificate from 4/28/1881 for the "last will and testament of Ann Nisbet late of Plainfield New Jersey", a certificate of life membership for William Nisbet in the New York Historical Society 1900, financial documents from 1847 of stock account, merchandise, bills, cash, william hay, warden and bail, robert morris, house, profit and loss, and balance, and a packet of legal documents relating to James Nisbet, including deeds and wills from 1772-1812.Physical Description
This folder contains seven letters that are mainly to William F. Nesbit answering his questions about his family's genealogy. The correspondents include Dr. Bryand, William Hubert, Joseph M. Nesbit, and Arch Nesbit. There is also one letter from William Nisbet to his mother and one letter from Dr. Bryand to Ann Nesbit.Physical Description
These three letters were written by William F. Nisbet to his mother and sister during his travels to South America in 1858. He wrote from Rio Janerio, Rio Grande d' Sul, and Buenos Ayres. In his letter from Rio Janeiro on July 21, 1858 Nisbet recalled the story of an altercation between rebellious "negroes" and police who were "mostly mulattoes ad blacks and lack the manly determination and bearing of the white man they are unskillful in command on such emergencies."Physical Description
These letters were written by William F. Nisbet to his mother and sister during his travels around the world. Most of the letters are from the years 1866 and 1867. He traveled to Europe, Africa, and Asia. He numbered the letters from 1-63, but there are three numbers that appear to be missing (1, 4, and 47). Numbers 2 through 45 are in folder 1, and numbers 46 through 63 are in folder 2. The places he wrote from include: Paris, France; Cairo, Egypt; Thebes, Upper Egypt; Alexandria; Jerusalem; Damascus; Constantinople; Pesth, Alugary [?]; London, England; Amsterdam, Holland; Copenhagen, Denmark; Kristiansund, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia; Venice, Rome, and Naples, Italy; Malaga and Cadiz, Spain; Zurich and Luzern, Switzerland; Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland; Bombay, Nagpur Central, Delphi, and Lahors, India; Srinagar and Islamabad, Vale of Kashmir; Calcutta, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Peking (Beijing), and while on a boat in transit.Physical Description
This folder contains: a letter from Paris from Carleton to Martha, four undated pages from letters written by William Nisbet, taxable income, receipts and a letter from Duncan Sherman Company, an invoice of effects from St. Petersburg, and 13 envelopes addressed to Miss Martha A. Nisbet Yonkers, NY.Physical Description