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Thomas Wistar journals


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

Thomas Wistar (1798-1876) was born June 23, 1798, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Sr. and Mary (Waln) Wistar. Wistar was active in Native American affairs beginning in 1838, and was appointed as an Indian Commissioner in 1841. Thomas Wistar married twice. His first wife was Elizabeth Buckley Morris, whom he married in 1822. The couple had two children, and Elizabeth died in 1863. In 1867, Wistar married Mary Richardson, his second wife. Thomas Wistar died on January 16, 1876, in Philadelphia, at the age of 78.

Sources: Dictionary of Quaker Biography, Obituary in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.

This collection is composed of five bound, handwritten journals by Thomas Wistar. Each volume includes daily entries interspersed with correspondence. Journal entries largely describe Wistar's work as an Indian Commissioner, including visits to Washington D.C., the Seneca Nation, the Wichita Indian Agency, and other Native American Reservations. In addition to his work as a commissioner, entries detail social calls with family and friends, descriptions of Quaker meetings, and religious reflection and prayers.


Processed by Kara Flynn; completed July, 2015.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Kara Flynn
Finding Aid Date
July, 2015
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Collection Inventory

Vol. 1, 1841-1866.
Volume 1
Scope and Content

Pages 7-19 include early reminiscences, circa 1804-1842. Entries include a description of Wistar's arrest for embezzlement after traveling to Green Bay, Wisconsin to make a payment to the Oneida Nation on behalf of the U.S. government, and his ultimate release after an investigation determined he was innocent of the charge.

Vol. 2, 1866-1869.
Volume 2
Scope and Content note

Pages i-ii record trips taken by Wistar, including the dates and the miles traveled for each trip. Pages 137-138 provide genealogical information. Entries describe Wistar's upcoming second marriage to Mary Richardson.

Vol. 3, 1869-1871.
Volume 3
Scope and Content note

Newspaper clippings included in front covers concerning Quakers & Native Americans, and the Quakers applications to the U.S. government on behalf of indigenous nations.

Vol. 4, 1871-1873.
Volume 4
Vol. 5, 1873-1875.
Volume 5
Scope and Content note

Wistar is sent on a visit to the Wichita Indian Agency by the Indian Aid Association.

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