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Lewis S. Coryell papers


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 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

Lewis Slate Coryell was born in 1788 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, to Joseph and Eleanor Coryell. In 1813, Coryell married Mary Vansant, and the couple had at least one son, Martin (1815-1886). By the 1820s, Coryell had moved to New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he developed a successful lumber business. In 1829, he served as county auditor and began developing what would become a lengthy political career in Pennsylvania. As a state politician, he came in contact with many national officials, including Presidents James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, and James Buchanan. Coryell died in New Hope in 1865.

This collection of Coryell’s papers spans most of the nineteenth century and consists primarily of correspondence concerning state and national politics. Coryell’s correspondents are numerous and include A. Beaumont, Nicholas Biddle, John C. Calhoun, Simon Cameron, Stephen A. Douglas, George Mifflin Dallas, John M. Forney, John Forsyth, Samuel D. Ingham, Sam Houston, Dixon H. Lewis, F.R. Shunk, J.D. Stiles, George Wolf, and W.S. Woodward. There are letters from James Buchanan, which contain comments on the outcome of the Civil War and criticism of the Lincoln administration. In other letters, party politics and political conventions are discussed, with emphasis placed on party support, as well as finding a candidate who would be agreeable to the North, South, and West. Coryell seems to have been an ardent Democrat, and an interesting letter to him dated 14 February 1862 complains of the attempts of abolitionists to use the war as a means to end slavery, a position with which Coryell probably concurred. Most of the letters in this collection appear to be of great substance, containing many ideas and opinions on current affairs and politics. There are also scattered letters pertaining to Coryell's lumber business at New Hope, as well as the construction of canals, railroads, and roads (mostly in Bucks County).

The collection was once in six bound volumes. All the papers have been foldered in their original, roughly chronological order, and placed in five boxes (Box 5 contains former volumes 5 and 6). Boxes and folders are labeled by volume and page number. In box 5, there are a few letters dating from after Coryell’s death in 1865. These letters, bearing dates from 1866, 1867, and 1872 are written to antiquarian and collector John A. McAllister of Philadelphia. The connection between Coryell and McAllister is unclear, as is the reason why these few letters are in the collection.

Gift of Lewis S. Coryell.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Cary Majewicz
Finding Aid Date
, July 2009
Use Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Letters, (1806 – 20 July 1825). 0.2 Linear feet.
Box 1
Physical Description

0.2 Linear feet

Letters, (2 Sept. 1825 – 10 Aug. 1834). 0.2 Linear feet.
Box 2
Physical Description

0.2 Linear feet

Letters, (30 Sept. 1834 – 15 July 1845). 0.2 Linear feet.
Box 3
Physical Description

0.2 Linear feet

Letters, (3 Aug. 1845 – 22 Oct. 1852). 0.2 Linear feet.
Box 4
Physical Description

0.2 Linear feet

Letters, (29 Oct. 1852 – 18 July 1872, undated). 0.2 Linear feet.
Box 5
Physical Description

0.2 Linear feet

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