Logan family 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
The Logan family was a prominent Philadelphia family dating back to 1699, when James Logan, the family patriarch, arrived in Philadelphia to serve as the first secretary of the Pennsylvania colony. Through work in agriculture and politics, Logan and his descendants were intimately involved in the development of the Pennsylvania colony and, later, the fledging United States. James Logan's prominence resulted in connections, both professional and familial, with other prominent colonial families, including the Norris and the Dickinson families. Together these families affected and influenced the formation, progress and development of the city of Philadelphia, the colony of Pennsylvania, and the United States of America.
James Logan, the first secretary of the Pennsylvania colony under William Penn, was born on October 20, 1674 in Lurgan, Ireland, the son of Patrick and Isabel Hume Logan. His father was a scholar and an Anglican minister until his conversion to Quakerism. James was educated in his father's school, the Friar Meetinghouse School in Bristol. His early careers included working as a linen draper in 1687, as an assistant schoolmaster to his father from 1690 to 1693, and as the schoolmaster of the Friar Meeting house from 1693 to 1697. From 1697 to 1698, James Logan unsuccessfully worked in the linen trade. In 1699, he obtained the position of secretary for William Penn, who was about to sail for his province of Pennsylvania.
Upon arriving in Pennsylvania, James Logan began his service as secretary of Pennsylvania. Subsequently he served as receiver-general of Pennsylvania, member of the Provincial Council, mayor of Philadelphia, chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, president of the Provincial Council and acting governor. At the same time, he gained wealth through commerce, trade with Native Americans and land purchases.
James Logan was an intellectual. He was "a linguist of competence in a bewildering number of languages, a classicist who in the margins of his books crossed swords with the greatest European editors, and a scientist who described the fertilization of corn by pollen, understood and used the new inventions of calculus, wrote on optics, and made astronomical observations," ( At the Instance of Benjamin Franklin, page 32). He collected books and arranged for his substantial library consisting of nearly 2,600 volumes, the Loganian Library, to be made public upon his death. The Loganian Library, which was received in trust by the Library Company of Philadelphia, exists almost in its original entirety. According to Edwin Wolf II, historian and past librarian of the Library Company, Logan "brought enthusiasm, erudition, and a good Quaker sense of value to bear on his book purchases, [but was] however, finicky, bad tempered, over pedantic and hard," (Wolf, page 44).
On December 9, 1714, Logan married Sarah Read Smith, the daughter of Charles and Amy Child Read. James and Sarah became the parents of Sarah (1715-1744), William (1718-1776), Hannah (1719/20-1761), and James (1728-1803). Three other children, James, Rachel and Charles, died as children. Sarah Read Smith Logan died on May 17, 1754, and James Logan died in late 1751 at the age of 77 in his country home, Stenton, which he built in Germantown, Pennsylvania.
William Logan, the son of James and Sarah, was born on July 14, 1718 in Philadelphia. At age 12, he went to England to study with his uncle, also named William, who was a doctor in Bristol. After returning to Pennsylvania, he worked with his father as a Philadelphia merchant. In 1741, he became the attorney to the Penn family. He was elected to the Common Council of Philadelphia on October 4, 1743 and continued to serve until 1776 when the Declaration of Independence dissolved the existing municipal government. He also served on the Governor's Council from 1747 until his death, in 1776. As a Quaker and a pacifist, William Logan opposed Indian wars and the Revolution. With his cousin, Israel Pemberton, Logan formed the Peace Association in order to prevent a war with the Delaware Indians in 1756 (French and Indian War, 1756-1763).
When his father, James Logan, died in 1751, William inherited the family's home, Stenton. At this point, William began working in agriculture. He also, "with his brother James and sister, Hannah Smith, … on August 29, 1754, deeded library property, designed by his father for the use of the people of Philadelphia to a board of trustees ... [and] bequeathed to the library thirteen hundred volumes bequeathed to him by his uncle Dr. William Logan of Bristol, England," (Jordan, page 31).
William married Hannah Emlen, the daughter of George Emlen, on March 24, 1740. She and William had six children, four of whom survived childhood. These children were Charles, George, Sarah, and William Jr. William died at Stenton on October 29, 1776 and Hannah died on January 30, 1777.
George Logan, the second son of William and Hannah, was born on September 9, 1753 at Stenton. He received education at Worcester, England and worked as a merchant. After his father's death, he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, earning his degree in 1779. He worked as a physician and a farmer and was described by Thomas Jefferson as "the best farmer in Pennsylvania in theory and practice" (Stenton). He was also a founder of the Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of Agriculture.
George Logan was active in politics, serving in the Pennsylvania Assembly and as United States Senator from Pennsylvania. The Logan Act of 1798, which prohibited conducting foreign relations without authority, was created because of his efforts to prevent war with France in 1798.
On September 6, 1781, George married Deborah Norris, an eminent Philadelphian. She was born on October 19, 1761, the daughter of Charles Norris and Mary Parker Norris and the granddaughter of Isaac Norris, colleague of James Logan. She obtained her education at Anthony Benezet's public school for girls, the first public school for girls in America, and was considered highly educated for a woman of her time. She was "a skilled historian and writer ... [and] wrote articles and poetry into her seventies" (Stenton). She documented her life in seventeen volumes of diaries, wrote a memoir of her husband after his death, transcribed many of James Logan's papers, and was the first woman elected as a member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. She died at Stenton in February 1839, nearly twenty years after her husband George's death on April 9, 1821 at Stenton. George and Deborah were the parents of Albanus Charles, Gustavus George and Algernon Sydney.
George and Deborah's oldest son, Albanus Charles, was born on November 22, 1783. Albanus was a physician. He married his second cousin Maria Dickinson, daughter of Mary Norris and John Dickinson, who was born in 1753. Albanus Charles and Maria Dickinson Logan had four children, Mary Norris, Sarah Elizabeth, Gustavus George and John Dickinson. Maria died in 1851 and Albanus died on February 10, 1854.
Though two generations of Logans married members of the Norris family, the Logan and Norris families were tied politically from the early days. Isaac Norris (1671-1735) moved to Philadelphia in 1690 and became involved with the politics of the colony. In 1708, he was elected to the Governor's Council, he served on the Provincial Assembly and as speaker in 1712, he served as justice for Philadelphia County in 1717, and he was elected mayor of Philadelphia in 1724. Isaac Norris married Mary Lloyd and they had a son, Isaac Norris, who was born in 1701. Norris died on June 4, 1735.
Isaac Norris (1701-1766) was educated at the Friends' School of Philadelphia and began his career as a merchant. Soon, however, like his father, he became involved in politics. Norris served as a councilman and alderman and joined the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1734, serving as speaker from 1751 until 1765. He eventually retired from politics due to health concerns. In 1739, Norris married Sarah Logan, the daughter of James Logan. Their daughter Mary Norris married John Dickinson in 1770.
The Logan family appears to have been extremely proud of their connection to John Dickinson, one of the founding fathers of the United States. John Dickinson, son of Samuel and Mary Cadwalader Dickinson, was born on November 13, 1732 at the family estate, "Crosiadore," near Trappe, Talbot County, Maryland. His family moved to Dover, Delaware in 1740, where he was educated by private tutors. He studied law under John Moland in Philadelphia and at the Middle Temple in London. In 1757, he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar and began practicing law in Philadelphia.
He served as a member of the Assembly of the Lower Counties (now Delaware) from 1750 to 1760; member of the Assembly of Pennsylvania from 1762 to 1764, delegate to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765; Pennsylvania Delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1776; Delaware Delegate to the Continental Congress in 1779; brigadier general of the Pennsylvania Militia; Delaware state senator in 1781; president of Delaware from 1781 to 1782; president of Pennsylvania from 1782 to 1785; member of the United States Constitutional Convention in 1787; and signer of the United States Constitution from Delaware.
After Parliament levied the Stamp Act, Dickinson wrote Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress and Letters of a Pennsylvania Farmer, which “emphasiz[ed] the contradiction the Acts posed to traditional English liberties" (Dickinson College) and were published in London in 1768 by Benjamin Franklin. This "series of essays gained its author international recognition as a man of reason and principle," (United States Army Center for Military History). Further, Dickinson "organized Philadelphia's protest over the Coercive Acts, a series of political and economic measures that Parliament enacted in 1774 to demonstrate its control over the colonies," (United States Army Center for Military History). In 1775, he wrote a Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms with Thomas Jefferson. He served as chairman of Pennsylvania's Committee of Safety and Defense and he organized the Associators, a battalion of troops raised in Philadelphia.
Despite his opinions regarding Great Britain's injustices and the Colonies' need to defend themselves, he "was opposed to a separation from Great Britain and worked very hard to temper the language and action of the Congress, in an effort to maintain the possibility of reconciliation," (www.ushistory.org). Essentially, he was concerned about timing and preferred the creation of a confederation of colonies prior to a declaration of war. As a result, he abstained from voting on the Declaration of Independence and did not sign it. After the Declaration of Independence, Dickinson led the committee to draft the Articles of Confederation.
During the Revolutionary War, Dickinson led the Associators and served at Elizabeth, New Jersey. Under General Caesar Rodney, Dickinson participated in the Battle of Brandywine and he was commissioned as a brigadier general of militia. Following his service to the Army, Dickinson served as a Delaware Delegate to the Continental Congress in 1779; as a Delaware state senator in 1781; as president of Delaware from 1781 to 1782; and as president of Pennsylvania from 1782 to 1785. At the time Dickinson served as president of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Rush founded Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1783, naming it in his honor.
He served as member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787; and as a signer of the Constitution from Delaware. During the Constitutional Convention, he wrote, under the pen name Fabius, essays promoting the Constitution. In 1792, he worked for the creation of a new constitution for Delaware.
Dickinson married Mary Norris on July 19, 1770. Marry Norris Dickinson was born on July 10, 1740, the daughter of Isaac Norris, the speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and Sarah Logan. She grew up as a member of a very wealthy and influential Quaker family in Philadelphia and was highly educated for a woman of the day. John and Mary met after her father’s death in 1766 when John was involved in the settlement of Isaac Norris’ estate.
John and Mary Dickinson were the parents of five children, but only Sally and Maria survived infancy. Known by her family as "Polly," Mary Dickinson remained true to her Quaker beliefs throughout her life. She died on July 23, 1803 at the age of 61. According to the Ann Conser Curley, "Mary Norris Dickinson saw the most momentous days in the founding of this country; yet her relatively unknown place in history probably would be the one she would choose." (Curley, page 32).
John Dickinson died on February 14, 1808 at his home in Wilmington, Delaware at the age of 75. Both he and Mary are buried on the grounds of the Friends Meeting House in Wilmington.
Curley, Ann Conser. "Mary Dickinson: A Quiet Woman of Substance." Dickinson Magazine, October 1990.
Dickinson College. http://chronicles.dickinson.edu/encyclo/d/ed_dickinsonJ.htm (accessed February 25, 2010).
Hicks, Lewis Wilder, ed. The Biographical Record of the Class of Seventy, Yale College, 1870-1904. Boston: Beacon Press, 1904.
Jordan, John W., ed. Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1978.
Library Company of Philadelphia. James Logan, 1674-1751: Bookman Extraordinary. Philadelphia: Library Company of Philadelphia, 1971.
Plunkett, Keving. "A Eulogy for Logan," Philadelphia Independent, 1 no. 21, October 2004.
Stenton.org. "History, Art and Collections." http://www.stenton.org/history/, accessed May 4, 2010.
United States Army Center for Military History. http://www.history.army.mil/books/revwar/ss/dickinson.htm (accessed February 25, 2010).
United States Congress Biographies. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts;biodisplay.pl?index-D00321 (accessed February 25, 2010).
Woolman, John. "The Journals and Essays of John Woolman." New York: The Macmillan Company, 1922.
Wolf, Edwin, 2nd. "James Logan, Bookman Extraordinary," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Third Series, 79 (1967), pps 33-36.
The Logan family papers, 1638-1964 (bulk 1670-1872), document James Logan and several generations of his descendants including his son William, his grandson George Logan, and his great-grandsons Albanus Charles Logan and Algernon Sydney Logan. The collection also documents the Logan family's relationships with the Dickinson and Norris families. John Dickinson, who married James Logan's granddaughter, is well documented in this collection as are his activities with the Pennsylvania and Delaware governments and his legal practice. This collection is rich in the history of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Delaware; the formation of the colony of Pennsylvania; the relationship of early colonials with the Native Americans; and the bid for independence and the later formation of the United States of America. Included in the papers is correspondence, legal records, estate records, financial records, land and property records, diaries, and writings. Not only are prominent political figures (James Logan, George Logan, and John Dickinson) well documented in this collection, but women are also well documented, largely thanks to Deborah Norris Logan, who kept a diary for most of her adult life. Her diaries and letters and those of some of her female relations reveal a glimpse into educated and prominent women in the Philadelphia area during the 18th and 19th centuries.
This collection was acquired in two separate accessions and as such was originally processed into two large series. The first series, "Logan and Dickinson family papers," was acquired by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania from the Logan family in 1840. The bulk of the material in this series consisted of bound volumes. Many of these volumes have since been disbound, but because catalog cards with item-level description exist at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the order of these volumes was maintained and no physical arrangement was performed during the 2011 processing of the collection. Researchers interested in item-level description should contact the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for information regarding visiting. For more detailed description of the contents of this series, please see notes located at the series and subseries levels.
The second series, "Logan, Dickinson and Norris family papers," was purchased by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania with money from the Gratz Fund in 1832. James Logan is not well represented in this series, nor are his sons William or George. Instead, the Logan family is best represented by Albanus Charles Logan and Algernon Sydney Logan. The bulk of the papers are assumed to relate to John Dickinson and his practice of law, although Dickinson's name is rarely connected to the documents and the handwriting is difficult to positively identify as his. Regardless, this series provides a detailed view into the practice of law in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and contains significant documentation of the properties and land of Pennsylvania and neighboring areas. For more detailed descriptions of this series, please see notes located at the series and subseries levels.
Researchers are advised to examine both series in the collection as there is signficant overlap of topic, creator and type of record. Researchers interested in the Logan, Dickinson and Norris families should also plan a visit to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in order to examine extensive card catalog records which provide item-level cataloging of almost all the documents in the first series.
Series I. Logan and Dickinson family papers
Subseries a. James Logan papers
Subseries b. Official records collected by and/or created by James Logan
Subseries c. William Logan papers
Subseries d. Dr. George Logan papers
Subseries e. Deborah Norris Logan papers
Subseries f. Logan family material
Subseries g. John Dickinson and family material
Subseries h. Estate records
Subseries I. Other creators
Series II. Logan, Dickinson and Norris family papers
Subseries a. Correspondence
Subseries b. Legal papers
Subseries c. Financial papers
Subseries d. Estate and land papers
Subseries e. Poetry and other miscellaneous documents
Incorporated into this collection is former Collection 380, Deborah Norris Logan diaries. They are in this collection as Volumes 28-44.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.
- Dickinson, John, 1732-1808.
- Dickinson, Mary Norris, 1740-1803
- Logan, Albanus Charles, 1783-1854
- Logan, Algernon Sydney, 1849-1925
- Logan, Deborah Norris, 1761-1839.
- Logan, George, 1753-1821.
- Logan, James, 1674-1751.
- Logan, William, 1747-1792
- Norris, Isaac, 1671-1735
- Norris, Isaac, 1701-1766
- Loganian Library.
- Pennsylvania. Courts.
- Pennsylvania. High Court of Errors and Appeals.
- Pennsylvania. Provincial Assembly.
- Medical education
- Pennsylvania--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
- Quaker women
- United State--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Holly Mengel
- Finding Aid Date
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Historical Society of Pennsylvania with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
This series contains the papers of James Logan, his sons, William and George, George's wife Deborah Norris Logan, and John Dickinson, who married Deborah Norris Logan's cousin, Mary Norris Dickinson. The series is arranged into nine series: "a. James Logan papers, 1683-1751," "b. Official records collected and/or created by James Logan," "c. William Logan papers, 1745-1783," "d. Dr. George Logan papers, 1775-1830," "e. Deborah Norris Logan papers, 1782-1839," "f. Logan family material, 1680-1840," "g. John Dickinson and family papers, 1758 to 1819," "h. Estate records," and "i. Other creators." These papers provide a rich glimpse into one of the first families in Pennsylvania and the pride and tradition that was maintained in generations following James Logan's death.
The subseries "a. James Logan papers, 1683-1751" consists of financial records, information regarding Indian affairs and correspondence. Financial records include an account book, a daybook, a ledger and a receipt book. There are also financial records and land records in Box 10, which contains a significant number of indentures and bonds. Of interest is what appears to be a receipt from 1723 for slaves (Box 10, Folder 113). Correspondence includes significant material to and from the Penn family (including William and Hannah), William Aubrey, John Bartram, Thomas Callowhill, Thomas Chalkley, William Dixon, Charles Gookin, Richard Peters, James Steel, and John Wright, to name only a few. Letterbooks date from 1701 to 1750. Beyond the general correspondence of James Logan, there are two books dedicated to a single correspondent: Jonathan Dickinson, 1698 to 1742, and John Penn, 1722 and 1728 (photocopies). For copied letterbooks of James Logan correspondence, please see the subseries, "e. Deborah Norris Logan papers, 1782-1839."
Throughout James Logan's life in the colonies, he developed and maintained good relationships with Native Americans. His relationships with them included not only official business, but also interactions related to trade. Documentation of Logan's dealings with Native Americans can be found in Box 11. Included are correspondence, speeches, invoices, extracts of minutes, and extracts of treaties. Native American tribes that are best represented are the Susquehanna, the Delaware and the Cherokees, although many treaties refer to "Several Nations."
The subseries "b. Official records collected and/or created by James Logan" focuses on his work for the colony of Pennsylvania. Records include documents of the Provincial Council from 1694 to 1753, Pennsylvania laws, quit rents, and records of Upland County. Provincial Council records include petitions to the Council; orders of the Council; reports of Council debates; oaths of office for members of Council and governor; copies of the records of the Philadelphia Court; complaints, queries and answers; addresses, speeches and messages; articles of impeachment; acts of Assembly; and amendments. There is also correspondence to and from Governor John Evans, Edward Shippen, William Markham and Charles Gookin.
The "c. William Logan papers, 1745-1783" subseries is almost entirely personal in nature and minimally reflects his political career. William Logan, son of James Logan, worked with his father in the mercantile trade, served as attorney of the Penn family after 1741, served on the Common Council of Philadelphia, and served on the Governor's Council. These papers are largely related to his estate, although there is a journal documenting his journey to Georgia and a small amount of correspondence dating from 1757.
The "d. Dr. George Logan papers, 1775-1830" subseries documents George Logan's medical and political careers, as well as his personal life with his wife, Deborah Norris Logan, and his sons Albanus Charles Logan (1783-1854) and Gustavus George Logan (died 1876). The bulk of the material in this series consists of correspondence dating from 1784 to 1830. Correspondents include, but are not limited to, Robert Barclay, Joel Barlow, M. Dickerson, John Dickinson, Nicholas Gilman, Thomas Law, Thomas McKean, Henry Muhlenberg, John Nicholls, James Pemberton, Timothy Pickering, Joseph Priestley, John Randolph, William Rotch, Benjamin Rush, Sir John Sinclair and Thomas Truxtun. Dr. George Logan frequently corresponded with the president of the United States, and there are several letters to and from Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. Letters address a multitude of topics, including abolition, the quasi-war with France in 1798, the War of 1812, and the Senate of the United States of America. Letters to and from his wife, Deborah Norris Logan, and his son Albanus Charles Logan are also frequent.
George Logan traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to study medicine and during his time there, he wrote letters to his brother William regarding his study, travel and experiences in the form of a journal. Also present are notes written by Dr. George Hutchinson for Dr. George Logan regarding a lecture by Dr. Hunter on the physiology of the alimentary tube.
In addition to the large quantity of letters regarding politics, Dr. Logan's career as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, the Pennsylvania Legislature and the United States Senate is documented through his notes, published speeches and government pamphlets, some of which he wrote. For a biographical sketch of Dr. George Logan, see the "Subseries e. Deborah Norris Logan papers, 1782-1839."
Deborah Norris Logan, the wife of Dr. George Logan, was a self-made family historian. As a result, the materials within the "Subseries e. Deborah Norris Logan papers, 1782-1839" document not only her life, but also the lives of her husband, her father-in-law, and Charles Thomson. The most valuable segment of this subseries consists of Deborah Norris Logan's diaries which she began keeping in 1815 and continued almost until her death in 1839. She also wrote a biographical sketch of her husband and copied many letters of James Logan which are included in this subseries.
Deborah Norris Logan corresponded with many women, including Sally Norris Dickinson, Hannah Logan Fisher, Sarah Logan Fisher, Hannah Griffits, Maria Dickinson Logan, Debby Logan Norris, Mary Norris Logan, Sarah Vaughn, and Sarah Miller Walker. These letters are largely personal in nature. Also included are letters to her husband, George, particularly while he was in Europe in 1798, in the Senate in Washington, D.C. in 1800, and in London in 1810.
Researchers interested in a biographical sketch of Deborah Norris Logan should see the "i. Other creators" subseries which houses a thesis written by Barbara Jones.
The "Subseries f. Logan family materials, 1680-1840" contains materials that were not affiliated with any one family member. These materials include correspondence from a number of Logan family members including William Logan, Sarah Logan, Hannah Logan, Albanus Charles Logan and Algernon Sydney Logan. There are also beautiful land, deed, survey and property records that date from 1680 to 1840. Many of these documents are hand drawn and include illustrations of the Delaware Valley, depicting its appearance in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. There are also numerous clippings of maps and illustrations from magazines including Gentleman's Magazine and London Magazine.
The "Subseries g. John Dickinson and family papers, 1758 to 1819" documents the life of John Dickinson, politically and personally, and his wife, Mary Norris Dickinson (Polly). The largest component of this subseries is John Dickinson's correspondence. Dickinson corresponded with Mary Dickinson (his mother), Mary Norris Dickinson (his wife), Philemon Dickinson (his brother), Charles Dobson, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, George Logan, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Lea, David Lee, Thomas Mason, Thomas McKean, George Read, Benjamin Rush, Evan Thomas, Charles Thomson, James Vaux and others. These letters discuss politics, the nation's independence, his appointment to the Continental Congress in 1776 for Delaware, and his election as president of Delaware, to name only a few topics. Of particular interest may be the letters between John Dickinson and his wife, Mary Norris Dickinson, which indicate a close and loving married life. Some of these letters may have been written while Dickinson was serving in the Revolutionary War, and later letters are addressed to "My Beloved."
One volume contains letters from Mary Norris (before she married John Dickinson) to Hannah Thomson.
There are also numerous letters to Sally Norris Dickinson, John Dickinson's daughter, following his death in 1813. Sally Norris Dickinson's correspondence includes letters regarding Susannah Dillwyn Emlen and her battle with breast cancer from 1815 to 1819. Researchers will also find a few Norris family letters mixed into this subseries.
In addition to the correspondence in this series, Dickinson's family and political career are documented by his family bible; a commonplace book, a memorandum book, financial records, his manuscript notes regarding Pennsylvania laws, a manuscript copy of a bill for the abolition of slavery in Delaware, and notes regarding the law and his legal practice. There is additional Dickinson material in the "Subseries h. Estate records" subseries as well as in Series II, "Logan, Dickinson and Norris family papers."
The subseries "h. Estate records" includes information regarding many family's estates, but the bulk of the records relate to the Dickinson family and the Norris family. Other estates include those of the Griffits family, the Harrison family, William Hicks, Richard Hill, the Moland family and Dr. Lloyd Zachary. It is unclear how all of these estates directly connect to the Logan, Norris or Dickinson families. These files include correspondence, accounts, bonds, indentures, legal documents, rent rolls and petitions, but by far the most prevalent type of record is the land survey. Researchers will find draughts of lands, maps, and road coordinates. For related land and property records, see the "Subseries f. Logan family papers." There is also a large amount of land and property records in Series II, "Logan, Dickinson and Norris family papers."
The Dickinson family estate records (housed in Boxes 23 to 38) contain a fair amount of information on the building of homes in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Included are correspondence, bills and receipts regarding construction, building styles, and the workers employed for the building. In 1804, a home in Jones' Neck burned and there is abundant correspondence regarding insurance and rebuilding the home.
This subseries includes materials created by people not directly connected to the Logan and Dickinson families, but which were probably collected by members of the Logan or Dickinson families. These people include Jonathan Dickinson, Thomas Fisher, Isaac Norris, James Steel and Charles Thomson. Of these people, Jonathan Dickinson is best represented. Jonathan Dickinson (1663-1722), no relation to John Dickinson, was a Quaker merchant who owned plantations in Jamaica and also lived in Philadelphia. He was a successful merchant and served as chief justice in Philadelphia and mayor of Philadelphia from 1712 to 1713 and from 1717 to 1719. He was an associate of James Logan, William Penn and Isaac Norris, and is known to have trafficked slaves with Isaac Norris. His correspondents include John Askew, John Fallowfield, James Logan, Thomas Masters, William Penn, Samuel Preston, George Tyler and Daniel Zachary. He also corresponded with his wife Mary, his brother Caleb, and his aunt Mary. His letters address issues in Jamaica, trade and "the traffic in Negros." Jonathan Dickinson’s ledger from 1699 to 1701 is also included.
A thesis written about Deborah Norris Logan by Barbara Jones and information regarding the Logans' genealogy is included in this subseries.
Series II, "Logan, Dickinson and Norris family papers," was acquired at a different time than Series I, "Logan and Dickinson family papers" and as a result, is arranged and described separately, despite significant overlap of creators, subjects and types of papers. This series is arranged into six subseries: "a. Correspondence," "b. Legal papers," "c. Financial papers," "d. Estate and land papers," and "e. Poetry and other miscellaneous documents." These records document prominent families from the 18th to 20th centuries in a number of different professions, but the bulk of the records have to do with legal, land, and estate records.
The "Correspondence" subseries is further divided into the correspondence of "a. John Dickinson," the "b. Logan family," and "c. Miscellaneous." The "a. John Dickinson" correspondence contains a few letters from John Dickinson, however, the bulk of this material consists of letters written to John Dickinson. Significant correspondents include Thomas Adam, James Booth, William Buchanan, Jacob Gooding, John Holt, and Evan Thomas. The letters date from 1761 to 1807 and are arranged chronologically.
The "b. Logan family" correspondence includes letters to and from Albanus Charles Logan, Algernon Sydney Logan, John Dickinson Logan, and William Logan. Most of the Logan family correspondence belongs to Albanus Charles whose correspondents include, but are not limited to, David Ayers, John Radcliff, Henry Stevens and William Wagstaff. Many of these files are in relation to management and sale of the Logansville estate. Files are arranged alphabetically by creator.
"c. Miscellaneous" correspondence includes letters that were addressed and sent by those not belonging to the Logan family or John Dickinson. Files are arranged in chronological order.
The bulk of the "b. Legal records" probably result from the law practice of John Dickinson. Although dates precede his life and legal practice, it is probable that these files were used as research for his work, particularly in the settlement of estates. The materials almost always relate to cases dealing with debt or disputes over money, land, and the settling of wills, but there are some cases dealing with assault, adultery and murder. Included are notes and drafts of files dating from 1700 to 1808 which appear to relate to a law practice; notes, drafts and documents regarding estates, financial concerns and property issues dating from 1700 to 1837; genealogies probably relating to the settling of estates, and wills dating from 1700 to 1800. Researchers should be aware that almost none of these documents have the Dickinson, Norris or Logan names attached, and therefore, it is very difficult to determine the origin or use of the papers. The processor of these papers has hypothesized that they were used by John Dickinson for his law practice; however, this may not be the case. According to a previous processor, "though the handwriting is often a challenge, [Dickinson's] notes on a case sometimes represent the way he meant to (or did) try it, reaching back to the Bible or ancient Greece for his precedent and often referring to the laws of God and nature as much as to English Common Law and local custom ... also, his plentiful notes on contemporary laws may indicate the concerns of the time as well as the evolution of American laws." Because accounts are included, this series may prove useful to researchers interested in trade, shipping and cost of products and services. Most of the cases here are centered in the Philadelphia area, however, there are cases from Maryland, Delaware, and western regions in Pennsylvania.
The "c. Financial papers" are arranged alphabetically and include the financial records of the Dickinson, Logan and Norris families as well as miscellaneous accounts, bonds, deeds and indentures. The accounts of Sally Norris Dickinson and her niece Mary Norris Logan, two unwed and propertied women, largely deal with records of Sally Norris Dickinson's business. Papers include her stocks, bonds, loans, and land sales as well as inventories of her assets at the time of her death. Also included is Mary's account with her brother, J. Dickinson Logan, regarding her rents and properties, some of which she inherited from her aunt Sally. The financial records of John Dickinson appear to deal mostly with Dickinson's legal services and money owed to him. These files have little to do with Dickinson's personal finances. The files date from 1761 to 1807 and are arranged chronologically.
There is one folder regarding the Fisher family dating from 1786 to 1832. This file contains information regarding the running of the Logan Mill on the Logansville estate in Morris County, New Jersey.
The Logan family's financial records include Albanus Charles, Algernon Sydney, Deborah, George, James, and John Dickinson Logan. Albanus Charles Logan's files date from 1821 to 1849 and include accounts, bills and checks. Algernon Sydney Logan's files date from 1819 to 1842 and include accounts and an estate vendue. Deborah Logan's files include bills, accounts and receipts for mason work, grains (flour, barley, Indian meal, etc.), shoe making and repair, food, dress-making, fire insurance, household goods, and services from craftsmen. This material dates from 1822 to 1829. George Logan's files, dating from 1786 to 1825, include accounts, bonds, deeds and indentures. There is one folder of bonds, deeds and indentures relating to James Logan and dating from 1721 to 1747. John Dickinson Logan's material, dating from 1856-1872, includes receipts for taxes for properties in Delaware, insurance, bank slips, and bills for goods and services such as tools, animals, feed and property maintenance. Finally, there are miscellaneous Logan family financial records that are not attributed to one particular family member.
The Norris family accounts contain financial information for Isaac, Charles, Samuel and H. Norris. There is some business correspondence between Isaac and Charles Norris and Nicholas Scull, various bills, accounts, and receipts to Isaac, Charles and Samuel Norris; and several items relating to properties.
The miscellaneous accounts, bonds, deeds and indentures do not appear to be directly related to the Dickinson, Logan or Norris families, however, it is difficult to know for certain the financial or legal connections that may have existed. It is possible that these files were used by John Dickinson in his law practice. For more material like this, please see the "b. Legal papers" subseries.
The "d. Estate and land papers," include materials for the Dickinson, Logan, and Norris families, as well as some miscellaneous records that are not attributed to any particular family member. The estate records include estates, wills and information regarding selling timber from the Logan family lands. Land papers include records regarding the many properties owned by the Dickinson, Fisher, Logan and Norris families. Just a few of these properties are Stenton, Ridge Farm, Loganville and Wakefield Farm and Mill. Many of these records are land surveys which are frequently beautiful, hand-drawn maps of the Philadelphia area, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
It is important to note that these are not the only land surveys contained within this subseries—others are mixed amongst the other files, particularly the "b. Legal papers" subseries as they may have been used to settle land disputes. Researchers interested in land surveys should see boxes 49 and 50, located in Series I. Further, be aware that there are many estate records located in Series I, in the "Subseries h. Estate records" subseries.
This subseries, "e. Poetry and other miscellaneous documents," includes poetry of Joseph Lippincott, Robert Restalrig Logan, and unidentified Logan family members. There is also limited information about the Civil War service of John Dickinson Logan.