George Wolf 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
George Wolf (1777-1840) was Pennsylvania's seventh governor under the 1790 Constitution. Wolf was born in Northampton County to George and Maria Wolf. He attended Allen Township Classical Academy, worked in several county offices, and formed a private law practice in Easton, Pennsylvania. With his election to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1824, he broke into national politics and later joined the Jacksonian Democratic Party. He won the Pennsylvania governor's race in 1829. Among his most notable achievements was the establishment of a statewide school system that ensured a proper education to all children regardless of financial or social status. In 1836, after losing the 1835 governor's race to Anti-Mason candidate Joseph Ritner, Wolf was appointed the nation's first comptroller of the U. S. Treasury by President Andrew Jackson.
Wolf married Mary Erb in 1798 and the couple had at least eight sons and one daughter. Wolf died in Philadelphia in 1840.
The George Wolf papers, in five boxes, primarily span Wolf's tenure as governor of Pennsylvania from 1829 to 1835; however, there are a few documents that fall outside this date range. The collection consists almost entirely of incoming letters addressed to Wolf, and everything is arranged alphabetically by author, item, or organization. The predominant correspondents include state and national politicians, judges, lawyers, and businessmen and the overarching discussions in the letters concern politics and Wolf's administration. At least some letters directly discuss the Democratic or Republican parties in Pennsylvania. There is little that sheds light on Wolf's personal life, his family, or his career before or after the Pennsylvania governorship.
Scattered among the correspondence are other papers such as petitions, essays, recommendations, and invitations. Virtually all items are addressed to Wolf; however some letters are addressed to other people, such as President Andrew Jackson and Pennsylvania politician Henry Beuhler. For the most part, there exists only one or a few letters from each correspondent listed. But there are larger groups of letters from some individuals including Pennsylvania senators George Mifflin Dallas (Box 1, Folder 55) and Isaac D. Barnard (Box 1, Folder 18), Judge Charles B. Penrose (Box 3, Folder 51), and Pennsylvania representative Joel Barlow Sutherland (Box 4, Folder 56). There are also several folders (Box 5, folders 4-7) of letters from abolitionist and educator Roberts Vaux, many of which deal with Wolf's politics as they affected the Philadelphia region. Some of Vaux's letters also discuss Wolf's creation of a statewide public school system. There is one file of Wolf's outgoing correspondence in Box 5, Folder 26, as well as resolutions, petitions, and other official documents and drafts in Box 5, Folders 27 to 29.
- Barnard, Isaac Dutton, 1791-1834.
- Dallas, George Mifflin, 1792-1864.
- Penrose, Charles Bingham, 1798-1857.
- Sutherland, Joel Barlow, 1792-1861.
- Vaux, Roberts, 1786-1836.
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Cary Majewicz
- Finding Aid Date
- ; 2011
- Processing made possible by a generous donation from Lori Cohen.
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.