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Arthur C. Bining collection


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

Arthur Cecil Bining was born to Arthur Owen and Jane Bining in Llanelly, South Wales, United Kingdom, in 1893. His family immigrated to the United States around 1909 and settled in Woodlawn, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Bining was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and by 1942 was living in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. He worked for the university from 1928 until 1957 as a history professor. In addition to teaching, Bining was also a writer who authored articles and books and iron and steel manufacturing. From 1933 to 1941 he served as editor of Pennsylvania History, a publication of the Pennsylvania Historical Association (PHA). He was elected president of PHA in 1942; a position he held until 1945. Bining died in Philadelphia in 1957.

The Arthur C. Bining collection is housed in four boxes and spans from the early 1700s to the mid 1900s. The papers are arranged in alphabetical order by author, organization, or subject. Groups of letters from the same person or organization are housed in individually labeled folders. Single papers from different authors or agencies are grouped together under individual letters of the alphabet. (e.g. "Mixed papers: A," Box 2, Folder 2, contains items from people and organizations starting with the letter A.) This arrangement continues through Boxes 1 to 3, with miscellaneous and unidentified papers placed at the end of Box 3. Box 4, titled "Bunel letters," contains a discrete set of different material.

Making up much of the material in Boxes 1 to 3 are letters dating from about 1804 to about 1844 that originally formed part of the correspondence of the United States Customs House of Philadelphia (the letters have been re-arranged as stated above). These papers concern routine customs matters and many are addressed to the collector of Philadelphia. Major correspondents represented in these letters include Joseph Anderson, William H. Crawford, Alexander James Dallas, George Mifflin Dallas, Henry D. Gilpin, Charles J. Ingersoll, Jared Ingersoll, Joseph R. Ingersoll, William Morris Meredith, John Meredith Read, Jonathan Roberts, Richard Rush, and Henry Miller Watts.

Scattered throughout the first three boxes are also letters and other papers from individuals and organizations unrelated to the Customs House. For example, there are folders devoted to James Barker, army officer and agent for fortification, Philadelphia; William Shaler, United States consul-general to Algiers and Cuba, and commissioner in the negotiation of the United States-Algiers treaty of 1815; Henry Stanton, army officer; Abbot H. Thayer, painter and naturalist; Edward Thursby, a merchant of Philadelphia; and James Trimble, a Pennsylvania politician. There are also a few papers of August F. W. Partz, a German immigrant and inventor, including his recollection of a visit from Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). Additional items include papers on efforts by producers and carriers of anthracite coal in Pennsylvania to limit production and control prices, miscellaneous letters, business papers, and deeds. The vast majority of these papers date from the nineteenth century, with fewer dating from the eighteenth century.

The "Bunel letters" in Box 4 originated from Joseph R. E. Bunel, paymaster general of the French colony of Santo Domingo, Haiti, and Marie F. M. Bunel, businesswoman in Santo Domingo. In 1804, following the successful Haitian revolution, the Bunels moved to Philadelphia. Included are their incoming personal and business correspondence and a few miscellaneous financial records. The papers date primarily from 1787 to 1812, with a few papers dating up to 1831. The correspondence is largely in French, though two Spanish documents were found mixed in. Typed translations accompany some but not all of the French papers.

Provenance uncertain, though written on some folders is "Gift of Arthur Bining Estate and Pennsylvania Historical Commission, 1939." It is unclear if this provenence pertains to the whole collection.

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.

Collection Inventory

Personal records of Arthur Bining, (1906-1949).
Box 1 Folder 1
Mixed papers: A, (1783-1867, undated).
Box 1 Folder 2
Joseph Anderson (1757-1837) letters, (1816, 1827).
Box 1 Folder 3
Mixed papers: B, (1782-1912, undated).
Box 1 Folder 4
Captain Christopher L. Bennett letters, (1808-1809).
Box 1 Folder 5
Mixed papers: C, (1776-1876).
Box 1 Folder 6
Civil War draft, (1864).
Box 1 Folder 7
Coal papers, (1875, 1877).
Box 1 Folder 8
William Harris Crawford (1772-1834) letters, (1816).
Box 1 Folder 9
Mixed papers: D, (1805-1921, undated).
Box 1 Folder 10
Dallas letters (Alexander James Dallas and George Mifflin Dallas), (1805-1843).
Box 1 Folder 11
Mixed papers: E, (1771-1943).
Box 1 Folder 12
Mixed papers: F, (1792-1902).
Box 1 Folder 13
Forges and furnaces, (1772-1841).
Box 1 Folder 14
Mixed papers: G, (1799-1901).
Box 1 Folder 15
Letters from Henry D. Gilpin to James M. Barker, (1835-1837).
Box 1 Folder 16
Mixed papers: H, (1738-1913).
Box 1 Folder 17
S. D. Ingham, (1829, 1830).
Box 1 Folder 18
Ingersoll letters [Jared (1789-1822), Charles (1782-1862), and Joseph (1786-1868)], (1810-1843).
Box 1 Folder 19
Mixed papers: J, (1768-1912).
Box 1 Folder 20
Mixed papers: K, (1792-1910).
Box 1 Folder 21

Mixed papers: L, (1791-1900).
Box 2 Folder 1
Lehigh Valley Railroad papers relating to the attempt to limit coal production and transportation, (1877-1878).
Box 2 Folder 2
Mixed papers: M, (1795-1934, undated).
Box 2 Folder 3
Merrick and Company re: boilers from the wreck of the U. S. Str. New Ironsides, (1869).
Box 2 Folder 4
William Morris Meredith letters, (1841).
Box 2 Folder 5
Mixed papers: N, (1796-1901).
Box 2 Folder 6
Mixed papers: O, (1832, 1835, 1910).
Box 2 Folder 7
Mixed papers: P, (1783-1913).
Box 2 Folder 8
August F. W. Partz papers, (1861-1901, undated).
Box 2 Folder 9
Pea Patch Island papers: letters of R. M. Blaney, Col. G. Mitchell, and S. Babcock, (1815).
Box 2 Folder 10
Philadelphia Health Office, (1832-1845).
Box 2 Folder 11
Philadelphia Steam Heating Company, (1908).
Box 2 Folder 12
Mixed papers: R, (1767-1905).
Box 2 Folder 13
Letters of John Meredith Read, (1837-1841).
Box 2 Folder 14
Jonathan Roberts, collector of the Port of Philadelphia, (1841, 1842).
Box 2 Folder 15
Richard Rush (1780-1859) letters, (1820, 1827).
Box 2 Folder 16

William Shaler correspondence, (1807-1832).
Box 3 Folder 1
Paul Siemen bills, (1787, undated).
Box 3 Folder 2
Correspondence of Col. Henry Stanton, maritime papers, (1843-1848).
Box 3 Folder 3
Mixed papers: T, (1771, 1834-1864, undated).
Box 3 Folder 4
Abbott Henderson Thayer correspondence, (1876-1897).
Box 3 Folder 5
John Thompson Estate accounts and inventories, (undated).
Box 3 Folder 6
Letters addressed to Edward Thursly, (1803-1819).
Box 3 Folder 7
Papers of James Trimble (1755-1837), (1807-1835).
Box 3 Folder 8
Mixed papers: U, (1800, 1862).
Box 3 Folder 9
U. S. State Department, (1814-1815, 1829).
Box 3 Folder 10
Mixed papers: V, (1857?, 1908).
Box 3 Folder 11
Mixed papers: W, Y, (1766-1879).
Box 3 Folder 12
Henry Miller Watts letters, (1842-1844).
Box 3 Folder 13
Papers pertaining to New York, (1798-1847).
Box 3 Folder 14
Miscellaneous deeds, mortgages, and other legal papers, (1794-1902).
Box 3 Folder 15
Anonymous and unidentified papers, (1727, 1782, 1847).
Box 3 Folder 16
Miscellaneous papers from various states, (1796-1878).
Box 3 Folder 17
Miscellaneous judgement searches, (1809-1814).
Box 3 Folder 18
Bunel papers, (1787-1831, undated).
Box 4 Folder 1-14

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