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William Redwood Wright 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

William Redwood Wright, the oldest child of Henrietta Hoskins Price Wright and Robert Kemp Wright, was born in 1846, attended the Germantown Academy, and joined Rush's Lancers, the sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry, during the Civil War. He left service as a captain and joined the firm of Peter Wright's Sons, merchants, in New York City and his uncle's firm. In 1873, he moved to Philadelphia, continuing on in the same business, and married Letitia Ellicott Carpenter in 1882. He became involved in city politics as a Democrat, was a presidential elector in 1888 and 1892, and filled an unexpired term as Philadelphia city treasurer from June 1891 to January 1892. For the rest of his life, William Redwood Wright worked as a banker and broker in a variety of businesses, both independently and with family members, such as his brother Sydney Longstreth Wright, and his brother-in-law Robert Glendinning.

Letitia Ellicott Carpenter, wife of William Redwood Wright, was a Colonial Dame of America who helped plan and plant the Stenton garden (the estate home of Philadelphia's Logan family). She was friends with Helen Tower whose husband, Mr. Charlemagne Tower, was a diplomat in the foreign service, at one time United States ambassador to France.

The William Redwood Wright family papers, housed in thirty-seven boxes, primarily document the Wright family’s historic associations with the Logan, Fisher, Carpenter, and Ellicott families; William Redwood Wright’s business and civic ventures; and William’s wife Letitia’s personal endeavors. Making up the collection are financial records, correspondence, business papers, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous papers including an autograph collection from Letitia's father George W. Carpenter. Series 1 and 2 contain early family papers dating back to the 1700s with items from the Logan family. Series 3, 4, and 5 are devoted to William Redwood Wright, Letitia Ellicott Carpenter Wright, and George W. Carpenter, respectively. Series 6 contains Wright family correspondence. Series 7 is labeled Miscellaneous and contains George W. Carpenter’s autograph collection, as well as an assortment of other family papers.

Series I: Logan and Fisher, 1752-1813

Series II: Fisher, Ellicott, and Wright, 1823-1895

Series III: William Redwood Wright, 1862-1915

Series IV: Letitia Ellicott Carpenter Wright, 1870-1928

Series V: George W. Carpenter, 1856-1921

Series VI: Fisher and Wright, 1852-1921

Series VII: Miscellaneous, 1881-1914

Additions to the collection -- accessions 94.094, 2015.022, and 2016.072 -- are unprocessed as of 9/29/2016.

The collection was retained by the Wright family of Jamestown, R.I.; gift of Mrs. Catherine Morris Wright, 1977.

This collection was formerly called the "Sydney L. Wright family papers."

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Series 1:. Logan and Fisher, 1752-1813. ; 1 box.
Scope and Contents note

This first series contains William Logan's business ledger, 1752-1755, and Thomas Fisher's personal ledger, 1806-1813. William Logan born to James Logan (1674-1751), secretary to William Penn. Thomas Fisher was William's son-in-law.

Box inventory

Box 1: William Logan ledger, 1752-1755; Thomas Fisher ledger, 1806-1813

Physical Description

; 1 box

Series 2: . Fisher, Ellicott, and Wright, 1823-1895. ; 3 boxes.
Scope and Contents note

Series 2 consists of two boxes of chronologically-arranged correspondence, financial papers, and miscellanea, 1823-1895 for Thomas Rodman Fisher, his wife Letitia Ellicott Fisher, her mother Sara Ellicott, William Redwood Wright's mother Henrietta Hoskins Price, and William's uncle William Redwood Price. Also in this series are account books and scrapbooks of Thomas Rodman Fisher and Ellicott Fisher, and a remedy book of Letitia Ellicott Fisher. The correspondence is primarily between family members.

Box inventory

Box 2: Correspondence and papers (20 folders)

Thomas Rodman Fisher, 1826-1861, undated

Letitia Ellicott Fisher, 1823-1865, undated)

Letitia Ellicott Fisher, Thomas Rodman Fisher [outgoing], 1858-1861

Sarah Ellicott, 1830-1838

Mary Ann Ellicott, 1830-1842, undated

William Redwood Price [vouchers on estate], 1879-February 1882

Box 3: Correspondence and papers (6 folders)

William Redwood Wright [vouchers on estate], March 1882-1884

Henrietta Hoskins Price Wright, 1881-1895, undated

Family papers, 1843

Box 4: Bound items

Thomas Rodman Fisher account books, 1853-1861

Thomas Rodman Fisher scrapbook

Ellicott Fisher scrapbook

Letetia Ellicott Fisher remedy book

Physical Description

; 3 boxes

Series 3:. William Redwood Wright, 1862-1915. ; 21 boxes.
Scope and Contents note

Making up this largest series in the collection are eleven boxes of William Redwood Wright's correspondence, 1870-1914, touching on his involvement in Philadelphia politics and clubs and on his business matters. There are also three boxes of Wright's receipts and accounts; and seven boxes of business papers, scrapbooks, invitations and miscellanea.

Box inventory

Box 5: Incoming correspondence, 1870-June 1891 (29 folders)

Box 6: Incoming correspondence, July 1891-March 1893 (27 folders)

Box 7: Incoming correspondence, April 1893-July 1895 (28 folders)

Box 8: Incoming correspondence, August 1895-1901 (26 folders)

Box 9: Incoming correspondence, 1902-1908 (29 folders)

Box 10: Incoming correspondence, 1909-1910 (24 folders)

Box 11: Incoming correspondence, 1911 (17 folders)

Box 12: Incoming correspondence, 1912-1913 (21 folders)

Box 13: Incoming correspondence, 1914-1915, undated (19 folders)

Box 14: Outgoing correspondence, 1874-1914, undated (21 folders)

Box 15: Outgoing correspondence, 1872, 1899-1904 (2 letterbooks)

Box 16: Receipts, 1881-1911 (25 folders)

Box 17: Receipts, 1912-1914, undated (9 folders)

Box 18: Ledgers and account books, 1881-1914 (6 items); Estate of Col. Wlliam Redwood Price, 1882-1889

Box 19: Business papers, 1882-1901 (11 folders)

Box 20: Business papers, 1902-1914, undated (11 folders)

Box 21: Scrapbooks, 1891, 1882-1891 (2 items)

Box 22: Scrapbooks, 1891, 1891-1892 (2 items)

Box 23: Political and military papers, 1870-1913, undated (16 folders)

Box 24: Clubs and miscellaneous, 1862-1914, undated; includes:

Rush's Lancers

Young Men's Democratic Association

Site and Relic Society of Germantown

Welcome Society of Pennsylvania

Germantown Cricket Club

State of the Schuylkill

Box 25: Invitations

Physical Description

; 21 boxes

Series 4:. Letitia Ellicott Carpenter Wright, 1870-1928. ; 3 boxes.
Scope and Contents note

This small series is comprised of four boxes of Letitia Wright's correspondence and financial records, property accounts, and miscellenous papers.

Box inventory

Box 26: Incoming correspondence, 1870-1907 (21 folders)

Box 27: Incoming correspondence, 1908-1928, undated [A-K] (22 folders)

Box 28: Incoming correspondnece, undated [L-Z]; property and finance; miscellaneous

Box 28A: Property accounts

Physical Description

; 3 boxes

Series 5:. George W. Carpenter, 1856-1921. ; 2 boxes.
Scope and Contents note

George W. Carpenter traveled abroad extensively after his first marriage and acquired a large circle of European friends. The correspondence with these friends constitutes a large portion of Series 5, as does other personal correspondence. There are also a receipt book from the Wright Pike Company and a scrapbook.

Box inventory

Box 29: Incoming correspondence, 1858-1910, undated; Business and miscellaneous, 1865-1910 (21 folders)

Box 30: Scrapbook, 1881-1921; Wright Pike and Company receipt book, 1856-1860 (2 items)

Physical Description

; 2 boxes

Series 6:. Fisher and Wright, 1852-1921. ; 2 boxes.
Scope and Contents note

The sixth series includes the correspondence of William Redwood Wright's and Letitia E. C. Wright's generation. One box consists of correspondence, business papers, and financial records of Ellicott Fisher, Harvey Fisher, Sydney Longstreth Wright, Mary Rodman Fisher Carpenter, Sydney George Fisher, Charles Graff Wright, William Logan Fisher, Robert Kemp Wright, Jr., and Emlen Newbold Carpenter. There is also some miscellaneous family correspondence and letters from Wright's children.

Box inventory

Box 31: Mixed family papers (21 folders)

Elicott Fisher [correspodence, business, financial], 1862-1909

Harvey Fisher [correspondence, military papers, estate], 1857-1885, undated

Sydney Longstreth Wright [correspondence, business], 1883-1921, undated

Box 32: Mixed family papers (20 folders)

Mary Rodman Fisher [correspondence, business, estate], 1852-1908, undated

Sydney George Fisher [miscellaneous], 1911

Charles Graff Wright [correspondence, vouchers], 1882-1895

Robert Kemp Wright Jr. [correspondence, receipts], 1885-1887

Emlen Newbold Carpenter [military, correspondence], 1864-1891, undated

Miscellaneous correspondence, 1854-1916, undated

William Redwood and Letitia Ellicott Carpenter Wright's children [correspondence], 1883-1912, undated

William Logan Fisher [correspondence], 1845-1858

Physical Description

; 2 boxes

Series 7:. Miscellaneous, 1881-1914. ; 4 boxes.
Scope and Contents note

Comprising the final series is a small autograph collection assembled by George W. Carpenter with signatures from prominent American and European figures (see below for list). There are also photographs, maps, land papers, genealogical material, train car brake diagrams, and copies of newspaper clippings.

Autographs include: Alexander J. Dallas (1759-1817); Edward Livingston (1764-1836); William Wirt (1772-1834); Samuel D. Ingham (1777-1864); John H. Eaton (1790-1856); Louis M. Lane (fl. 1831); Roger B. Taney (1777-1864); Carl Schurz (1829-1906); Robert T. Lincoln (1843-1926); J. Donald Cameron (1833-1918); Wayne MacVeagh (1833-1917); John G. Carlisle (1835-1910); William L. Wilson (1843-1900); A. Mitchell Palmer (1872-1836); Thomas Nuttall (naturalist); Bradford Torrey (naturalist); John Gould (English ornithologist); Washington Hunt (governor, New York); Robert E. Pattison (governor, Pennsylvania); J. Fenimore Cooper (author); Julia Ward Howe (author); Oliver Wendall Holmes (author); James Parton (author); Abner Doubleday; Wade Hampton; Jay Gould; Thomas Moore; General Fitzhugh Lee; William Potter (Ambassaor to Italy); Fanny Kemble; Weir MItchell; Thorton Oakley; Eli K. Price; Richard Vaux; and Charles T. Binney.

Box inventory

Box 33: George W. Carpenter autograph collection; photographs; postcards; genealogical material; maps (11 folders)

Box 34: Wright family deeds, land papers, bank deposit books, 1881-1914

Box 35: Copies of newspaper clippings; pamphlets transferred to library

Box 36: Train car brake diagrams; map

Physical Description

; 4 boxes

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