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William A. Lamson letterpress copybook


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Lamson was born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts to Harrison Otis Lamson and Harriet Elizabeth Warren on October 23, 1859. Raised in Newton, Massachusetts Lamson attended the local high school. After graduation he attended Harvard University receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1881. Lamson worked for the Mexican Central Railway Company from September 1881 to May 1883. During the last six months of his employment at the company he lived at a mining camp in Sonora, Mexico serving as as secretary to the superintendent. Lamson lived in Chicago and worked the banking industry and the mercantile business. Lamson then became a broker in the commerical paper industry in New York. He married Marie Lucille Cobb in Chicago on January 17, 1900. They lived in New York City and had one son, William Cobb Lamson born on May 12, 1905.

This clothbound volume with "Wm. A. Lamson, private" stamped in gold on the cover and "Letters" stamped on the spine is a letterpress copybook containing the personal outgoing correspondence of William A. Lamson spanning six months from November 1882 to May 1883. During this six-month period Lamson worked as secretary for the Mexican Central Railway Company and was living in a mining camp in Sonora, Mexico. There is an alphabetical index with finding tabs at the beginning of the volume listing forty-nine correspondents along with the appropriate page numbers. Following the index are 500 numbered leaves with the letters arranged in chronological order. Lamson's outgoing correspondence consisted of letters to family and friends regarding his journey to Mexico, his experiences at the camp, duties of his job, living conditions, and observations of the Mexican people, culture, and customs. Lamson described the landscape, architecture, clothing and behavior of the inhabitants. Lamson wrote his parents often and in addition to his observations asked them to send him things he needed with specific instructions on how to wrap and send the items. Lamson wrote many long letters to his friends Fred Crawford, Mr. Mason where in some letters he noted witnessing some violent encounters and discussed hearing of attacks by Apache tribes on women and children. He also wrote Fred of a game played with colleagues and recorded the scores for each person. Additional correspondence includes letters regarding salary and seeking a job after his return to Newton, Massachusetts. There are two leaves of worn blotting paper laid in the volume. Also laid in the volume are five telegrams from E. W. Cushing dated April and May 1883 concerning Lamson's future employment, five leaves written in pencil entitled "Experience of a Boston Boy in Mexico," and a clipping of a St. Louis train schedule. Leaves 350 to 500 are blank.

Sold by Martin Hartzhold, Bookseller (Findlay, Ohio), 2016

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Donna Brandolisio
Finding Aid Date
February 2017
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William A. Lamson letterpress copybook, 1882-1883.
Volume 1

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