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
Henry Charles Lea was a Philadelphian publisher, civil and public rights activist, mathematician, and and ecclesiastical historian. He was born to Isaac Lea, a publisher in Philadelphia, and Frances Anne Carey, the daughter of his partner at his publishing firm, on September 19, 1825. Mr. Lea was tutored by the theoretical mathematician Eugenius Nulty and under his tutelage wrote several papers on various topics in science and mathematics at a young age. On May 27, 1850, Henry Charles Lea married his wife Anna Caroline Jaudon, who was also his first cousin. Together they had two children, Nina Lea and Arthur Henry Lea. At a young age, Mr. Lea had begun working at his father's publishing firm, which underwent many name changes throughout its existence. During these years he suffered a nervous breakdown and abandoned his study of science and mathetics. Eventually, after reading through some medieval French memoirs, he became interested in medievil history and ultimately decided to become a historian. He focused on ecclesiastical history of the Middle Ages and became a leading scholar on the Spanish Inquisition. He wrote several books on these topics, many of which are still renowned for their research today. During his time as a historian, he also earned honorary degrees from Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as from the Giessen in Moscow.
During the Civil War, Henry Charles Lea was a member of the Union League of Philadelphia and oversaw its publication committee. Under the Enrollment Act in 1863, he was appointed as one of the Bounty Commissioners and, through this position, became involved with recruiting African American regiments for the Union. In 1881, he was chosen to be the president of the National Republican League and the next year, he was president of the Association of Republicans and Independents. He was also an active civil and public rights activist, involved in issues such as the placement of City Hall in Philadelphia and in the opposition of opening of a slaughterhouse along the Schuylkill River.
On October 24, 1909, Henry Charles Lea died in Philadelphia and was buried at the Laurel Hill Cemetery.
Source: "Henry Charles Lea and the Libraries within a Library," by Edward Peters.
This collection contains letters written by and to various members of Henry Charles Lea's family. It includes seven letters from Henry C. Lea to his wife Anna; two letters from Henry C. Lea to his daughter Anna, known as Nina; twelve letters from Mrs. Anna Lea to her daughter Nina; three letters from Nina to her mother; one letter from Charles Matthew Lea to his mother Anna Lea; thirty-one letters from Arthur Henry Lea to his mother Anna Lea; and four letters from James McLean Ewing to his cousin Mrs. Anna Lea. There are also five folders of letters from various friends or unidentified relatives to Anna Lea or Nina Lea, with only one letter written to Henry Charles Lea.
Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum in 1989
- Ewing, James McLean
- Lea, Anna Caroline Jaudon
- Lea, Charles Matthew
- Lea, Arthur H. (Arthur Henry)
- Lea, Anna
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Nicole Love
- Finding Aid Date
- 2015 March 16
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.