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Levis family papers


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

The Levis family of Delaware County, Pennsylvania owned and operated mills, manufacturing first paper and then cotton. Samuel Levis (1649-1734) and William Garrett (1643-1723) of Leicester, England, jointly purchased 1,000 acres of land from William Penn. In 1684, Levis immigrated to Pennsylvania, settling on Darby Creek. Samuel Levis' descendants –including at least five more individuals by the same name- established a number of successful mills in the area, namely Glenwood Mills, Tuscarora Mills and Lamb Mill (renamed 'Clifton Mills' in 1867 when the facility was re-outfitted to process cotton). Samuel Garret Levis (1812-1891) appears to be the central focus of this collection although there are documents relating to his wife Esther Hibbard Lobb (1819-1866); his father Oborn (1787-1862); his brother Oborn (1820-1880) and Oborn's wife, Elizabeth Rhoads (born in 1825); his children Hannah (1842-1901), Anna (1845-1923) and Albert (1847-1898); and his wife's father, Israel Lobb (1817-1838), and her grandfather, Isaac Lobb (1731-1803). Newspaper clippings deal largely with the extended family history of the Levis family from the time of immigration from England.

The Levis family papers consist of a variety of documents including correspondence, bills, contracts, estate records and newspaper clippings, dating from 1770 to around 1932. When possible, these papers have been arranged by the creator of the material, or the Levis family member to whom they most directly relate. The individual best represented in the collection is Samuel Garret Levis (1812-1891). The documents relating to S. G. Levis include a few invitations, a tax return (1872), bills for his children's education at the Friends Central School and Village Green Seminary, a contract granting right-of-way to the West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad Company, and a ledger book (1830) which possibly belonged to his uncle, also named Samuel Levis. There are two early nineteenth century estate records included in this collection which are connected to Samuel Garret Levis's wife Esther Lobb. The first is an inventory and appraisal of the estate of Isaac Lobb (her grandfather), completed after his death in 1803. The second booklet, which belonged to Israel Lobb (her father), documents the 1813 "Vandu" or estate sale of John Hibbard (probably her uncle), and lists the items purchased by various individuals. The final two files in this collection contain clippings in two groupings, one from the late nineteenth century and the other circa 1932. The set of earlier clippings contains three obituaries of S. G. Levis (1812-1891) as well as two poems about mourning. The later newspaper clippings all relate to the history of the Levis family in Pennsylvania.

Of particular note in this collection may be the focus applied to education--not only for the Levis and Lobb children, but also a few whose connections to the families are unknown. These records date largely from the 1820s and the 1860s. While public education in Philadelphia was established in 1818, it appears that Isaac Lobb paid a tutor to educate both boys and girls. In the 1860s, Samuel Garret Levis his wife sent two of their children to established schools: Anna attended the Quaker Friends Central School (Levis paid for tuition, boarding, and tutoring) and Albert (1847-1898) attended the Village Green Seminary (Levis paid for tuition and boarding) in preparation for attending college. An account of expenses for their daughter, Hannah, lists lectures, textbooks, and supplies, but does not identify a particular school, indicating that she may have been educated by private tutors.

Purchase from Book Mark, 2016.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Rive Cadwallader
Finding Aid Date
December 6 2017
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.

Collection Inventory

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Lobb, Isaac (1731-1803), contract regarding money owed by Joseph Lobb, and inventory of estate, 1770, circa 1803.
Box 1 Folder 1
Lobb, Israel, estate sale record of John Hibberd, and 3 bills charged by John Currin for the tuition of Martha Markwood, Davis Hellems, Lydia Ann Parsons, Joshua Parsons, and "Esther" (his daughter), 1813, 1826-1828.
Box 1 Folder 1
Levis, Samuel G. (1812-1891), correspondence, bills, contracts, ledger book and tax return, 1830-1877.
Box 1 Folder 2
Lobb, Esther, invitation to dinner, 1835.
Box 1 Folder 3
Wilcox, Joseph, certification of school attendance, 1844.
Box 1 Folder 3
Levis, Oborn (1820-1880), invitation to tea and contract with Samuel A. Harrison, 1846, 1867.
Box 1 Folder 3
Levis, Hannah (1842-1901), bill charged by M. L. Eastman for lectures and school supplies, 1861.
Box 1 Folder 3
Clippings, unidentified creator, 1862, 1891, circa 1800s.
Box 1 Folder 4
Newspaper clippings on Levis family history, unidentified creator, circa 1932.
Box 1 Folder 4

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