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Frederick Huth & Co. Spanish banking letters


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

Frederick Huth (1777-1864) was born in Stade, Germany to Johann Friedrich Huth and Marie Amelia. He apprenticed under the Hamburg branch of the Spanish company Brentano Urbieta & Co. and, in 1797, was sent to the company's headquarters in La Coruña, Spain. In 1805, he started working as a self-employed import-export merchant and married Manuela Mayfren, with whom he had eleven children.

In 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars, the Huth family left Spain to settle in England. He ultimately became an English citizen and a member of the church of England. At this time, he founded Frederick Huth & Co. which was initially an import-export merchant business, but turned into a merchant bank specializing in trade with Germany, Spain, and South America. By 1850, it was one of London's leading merchant banks.

Huth continued to manage the bank until his retirement in the 1850s. It was then managed by Daniel Meinertzhagen.

In 1921 the bank was struggling to recover from World War I, prompting the Bank of England to facilitate an 1822 merger with Konig Brothers. It then became part of the British Overseas Bank in 1936, which ultimately became a part of the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1962.


Glawatz, Walter. "Huth, Frederick (Friedrich)." German Biography, 1974, URL:

"(John) Frederick Andrew [formerly (Johann) Friedrich Andreas] Huth." Center for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery. URL:

"Spanish Banking Correspondence." Peter Harrington. (Kislak Center administrative file)

The Frederick Huth & Co. Spanish banking letters measure .25 linear feet in one box and date from 1814 to 1850.

The letters, the majority of which are in Spanish, were written to the founder and proprietor of Frederick Huth & Co. banking house, Frederick Huth, by Spanish company agents in Madrid, Bilbao, Santiago, Cadiz, A Coruña, Málaga, and Valencia. They contain information regarding the importing of colonial commodities, including cocoa, sugar, tobacco, cinnamon, wool, and wheat, particularly from Cuba and the West Indies. Imports from Ecuador and Peru are also mentioned.

The letters detail day-to-day business operations, including port fees, commissions, insurance, consignments, market speculation, and privateering.

The letters reference several other companies and individuals, including John Hall & Co., J.S. Falk & Co., Riga-based merchant John Mitchell, and Captain Amaso Delano.

Many of the letters bare evidence of having been disinfected by contemporary fumigation methods, a common practice intended to combat the cholera pandemics prevalent in the 19th century. This evidence consists of small holes or cut corners within the letters, which allowed the fumigation gases to penetrate.

The letters are arranged chronologically.

Sold by Peter Harrington (London, England), 2023.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kelin Baldridge Smallwood
Finding Aid Date
2023 November 14
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

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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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Correspondence, 1814-1815, 1817.
Box 1 Folder 1
Correspondence, 1818-1819.
Box 1 Folder 2
Correspondence, 1820-1821.
Box 1 Folder 3
Correspondence, 1824-1825.
Box 1 Folder 4
Correspondence, 1826-1827.
Box 1 Folder 5
Correspondence, 1828-1829.
Box 1 Folder 6
Correspondence, 1830, 1832-1835.
Box 1 Folder 7
Correspondence, 1837-1838.
Box 1 Folder 8
Correspondence, 1840-1843.
Box 1 Folder 9
Correspondence, 1844-1848, 1850.
Box 1 Folder 10

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