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W.R. Harrison private journal


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

W.R. Harrison was a publisher's representative for A. S. Barnes & Co. and Mather, Case, Tiffany, & Burnham, who sold maps and textbooks to public and private schools and booksellers.

This collection consists of a journal kept from October 14, 1841, to February 20, 1844, by W. R. Harrison. Entries from 1841 to April 1842 describe events and social pastimes in Philadelphia, including his visits to the Navy Yard and Water Works; several trips to Blockley Hospital, including one to view Dr. Pancoast operate on a patient with cancer of the jaw; services, sermons, and lectures at a number of churches (Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish) and halls; and plays and operas at Philadelphia theatres.

Beginning on April 23, 1842, Harrison travels to Utica, New York, on business, and he keeps accounts of his sales and orders, specifying the maps and books he is promoting. He describes business travel and excursions to Boston, New Bedford, and Nantucket, Massachusetts; Rhode Island; New Haven, Connecticut; New York City; Baltimore, Maryland; Richmond, Roanoke and other locations in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina by horse, train, steamship and sailing ships. He spends periods of time in Philadelphia, where he worked closely with Apollos W. Harrison and worked for Mr. Thomas and Mr. Cowperthwait of Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co.

There are detailed observations of militia drills; firemen's parades; holiday celebrations; Tom Thumb's visit to Philadelphia on February 24, 1843; architecture; mining; travel; occasional descriptions of African Americans in the North and the South, including the August 1, 1842, black celebration of "Emancipation Day" on freeing the slaves in Jamaica, which culminated in a two-day riot in Philadelphia; and a record of the words to the song "Ole Dan Tucker," as sung by slaves in the South.

Items laid in the journal include lyrics to "Jock o' Hazeldean," "The Lass o' Gowrie," and "My heart's in the highlands;" five receipts for payment of Miss Hamilton's tuition and board at Mount Saint Joseph, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 1862-1863; and a letter from Lizzie G. Lesher of Lansing, Michigan to her aunt Anne E. Harrison in Philadelphia, dated December 14, 1886.

Sold by Carmen D. Valentino, 2003.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Date
2018 April 9
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.

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Private journal, volume II and III, 1841 October 14-1844 February 20.
Box 1 Folder 1
Items laid in (bills and receipts for the education of Harrison's daughter at the St. Joseph's Academy in Chestnut Hill; letter to Anne E. Harrison from her neice, Lizzie Lesher; and lyrics to songs), 1862-1863, 1886, undated.
Box 1 Folder 2

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