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Michael Bartholomew Mahony memorandum book


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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

Michael Bartholomew (“M.B.”) Mahony was born on July 27, 1799 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He moved to Philadelphia as a child and worked as a clerk for several mercantile firms, including Jackson & Biddle and Jackson & Todd. In 1834, he married Jane Rice. The couple had two children, Anna Jackson Mahony Rutter and Charles Alfred Mahony, born in 1835 and 1836, respectively. Mahony partnered with John P. Stackhouse in the early 1840s to establish the firm M.B. Mahony & Co., iron and commission merchants. Mahony was also director of the Merchants’ Exchange and the Phoenix Insurance Company. In later life, he worked to establish the Pennsylvania Railroad. Although his family was originally Roman Catholic, Mahony was a vestryman at St. Peter’s Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. He died on May 16, 1883.

Included in this collection are two photographs of Mahony’s grandson, Charles A. Rutter. Rutter was the quartermaster of the Second Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in the late 1890s.

Annual Report of the Adjutant General of Pennsylvania for the Year 1898. Wm. Stanley Ray, State Printer of Pennsylvania, 1900.“The Comet.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 20, 1882.1850 Federal Census (accessed via on December 7, 2016)1880 Federal Census (accessed via on December 7, 2016)Information derived from the collection.

This collection consists primarily of a memorandum book kept by Philadelphia merchant Michael Bartholomew Mahony between 1879 and 1883. Mahony recorded observations on the weather, local and international news, household activity, financial transactions, and the deaths of friends, family members, and acquaintances. The collection also contains two photographs and a number of loose receipts, newspaper clippings, and other pieces of paper ephemera.

In his memorandum book, Mahony focused primarily on the daily activities of his household, recording information about the health of family members, the movements of servants, and financial transactions made by himself and his son. In the margins and the entries themselves, Mahony frequently commented on the weather and provided multiple temperature readings each day. Mahony also kept close watch on river and oceanic travel in Philadelphia, with a particular emphasis on the movement of steamboats into and out of the region.

Perhaps due to his advanced age, Mahony frequently recorded the deaths of friends, family members, and acquaintances. He pasted short newspaper obituaries in several places throughout his memorandum book. Mahony also recorded local, national, and international news, including steamboat explosions, election results, the death of President James Garfield, and the assassination of Czar Alexander II of Russia. This memorandum book, with these scraps and random copied data, may be considered a hybrid scrapbook and commonplace.

Mahony’s son Charles began making entries in the memorandum book during the summer of 1882, when his father became too ill to do so. Charles Mahony recorded his father’s activities as well as snippets of local and global news, including the possibility of a comet hitting the earth in September 1882. Following the elder Mahony’s death in May 1883, Charles Mahony wrote an extensive obituary. M.B. Mahony’s wife, Jane, and his daughter, Anna Rutter, each made one entry in the memorandum book.

This collection consists of one bound volume, two black and white photographs on cardboard backings, and twenty-one newspaper clippings, loose receipts, and other pieces of paper ephemera. The volume is bound in black cloth over boards. It has a black leather spine and corners with gilt-tooled decoration. There is a three-cent United States postage stamp and a multi-colored paper image of a wing affixed to the front cover. The volume contains wove paper pastedowns and flyleaves. Inside the front cover there is a stationer’s ticket that reads “James Hogan/Blank Book Manufacturer/Stationer and Printer/No. 339 Chestnut St./Philadelphia.” in blue print. Also pasted inside the front cover is a printed list of names with the text “voted the above names Nov. 8, 1881” handwritten in black ink. Below this there is a printed list of the various Philadelphia wards. The volume contains seventy-eight leaves of wove paper with handwritten text in black ink and occasional annotations in pencil. The two photographs show men in military uniforms on horseback. On the back of one of the photographs, they have been identified in handwritten black ink as “Lieut. Rutter R.Q.M.” and “Lieut. Packard Asst. Surg.”

Item 0167: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097

Gift of the Moyerman Family, 1972

Processed and encoded by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, January 2017.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2017 January 11
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Michael Bartholomew Mahony memorandum book, 1879-1883.
Item 0167
Physical Description

1 volume

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