Main content

Robert Gilmour letter to William Young


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

William Young (1755-1829), a bookseller, printer, and publisher, moved from Philadelphia to Rockland, Delaware, where he opened a paper mill in the 1790s.

William Young was born in 1755 in Scotland and briefly attended a Presbyterian seminary there before becoming a bookseller. After arriving in Philadelphia in June 1784, Young opened a book store and printing shop on Chestnut Street.

According to Thomas Gravell, Young purchased a paper mould in March 1794 and by 1795 was making paper. By 1802 Young had sold his Philadelphia retail and publishing operations to William W. Woodward, and moved to Delaware. The paper mill proved profitable until a fire in 1814 destroyed the mill. Young rebuilt the business as a woolen mill, but when the business was unsuccessful, Young returned to Philadelphia, where he was active in the Associate Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.

Robert Gilmour operated the Delaware paper mill at Brandywine with William Young as William Young and Co. until 1803 when Young became the sole proprietor.

McA MSS 007, Young and Woodward Business Papers. Library Company of Philadelphia. (accessed May, 29, 2009).Scharf, J. Thomas.History Delaware 1609-1888, Volume 2. Lewes, Delaware: Delmarva Roots, 2001.Gravell, Thomas L.American Watermarks 1690-1835. New Castle, Del.: Oak Knoll Press, 2002.

Delaware papermaker Robert Gilmour's handwritten and signed letter to Philadelphia printer William Young documents the birth of a Delaware paper mill in 1794.

Dated May 16, 1794, the letter from Gilmour to Young confirms that the Delaware paper mill was operational at that time, although still under construction. In the letter Gilmour mentions financial assistance from "Benny," which may be an allusion to Benjamin Franklin Bache, who, because of his publishing business, was known to have invested in regional papermaking businesses.

  1. F0175: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0098 manuscript boxes

Purchase, December 2008.

Processed and encoded by Anita Wellner, May 2009. Further encoded by George Apodaca, March 2015.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2009 May 27
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

Robert Gilmour letter to William Young, 1794 May 16.
Box 7 Folder F0175

Print, Suggest