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Series III. William M. Darlington Papers, 1837-1889

Scope and Content Notes:

William M. Darlington (1815-1889), was born to Benjamin Darlington and Agnes McCullough in Pittsburgh. William was educated in private schools as a child and young adult, and then went on to study at Jefferson College, now known as Washington & Jefferson College, in Pennsylvania. He began his law career under the tutelage of Richard Biddle.

William was a devout Presbyterian, a well-respected attorney, member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association for fifty years, and Vice President of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. During the last eight years of his life, he was also a trustee of his alma mater, Jefferson College, and the Western University of Pennsylvania, now the University of Pittsburgh. William amassed an extensive collection of books, manuscripts and maps related to western Pennsylvania’s colonial and revolutionary history. This library was supplemented by his wife and three eldest children.

This series is organized into three topical subseries. Subseries 1 contains materials related to William’s collecting activities, including documentation of book purchases, correspondence with booksellers and fellow collectors, historical research notes, receipts, and membership certificates to historical societies. Subseries 2 contains William’s personal papers, including correspondence and diaries. Subseries 3 encompasses financial and estate papers.

Subseries 1. Collection Activities and Research

Scope and Content Notes:

Materials in this subseries document William's collecting and lending activities, the library at Guyasuta, and his personal research and writing. William collected books and manuscripts from vendors such as the Hakluyt Society, as well as individual booksellers. Correspondence with Richard S. Edes, James Veech and Joseph Albree are examples of William's contacts in the field of rare books. Also, seventeen receipts document the purchase of books from the law offices of Baldwin & Ford, J. Munsel, and Burns & Son, among others. A bound volume of book orders, demonstrates William's meticulous documentation of the books he ordered between November 30, 1847 and January 14, 1867, including the Audubon volumes. William's correspondence with A. Eaton, John Newton, J.M. Read, J. R. Lambdin, and W.C. Reichel all highlight his role as a consultant for other researchers, to whom he sometimes lent or sold books.

The great strength of this subseries is the documentation of volumes in the library at Guyasuta. The Classification of Books consists of three successive versions of a list of books in the library at Guyasuta. Mary used these three volumes to alphabetically catalog the books in the Darlington family library according to topic, including history, travels, horticulture and natural history, and poetry, drama and tales; sections also list magazines, newspapers, and maps. In addition to these larger volumes, this subseries includes a partial catalog and a partial inventory of books at Guyasuta; these smaller lists most likely repeat titles already listed in the Classification of Books. Additionally, design diagrams for library bookcases shed light on the original physical arrangement of the Guyasuta library.

William was deeply interested in historical research, as was his professional mentor, Richard Biddle, and this subseries contains bound volumes of William's notes and writings about various topics. His Commonplace Book and Research Notes discuss a variety of topics, including: the Ohio Company; Forts Pitt, Duquesne, Shippen and Kittanning; Guyasuta; the Allegheny River and the city of Pittsburgh; Old Westmoreland and Indiana Counties; the Montour family; the Shawnee (Shananese) and Seneca Indians; George Croghan and Henry Alexander; and shipbuilding and theater. The Historical Biographical Notes include William's thoughts on such diverse topics as the Californian coal mountains, British nobility, the Darlington family crest, American Indian rituals, and the papers of British officer Henry Bouquet (1719-1765). This subseries contains transcriptions of the Bouquet Papers, which William commissioned from the British Museum. The transcribed letters document communication between Colonel Bouquet and other British officers during the French and Indian War from locations throughout Pennsylvania, his military campaign to drive the French out of Fort Duquesne, and the battle with Indians at Bushy Run. William was profoundly interested in the Ohio Company, and collected many papers relating to this eighteenth century land-development and trading consortium, including copies of the journals of Christopher Gist, who was hired by the company to negotiate terms with the Indians. William published Christopher Gist's Journals posthumously in 1893, possibly using transcriptions in this subseries. The drafts of his publication are located in the collection number dar192514.

William's Western Pennsylvania Historical Notes concerns legal events in Allegheny County, and include brief biographical notes on newly appointed judges. William also recorded information on proceedings and treaties brokered with the American Indians by early frontiersmen. Another section of this volume includes financial records concerning rent paid for several properties leased by the Darlington family. There are many loose pages within the journal and several pages are written entirely in French. For more information on this collection, please refer to Box 25, with oversized materials

Folder 31 William M. Darlington to A. Eaton, January, 1838
Folder 32 Historical Society of Pennsylvania to William M. Darlington, July 1, 1855
Folder 33 Certificate from State Historical Society of Wisconsin, September 12, 1872
Folder 34 J. M. Read, Jr., to William M. Darlington, September 5, 1866
Folder 35 Charles Whittlesey to William M. Darlington, 1870-1872
Folder 36 Statement by John Pennington, April 25, 1866
Folder 37 Envelopes to William M. Darlington, ca. 1870-1885
Folder 38 Isaac Samuel to William M. Darlington, February 8, 1871
Folder 39 Letter to William M. Darlington from J. R. Lambdin, March 10, 1871
Folder 40 W.C. Reichel to William M. Darlington, July 8, 1871
Folder 41 William White to William M. Darlington, 1872
Folder 42 Richard S. Edes to William M. Darlington, March 12, 1873
Folder 43 Joseph Albree to William M. Darlington, March 31 1875
Folder 44 J. C. Hale to William M. Darlington, March 6, 1876
Folder 45 Letter to William M. Darlington from John M. Newton, November 26, 1876
Folder 46 James Veech to William M. Darlington, 1877
Folder 47 Letter from William M. Darlington to W. B. Hoff, May 1, 1884
Folder 48 J. L. Keyes to William M. Darlington, February 8, 1877
Folder 49 Boyd Grumrine to William M. Darlington, May 30, 1881
Folder 50 Sir to William M. Darlington, May 3, 1883
Folder 51 Gilbert Cope to William M. Darlington, June 4, 1884
Folder 52 American History Magazine subscriptions and letter from Joseph Sabin, June 3, 1881
Folder 53 Robert Clarke to William M. Darlington, December 2, 1884
Folder 54 Receipts for Books purchased by William M. Darlington, August 21- December 11, 1885.
Folder 55 George P. Smith to William M. Darlington, April 15, 1886
Folder 56 George P. Smith to William M. Darlington, March 12, 1868
Folder 57 List of Hakluyt Society Publications, undated
Folder 58 Topographical Description, undated

Box 2
Folder 1 List of Books in William M. Darlington's Library at Guyasuta, undated
Folder 2 Catalog, undated
Folder 3 Inventory, Hall Bookcase, undated
Folder 4-5 History Notes, undated
Folder 6-13 Bouquet Papers Transcriptions, 1758-1763
Folder 14-21 18C primary source transcriptions, undated
Folder 22 Transcripts of Ettwein's diary, undated
Folder 23-36 Research notes, undated
Folder 37 Darlington Research Notes, undated

Box 3
Folder 1-10 Research notes, undated
Folder 11-22 Manuscript drafts, undated
Folder 23 Printed ephemera, undated
Volume 3 Classification of books in Darlington library at Guyasuta, undated
Volume 4 Classification of books in Darlington library at Guyasuta, undated
Volume 5 Classification of books in Darlington library at Guyasuta, undated
Volume 6 Historical biographical notes, undated
Volume 7 Book Orders, November 30, 1847- January 4, 1867
Volume 8 Research Notes, undated
Volume 9 Financial Records, 1858-1859
Volume 49 Memoranda, ca. 1870s-1880s
Volume 50 The Improved Commonplace Book, ca. 1870s-1880s

Subseries 2. Personal Papers

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains personal letters from George P. Smith and Sergeant Winthropy, and a copy of a letter William wrote from Westchester, Pennsylvania, to an unknown correspondent who had requested information on cuttings and seedlings from Guyasuta. In 1862, William wrote to his brother, John, expressing happiness that John joined an Indiana regiment instead of a Pennsylvania regiment, as Indiana regiments were less likely to be sent to war. Also present are William's membership certificates from the Academy of Natural Sciences and the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, as well as a portrait of him at the time. For more information on this topic, please refer to Box 25, which contains oversized materials. The Record-Book included in this subseries appears to contain handwritten copies of Darlington's outgoing correspondence from 1838; it also includes accounts he documented from 1840 to 1844.

Folder 24 Sergeant Winthropy to William M. Darlington, August 24, 1855
Folder 25 William M. Darlington to Sir, October 22, 1855
Folder 26 William M. Darlington to John Darlington, February 7, 1862
Folder 27 James Brown to William M. Darlington, July 29, 1885
Folder 28 George P. Smith to William M. Darlington, November 20, 1888
Folder 29 Norma Derry to William M. Darlington, undated
Folder 30 Unknown to William McCullough Darlington, undated
Folder 31 George White to William M. Darlington, September 9, 1870
Volume 52 William M. Darlington Record-Book, 1838, 1840-1841, 1844

Subseries 3. Financial and Estate Papers

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains documents relating to William M. Darlington's properties, investments, taxes and profession. Property records include a title to land in Allegheny County, an auction catalog of household goods inscribed to William, and a small notebook dated 1879 that lists bonds and mortgage payments. Additionally, two bound volumes, an account book and a book of financial records, document rent and mortgage payments, including payments from such institutions as the trustees of Jefferson College, and Snyder & Company. William owned stock in the Pittsburgh Manufacturing Company, the Sharpsburg Bridge Company, the Mercantile Library Hall Company, and paid taxes in Allegheny County and O'Hara Township. Also present are documents certifying William to practice law in Allegheny County and the state of Alabama.

Folder 32 Land surveys and abstract of title, 1803-1879
Folder 33 Stock shares, January 13, 1812
Folder 34 State of Alabama to William M. Darlington, January 5, 1838
Folder 35 Check written to cash, William M. Darlington, June, 1860
Folder 36 Receipt for money paid by William M. Darlington to stockholders of Sharpsburg Bridge Co., September 25, 1865
Folder 37 Auction Catalog, February 13, 1871
Folder 38 Financial Notes, 1879
Folder 39 Agreement, 1881
Folder 40 Taxes, 1881, 1916
Folder 41 Mercantile Library Hall Company Certificate for William Darlington, March 12, 1869

Subseries 4. Diaries

Scope and Content Notes:

William M. Darlington used these twenty-nine diaries to make brief notes about court dates, meetings, payments he received, the purchase of stocks, and other personal and professional transactions. The diaries occasionally mention William's health and personal habits. Many of the entries involve mortgage payments he received for various properties in and around Pittsburgh. Throughout the diaries, he describes the weather at Guyasuta, and occasionally notes the height of the Allegheny River. He also briefly mentions if he had received or sent any letters. In addition, William M. Darlington writes about legal cases in which he was engaged. Social events are occasionally mentioned, including parties at the homes of Mr. Lewis Hutchinson and Mr. McKnight in 1847 and 1848. Entries in 1873/4 and 1881/2 describe the Darlington family's travels in Europe. Three undated diaries contain historical research notes, including a list of officers that served at Fort Pitt, and information on various maps and books in the Guyasuta library. Corporate and personal names mentioned in the diaries include: Allegheny Company, Penn Railroad Company, Pleasant Valley Railroad Company, Monongahela Bridge Company, John B. Herron, J. H. Fibson, John Lundy, H. Fellman, Leo Schmidt, Reverend E. McKnight, E. P. Jones, and Dr. Harrison L. Robson.


Box 4
Folder 1 Diaries, 1844, 1846-1847
Folder 2 Diaries, 1847-1848, 1850
Folder 3 Diaries, 1863-1864, 1869
Folder 4 Diaries, 1870-1872
Folder 5 Diaries, 1873-1874
Folder 6 Diaries, 1875-1876, 1879
Folder 7 Diaries, 1880-1882
Folder 8 Diaries, 1883-1885
Folder 9 Diaries, 1886-1887, 1889
Folder 10 Diaries, undated