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Darlington Autograph Files



What's online?

The entire collection is scanned and online.

What’s in the entire collection?

The Darlington Autograph Files are a selection of documents created by various historical figures between 1610 and 1914. It consists of 601 documents, some related to one another through specific historical events while others were collected by the Darlington family for their rarity. The Darlington family had an interest in collecting and preserving the history of western Pennsylvania and purportedly amassed the largest private library west of the Allegheny Mountains.

This collection broadly displays the historical interests of William Darlington and his wife, Mary Carson O’Hara Darlington. The colonial period, French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, Whiskey Rebellion, westward expansion, and other topics were of particular interest to the family.

Many of the items are from such notable figures as Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon Bonaparte, William Penn, Robert Fulton, Robert R. Livingston, and Patrick Henry. Prominent citizens of the Pittsburgh area are also represented in the collection, with letters and other documents from Mary Croghan Schenley, James O’Hara, William Wilkins, Presley Neville, and Richard Butler, among others.

Many pieces in the collection are from renowned military and political figures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They include Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, Henry Knox, William McKinley, Jr., Alexander Hamilton, Arthur St. Clair, Andrew Jackson, Gouverner Morris, and Albert Gallatin among others. Foreign leaders represented in the collection are the Marquis de Lafayette, King George III, and Napoleon Bonaparte.

While most of the documents are original, a small number are photocopies, handwritten copies, typed transcripts, or other forms of surrogate records, all of which are noted as such.

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