Monday, March 22, 2010

Yeates Collection Finding Aid

The Swain Report, Number Four

In 2009, the David Library made a large acquisition at the Pennsylvania State Archive. The Papers of Jasper Yeates was among those acquired. As you'll note in David̢۪s report, Yeates was a very important figure in revolutionary Pennsylvania. Stationed in Lancaster County as a prominent lawyer, he served on the Committee of Safety for the County, was a member of the Middle Department for Indian Affairs during days immediately following Independence, and served as a Supreme Court judge for the state of Pennsylvania. The Collection we have contains a wide-range of his papers. Other portions of his papers can be found in the Lancaster County Historical Society and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Patrick Spero

Jasper Yeats Family Papers

by David Swain

Biographical Information

Jasper Yeats (or Yeates) was born in 1745 and died in 1817. His father, John Yeats, was a Philadelphia merchant, so Jasper may have been born in Philadelphia and moved to Lancaster when he decided to start a law practice. He married Catherine Burd, whose family came from Carlisle, and his business correspondence includes a number of letters from two of her brothers, Joseph and Edward. Another in-law family was the Shippens of Lancaster. The Yeats, Burds, and Shippens all knew each other well and intermarried closely. Judging from his family papers, Jasper practiced law from the early 1760s until he died. In 1791, he was appointed an associate justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, a position he held until he died.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jeduthan Baldwin Diary Finding Aid

The Swain Report, Number Three

We recently acquired the Jeduthan Baldwin Diary from the Massachusetts Historical Society. What follows is David Swain's excellent and intriguing report of what he discovered in the diary. David describes the three main sections of the diary and lets us in on some of the juiciest nuggets he discovered.

Reading David's report, I was struck by two things. First, Baldwin’s diary truly captures the era of the Revolution, beginning with the Seven Years War and ending in the midst of ratification. Although many works of history begin or end with 1776, Baldwin's life shows how for many the era of the Revolution was a period of continuity. What Baldwin's diary tells us about this era is something for researchers to answer.

The second observation comes at the end of David's detailed and fascinating report. David mentions a portion of the diary that includes records relating to Shays' Rebellion and notes that while portions of Baldwin's Diary have been published, this part has not. I did a quick search of Google Books and found that few books have cited this manuscript copy. What new insight on Shays' Rebellion might this collection hold?

Patrick Spero

Jeduthan Baldwin Diaries

by David Swain

Biographical Information

Jeduthan Baldwin (1732-1788) was born in Woburn, MA. He lived most of his life in North Brookfield, a small town in a still rural area NW of Worcester. He apparently learned the construction trades and mechanical engineering early in life because he served in both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War as an engineer, designing and supervising (and probably doing) the construction of fortifications, buildings, bridges, and the like for American colonial and then US national military efforts. His rank during the French and Indian War was Captain. By late in the Revolutionary War, he had risen to the level of Colonel.