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Lydia R. Bailey certificate account

1822
 Collection
Identifier: 0112

Abstract

Lydia R. Bailey (1779-1869) owned and operated on of the busiest printing establishments in nineteenth century Philadelphia. The collection represents an account with John Steele (1758-1827), collector of the Port of Philadelphia, for printing of certificates and includes a list of ships for which certificates were purchased.

Dates

  • 1822

Creator

Extent

1 item(s)

Biographical Note

Lydia R. Bailey (1779-1869) owned and operated on of the busiest printing establishments in nineteenth century Philadelphia.

Lydia Steele was born February 1, 1779 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to Captain William Steele (1750-1822) and Elizabeth Bailey (1754-1826). The Steeles were a prosperous Lancaster family; William, his father, and his brothers all served with distinction in the American Revolution. The brothers established a paper mill in Lancaster County after the war and became important players in Philadelphia politics. Elizabeth Bailey was the sister of the prominent Revolutionary-era printers, Jacob and Francis Bailey. Francis was one of the United States' first typefounders and an official printer for Congress and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In 1797, Steele married her cousin, Robert Bailey (1774-1808), who was managing his father Francis's Philadelphia printing office. She worked alongside her husband in his struggling effort to run a successful printing business until his death in 1808. At which time she took over the business, paid off her husband's debts, and transformed it into a thriving printing establishment under her own imprint.

After initially turning to her uncles for help and business, Bailey succeeded in getting contracts with a number of government agencies, the University of Pennsylvania, and various banks and canal companies. In 1813, she obtained a contract to become Philadelphia's official city printer. Bailey concentrated her shop's energies on book and job printing for others: blank forms, almanacs, annual reports, booksellers' catalogs, broadsides, and chapbooks.

Although she was assisted by her son, Robert William Bailey (1807-1861), Bailey still remained in control of the business, overseeing the hundreds of employees and apprentices she had during her fifty year career. She retired the same year her son died, at age eighty-two.

Scope and Contents

Lydia R. Bailey (1779-1869), printer, of Philadelphia, account with John Steele (1758-1827), collector of the Port of Philadelphia, for printing certificates. Includes list of ships for which certificates were purchased.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Lydia R. Bailey certificate account
Status:
Author:
John Beverly Riggs
Date:
1970
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2021: Ashley Williams

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400