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Joshua Gilpin journals and notebooks
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Joshua Gilpin journals and notebooks

Accession 0016

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library


PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807
302-658-2400
research@hagley.org

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2014-05-15T11:26-0400

Finding aid prepared using best local practices and Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Cite items for this collection in the following format:
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, Joshua Gilpin journals and notebooks (Accession 0016), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

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Descriptive Summary

Title: Joshua Gilpin journals and notebooks
Dates: 1790-1833
Accession Number: 0016
Creator: Gilpin, Joshua, 1765-1841
Extent: 3 microfilm reels
Language of Material: English
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: Merchant and paper manufacturer Joshua Gilpin (1765-1841) established the first paper mill in Delaware near Wilmington in partnership with his brother, Thomas (1776-1853), and uncle, Miers Fisher. Gilpin traveled extensively abroad from 1795 to 1801. The collection consists of 62 pocket journals and notebooks, the bulk of which date from Gilpin's European tour from 1795 to 1801.
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Administrative Information


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

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Biographical Note

Merchant and paper manufacturer Joshua Gilpin (1765-1841) inherited flour mills in Maryland and Delaware, and a mercantile business in Philadelphia from his father Thomas Gilpin (1728-1778). In 1787, Joshua Gilpin established the first paper mill in Delaware near Wilmington in partnership with his brother, Thomas (1776-1853), and uncle, Miers Fisher.

Joshua Gilpin traveled extensively abroad from 1795 to 1801. Most of the time he stayed in England with a distant relative, the Reverend William Gilpin. He made an excursion to Ireland in 1796 and, after the French Revolution abated, toured the Low Countries, France, and Switzerland. Gilpin followed the standard itinerary of the Grand Tour but also investigated agriculture, canals, roads, and manufacturing industries. Gilpin was a careful observer who recorded both conventional travel narratives and site descriptions and collected data on political and social conditions, wages, and the standard of living. His perspective was that of a Quaker with reforming impulses, exemplified by his interest in prisons and education. His extensive travels gave him a more cosmopolitan outlook than most Philadelphia Quakers, and he absorbed many tastes and attitudes of the English gentry with whom he lived. Gilpin's English connections permitted him to visit all of the classic sites of the Industrial Revolution. Gilpin made a second trip to England in 1811-1815, being stranded there during the War of 1812. On this second visit he collected information on the newly-developed continuous papermaking machines, which permitted his brother to produce and patent the first such device in the United States in 1817.

The Gilpins gave up their mercantile business in 1817 to concentrate on papermaking. Although successful, they suffered from a shortage of capital compounded by losses on other investments. They sold the paper mill in 1837. In his later years, Joshua Gilpin lived in the style of an English country gentleman at his home, "Kentmere," near Wilmington.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of 62 pocket journals and notebooks, the bulk of which date from Gilpin's European tour from 1795 to 1801. Volume 1 is a fragmentary account of the area around Boston and Marblehead, Massachusetts, part of a larger account of a tour through New England in 1790. Volumes 2 to 54 and 57 cover a European tour from 1795 to 1801.

Gilpin's journals give a detailed picture of the English Industrial Revolution, as he visited most of the landmark sites in England and Wales. At this time, the domestic and factory systems, as well as, hand and machine production existed side by side. Gilpin made numerous sketches of factories, mines and machinery. Gilpin's descriptions also included the following: potteries of Wales and Staffordshire; iron manufacture at Colebrookdale, including Henry Cort's puddling process; glass manufacture; the salt mines of Cheshire; the dockyards at Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth; and textile manufacture at Leicester, Nottingham and Manchester. Gilpin enjoyed direct access to many of the leading inventors and industrialists. Matthew Boulton conducted him through the Birmingham mint.

Several notebooks are devoted to specific topics, such as Volume 55 which contains notes and drawings of canal structures, mostly from the Lancaster Canal. Volume 56 contains notes of the trade of Caracas, Venezuela. Volume 60 contains Gilpin's plan for a normal school. Volume 61 is devoted to papermaking, and volume 62 describes the vinyards and wines of Bordeaux. ansparent. Volume 58 is an inventory of Gilpin's books, silver and linens. Volume 59 is a petty cash ledger (1830-1833).

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Series Descriptions and Inventory

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1 Tour through New England, 1790 July 8 -24
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1 Eastern tour, United States, Vol. IV, 1790 September 20-October 14
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. V, 1797 October 15-December 3
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. VI and VIII, 1795 December 5-1796 January 11, 1796 March 13-20
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1 "Memorandums in Kent" (England), Vol. VII, no. 1, 1796 March 8-12
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. IX, 1796 March 22-April 9
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. X, 1796 April 10-28
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XI, 1796 April 28-May 5
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XII, 1796 May 6-18
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XIV, 1796 May 29-June 10
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XVI, 1796 July 19-22
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XVII, 1796 July 23-31
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XVIII, 1796 July 31-August 9
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1 Excursion to Lakes of Killarney, 1796 August 18-21
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1 continuation of excursion to Lakes of Killarney, 1796 August 21
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1 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXI, 1796 August 24-September 12
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXII, 1795 September 12-15
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXIII, 1796 September 17-25
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXIV, 1796 September 25-30
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXV, 1796 September 30
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXVI, 1796 September 30
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXVII, 1796 October 1-16
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXVIII, 1796 October 16-22
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXX, 1796 October 23-28
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXXI, 1796 October 29-31
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXXII, 1796 October 31-November 8
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXXIII, 1796 November 9-13
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXXIV, 1796 November 13-29
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XXXV, 1796 November 29-December 1
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XLVIII, 1797 February 12-17
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XLI, 1797 February 27-March 3
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. LV, 1797 July 10-19
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2 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. LXXXI, 1797 August 25-September 2
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2 Margate to Amsterdam and Holland, 1797 October 6-13
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2 France, 1797 November 12-December 3
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2 Tour of Continental Europe, 1797 December 28-1798 January 5
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2 Bordeaux, 1798 January 5-24
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2 Bordeaux, 1798
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3 Bordeaux and Toulouse, 1798 February 13-20
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3 Montpellier to Nismes and Pont de Gard, 1798 February 2
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3 Montpellier and Nismes, 1798 March 2
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3 Nismes to Tarascon, 1798 March 6
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3 Tarascon and Marseilles, 1798 March 6-18
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3 leave Marseilles to Aix. Vaucluse, Avignon, Orange, 1798 April
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3 Douzerre to Lorio, Lorio to St. Valliere, St.Valliere to Lyons, Lyons to Vienne, 1798 April
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3 tour from Lyons to Geneva and Geneva, 1798 April
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3 Geneva, 1798 April
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3 Geneva, 1798 April
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3 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. LXXXIII, 1799 August 21-27
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3 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. LXXXV, 1799 August 28-29
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3 Sojourn in the British Isles,"Stage. Broadway to Chapel House Inn," Vol. LXXXIV, 1799 August 19
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3 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. LXXXVI, 1799 September
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3 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. LXXXVII, 1800 April 1-7
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3 Sojourn in the British Isles, Vol. XCVI, 1801 March 23-25
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3 Miscellaneous notebook, undated [Content relates to canals.]
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3 Vera Cruz and Caracas, Venezuela, Vol. LXXIII, undated
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3 observations on Continental European tour, Holland, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy, undated
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3 Inventory, books, silver, and linens, undated
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3 "Petty Cash Ledger," 1830-1833
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3 Contributions towards a Normal Institution for Training Young Women as Teachers and placing it on a thorough and permanent plan, LXVII, undated
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3 "LVII. Paper.," undated
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3 "Remarks on the Vines and Wines of Bordeaux-- their culture & ca __," undated