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Taylor Family papers

Identifier: HC.MC-962

Scope and Contents

These papers give a picture of the social, business, religious, and emotional relationships of two closely connected Quaker families, the Taylors and the Shoemakers, beginning in Burlington, N.J., and Philadelphia in the early 19th Century and extending westward, as Abraham Merritt Taylor (1799-1873) went to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1825, founded a tanning business there, and eventually brought his friend Isaac Shoemaker and his brothers, Dr. Joseph W. Taylor and Jacob M. Taylor, to Cincinnati and took them into partnership. The business grew until it had branches in several mid-western cities. For the next 25 years, both the families had ties in both the mid-West and the Philadelphia area. In 1851, the partnership was dissolved, and Dr. Joseph Taylor returned to the East; he was followed, a few years later, by his brothers, who settled near him in Burlington, N.J.

The westward expansion of the 1840s, `50s, and `60's is reflected in these papers in the letters of various members of the families who traveled to Colorado and California for their health, and nephew Walter Hinchman's letters, telling of the surveying of the route for the Acheson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. Sheep-raising in Illinois, the 1849 gold rush to California, Indian raids, ranch life, and conditions in the growing metropolis of San Francisco are touched on.

The Civil War years bring us the correspondence of the Contraband Relief Commission, of which Abraham Taylor was Chairman and Isaac Shoemaker was an active member, and also of the American Freedmen's Aid Commission, with which they were concerned, as well as many scattered paragraphs in letters from members of the Taylor family in Burlington to Joseph Wright Taylor, who was in England at the outbreak of the War. All reflect Friends' concern for peace and for the liberation and welfare of African Americans in the South.

A number of letters in the late 1870s, addressed to Dr. Joseph W. Taylor, from contractors, civil engineers, educators, and others, concern his preparations for the founding of Bryn Mawr College. The collection also includes his travel diaries, 1849 and 1861-62, and a notebook of notes on Dr. Chapman's lectures in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, 1829.

Chief correspondents in the collection are Charles H. Shoemaker, Isaac Shoemaker, Abraham Merritt Taylor, Elizabeth Robeson (Shoemaker) Taylor, his wife, Hannah Taylor, his sister, Dr. Joseph Wright Taylor, and Thomas Wistar Jr. (The latter took a very personal interest in defending members of the Taylor family, especially Abraham and Elizabeth, in the lawsuit brought against them by Morgan Hinchman, husband of Margaretta (Shoemaker) Hinchman, for having had him certified as insane and committed to the Friends' Asylum, Frankford, Pa., in 1847.)

This collection is closely related to the Allinson Family Papers (Coll. no. 968)

A subsidiary collection, 962-A, which follows the main collection, consists of genealogical material on the Taylor, Shoemaker, and Allinson families.


  • 1755 - 1930

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

The collection is open to research use.

Copyright and Rights Information

Standard Federal Copyright Law apply (U.S. Title 17)


3.3 Linear Feet (8 boxes)



Taylor Family papers, 1755-1930
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