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The Chew papers demonstrate the hazards of archival work. Many of the boxes were likely stored in the basement at Cliveden for decades. As we sort through them, we face what at times may be centuries worth of dust, dirt, and sometimes mold. For archivists without allergies, wearing masks and/or gloves are important precautions to take when handling these materials. Archivists who are particularly sensitive to dust or mold should take more care to protect themselves from allergens.
5/2/08
Sorting through some folders of (mostly) Benjamin Jr's legal papers, I came across a random folder of material dealing with the Pennsylvania-Maryland boundary dispute. In it was an 18 page letter addressed to "Countryman Hickinbotham". The letter is unsigned, but after reading through it, I found the letter it was answering, which was addressed to "Mr. John Ross". The letter, from Charles Higinbotham, discusses an attack on some of his countrymen who were encamped along the Susquehanna River. In this attack, a Captain Croasap's house was burned and some of his men were injured.
4/25/08
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Numerous works have been published on the life of General Robert E. Lee, particularly concerning his activities as head of the 'Army of Northern Virginia' of the Confederacy, during the period of the American Civil War.

Many Civil War scholars are aware of the admiration and respect which General Lee received, both on and off the battlefield, by friend and foe alike.
4/17/08
The following account reveals once again, the rich and diverse experiences of individuals, as contained within the collections at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

I have always been intrigued by the life of this 'unknown' African whose fascinating biography appears in a number of 18th-century newspapers. He was a remarkable man whose adventuresome life included for a time residence on a Quaker plantation, located somewhere within the Philadelphia area.

'A Singular Character.' (From a late London paper)
4/15/08
In this letter, John Chew provides a rather cheerful account the results of a gruesome fight between two slaves. Beware the details in this one.

4/14/08
Cathleen pointed out the salutation for this letter dated Nov 1, 1788.
"Most valued and almost adored Friend" -

Hmmm . . .
4/11/08
While we certainly can't read everything, we do skim documents for a general idea of their content in order to categorize them. Discovering interesting tidbits about the individuals represented in a collection is one of the joys of processing. Benjamin Chew, Jr.'s voluminous correspondence has provided many such discoveries.
4/10/08
Over the past few days, Natalie and I have been sorting Benjamin Jr's correspondence. It was housed in 30 boxes, but now, sorted by letter of the correspondent's last name, it looks like this:
3/25/08
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Check this out! Today we found a drawing book from Samuel Chew (1832-1887) from the years 1855 to 1863. Great little illustrations of family and friends. Here's a few that really got us excited.
3/24/08