Born in Boston and educated there and in France, Samuel Breck (1771-1862) was a major figure in the mercantile, philanthropic, and political life of Philadelphia during the first hald of the nineteenth century. With an interest in historical and literary affairs, Breck was an active member of the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Phialdelphia Athenaeum, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the American Philosophical Society (elected 1838).
The Breck Collection is comprised of two manuscripts written by Samuel Breck. The first, "Historical Sketch of the Continental Bills of Credit, from 1775 to 1781, with Specimens Thereof" (1840), includes an essay and 153 specimens of Continental Currency. The second essay, "Recollections of My Acquaintance and Association with Deceased Members of the American Philosophical Society" (1862) includes the 92 year-old Breck's reminiscences of his personal relationships with the nationally and internationally prominent membership of the APS.