James Burd (1726-1793) was well-known in colonial Pennsylvania through his role in the French and Indian War, as well as his connections to many of the colony's leading families (most notably the Shippen family). Initially starting out as a merchant in Philadelphia, Burd became increasingly involved with colonial affairs after moving to Lancaster County with his family in 1752. It would be on the frontier where Burd would make his mark first as a soldier, and later as a magistrate.
The Burd-Shippen Papers consist mainly of letters and business documents sent to James Burd, with the bulk of the collection relating to the French and Indian War, 1754-1763, in which Burd served as an officer commanding troops at Fort Augusta and elsewhere. The collection reflects all aspects of Burd's life in Pennsylvania as a merchant, soldier, and magistrate; as well as his involvement with the Shippen family professionally and personally. Intermixed with items sent to Burd are receipts to his wife Sarah Shippen Burd, and correspondence between Edward Shippen and James Hamilton regarding land matters and Indian affairs in Lancaster.