Joseph Shippen letterbook, 1763-1773


Date: 1763-1773 | Size: 1 volume(s)


These letters relate principally to provincial business and comment on the Indians of Pennsylvania, the French and Indian War, a survey of the Maryland-Pennsylvania boundary, and the Stamp Act. Correspondents include James Burd, Jeremiah Dixon, Joseph Galloway, Humphry Marshall, Charles Mason, Edward Shippen of Lancaster, and Edward Shippen, Jr.

Background note

Joseph Shippen, Jr. was a soldier, judge, and Secretary of Pennsylvania. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1768.

Collection Information

Physical description

1 volume, 114 p.


Presented by The Philip and A.S.W. Rosenbach Foundation and accessioned, 1952.

Early American History Note

The Joseph Shippen letterbooks consist of Shippen's outgoing correspondence from 1763-1773. Shippen was active during the Seven Years' War and a prominent official in the colonial government before the American Revolution. His letters touch on a wide range of important events happening within the colony in the years preceding the American Revolution.

As a high ranking member of the government (Secretary of the council), his letters usually deal with the management of the colony, especially as pertains to the offices and duties of proprietary institutions. Much of the correspondence is to officials in county offices and discussed revenue related topics, like licenses. There are also significant references to running the Mason-Dixon Line and the proprietor's attempt to manage Indian relations. He also occasionally touches on larger issues, such as the imperial crisis and Pennsylvania's expansion. As a prominent member of colonial society, his correspondents include many other leading figures, including his relatives, such as James Burd and his father Edward Shippen.

Shippen also comments on various other events happening within the colony that, while not as well-known as other events, may be of interest, such as the trial of an African-American on trial for poisoning "a white man."

Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • Great Britain. -- Stamp Act (1765)

Family Name(s)

  • Shippen family


  • Family Correspondence
  • General Correspondence
  • Letterbooks.
  • Maps and Surveys
  • Political Correspondence

Geographic Name(s)

  • Mason-Dixon Line.
  • Pennsylvania -- Politics and government -- To 1775.
  • United States -- History -- French and Indian War, 1755-1763.

Personal Name(s)

  • Burd, James, 1726-1793
  • Dixon, Jeremiah
  • Galloway, Joseph, 1731-1803
  • Marshall, Humphry, 1722-1801
  • Mason, Charles, 1728-1786
  • Shippen, Edward, circa 1703-1781
  • Shippen, Joseph, 1732-1810


  • African American
  • Colonial Politics
  • Indians of North America
  • Pennsylvania History
  • Social Life and Custom
  • Surveying and Maps