>> Writing through the Centuries
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- Owen, Richard, 1804-1892.
[Letter] 1887 March 23, Sheen Lodge, Richmond Park [to] Mr. Davies / Richard Owen.
Owen thanks Davies and Dr. Woodward for sending the Chelonian skull. He notes that the chief difference is the "lack of a back-wall to the orbits which freely communicate." He enumerates the characteristics that he has looked for in fossils sent from Sydney. The year this letter was written, Davies, a paleontologist, had just retired from his duties at the British Museum where he was responsible for the entire fossil vertebrate collection.
- Packer, Asa, 1805-1879; Potter, Eliphalet Nott, 1836-1901
[Letter] 1866 June 18, Bethlehem, Pa. [to] A. Wolle & Co. / Asa Packer.
Document acknowledges action of the Board in agreeing to purchase Moravian church building (Christmas Hall) and accept the gift of the land in South Bethlehem. Describes the agreement of the Board to purchase another suitable plot of land to be selected by the Moravian Church as compensation. Born from humble beginnings, Packer became the third-wealthiest man in the United States, beginning his career in the canal industry and then branching out to railroads. He was a member of the Pennsylvania State legislature and a served two terms in Congress; he vied unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency as well as for the governorship of Pennsylvania. He died in 1879 after a fall in his Philadelphia office.
- Phillips, William; Henry Treloan.
[Document] Certificate of Indenture, 1824 November 11 / Wm. Phillips [William Phillips] and Henry Treloan.
The certificate of indenture signifies that Henry Treloan puts himself as the apprentice to William Phillips, parish carpenter in the county of Cornwall, England for four years. The contract stipulates that during this period the aforesigned shall not waste goods, engage in either fornication or matrimony, play dice or spend time at playhouses. The contract also states Henry's rate of pay as 12 shillings a month for the first year, 14 shillings a month for the second, 18 shillings a month for the third, and one pound a month for the final year.
- Playfair, John, 1748-1819; Cadell & Davies.
[Letter and reply] 1802 October 11 [to] Cadell & Davies, London / John Playfair.
Playfair states that the second part of the fifth volume of Transactions of the Royal Society has been printed and will be shipped to London; he will send the recipients 200 copies and asks them to advise about the advertising schedule. Playfair also requests that a copy be sent to the Royal Society and another copy to Sir Joseph Banks. As for his own book ( Illustrations of the Huttonian theory of the earth, 1802), Playfair would like to learn about the progress of its sales, especially in Dublin; he asks that copies be sent to Robert Berry, Major William Rennel, and Dr. Thomson. His booksellers, Cadell & Davies have included their reply on the second recto sheet, stating that they received the copies, have forwarded the requested volumes, and are awaiting instructions about price.
- Porter, F.J. (Fitz-John), 1822-1901.
[Letter]  August 16 6:30 pm [to] General G.B. McClellan, Washington City / F.J. Porter [Fitz-John Porter].
This telegram was probably written using one of the ciphers devised by Anson Stager for the use of the Union Army during the Civil War. As only the telegraph operators had access to the codebooks used to decrypt the letter, this is probably a transcription of the telegram for transmission, or a Confederate transcription of an intercepted telegram. Porter was one of McClellan's officers who had distinguished himself in the Peninsular campaign; at the time this letter was written (probably 1862 as the codes were not in general use in August 1861 and Porter was no longer in the army in August 1863), Porter would be sent in a few days to reinforce General John Pope at what would be known later as the Second Battle of Bull Run (August 29-30, 1862). Because he did not move quickly enough, Porter was accused by Pope of failure to carry out orders. He was court-martialed for insubordination and cashiered from the army in 1863. Porter's loyalty to McClellan (who had political differences with the Washington administration) may have motivated this dismissal from the army. Porter protested the decision and fought for reinstatement and compensation. As President, Grant himself vouched for Porter, who was eventually vindicated in 1879; an 1886 Act of Congress restored his rank. He later worked for the city of New York.
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