MG-343. CARL W. GATTER ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH BOOKS, 1981.
Carl W. Gatter was an architect who conducted research for a possible reconstruction of the Slate Roof House, William Penn’s Philadelphia residence from 1700-1701. Erected between 1698 and 1700 by Samuel Carpenter, it was the first example of an H-Plan house in America. The birthplace of William Penn’s son, John, in 1700, it was here that William Penn granted Pennsylvanians the Charter of Privileges in 1701. The seat of Pennsylvania government from 1701 to 1704, the home was long occupied by William Penn’s secretary, James Logan, and was also owned and occupied by William Trent, the founder of Trenton, New Jersey, from 1704 to1709 when it was sold to Isaac Norris. Thereafter, the ownership remained in the Norris family until 1869. A Mrs. Graydon leased the building for use as a boarding house during much of the eighteenth century. Her boarders included George Washington, Benedict Arnold, Baron von Steuben, Silas Deane, and John Adams. The house also served as the headquarters of British General Sir Henry Clinton during the British occupation of Philadelphia, 1777-78. The papers comprise sectional drawings and photographs of exterior and interior elevations of the building, and of drawings and photographs showing hearths, tiles, furnishings, and walks; maps; archaeological reports; and historical background on the home’s various owners and occupants. Also present are newspaper clippings concerning possible reconstruction of the house as a historic shrine and plans for erecting a marker. The information on African Americans found in this collection is described below:
Workbooks: Slate Roof House, 1700-1701, by Carl W. Gatter, 1981.
Book III—Isaac Norris. In an unidentified biography of Isaac Norris there is a published letter from John Dickinson in which he refers to selling slaves and "taking care to get them good masters." A little further in the letter, Dickinson "expects seventy or eighty pounds at least for women and children on an average." Only a brief excerpt from the letter is provided by Mr. Gatter and the location of the original is unknown. Also present are letters copied from something called the "North Carolina Papers" concerning the ratification of the Constitution in which slavery is discussed. These copies bear the stamp of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Book III—James Logan. In a paragraph dealing with the pending French and Indian War, the author notes that Logan found shipping Delaware tobacco at this time "the greatest cheat as well as slavery in trade." The origin of the quotation is not cited in the collection.
Book III—William Penn. A biography of William Penn provides a great deal of information on Hannah Penn. In a description of their summer move to Pennsbury Manor, the author lists a "negress" among the household staff. Later in the same book, a letter to James [Logan] is included which describes how Hannah was coping with living in Pennsylvania, mentioning a "black Jack" and suggests he help with the fleet in Philadelphia. Again, the original sources are not cited.
Book III—Benjamin Rush. In a letter to John Adams, Rush expressed his opinions on the issue of slavery, quoting Lord Howe on the slavery of mankind. It is unknown were the pages are from.
Book III—R. T. Paine. In a letter to Thomas Lynch Jr. from Thomas Lynch, a reference is made to "Negro Houses" in a discussion of liquor. The letter is dated Dec. 28, 1775 but there is no other information provided as to where this letter came from.
Book III—John Penn. In a biography of John Penn is a copy of several pages from the Philadelphia Directory and Register for 1821, one of which is entitled "Directions to the Reader." According to these directions, a person of "colour" is denoted with a cross (x). Several African American men and women are listed along with their names, addresses, and occupations.
Book VI—History. In a copy of Philadelphia As It Is, in 1852, is a brief history of the public buildings, places of amusement, and maps of Philadelphia and surrounding area. The "Old London Coffee-House" described as once being used as an auction house where "negro men, women, and children were bought and sold as slaves." A copy of several pages from the Encyclopedia of Philadelphia is also in this section. The beginning paragraph of "Slaves and Slavery in Philadelphia" is on the same page as some information on the Slate Roof House and so was included in the collection.