Thomas Gilpin was a prosperous Quaker merchant in Philadelphia who also owned flour mills on the Sassafras River in Maryland and along the Brandywine Creek. His sons, Joshua Gilpin (1765 -1840) and Thomas Gilpin Jr. (1776 -1853) operated as partners both the Brandywine Paper Mills, founded by Joshua in 1787 and a commission mercantile firm in Philadelphia. The collection consists of two parts, the journals and notebooks of Joshua Gilpin and the miscellaneous papers of Thomas Jr.

Letter Book, 1807-1809. Letter book copies of letters sent by Joshua and Thomas Gilpin and Laurence Greatrake relating to the Brandywine Paper Mill.

July 12, 1801, a letter from Joshua and Thomas Gilpin: ". . . sent you a sheet of Carey’s plate medium made of nothing but thirds as the run in common but very carefully dressed by a Mulatto woman. . . ."

August 13, 1808, a letter from Laurence Greatrake from Philadelphia expressing concern about Black workers contaminating the paper during the manufacturing process. In a rather awkwardly worded passage he writes that "we want nothing but clean paper to manufacture . . . I am certain that at times many, many blacks get into the engine through the straining bags . . . I have now five mulattos and blacks (whites I could not get) dressing of fine rags (not by the score) but the day in the bleaching house and I attend them as much as possible."

August 27, 1808, letter to the Gilpin Brothers from Laurence Greatrake: ". . . the rags dressed by the black woman I lately employed . . . is cleaned."

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