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Manuscript Group 294
1781-1936, & undated
.5 cu. ft.

The French Azilum, located near Towanda in present day Bradford County, was built as a refuge for the former Queen Marie Antoinette and other aristocrats during the French Revolution. The three story log house was the marvel of the countryside in its day. Formerly a historic site administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Azilum is now in the possession of the Bradford County Historical Society. This collection represents former holdings of the site, relating to various persons and subjects of local and national importance, that were donated to the State Archives through Bruce Bazelon, Registrar of the State Museum.

The largest part of the collection consists of the family papers of the brothers David and Clement Paine, two of the main developers of Athens, Bradford County. The correspondence and journal primarily discuss news about their family and friends, guilt for not writing regularly, narrations of their travels, unemployment, and some witty descriptions of characters with whom they lived and worked. The correspondence series consists of letters between father Thomas Paine, originally of Eastham, Cape Cod, and his children, Seth, Phoebe, Clement (1769-1849) who was a printer, and David Paine (1768-1851) who was the first Burgess of Athens, one of the earliest area postmasters, and founder of the first village library. The Journal of Seth Paine, 1787-1789, includes information on the family and their individual attempts to find and maintain gainful employment as printers, teachers, clerks, sailors, etc., and gives a brief history of the early Troy area. The family was dispersed between New York, Portland, Philadelphia, Boston, and other cities and towns.

Other papers of the Paine family include newspapers, mostly from southern New York State or Bradford County; a volume owned by Clement entitled "Republican Prayers," 1796; and a History of Wyoming, 1830.

The Azilum Collection also includes a hand drawn map reproducing the first surveys of the Athens, Sayre, and South Waverly area; and various publications, several in French, dating from 1798 through 1932.

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