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    Manuscript Directory of Philadelphia c. 1784

    (Philadelphia Directory) Manuscript, five pages, 8" x 13", [Philadelphia, c. 1784]. A unique record in an unknown hand, written one year prior to the first published directories for the City of Philadelphia in 1785. The list includes many notable persons then residing in Philadelphia including "Mr. le marquis de la Fayette, in the City Tavern" (Lafayette was residing at the City Tavern during his five month visit to the United States in 1784); Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Francis Hopkinson; General Thomas Mifflin; Matthew Clarkson; James Varnum; Clement Biddle; Benjamin Franklin's son-in-law, Richard Bache; the noted Jewish financier, Hyam Solomon; Dutch Ambassador to the United States, Van Berkel; William Shippin; French Consul François Barbé-Marbois; Spanish envoy Don Francisco Rendón, and many others. Beside each name, the author has noted their position on the street. The list itself is ordered by street, beginning with Vine and proceeding south to Race, Arch, Market, Chesnut, Quarters Alley, Walnut, Spruce and Lombard. The list continues running from east to west beginning with Water Street, Front, Second, Strawberry Alley, Third, Fourth and Fifth Streets, covering a good range of the city. Interestingly the final page lists several individuals living in other cities including Inspector General Frederick Wilhelm von Steuben, listed "at New York", "Major Prévot in the country" Before many of the listings appears an "x" or occasionally the notation: "3 Cop[ies]", "9 Copies" etc. We believe this document is a draft for a directory that is doubling for a subscription list to that directory. In 1785, two directories appeared in Philadelphia: these were the first two separately published directories in the entire United States. In October, 1785 Macpherson's Directory for the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia was published listing the residents of each street and block (houses did not bear street numbers at the time) and noting occupations as well. Three months later, Francis White printed his competing The Philadelphia Directory that was a bit more hurried affair and did not include many listings for those living in the suburbs. Whether this list was kept by either White or Macpherson is not certain. The printed versions of both MacPherson's Directory for the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia and Francis White's The Philadelphia Directory both sell in excess of $2,500 at auction. Some marginal folds and tears, pages bound with string, else Very Good condition. This is clearly a unique piece of history and the earliest attempt to detail the inhabitants of a major U.S. city. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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