Arthur C. Bining collection

Collection 1811

( Bulk, 1804-1878 ) 1727-1949
(1.6 Linear feet ; 4 boxes)

Summary Information

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Bining, Arthur Cecil, 1893-1957.
Arthur C. Bining collection
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1804-1878
Date [inclusive]
1.6 Linear feet ; 4 boxes
Finding aid prepared by Cary Majewicz
Processing made possible by a generous donation from Lori Cohen.
Language of Materials note
The Bunel papers in Box 4 are almost entirely in French. A few of the documents have accompanying typed translations.
Mixed materials [Box]
Arthur C. Bining was a Philadelphia historian, worked as a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and was associated with the Pennsylvania Historical Association. This small collection contains letters, autographs, and papers he collected over time. A portion of the papers originated from the United States Customs House of Philadelphia and deal mostly with routine customs matters. There are also folders of papers from individuals that are not associated with the Customs House, such as army officer James Barker, painter Abbott H. Thayer, and inventor August F. W. Partz. Additional papers include those of Joseph R. E. Bunel, paymaster general of the French colony of Santo Domingo, Haiti; and Marie F. M. Bunel, a businesswoman in Santo Domingo.

Preferred Citation note

Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], Arthur C. Bining collection (Collection 1811), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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Biographical/Historical note

Arthur Cecil Bining was born to Arthur Owen and Jane Bining in Llanelly, South Wales, United Kingdom, in 1893. His family immigrated to the United States around 1909 and settled in Woodlawn, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Bining was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and by 1942 was living in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. He worked for the university from 1928 until 1957 as a history professor. In addition to teaching, Bining was also a writer who authored articles and books and iron and steel manufacturing. From 1933 to 1941 he served as editor of Pennsylvania History, a publication of the Pennsylvania Historical Association (PHA). He was elected president of PHA in 1942; a position he held until 1945. Bining died in Philadelphia in 1957.

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Scope and Contents note

The Arthur C. Bining collection is housed in four boxes and spans from the early 1700s to the mid 1900s. The papers are arranged in alphabetical order by author, organization, or subject. Groups of letters from the same person or organization are housed in individually labeled folders. Single papers from different authors or agencies are grouped together under individual letters of the alphabet. (e.g. "Mixed papers: A," Box 2, Folder 2, contains items from people and organizations starting with the letter A.) This arrangement continues through Boxes 1 to 3, with miscellaneous and unidentified papers placed at the end of Box 3. Box 4, titled "Bunel letters," contains a discrete set of different material.

Making up much of the material in Boxes 1 to 3 are letters dating from about 1804 to about 1844 that originally formed part of the correspondence of the United States Customs House of Philadelphia (the letters have been re-arranged as stated above). These papers concern routine customs matters and many are addressed to the collector of Philadelphia. Major correspondents represented in these letters include Joseph Anderson, William H. Crawford, Alexander James Dallas, George Mifflin Dallas, Henry D. Gilpin, Charles J. Ingersoll, Jared Ingersoll, Joseph R. Ingersoll, William Morris Meredith, John Meredith Read, Jonathan Roberts, Richard Rush, and Henry Miller Watts.

Scattered throughout the first three boxes are also letters and other papers from individuals and organizations unrelated to the Customs House. For example, there are folders devoted to James Barker, army officer and agent for fortification, Philadelphia; William Shaler, United States consul-general to Algiers and Cuba, and commissioner in the negotiation of the United States-Algiers treaty of 1815; Henry Stanton, army officer; Abbot H. Thayer, painter and naturalist; Edward Thursby, a merchant of Philadelphia; and James Trimble, a Pennsylvania politician. There are also a few papers of August F. W. Partz, a German immigrant and inventor, including his recollection of a visit from Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). Additional items include papers on efforts by producers and carriers of anthracite coal in Pennsylvania to limit production and control prices, miscellaneous letters, business papers, and deeds. The vast majority of these papers date from the nineteenth century, with fewer dating from the eighteenth century.

The "Bunel letters" in Box 4 originated from Joseph R. E. Bunel, paymaster general of the French colony of Santo Domingo, Haiti, and Marie F. M. Bunel, businesswoman in Santo Domingo. In 1804, following the successful Haitian revolution, the Bunels moved to Philadelphia. Included are their incoming personal and business correspondence and a few miscellaneous financial records. The papers date primarily from 1787 to 1812, with a few papers dating up to 1831. The correspondence is largely in French, though two Spanish documents were found mixed in. Typed translations accompany some but not all of the French papers.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 The Historical Society of Pennsylvania ; 2011

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Provenance uncertain, though written on some folders is "Gift of Arthur Bining Estate and Pennsylvania Historical Commission, 1939." It is unclear if this provenence pertains to the whole collection.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

At the Historical Society of Pennsylvania:

E. Headley Bailey & Co. protest ledger (Am .9323)

William David Lewis employee records for the Philadelphia Customs House (Am .09245)

Port of Philadelphia Custom House records (Collection 157)

William J. Wilgus papers (Collection 3006)

At other institutions:

Arthur C. Bining papers, ca. 1898-1955 (MG-23), Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Correspondence.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Haiti--Revolution, 1791-1804.
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Commerce.
  • United States--Custom House (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Anderson, Joseph, 1757-1837.
  • Barker, James Nelson, 1784-1858.
  • Bunel, Joseph R. E.
  • Bunel, Marie F. M.
  • Crawford, William Harris, 1772-1834.
  • Dallas, Alexander James, 1759-1817.
  • Dallas, George Mifflin, 1792-1864.
  • Gilpin, Henry D. (Henry Dilworth), 1801-1860.
  • Ingersoll, Charles Jared, 1782-1862.
  • Ingersoll, Jared, 1749-1822.
  • Ingersoll, Joseph R. (Joseph Reed), 1786-1863.
  • Meredith, William M. (William Morris), 1799-1873.
  • Partz, August F. W.
  • Read, John Meredith, 1837-1896.
  • Roberts, Jonathan.
  • Rush, Richard, 1780-1859.
  • Shaler, William, 1778?-1833.
  • Stanton, Henry.
  • Thayer, Abbot Handerson, 1849-1912.
  • Thursby, Edward.
  • Trimble, James, 1755-1837.
  • Watts, Henry Miller.


  • Coal trade.
  • Customs administration--United States.
  • Treaties, etc.--United States--Algiers--1815.

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Collection Inventory


Autographs and correspondence (A-K) 

Box Folder

Personal records of Arthur Bining (1906-1949) 

1 1

Mixed papers: A (1783-1867, undated) 

1 2

Joseph Anderson (1757-1837) letters (1816, 1827) 

1 3

Mixed papers: B (1782-1912, undated) 

1 4

Captain Christopher L. Bennett letters (1808-1809) 

1 5

Mixed papers: C (1776-1876) 

1 6

Civil War draft (1864) 

1 7

Coal papers (1875, 1877) 

1 8

William Harris Crawford (1772-1834) letters (1816) 

1 9

Mixed papers: D (1805-1921, undated) 

1 10

Dallas letters (Alexander James Dallas and George Mifflin Dallas) (1805-1843) 

1 11

Mixed papers: E (1771-1943) 

1 12

Mixed papers: F (1792-1902) 

1 13

Forges and furnaces (1772-1841) 

1 14

Mixed papers: G (1799-1901) 

1 15

Letters from Henry D. Gilpin to James M. Barker (1835-1837) 

1 16

Mixed papers: H (1738-1913) 

1 17

S. D. Ingham (1829, 1830) 

1 18

Ingersoll letters [Jared (1789-1822), Charles (1782-1862), and Joseph (1786-1868)] (1810-1843) 

1 19

Mixed papers: J (1768-1912) 

1 20

Mixed papers: K (1792-1910) 

1 21

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Autographs and correspondence (L-R) 

Box Folder

Mixed papers: L (1791-1900) 

2 1

Lehigh Valley Railroad papers relating to the attempt to limit coal production and transportation (1877-1878) 

2 2

Mixed papers: M (1795-1934, undated) 

2 3

Merrick and Company re: boilers from the wreck of the U. S. Str. New Ironsides (1869) 

2 4

William Morris Meredith letters (1841) 

2 5

Mixed papers: N (1796-1901) 

2 6

Mixed papers: O (1832, 1835, 1910) 

2 7

Mixed papers: P (1783-1913) 

2 8

August F. W. Partz papers (1861-1901, undated) 

2 9

Pea Patch Island papers: letters of R. M. Blaney, Col. G. Mitchell, and S. Babcock (1815) 

2 10

Philadelphia Health Office (1832-1845) 

2 11

Philadelphia Steam Heating Company (1908) 

2 12

Mixed papers: R (1767-1905) 

2 13

Letters of John Meredith Read (1837-1841) 

2 14

Jonathan Roberts, collector of the Port of Philadelphia (1841, 1842) 

2 15

Richard Rush (1780-1859) letters (1820, 1827) 

2 16

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Autographs and correspondence (S-Z) and miscellaneous 

Box Folder

William Shaler correspondence (1807-1832) 

3 1

Paul Siemen bills (1787, undated) 

3 2

Correspondence of Col. Henry Stanton, maritime papers (1843-1848) 

3 3

Mixed papers: T (1771, 1834-1864, undated) 

3 4

Abbott Henderson Thayer correspondence (1876-1897) 

3 5

John Thompson Estate accounts and inventories (undated) 

3 6

Letters addressed to Edward Thursly (1803-1819) 

3 7

Papers of James Trimble (1755-1837) (1807-1835) 

3 8

Mixed papers: U (1800, 1862) 

3 9

U. S. State Department (1814-1815, 1829) 

3 10

Mixed papers: V (1857?, 1908) 

3 11

Mixed papers: W, Y (1766-1879) 

3 12

Henry Miller Watts letters (1842-1844) 

3 13

Papers pertaining to New York (1798-1847) 

3 14

Miscellaneous deeds, mortgages, and other legal papers (1794-1902) 

3 15

Anonymous and unidentified papers (1727, 1782, 1847) 

3 16

Miscellaneous papers from various states (1796-1878) 

3 17

Miscellaneous judgement searches (1809-1814) 

3 18

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Box Folder

Bunel papers (1787-1831, undated) 

4 1-14

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