Lewis S. Coryell papers

Collection 0151

1806-1872, undated
(1.0 Linear feet ; 5 boxes)

Summary Information

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Coryell, Lewis S., 1788-1865.
Lewis S. Coryell papers
1806-1872, undated
1.0 Linear feet ; 5 boxes
Finding aid prepared by Cary Majewicz
The papers of Lewis S. Coryell, lumber dealer and political leader in Pennsylvania consist mostly of correspondence related to state and national politics. There are also some letters related to Coryell's lumber business at New Hope, Pennsylvania, as well as on the construction of canals, railroads, and roads.

Preferred Citation note

Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], Lewis S. Coryell papers (Collection 151), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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Biographical/Historical note

Lewis Slate Coryell was born in 1788 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, to Joseph and Eleanor Coryell. In 1813, Coryell married Mary Vansant, and the couple had at least one son, Martin (1815-1886). By the 1820s, Coryell had moved to New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he developed a successful lumber business. In 1829, he served as county auditor and began developing what would become a lengthy political career in Pennsylvania. As a state politician, he came in contact with many national officials, including Presidents James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, and James Buchanan. Coryell died in New Hope in 1865.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection of Coryell’s papers spans most of the nineteenth century and consists primarily of correspondence concerning state and national politics. Coryell’s correspondents are numerous and include A. Beaumont, Nicholas Biddle, John C. Calhoun, Simon Cameron, Stephen A. Douglas, George Mifflin Dallas, John M. Forney, John Forsyth, Samuel D. Ingham, Sam Houston, Dixon H. Lewis, F.R. Shunk, J.D. Stiles, George Wolf, and W.S. Woodward. There are letters from James Buchanan, which contain comments on the outcome of the Civil War and criticism of the Lincoln administration. In other letters, party politics and political conventions are discussed, with emphasis placed on party support, as well as finding a candidate who would be agreeable to the North, South, and West. Coryell seems to have been an ardent Democrat, and an interesting letter to him dated 14 February 1862 complains of the attempts of abolitionists to use the war as a means to end slavery, a position with which Coryell probably concurred. Most of the letters in this collection appear to be of great substance, containing many ideas and opinions on current affairs and politics. There are also scattered letters pertaining to Coryell's lumber business at New Hope, as well as the construction of canals, railroads, and roads (mostly in Bucks County).

The collection was once in six bound volumes. All the papers have been foldered in their original, roughly chronological order, and placed in five boxes (Box 5 contains former volumes 5 and 6). Boxes and folders are labeled by volume and page number. In box 5, there are a few letters dating from after Coryell’s death in 1865. These letters, bearing dates from 1866, 1867, and 1872 are written to antiquarian and collector John A. McAllister of Philadelphia. The connection between Coryell and McAllister is unclear, as is the reason why these few letters are in the collection.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 The Historical Society of Pennsylvania , July 2009

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107

Conditions Governing Use note

The collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Lewis S. Coryell.

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Controlled Access Headings

Geographic Name(s)

  • United States--Politics and government--1861-1865

Personal Name(s)

  • Beaumont, Andrew, 1790-1853.
  • Biddle, Nicholas, 1786-1844.
  • Buchanan, James, 1791-1868.
  • Calhoun, John C. (John Caldwell), 1782-1850.
  • Cameron, Simon, 1799-1889.
  • Dallas, George Mifflin, 1792-1864.
  • Douglas, Stephen Arnold, 1813-1861.
  • Forney, John M.
  • Forsyth, John, 1780-1841.
  • Houston, Sam, 1793-1863.
  • Ingham, Samuel Delucenna, 1779-1860.
  • Lewis, Dixon Hall, 1802-1848.
  • Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
  • Shunk, Francis Rawn, 1788-1848.
  • Stiles, John Dodson, 1822-1896.
  • Wolf, George, 1777-1840.
  • Woodward, W. S.


  • Lumber trade--Pennsylvania--New Hope.
  • Railroad--Construction.
  • Roads--Design and construction.

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Collection Inventory


Letters (1806 – 20 July 1825)   0.2 Linear feet


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Letters (2 Sept. 1825 – 10 Aug. 1834)   0.2 Linear feet


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Letters (30 Sept. 1834 – 15 July 1845)   0.2 Linear feet


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Letters (3 Aug. 1845 – 22 Oct. 1852)   0.2 Linear feet


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Letters (29 Oct. 1852 – 18 July 1872, undated)   0.2 Linear feet


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