Peter Adolph Grotjan memoirs

Collection Am .0708

(0.33 Linear feet ; 2 volumes)

Summary Information

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Creator - Author
Grotjan, Peter A., 1774-1850
Peter Adolph Grotjan memoirs
Am .0708
Date [inclusive]
0.33 Linear feet ; 2 volumes
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Newhouse
This collection was processed during the Digital Center for Americana Project Phase II, which was funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.
Text [Volume]
This collection contains the memoirs and autobiographical notes of Peter Adolph Grotjan, a German merchant who immigrated to Philadelphia in 1796 and became an important figure in area commerce and politics. He served as Philadelphia County Auditor twice (once from 1828 to 1836 and again from 1841 to 1844) and published a commercial newspaper, Grotjan's Philadelphia Public Sale Reports. Volume 1 of the collection is a bound book of "preparatory notes and memoranda" used in writing his memoir, which is Volume 2. The memoir is a detailed account of Grotjan's life to 1817, briefly covering his childhood in Germany and focusing on his adult life in and around Philadelphia. It provides a detailed description of the cholera and yellow fever epidemics in Philadelphia, Albert Gallatin's visit to Reading, Pennsylvania in 1798 and the ensuing riot, and encounters with political figures including Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and James Buchanan. There are also descriptions of his journeys to the American West and South, and to the West Indies. The memoirs in Volume 2 have many notes in the margins that point out important events, and annotations from a later proofreading that possibly were used to prepare the memoirs for publication. The last chapter of the autobiography was completed posthumously from notes.

Preferred Citation note

Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], Peter Adolph Grotjan memoirs (Collection Am .0708), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 The Historical Society of Pennsylvania July 2011

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Pedro G. Salom.

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Related Materials

Related collections at other institutions

"Peter Adolph Grotjahn Memoir" at the American Philosophical Society.

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Controlled Access Headings

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pennsylvania--Politics and government.
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Commerce.

Personal Name(s)

  • Buchanan, James, 1791-1868.
  • Burr, Aaron, 1756-1836.
  • Gallatin, Albert, 1761-1849.
  • Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845.
  • Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826.


  • American newspapers--Ownership.
  • Grotjan's Philadelphia Public Sales Reports.
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Hickory Club.
  • Reading (Pa.)--Riots 1798.
  • Yellow fever--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.

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