Price family papers


Collection 3690

1840-1990
(8.0 Linear feet 8 boxes; 2 volumes)

Summary Information

Repository
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Creator
Price, Eli K. (Eli Kirk), 1797-1884.
Title
Price family papers
ID
3690
Date [inclusive]
1840-1990
Extent
8.0 Linear feet 8 boxes; 2 volumes
Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Newhouse
Sponsor
Processing of this collection was funded by Philip Price, Jr.
Language
English
Maps [Oversize]
2
Graphic materials [Oversize]
3
Maps [Oversize]
4
Text [Oversize]
1
Maps [Oversize]
6
Maps [Oversize]
5
Maps [Oversize]
8
Graphic materials [Oversize]
7
Text [Box]
1
Maps [Oversize]
9
Text [Box]
3
Text [Box]
2
Text [Volume]
2
Realia [Box]
8
Text [Volume]
1
Text [Box]
6
Realia [Box]
7
Text [Box]
4
Text [Box]
5
Abstract
This collection contains the papers of various members of the Price family, as separated from the Woodlands Cemetery Company papers (collection 3661). The main family members documented in this collection are Eli Kirk Price (1797-1884), John Sergeant Price (1831-1897), Eli Kirk Price II (1860-1933), Philip Price (1898-1989), Eli Kirk Price III (April 25, 1904-1976), and Philip Price Jr. (1934- ). Most of the members of this family were lawyers, and all were very involved in Philadelphia civic, cultural, and charity organizations. The personal materials in this collection favor the civic and charity work of the Price family members, especially work done with the Fairmount Park Commission. Aside from the Fairmount Park materials, this collection is mostly estate information, documenting the administration of the Price family estates.

Preferred Citation note

[Indicate cited item or series here], Price family papers (Collection 3690), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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Biographical/Historical note

The Price family as documented in this collection begins with Eli Kirk Price (1797-1884), a Philadelphia lawyer who was active in many civic and social organizations. The son of Quaker parents, Philip and Rachel Price, Eli K. Price was born on July 20, 1797. He studied business for four years at the counting house of Thomas P. Cope (1768-1854) and then began to study law under the guidance of John Sergeant (1779-1852). In 1822 he was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar and began a long career as a lawyer, with special expertise in property and equity. His notable legal career accomplishments include being a member of the Board of Revenue Commissioners in 1846 and 1848, and serving as a Pennsylvania state senator from 1854 through 1856. As a senator he created the Consolidation Act of 1854, also known as the "Price Act." This piece of legislation became the new Philadelphia city charter and consolidated several municipalities into the city, greatly increasing its size. He also authored or helped to pass legislation relating to property sale and ownership, including acts that strengthened women's control over their own property. In 1867 he was instrumental in the founding of the Fairmount Park Commission and the purchase of the land that originally made up the park grounds. He served as chairman of the Park Commission until his death in 1884. He was active in many other Philadelphia organizations, as a founding member of the Woodlands Cemetery and its secretary and treasurer, president of the Antiquarian Society, member of the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In 1882 he received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Pennsylvania, where he had previously been a trustee of the university and served in other committees and roles, as a manager of the University Hospital and a member of the Library and Law Committees.

Eli K. Price married Anna Embree (d. 1862) in 1828. They had three children, John Sergeant Price (1831-1897), Rebecca Embree Price (m. Hanson Whithers) (d. 1861), and Sibyl Embree Price (m. Starr Nicholls).

John Sergeant Price (1831-1897), son of Eli Kirk Price and Anna Embree, followed his father into law, graduating from the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1854. That same year he was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar and began working at his father's legal practice. Outside of his professional life, J. Sergeant Price was heavily involved in many local organizations, including the American Philosophical Society, Preston Retreat, Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, Woodlands Cemetery, Reliance Insurance Company, and the Union League. Like his father he was involved with several committees at the University of Pennsylvania, including the Society of the Alumni of the Law Department and the Central Committee of the Alumni.

J. Sergeant Price married Sally A. Baker and they had three children: Eli Kirk Price II (b. 1860), Elizabeth Cornelius Price (1864-1933) (m. Jonathan Willis Martin), and John Sergeant Price Jr. (b. 1883). J. Sergeant Price's son-in-law, Jonathan Willis Martin, went into business with him as a partner in his legal firm.

Eli Kirk Price II (1860-1933) was born on May 10, 1860 and would follow the family tradition of practicing in the firm founded by his namesake. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1881 and from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1883, the same year he was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar. His most notable achievements are not in the legal field, but rather the result of his work with the Fairmont Park Commission and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He was Fairmount Park commissioner during planning of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and was also involved in the planning and construction of the new building for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. From 1926 until his death in 1933 he was president of the art museum corporation. In 1929 he received the Philadelphia Award "in recognition of the important service rendered to the community in the development of Fairmount Park and the Parkway in the erection of the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, and in the gathering of the important collections of that Museum" (Box 2, Folder 15). Other achievements include the Beaux Arts Medal of Honor of the  Societe des Architetes Diplomes, being named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and being appointed an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. In addition to these accomplishments, he was also the treasurer of Woodlands Cemetery, vice president of the Fairmount Park Art Association, president of the City Parks Association, treasurer of the American Philosophical Society, treasurer and president of Preston Retreat, and a member of Philadelphia's Art Jury.

In 1896 he married Evelyn Taylor, who served as president of the Rittenhouse Square Improvement Association and the Rittenhouse Square Flower Association. They had four children: Philip Price (1898-1989) (m. Sarah Meade Harrison), Rachel Price (b. 1899), Evelyn Price (b. 1902) (m. Hamilton), and Eli Kirk Price III (1904-1976).

Elizabeth Cornelius Price (1864-1933), sister of Eli K. Price II, married Jonathan Willis Martin. They had four children: Sergeant Price Martin (b. 1887), Marion Willis Martin (b. 1889), Jonathan Willis Martin (1892-1897), and Elizabeth Gwen Martin (b. 1894). Their daughter,  Marion Willis Martin, wrote many books about Philadelphia and her life, including  Lights Along the Schuylkill,  Lights Along the Delaware,  Distaff Descent, and  A Full Life, her autobiography. She married  Edward Florens Rivinus (1878-1958) and their son, Willis Martin Rivinus, is an historian and author of books on Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Philip Price (1898-1989), like his father and grandfather, was a lawyer. After serving in the Naval Reserve during World War I, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1922. He then joined the family practice, although he left to join Dechert, Price, and Rhoads in 1928. As a trial lawyer, he mostly represented corporations, including the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and East Coast railroads in the Noerr Motor Freight case, which was heard in the United States Supreme Court. He was also heavily involved in civic and charity organizations, including the Fairmount Park Commission (where he served as president and treasurer), the Fairmount Park Art Association, the Philadelphia Art Commission, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Overbrook School for the Blind.

Philip Price married Sarah Harrison Price in 1922 and they had five children: Sarah Price Parker, Evelyn Price Scott, Nancy Price Hiestand, John S. Price, and Philip Price Jr.

Eli Kirk Price III (April 25, 1904-1976) worked as an estate trustee and real estate manager in the office of Eli Kirk Price from 1933 until 1973, except for a stint in the U.S. Army from 1942 until 1946. He was also the assistant treasurer for the Woodlands Cemetery Company, continuing the long family tradition of involvement with the cemetery. Like his relatives, he was involved in many civic and cultural organizations, including the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society, the Geographical Society of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. He was also the manager of the Preston Maternity Hospital (formerly the Preston Retreat) until it merged with the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1960.

Philip Price Jr. (1934- ) is a lawyer specializing in property and real estate law. He also worked on urban revitalization projects, like the Allegheny West Community Development Project, which led to changes in tax law, giving corporations credits for investing in inner city redevelopment. From 1978 to 1982 he was a Pennsylvania state senator. Like his father and ancestors, he was and continues to be involved in many civic, cultural, and charity organizations. From 1883 until 2003 he was a board member at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. He is also involved in the Fairmount Park system, serving on committees for the Fairmount Park Commission, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, and the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation trust. Philip Price Jr. was instrumental in furthering the preservation of the Woodlands Cemetery by helping to create the Woodlands Trust for Historic Preservation.

Philip Price, Jr. is married to Sarah Dolan Price.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection contains papers created by various members of the Price family, relating to their estates and professions. The collection is divided into series by individual, arranged in chronological order of their birth. Documents in all series are arranged chronologically, with the exception of Series VII: Subject files, which is arranged alphabetically by title.

Series I: Price, Eli Kirk dates from 1840 to 1985 and mostly documents the administration of his estate after his death. There are some materials from his life, including the text of speeches he gave and his will, but the bulk of this series represents the financial and legal management of his estate, which included property in West Philadelphia.

Series II: Price, Eli Kirk II dates from 1863 to 1977 and is also mostly estate and financial information. It also contains a silver cigarette case. A note inside the case indicates that it was given to Price by Prince Takamatsu of Japan during a dinner at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1931.

Series III: Price, Philip dates from 1868 to 1972 and documents some of his activities with the Fairmount Park Comission in the 1940s-1970s. Researchers may be interested in the correspondence relating to the sale of Rodin's statue,  The Kiss, and plans for a high school to be built on park land.

Series IV: Price, Eli Kirk III dates from 1951 to 1977 and contains documentation about his estate distribution, appraisal, and finances. This series also contains a medal with the face of Richard Nixon, apparently prepared for or presented to the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society.

Series V: Price, Philip Jr. dates from 1946 to 1991 and is mostly documents relating to his professional life in real estate and property law.

Series VI: Other family members dates from 1866 to 1979 and is almost entirely information about the administration of estates. This is probably because other members of the Price family were executors or had power of attorney over the wills of these individuals, so these documents remained in the family.

Series VII: Subject files dates from 1936 to 1985 and includes all documents that do not relate to a specific family member, or those for which the Price family member association could not be determined. These files are arranged alphabetically by title and include genealogical and estate information as well as maps.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 The Historical Society of Pennsylvania November 2012

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107
215-732-6200

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research, although some materials containing personel, payroll, or medical information are closed to researchers for 75 years after their creation.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

This collection was originally part of the Woodlands Cemetery Company papers (collection 3661) donated by the Woodlands Cemetery Company in 2004. It was separated from the Woodlands Cemetery Company papers during processing October 2012.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

At the Historical Society of Pennsylvania:

The Eli Kirk Price [II] papers (D0089)

Eli Kirk Price [II] receipt book, 1826-1833 (Am.934150)

The Woodlands Cemetery Company papers (3661)

A biography of Eli Kirk Price [II] (manuscript) by Sarah Dickson Lowrie, 1936 (Am.1276)

The Philip Price collection of Philadelphia deeds, 1381-1863 (3351)

At other institutions:

Eli K. Price papers (MC 1999.13) at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.

Eli K. Price papers (collection 281) at the University of Delaware Special Collections in Newark, De.

Eli K. Price papers (Mss.B.P926) at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Pa.

Sarah Dickson Lowrie Biography of Eli Kirk Price II at the Philadelphia Musem of Art Archives.

Series II: "Officers and their overseers" of the Fiske Kimball records at the Philadelphia Musem of Art Archives contains correspondence from Eli K. Price II regarding Fairmount Park.

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Controlled Access Headings

Geographic Name(s)

  • Fairmount Park (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Price, Eli Kirk, 1904-1976.
  • Price, Eli Kirk, d. 1933.
  • Price, John Sergeant, 1831-1897.
  • Price, Philip, 1898-1989.
  • Price, Phillip, Jr.

Subject(s)

  • Estates--United States.
  • Fairmount Park Commission (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • Real estate business--Pennsylvania.
  • Real property--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--Maps.
  • Real property--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.

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Bibliography

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Collection Inventory

I. Price, Eli Kirk (1797-1884) 1840-1985 

Oversize
7
Volume
1
Box
2
Volume
2
Box
1
Box Folder

"Stock certificates and deeds of lots [in Woodlands Cemetery] belonging to the estate of Eli Kirk Price" 1840-1856 

1 1

Speech given before the Pennsylvania Senate on amendments to the constitution (photocopy) 1856 March 24 

1 2

Speech given on Margaret Price Paxson's 88th birthday (photocopy) 1880 April 9 

1 3

Will 1884 

1 4

Portrait presented to the Fairmount Park Commission by J. Sergeant Price (photocopy) 1886 March 16 

1 5

Speech made at the dedication of Price Hall at the University of Pennsylvania, by Hampton L. Carson 1900 February 22 

1 6

Philip Price appointed executor and trustee of estate 1931 February 2 

1 7
Volume

Estate executors' account, 1931-1949 1949 

1
Box Folder

Elizabeth Gwen Martin appointed executor and trustee of estate 1933 February 17 

1 8

Spruce Street property appraisal ("North side Spruce Street from 48th to 49th Streets; South side Spruce Street from 48th to 50th Streets") 1933 

1 9

Certified copies of will 1934 June 28 

1 10

Estate accounts and assets 1935-1936 

1 11
Oversize

Plans and blueprints for Spruce Street property development 1935, 1937, 1944, 1959, 1974, undated 

7
Box Folder

Mortgages 1943, undated 

1 12

"Data regarding sale of 310-318 South 48th Street and Spruce Street stores" 1947-1959, 1965 

1 13

Memoranda by Philip Price regarding the estates of Eli Kirk Price and J. Sergeant Price 1948, 1949 

1 14

Statement of proposed distribution of estate 1950 January 5 

1 15

Call for audit of estate 1950 July 3 

1 16

Schedule for distribution of estate 1950 

1 17

Agreement of sale between Philip Price and American Stores Company for 310-318 South 48th Street 1958 September 4 

1 18

Title report for 310-318 South 48th Street 1958 September 19 

1 19

Sale of 4820-4822 Spruce Street 1962, 1971 

1 20

Appraisal of 4806-4822 Spruce Street 1969 March 25 

1 21

Appraisal of 4806-4818 Spruce Street 1971 August 10 

2 1
Volume

Estate account book, 1972-1985 1985 

2
Box Folder

Sale of 4806-4818 Spruce Street 1973 December 7 

2 2

"Trust of certain interests in the 'undivided estate' portion of the estate of Eli K. Price" 1973 

2 3

129 Bethlehem Pike: The "Piper-Price House" 1981, undated 

2 4

4806, 4810, 4812, and 4818 Spruce Street purchase by Woodlands Cemetery Company 1985 

2 5

Biographical information undated 

2 6

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II. Price, Eli Kirk II (1860-1933) 1863-1977 

Box
2
Oversize
1
Box
7
Box Folder

Stocks and bonds 1863, 1885-1919, 1933 

2 7
Oversize

Stock certificates 1889 

1
Box Folder

Life insurance policies 1893-1910 

2 8

Letters from Louis Ball of Newton Square, Pennsylvania, regarding debt owed to Price 1902, 1903 

2 9

Will (photocopy) 1930 April 7 

2 10

Schedule of distribution of estate 1933 

2 11
Box

Silver cigarette case given to Eli K. Price II by Prince Takamatsu of Japan at a dinner at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, April 21, 1931 c. 1931 

7
Box Folder

Declarations of trust for real estate to Woodlands Cemetery 1933-1934 

2 12

Philip Price given Eli Kirk Price III's powers as trustee of Eli Kirk Price Jr.'s estate while Eli Kirk Price III is in the military 1945 April 2 

2 13

Reinstatement of Eli Kirk Price III as trustree of Eli Kirk Price Jr.'s estate following discharge from military service 1960 July 20 

2 14

Biographical research by Barbara Howe 1976 May 

2 15

Executors' account of estate (1934-1977) 1977 

2 16

Biographical information undated 

2 17

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III. Price, Philip (1898-1981) 1868-1972 

Oversize
9
Oversize
5
Box
3
Box
2
Oversize

Maps and plans of Fairmount Park 1868, 1956, 1965, undated 

5
Box Folder

"Agreements with boat clubs, etc." in Fairmount Park 1927, 1937-1939, 1951-1969 

2 18

Fairmount Park historic houses 1935, 1951-1957, 1966-1971 

2 19

"Parks and parkways miscellaneous" 1949, 1957-1968 

3 1

Fairmount Park Commission handbook 1952 

3 2

Certificates of appointment as park commissioner 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967 

3 3

Proposed site for Thomas S. Gates High School 1957, 1969-1971 

3 4

"Attempts to use park land for other purposes" 1958-1969 

3 5

Fort Mifflin "report to the Greater Philadelphia Movement upon historical aspects and preservation problems" 1959 

3 6

Loudoun Mansion 1966-1971 

3 7

Sale of Rodin's The Kiss 1968-1971 

3 8

Fairmount Park historic houses 1968-1972 

3 9

Photographs of watercolor painting of Belmont Mansion 1969, undated 

3 10
Oversize

Thomas S. Gates High School maps and plans 1970-1971 

9
Box Folder

Fairmount Park proposed housing development 1971 

3 11

Philip Price not re-elected as Fairmount Park commissioner 1972 

3 12

"East Park: A Concept Toward a More Abundant Life" 1970s 

3 13

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IV. Price, Eli Kirk III (1904-1974) 1951-1977 

Oversize
2
Box
8
Box
4
Box
3
Box Folder

"Inventory and valuations of furniture and furnishings for insurance purposes in the residence of Eli Kirk Price III, 129 Bethlehem Pike" 1951 

3 14
Box

Richard Nixon medal "for the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society" c. 1969 

8
Box Folder

"Inventory and appraisement for insurance purposes: Furniture and furnishings in the residence of Mr. Eli Kirk Price III, 129 Bethlehem Pike" 1970 July 22 

4 1

Will and codicil 1970, 1972 

4 2

"Dossier on Eli Kirk Price III, candidate for state senate campaign in 1974 in Chestnut Hill and Germantown area, 9th ward" 1973, 1974 

4 3

Obituaries 1976 October 26 

4 4

Appraisal of house at 129 Bethlehem Pike 1976 

4 5

Estate 1976-1977 

4 6

Will of Lydia T. Morris and the Morris Arboretum 1977 May 16 

4 7

Awards 1977 

4 8

First and final account of executors of will 1979 

4 9
Oversize

Map of Eastern Delaware County undated 

2

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V. Price, Philip Jr. (1934- ) 1946-1991 

Box
4
Box
6
Box Folder

Workers' compensation and insurance for employees [Closed to researchers until 2060] 1946, 1961, 1976-1985 

4 10

Real estate 1967, 1983 

4 11

Workers' compensation and insurance for employees [Closed to researchers until 2065] 1979-1990 

4 12
Box

Woodlands Cemetery Company fire and liability insurance 1970s 

6

Mortgages and real estate 1970s-1980s 

6
Box Folder

Bills 1985, 1989-1991 

4 13

Miscellaneous 1980s, undated 

4 14

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VI. Other family members 1866-1979 

Box
4
Box
5
Box Folder

Price, John Sergeant (1831-1897): Estate and investments 1866-1917 

4 15

Price, John Sergeant: "In memoriam John Sergeant Price: Proceedings of a meeting of the Bar of Philadelphia" 1897 October 16 

4 16

Price, John Sergeant: Will 1897 

4 17

Price, John Sergeant: Obituary 1898 January 27 

5 1

Price, John Sergeant: Biographical information undated 

5 2

Martin, Elizabeth Price (1864-1933): Will 1931 January 31 

5 3

Martin, Elizabeth Price: Federal estate tax return 1932 June 10 

5 4

Martin, Elizabeth Price: "Philip Price, trustee under the will of Elizabeth Price Martin, deceased, real estate acquired through forclosure" c. 1944 

5 5

Martin, Elizabeth Price: Trustees' account of estate 1978 

5 6

Martin, Elizabeth Price: Trustees' account of estate 1979 

5 6

Rivinus, Edward Florens (1878-1958): Estate and will 1942-1948 

5 8

Rivinus, Edward Florens: Florida property 1946-1947 

5 9

Rivinus, Edward Florens: Medical history, transcriptions and excerpts from doctors' letters [Closed to researchers until 2022] c. 1947 

5 10

Rivinus, Edward Florens: "Estate tax matters" 1966, undated 

5 11

Price, John Sergeant Jr. (1883-1948): Will 1948 

5 12

Price, John Sergeant Jr.: First and final account of estate 1956 

5 13

Price, John Sergeant Jr.: Examination of estate 1964 

5 14

Price, Evelyn Taylor: Estate 1938-1948 

5 15

Price, Evelyn Taylor: Estate account 1945 

5 16

Price, Evelyn Taylor: Estate debt owed and paid to the estate of Eli Kirk Price c. 1951 

5 17

Rivinus, Marion Willis Martin: Estate account 1947 

5 18

Martin, Elizabeth Gwen (1894-1950): Will 1946 December 21 

5 19

Martin, Elizabeth Gwen: Death certificate 1950 October 10 

5 20

Martin, Elizabeth Gwen: Agreement between executors of her estate and purchaser of land owned by her descendant 1951 

5 21

Martin, Elizabeth Gwen: Approval of account, receipt, and release of estate 1965 

5 22

Bartol, Margaretta Harrison: Will 1960 

5 23

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VII. Subject files 1936-1985 

Box
6
Box
5
Oversize
3
Oversize
8
Oversize
6
Oversize
4
Box Folder

Genealogy of Price family undated 

5 24
Box

Price family investment and property records 1951-1985 

6
Oversize

Map: Eastern Canada 1967 

4

Map: Northern Europe (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden) 1936 

6

Map: Philadelphia Transportation Company Street and Transit Map of Philadelphia 1966 March 

8

Plan of properties in the 21st Ward at Richter and Sumac Streets, made for the Code Products Corporation and Morgan J. Lewis 1954 

3
Box

Property records relating to family members' estates c. 1970 

6

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