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Collections of college and personal papers, as well as a select number of individual documents, have been briefly described in entries available for browsing and searching on this site. All collection and document descriptions contain a representative image and a summary of the contents. 

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Valedictory Address from the First Commencement by Robert Duncan
September 26, 1787

Robert Duncan (Class of 1787) delivers this valedictory address at the first commencement of Dickinson College, which was held on September 26, 1787. John Young, a member of the Class of 1788, transcribed the address. Transcript included.

"An Address to the First Graduates of Dickinson College," by Charles Nisbet
September 26, 1787

President Charles Nisbet delivers this address to the first graduating class of Dickinson College at commencement on September 26, 1787. John Young, a member of the Class of 1788, transcribed the address. Transcript included.

Address after a Vacation by Charles Nisbet
October 1787

President Charles Nisbet delivers this address to students in October after "a short interval of vacation." John Young, a member of the Class of 1788, transcribed the address. Transcript included.

Letters from Charles Nisbet to David Erskine
1787-1792

Dickinson President Charles Nisbet writes six letters to David Erskine, , the Earl of Buchan, on a number of topics that include the consequences of America's independence, the economy, governance, natural history of the country, international...

Letter from John Armstrong to William Bingham and William Irvine
January 16, 1788

President pro tempore of the Board of Trustees John Armstrong writes to two other Dickinson College trustees, William Irvine and William Bingham, and informs them of a purchase of "public buildings near the Town for the Benefit of the College...

Address from the Second Commencement by Charles Nisbet
May 7, 1788

President Charles Nisbet delivers this address to the second graduating class of Dickinson College at commencement on May 7, 1788. John Young, a member of the Class of 1788, transcribed the address. Transcript included.

Address after a Vacation by Charles Nisbet
June 19, 1788

President Charles Nisbet delivers this address to students after a vacation on June 19, 1788. John Young, a member of the Class of 1788, transcribed the address. Transcript included.

Letter from John Dickinson to William Young
June 20, 1788

John Dickinson writes to bookseller William Young, notifying him that one volume is missing from a set of history books "sent down by my neighbor Park." Transcript included.

Location: I-Original-1788-4

Subject: Business and Industry

Format: Letters/Correspondence

Time Period: 1780-1799

View Item: Letter from John Dickinson to William Young

Letter from John Dickinson to Tench Coxe
July 14, 1788

Former President of Pennsylvania John Dickinson writes to Confederation Congress delegate Tench Coxe, commenting on the ratification of the United States Constitution by New Hampshire (the required ninth and final state) and the creation of the...

Location: I-AsbellY-1975-5

Subject: Politics and Government

Format: Letters/Correspondence

Time Period: 1780-1799

View Item: Letter from John Dickinson to Tench Coxe

Letter from William Young to Agnes Young
August 18, 1788

William Young writes a letter to his wife, Agnes McLaws Young, describing his arrival in Carlisle and the people he met throughout his journey. Young also informs her of some errands that need to be taken care of. Young is a bookseller and...

Letter from Joseph Priestley to Charles Blagden
November 12, 1788

Scientist, clergyman, and scholar Joseph Priestley writes to Dr. Charles Brian Blagden, asking for an insertion to his paper that was read to the Lunar Society. Priestley also notes how he wants "a stronger burning lens." Sir Charles Blagden is...

Location: I-Friends-1986-12

Subject: Science and Technology

Format: Letters/Correspondence

Time Period: 1780-1799

View Item: Letter from Joseph Priestley to Charles Blagden

Letter from William Bingham to William Irvine
February 26, 1789

Continental Congress delegate William Bingham writes to William Irvine, discussing the funding and future of Dickinson College. Irvine serves on Dickinson's Board of Trustees. Transcript included.

Letters from Wilhelmina Nisbet to Charles Nisbet
1789-1792

Wilhelmina Nisbet, the Countess of Leven, writes three letters to Charles Nisbet a series of letters regarding religious affairs in the United States and Great Britain as well as Nisbet's position at President of Dickinson College. One "young...

Address from the Third Commencement by Charles Nisbet
June 2, 1789

President Charles Nisbet delivers this address to the third graduating class of Dickinson College at commencement on June 2, 1789. John Young, a member of the Class of 1788, transcribed the address. Transcript included.

Address after a “Short Vacation” by Charles Nisbet
November 2, 1789

President Charles Nisbet delivers this address to students on May 13, 1787 after a "short vacation." John Young, a member of the Class of 1788, transcribed the address. Transcript included.

Letters from Charles Nisbet to Unknown Recipient
Undated

Through this portion of a series of letters, with pages numbered 37 through 62, Charles Nisbet writes about several considerations of Christian faith.  The end of the 5th letter addresses Christian suffering, the 6th letter concerns prayer, and...

"Generosi et Dominae," by John Wilson (Draft)
1790

John Wilson prepares these two drafts of his Latin oration, entitled "Generosi et Dominae," in 1790. Wilson is a member of the Class of 1792. The second draft is hand-bound with pages from an old newspaper, including advertisements on the front...

Letters from Charles Nisbet to William Young, 1790-91
1790-1791

Dickinson President Charles Nisbet writes a series of five letters to William Young that mostly focus on Nisbet's transactions with Young as a printer and book dealer. Nisbet criticizes the August issue of one of Young's magazines, declaring it "...

Letter from William Bingham to Nicholas Low
January 12, 1790

William Bingham, a member of the Dickinson College Board of Trustees, discusses financial matters with Nicholas Low and asks for three certificates in the name of Bingham's father in law, Thomas Mayne Willing. Transcript included.

Location: I-Friends-1983-23

Subject: Economics and Finance

Format: Letters/Correspondence

Time Period: 1780-1799

View Item: Letter from William Bingham to Nicholas Low

Letter from Benjamin Rush to Thomas Smith
February 26, 1790

Benjamin Rush writes to Thomas Smith of Carlisle, Pennsylvania regarding efforts to raise funds for Dickinson, including a petition to the Pennsylvania legislature for additional financial support. Dr. Charles Nisbet's statements about the...

Letter from John Armstrong to George Thompson
February 27, 1790

John Armstrong writes to George Thompson stating that he is "going to the woods and will be absent for some months".  Armstrong also explains his intention to bring a suit against Meyer McCully on account of a small debt.  Transcript included....

Letter from William Irvine to John Nicholson
March 4, 1790

William Irvine writes to John Nicholson about the political situation, especially the assumption of state debts by the federal government and "whether Elections for members of Congress, would be best in districts or general Election." Irvine, a...

Location: I-BeachW-1976-5

Subject: Politics and Government

Format: Letters/Correspondence

Time Period: 1780-1799

View Item: Letter from William Irvine to John Nicholson

Letter from Benjamin Rush to Thomas Fitzsimons
August 5, 1790

Benjamin Rush writes to Thomas Fitzsimons about a recent funding law and business conditions in the United States. While "lands sell and settle rapidly," Rush argues that "our vitals are unsound and we must finally perish under the weight of Mr....

Letter from James Wilson to Samuel Meredith
September 24, 1790

James Wilson, United States Supreme Court Justice and signer of the Declaration of Independence, writes to United States Treasurer Samuel Meredith. Wilson requests the immediate payment of his month's salary. Transcript included.

Letter from Joseph Priestley to William Frend
November 1790

Joseph Priestley writes to Rev. William Frend about various publications that he is interested in as well as "the difficulties" involved in translating works to produce "an improved and...

Location: MC 1998.1, B1, F11

Subject: Literary Pursuits, Science and Technology

Format: Letters/Correspondence

Time Period: 1780-1799

View Item: Letter from Joseph Priestley to William Frend

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