Flahavan & Willcox letterbook
Scope and Contents
The collection consists of one holographic letterbook (1784-1792) of the Philadelphia merchant company of Flahavan & Willcox. The letters cover the period April 14, 1784 to November 16, 1792. The letters are in the handwriting of G. Lawson, Thomas Flahavan, and Roger Flahavan. The volume is labelled B, and it is likely that it was preceded by a volume of letters whose location is unknown.
The letters describe establishing accounts with European suppliers - Charles Eddy of London, Daniel Delaney of Dublin and Roquette & Roquette of Rotterdam. In Jamaica, the firm dealt with Thompson, Cambpell [sic.] and MacNeal. The letters include price structures for buying and selling merchandise and inquiries to ships' captains to secure ships outfitted to accomodate the bulk and weight of cargo. The letterbook also contains correspondence with American retailers - John Dysart of Petersburg, Virginia and John Mahon in Wilmington, North Carolina - regarding ordering and purchasing of goods and repeated attempts to collect debts owed to the firm.
Several letters refer to the political and social conditions of the period. A letter dated April 24, 1786 asks that a Rotterdam firm attempt to sell lands in the vicinity of those owned by General Washington on the Potomac River. General Washington had been put in charge of a government project to clear the area for settlement. A letter dated September 12, 1788 to Thomas Newman of New York refers to the argument over paper money and the slowness of the New York legislature to adopt the Constitution. A letter of August 14, 1789 by Thomas Flahavan gives instructions for purchasing slaves.
- Flahavan & Willcox (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.
This collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use
Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.
Flahavan & Willcox was a Philadelphia firm established for the import/export trade in 1784. The firm consisted of Thomas Flahavan and Mark Willcox who formed a co-partnership in 1784. Formerly, it was named John Flahavan & Co. but was renamed when John Flahavan was lost at sea in 1783.
Flahavan & Willcox established credit on a 12 month basis with European suppliers for the purchase of dry goods and hardware. Trade was also established in the West Indies for the import of coffee and rum. Flahavan & Willcox sold merchandise to retailers in Virginia, New York and North Carolina. At the same time, the firm bought country produce such as tobacco, corn, mustard seed, and animal skins and exported those products from the port of Philadelphia.
Flahavan & Willcox were dependent on securing able ships and sloops for transporting merchandise and correspondence. As merchants, Flahavan & Willcox gave considerable attention to collecting debts and the management of lands and other property. Apparently, the firm remained successful until 1792 or later.
0.86 Cubic Feet (1 oversize box (19 x 13 x 6 inches))
Language of Materials
Flahavan & Willcox was a Philadelphia firm established for the import/export trade in 1784. The collection consists of one holographic letterbook of the company containing letters over the period April 14, 1784 to November 16, 1792.
The provenance of this collection is unknown. It was found in Special Collections.
Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in February 1989.
- Flahavan & Willcox (Organization)
- Flahavan & Willcox letterbook
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
Part of the Special Collections Repository
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