The Lamb-Sykes family papers contain correspondence, financial and legal documents, daguerreotypes, and other materials related to the Philadelphia families' daily lives and business endeavors. The collection reflects their legal and mercantile affairs, investments, real estate, and involvement with the Mechanics Bank of Philadelphia.
The Lamb-Sykes family papers date from 1683 to 1947, with the bulk of the materials concentrated between 1819 and 1911. They form a record of the lives of the Lamb and Sykes families of Philadelphia, especially their financial, legal, and business activities. The collection includes approximately 300 letters; 9 linear feet of accounts, receipts, tax records, promissory notes, and legal documents; 60 account and expense books; 6 daguerreotypes; and 0.5 linear feet of school papers, family history, printed and ephemeral items, and other materials.
The Correspondence series is made up of approximately 300 letters to and from members of the Lamb, Sykes, and Norris families, between 1819 and 1907. Few writers sent more than a small number of letters to their family and friends. The correspondence reflects a variety of different activities and experiences, and many different geographical locations. Selected examples include:
- Six letters between the Carswells and the Jacksons. Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel sent four letters to Margaret and Margaretta Carswell between 1819 and 1822; Margaretta and Andrew Jackson each wrote 1 letter in 1843. These letters refer to historical events, such as the Treaty of Doak's Stand (Rachel Jackson's letter of October 20, 1820). In 1843, Margaretta wrote to Andrew Jackson about her intention to create a school for girls. The former U.S. President commended her for her proposal, and promised to spread the word amongst his female relations.
- Five letters by Margaret Carswell, cousins, and siblings to Margaretta Lamb, from West Ely, Missouri, in the winter of 1837-1838
- Approximately 10 letters between Margaretta and her husband, written when Lemuel traveled to London in the late 1830s. In these letters they discussed business and domestic life in Philadelphia.
- Four letters written by Margaretta's daughter Margaret, during her travels to France and Germany in 1846
- Six letters to Margaretta Lamb from her (former) pupils in 1851
- Five letters by Margaretta's son Samuel, written from Panama, then San Francisco, in 1854. By the following year, he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he wrote approximately 15 letters. In his letters from San Francisco, he described the quality of life in the West difficulties finding work, and the influx of people to the area.
- Approximately 21 letters by Lemuel Lamb, Jr., in the mid-late 1850s from Detroit, Michigan; Superior, Wisconsin; St. Louis, Missouri; Chattanooga, Tennessee; New Orleans; Dubuque, Iowa; Pittsburgh; Marshall, Texas; and others. In letters to his mother and father, he remarked on his journey west, a cholera outbreak, his own good health, and his business affairs.
- Twenty letters to Isaac Norris, Jr., from Jennie Carlile Boyd in Newport, Rhode Island, between April and July 1890. She wrote 15 of them on mourning stationery.
- Approximately 27 letters from Harriet Lamb, Charles [Grugan?], and [Anne Grugan?] about their stay in Paris in 1851 and detailing the final illness and death of Margaret Lamb.
The Documents and Financial Records series consists of approximately 9 linear feet of financial, legal, and land documents of the Lamb and Sykes family. The series includes documents related to court cases; estate administration records for Margaretta Lamb, Franklin Wharton, Sarah Moore, and others; documents related to land holdings in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, and Rhode Island; and papers related to trade, investment, and banking.
The Photographs series includes 6 cased daguerreotypes. One postmortem portrait of Harriet Lamb in her coffin is accompanied by Philadelphia photographer Marcus Root's receipt of sale and the undertaker's bill for funeral expenses (1853). The other daguerreotypes are undated portraits of unidentified individuals and groups.
The Poetry, Recipes, Lists, and Fragments series contains 9 poems and writing fragments, 1 medicinal recipe, 1 recipe for cream pie, 1 book of lists, and 1 blank book. One poem, dated 1850 and titled "Fools and Their Money Parted," laments a decision to provide money to family members for the purposes of investment. The medicinal recipe is a "Cure for Cancer, Erysypelas, Humours, Diseases of the Liver, & Coughs" (undated). The book of lists is a volume of approximately 80 pages, which contains lists of books, Christmas gifts, prints, the contents of trunks, and other household objects (ca. 1880s).
The Printed Materials series consists of 2 circulars, 2 books, 16 stock reports, 23 issues of the serial Infant's Magazine, 2 pamphlets, approximately 60 newspaper clippings, and 2 engravings. See the box and folder listing below for more information about these items.
The Genealogy series consists of approximately 45 genealogical manuscripts pertaining to the Lamb, Norris, Pepper, Sykes, and Wharton families. One document regards Lemuel Lamb's immediate family, with birth and death dates for most of his siblings, and for some of his brothers-in-law. The Norris family genealogical materials include a 395-page family album with original and copied 18th- and 19th-century correspondence, photos and illustrations, newspaper clippings, and other items. A booklet printed by the "Provincial Councilors of Pennsylvania" includes a history of the Norris family. A similar booklet, prepared for an October 19, 1947, family reunion, describes the genealogy of the "Pepper Clan." The Sykes family materials are made up of copies of letters and writings documenting the early history of the family and their emigration to America. The Wharton family items include copied letters and writings, and an incomplete draft of the memoirs of Robert Wharton.
The Realia series includes 2 circular medals from the Bulldog Club of America, 1924 and 1925, and a metal nameplate from the urn of "Isacco Norris," Dr. Isaac Norris, who died in Italy.