John Hill Martin Family Papers

MSS 097, Item 148, John Hill Martin family papers, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware

1618-1899 (bulk dates 1872-1899) ; 1 volume (circa 400 pages)

The single bound volume of family papers in this collection was originally created by Philadelphia native John Hill Martin in 1872. As noted in the volume, he had the “book rebound, St. Martin’s Day, November 11, 1894.” The original title page is transcribed:

Family Papers consisting of copies of Wills, and other important papers, or memoranda thereof; extracts from Family Bibles. Short sketches of personal history, and other interesting matters, relative to the families of Martin of Chester, and Philadelphia, and of the Crosbys of Ridley, in Delaware County in Pennsylvania, and their relatives and connections there and elsewhere. Written and collected and copied by J. Hill Martin. Of the Philadelphia Bar. Member of the Moravian and Pennsylvania Historical Societies. Apl. 10th- 1872.

Author, editor, genealogist, illustrator, lawyer, and publisher John Hill Martin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1823. Martin, who remained single, became well known in Pennsylvania for his writings about genealogy, history, and marine insurance.  Most of this volume—a combination of memoir, record book, and scrapbook—is handwritten by Martin, and includes many of his pen-and-ink drawings of family crests and homes. “Written, collected, and copied” items are letters, obituaries, Bible records, wills, leases, deeds, diplomas, surveys, listings of births, marriages and deaths, family crests, inventories of family holdings, poems, personal documents, and the lyrics to “Martin, the Man at Arms” by Bellamy. Also in original form are advertisements, announcements, a business card, financial receipts, newspaper clippings, two portraits, and printed illustrations. The book is a compilation of miscellaneous family information, and has no logical arrangement. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century documents are interspersed among nineteenth-century ones, though the bulk of the volume consists of earlier documents copied or anecdotes written by Martin in 1872.  This collection demonstrates Martin’s dedication to recording his family’s lineage and finding its place in American and regional history, which was the subject of much of Martin’s published writing.

View finding aid here.


Submitted by Rebecca Johnson Melvin, University of Delaware


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s