Biography and History

Nicholas Biddle was a litterateur, a scholar, a statesman, and a financier. At the age of ten he entered the University of Pennsylvania and was ready to graduate at thirteen; however, he was not allowed to receive his degree because of his youth. He then entered the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1799, and graduated in 1801 as valedictorian. Although he was devoted to the study of the classics, he selected the law as his profession. He was a contributing writer to the Port Folio, which became the leading literary periodical in America, and became its editor in 1812. In 1810, after the death of Capt. Meriwether Lewis, Gen. William Clark asked Biddle to write the narrative of their expedition into the Louisiana country, which Biddle worked on from 1810 to 1812. He entered the state Senate in 1814, which forced him to give up his post as editor and to turn over the work of carrying through the press his History of the Expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark (1814) to Paul Allen. In 1819 Biddle became one of the five government directors of the Bank of the United States, and its president in 1822. He resigned in 1839 and retired to "Andalusia" on the Delaware, which became the scene of an intellectual and social life not common in the United States.

Source: From the finding aid for C1013