Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

United States. Bureau of Customs. Philadephia Region
Philadelphia Custom House Records
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
41 boxes and 16.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-41


Consists of correspondence and various records of the Philadelphia Customhouse dating from the 19th century to the early 1920s.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence and various records of the Philadelphia Customhouse dating from the 19th century to the early 1920s. The collection includes invoices, consumption entry permits, cargo descriptions, affidavits on entry of returned American products, daily reports of the assistant weigher, withdrawal entries, oaths or affirmations for the U.S. Bureau of Navigation by new masters of a vessel, and bound records of legal proceedings, such as those for Lancaster Mills vs. Thomas and Tracy. There is correspondence among customhouse brokers, the collector of customs, and John F. Hartranft of the Port of Philadelphia appraiser's office.

Collection Creator Biography:

United States. Bureau of Customs. Philadephia Region

From History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884 by John Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott (Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1884): "In 1810, the United States authorized the purchase of a lot of ground and the construction of a building for the use of the custom-house and the various offices connected therewith . . . . A lot of ground was bought on the west side of Second Street, below Dock, at the northwest corner of Elmslie's Alley, running through to Laurel Court, afterward called Levant Street. Here, on the 12th of July, 1819, the first Federal building used for a custom-house in the city was opened . . . . In this building the business of the Philadelphia custom-house was carried on until about 1845, when the United States Bank having failed, the white marble building on Chestnut Street, between Fourth and Fifth, occupied by that institution, was purchased by the United States government, and has been in use ever since." In 1934, it was replaced by the present Custom House at Second and Chestnut Streets. I

Collection History

Processing Information

Folder inventory prepared by Fadzilah Yahaya GS in 2011.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Philadelphia Custom House Records; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-41