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Jacob Cist correspondence and documents

Coll.152

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
Creator:
Cist, Jacob, 1782-1825
Title:
Jacob Cist correspondence and documents
Date [inclusive]:
1794-1829
Call Number:
Coll.152
Extent:
1.5 Cubic feet
Language:
English
Abstract:
Jacob Cist (1782-1825) was an American naturalist, artist, inventor, businessman, author, treasurer and United States Postmaster. He was also one of the most important pioneers in the marketing of anthracite coal and a leading authority on its economic potential. This collection includes personal and business letters, documents, agreements, memorabilia, clippings and records of Cist's service as United States Postmaster of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. His accounts as treasurer of the Wilkes-Barre Bridge Co. are included, as are records of his activities as a co-founder and officer of the Luzerne County Agricultural Society and his service as a Commissioner from his county to the Pennsylvania Commission for Internal Improvement. His tax accounts as County Treasurer, with supplementary letters give details of the procedures in vogue during that era. The collection also includes some typescript and some facsimile copies.
Cite as:
[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Coll.152, Jacob Cist correspondence and documents, 1794-1829, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

Jacob Cist was born on March 13, 1783 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He obtained his education at the Nazareth Boys’ School of the Moravian Church from 1794 to 1797. He lived in Philadelphia until 1808 when he was appointed United States Postmaster, serving that position until his death in 1925. Cist’s interests and skills were diverse and he worked as a merchant in Wilkes-Barre, as the treasurer of Luzerne County in 1816, as a business partner with his father-in-law Judge Matthias Hollenback (a merchant and landlord in northeastern Pennsylvania), and a co-founder of the first company for mining and marketing anthracite coal with Jacob Weiss. He was described as a “young, ambitious, and clever entrepreneur who … devote[d] his energies to the fostering of the Pennsylvania anthracite trade in order to supply the city of Philadelphia with fuel at a handsome profit,” (Binder), particularly during fuel shortages during the War of 1812. Because coal was not used in homes and businesses, at the time, he worked hard to convince people that Lehigh coal was easy to burn and a viable fuel source. He consistently wrote about the value of using coal as a fuel source, sent samples to American and European cities, created pamphlets, gathered endorsements from successful users of the fuel, and performed demonstrations.

In addition to his professional work, Cist was also deeply involved in many other aspects of his world. As a naturalist, he stressed field observations and biology of insects, illustrating the stages seen, while studying their classification. He studied under French artist, M. A. Benade, and became a skilled artist, sketching waterfalls and plants and insects of Wyoming Valley. Further using his artistic skills, he designed bank notes for the Susquehanna Bank of Wilkes-Barre. He was also an inventor and patented a mill for grinding pigment from coal in 1803. Finally, he was a co-founder of the Luzerne County Agricultural Society.

Cist died on December 30, 1823

Bibliography:

Binder, Frederick M. “Review: Philadelphia’s First Fuel Crisis: Jacab Cist and the Developing Market for Pennsylvania Anthracite by H. Benjamin Powell”  Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 103, No. 3 (Jul. 1979), pp. 402-404.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes personal and business letters, documents, agreements, memorabilia, clippings and records of Cist's service as United States Postmaster of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. His accounts as treasurer of the Wilkes-Barre Bridge Co. are included, as are records of his activities as a co-founder and officer of the Luzerne County Agricultural Society and his service as a Commissioner from his county to the Pennsylvania Commission for Internal Improvement. His tax accounts as County Treasurer, with supplementary letters give details of the procedures in vogue during that era. The collection also includes some typescript and some facsimile copies.

Some of the correspondents included in this collection are Enoch Alden, H. Bowman, William Brown, Abraham Bradley, Jr. (1767-1838), Phineas Bradley, Judge Thomas Burnside (1782-1851), Isaac A. Chapman, Charles Cist Sr., Charles Cist Jr., Jacob Cist, Lewis Cist, Mary (Weiss) Cist, Mary Ann Cist, Sarah (Hollenback) Cist, Zaccheus Collins (1764-1831), John G. Cunow, Anson Dart, William Day, Thomas Depew, John Dilzund, Asa Dimock, Warren Dimock, Alexander Dolph, Thomas Dow, Benjamin Drake, Henry W. Drinker (1787-1866), Dudley & Safford, John C. Dull, Wilkesbarre Turnpike Co., A. Ecky, Horace H. Edwards, Edward Fell, Leonard Frailey, Peter Frantz, Thomas H. Gillis, Joshua Gilpin (1765-1841), Thomas Gilpin (1776-1853), Godfrey Haga Jr., John Hannis, William Henry, George M. Hollenback, Matthias Hollenback (1752-1829), Joseph Horsfield, Thomas Horsfield, Benjamin B. Howell, John Kern, George Lane, Lehigh Coal Concern, Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, James Lyon, George P. MacCulloch, Nathaniel Miner, Henry Naszinger, James Renwick, Hugh Roberts, James Ronaldson, Daniel Smith, David Smith, Joseph Smith, Stelwaggon & Knight, Troutman Wernwag, Joshua Whitney, Wilkesbarre Bridge Company, and George Winchester.

The bulk of this collection is correspondence and is arranged by item number. It appears that the collection was assigned item numbers after the collections was organized (loosely) in alphabetical order.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia,  2010.12.07

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Garrett Boos

Sponsor

The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project. Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Custodial History note

Gift of a descendant, Gilbert S. McClintock of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1940.

Processing Information note

The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.

Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company.
  • United States Postal Service.
Form/Genre(s)
  • Correspondence
  • Family papers
  • Financial records
Geographic Name(s)
  • Luzerne County (Pa.)
  • Wilkes-Barre (Pa.)
Personal Name(s)
  • Cist, Jacob, 1782-1825
Subject(s)
  • Coal mines and mining
  • Postmasters general

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Collection Inventory

Box Item

Alden - Beitel, 1803-1823.

1 1-16

Bell - Bradley, 1813, 1814.

1 17-36

Brockelman - Butler, circa 1813, 1814.

1 37-52

Cave - Champin, circa 1819.

1 53-55

Chapman, Isaac A. - Chapman, Joseph, circa 1814.

1 53-66

Cist, Charles Sr. - Cist, Charles Jr., 1801-1805.

1 69-105

Correspondence, notebooks, maps, etc., undated.

1 106-120

Book of poetry including pencil sketch, undated.

1 121-127

Pamphlet, 1807-1808.

1 128-146

Cist, Jacob, 1807-1808.

1 128-146

Cist, Jacob, circa 1811, 1814.

1 162, 165, 168

Pamphlet, "Prices of drugs, medicines and dye stuffs", 1814.

1 169

Cist, Jacob, 1814-1817.

1 170-188

Cist, Jacob, 1820-1822, undated.

1 189-209

Cist, Jacob, 1822-1825.

2 210-238

Cist, J. and Miner, C. - Cist, Lewis, circa 1802, 1809.

2 239-248

Cist, Mary (Weiss), 1801-1806.

2 249-253

Cist, Mary Ann-Rebecca, 1808, 1823-1826.

2 254-260

Cist, Sarah Hollenback, 1806-1824.

2 261-289

Clymer - Cunow, 1816, 1820.

2 290-295

Dana - Davis, Thomas, 1809, 1820-1821.

2 296A, b-304

Day, William, 1820-1824.

2 305-333

Dean, John R. - Dixon, Thomas, circa 1814-1823.

2 334-376

Doffart, J. - Dow, 1821-1822.

2 377-412

Drake, Benjamin - Dyer, Thomas, circa 1816-1825.

2 413-458

Easton - Evans, 1803, 1809, 1825.

2 459-475

Fell - Fulton, 1801, 1813.

2 476-501

Gibson - Gutekunst, 1806, 1821.

2 502-517

Haga - Herter, 1802, 1814, 1829.

2 518-563

Hess - Hutchins, circa 1818.

2 564-594

Jackson - Kremer, 1814, 1820, 1824.

2 595-610

Land - Lehigh Navigation Co., circa 1817, 1820.

2 625-632

Leibert - Lyon, circa 1816.

3 633-643

McCalb - Mussi, 1816, 1822.

3 644-671

N, 1815.

3 672-676

Palmer - Prosser, circa 1817.

3 677-686

Raeder - Rudolph, circa 1820.

3 687-718

Snyder - Susquehanna Bank notes, circa 1815.

3 760-783

Sansom - Smith, M., 1807, 1816, 1820.

3 719-759

Temasy - U.S. General Post Office, 1816.

3 784-802

Vanuxum - Vaux, 1818.

3 803-806

Wall - Wilkesbarre Academy, 1806-1813.

3 807-838

Wilkesbarre Bridge Co.--General, 1816-1818.

3 839-860

Wilkesbarre Bridge Co.--Treasurer's authorizations, 1816-1817.

3 861-913

Wilkesbarre Bridge Co.--Treasurer's authorizations, 1817-1818.

3 914-967

Williams - Young, 1820, 1825.

3 969-981

Clippings from newspapers (items which apparently interested Cist and were saved by him for reference, largely regarding insects and popular items on control of pests), undated.

4 1-8

Sur la Classification et la Destribution des Végétaux Fossiles, 1822.

4 9

Collected writings, 1823, 1825, undated.

4 10