Belfield papers 1697 - 1977
The Belfield papers include materials from families who lived in the Belfield mansion in Germantown, Pennsylvania from 1826 until 1984; however, the papers span the years 1679 to 1977. Featured individuals include William and Sarah Logan Fisher Wister, their son, John Wister and his wife, Sarah Tyler Boas Wister, their granddaughter, Sarah Logan Wister Starr and her husband, James Starr, and their great-granddaughter, S. Logan Starr Blain and her husband, Dr. Daniel Blain. The collection also houses papers from related individuals in the Emlen, Fisher, Hall, Lindley, Logan, Meigs, Wister, and other families. Collectively, the Belfield papers tell the story of several generations of a prominent family, offering glimpses into life in and around Philadelphia from the 1820s to the 1970s. As a result of the various family members' diverse professional and personal engagements, the collection contains materials on a wide range topics including Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Colonial Dames of America, the Sesquicentennial Exposition, stamp collecting, world travel during the 1930s, twentieth-century psychiatry, nineteenth-century industry and legal practice, and genealogy of the Logan, Fisher and Wister families.Particularly well documented are the lives of Sarah Logan Wister Starr (1873-1956) and Dr. Daniel Blain (1898-1981). Starr's papers reflect her involvement in several organizations, especially as the president of the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania and the Colonial Dames of America. Blain was a practicing psychiatrist from the 1930s to the 1970s. Records available for research here offer general information about the practice of psychiatry during the mid-twentieth century.This collection includes correspondence, financial records, ephemera, photographs, scrapbooks, pamphlets, periodicals, and other items. It is arranged into seven series, the first four representing the four couples who were the primary residents of Belfield from 1826 to the 1970s: "Series I. William and Sarah Logan Fisher Wister, 1790-1895"; "Series II. John and Sarah Tyler Boas Wister, 1807-1934"; "Series III. James and Sarah Logan Wister Starr, 1767-1980"; and "Series IV. Dr. Daniel and S. Logan Starr Blain, 1903-1975." The remaining series are: "Series V. Other family members and associates, 1862-1977"; "Series VI. Photographs, 1884-1977"; and "Series VII. Publications and ephemera, 1697-1972.""Series I. William and Sarah Logan Fisher Wister, 1790-1895" contains correspondence, diaries, and financial records. It is divided into three subseries: "William Wister, 1803-1891"; "Sarah Logan Fisher Wister, 1790-1893"; and "William and Sarah L. F. Wister, 1860-1895." The majority of the material is personal, but there is some documentation of William Wister's business ventures."Series II. John and Sarah Tyler Boas Wister, 1807-1934" contains business records, correspondence, financial records, and subject files. It is divided into three subseries: "John Wister, 1837-1927"; "Sarah Tyler Boas Wister, 1852-1934"; and "John and Sarah T. B. Wister, 1807-1927." The Wister family's company, Duncannon Iron, is represented somewhat in this series, but additional materials relating to family businesses may be found associated with the other Wister brothers in the "Other family members and associates" series. "Series III. James and Sarah Logan Wister Starr, 1767-1980" contains correspondence, diaries, financial records, and subject files. It is divided into three subseries: "James Starr, 1767-1956"; "Sarah Logan Wister Starr, 1846-1980"; and "James and Sarah L. W. Starr, 1871-1940." In James Starr's papers, materials of special interest include correspondence about his stamp collecting, and documentation of his administration of family interests in multiple properties including the Fort Hunter mansion in Harrisburg (a family home of his mother-in-law, Sarah Tyler Boas Wister). Sarah Logan Wister Starr's subseries is the largest in this collection. Well-documented topics include Colonial Dames of America, World War I Liberty Loan drives, the Sesquicentennial Exposition of 1926, and the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania. There is a plethora of other subjects not as extensively covered, such as the 300th anniversary of Swedish colonies in America, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Germantown Hospital, Belfield mansion, Stenton mansion, and the Magna Charta Dames. James and Sarah Starr's joint papers include comprehensive documentation and ephemera from world cruises the couple enjoyed with their daughter Logan (S. Logan Starr Blain) in the 1930s."Series IV. Dr. Daniel and S. Logan Starr Blain, 1903-1975" contains business records, correspondence, both personal and business-related, financial records both business and personal, and psychiatry-related subject files. It is divided into two subseries: "Subseries a. Dr. Daniel Blain, 1929-1972" and "Subseries b. S. Logan Starr Blain, 1903-1975." Most of Blain's records relate to his professional interests and membership in professional organizations; he also researched and published articles on Dr. Benjamin Rush. There is also a large collection of reprints of academic psychiatry articles. Patient files from Dr. Blain's practice and from Tratelja Farms Sanitarium, a mental health institution where Dr. Blain worked, are restricted. Much of the material in S. Logan Starr Blain's papers relate to her 1936 wedding and to her travels."Series V. Other family members and associates, 1862-1977" contains correspondence, business records, and financial records of the various extended family members. For a family tree showing relationships between some of the individuals in this collection, see [http://188.8.131.52/sites/184.108.40.206/files/docs/manuscripts/belfield_family_tree.pdf].The most heavily represented individuals are: George Emlen Jr. (b. 1843), brother-in-law and partner in the legal practice of James Starr Sr. (b. circa 1842); William Logan Fisher (1781-1862), father of Sarah Logan Fisher Wister; William Coleman Hall, whose relation to the family is unknown; Maria Dickinson Logan (1857-1939), great-great-granddaughter of William Logan; and Francis Wister (son of William and Sarah Logan Fisher Wister; brother of John Wister). Maria Dickinson Logan (1857-1939) was a dedicated genealogist and family historian who collected papers of her ancestors; much of the Logan family material bears a stamp with her name. Due to her efforts, the Belfield papers includes a small amount of material from two of her great-grandfathers, Dr. George Logan (1753-1821) and John Dickinson (1732-1808), both of whom were significant early American statesman. There are also lightly annotated almanacs from Dr. George Logan's wife, the Quaker diarist Deborah Norris Logan; and a small amount of papers from Quaker minister Ruth Anna (Rutter) Lindley, mother-in-law of William Logan Fisher. Sarah Logan Wister Starr's sisters, Elizabeth Wister Wurtz (born about 1855) and Margaret Wister Meigs (born 1882), are represented in this series; additional correspondence between them and their sister may be found in her correspondence section.The bulk of "Series VI. Photographs, 1884-1977" comes from Dr. Daniel Blain's papers, and includes portraits of psychiatric colleagues and photographs from conferences he attended. There are some identified photographs depicting family members and events; however, most of the remaining photographs are of unidentified individuals, groups, and scenery."Series VII. Publications and ephemera, 1697-1972" contains published and printed materials ranging from advertisements and pamphlets to magazines and paper dolls, international travel ephemera, and newspapers from Sweden, China, and other countries.
The Belfield papers include materials from families who lived in the Belfield mansion in Germantown, Pennsylvania from 1826 until 1984; however, the papers span the years 1679 to 1977. Featured individuals include William and Sarah Logan Fisher Wister, their son John Wister and his wife, Sarah Tyler Boas Wister, their granddaughter Sarah Logan Wister Starr and her husband, James Starr, and their great-granddaughter S. Logan Starr Blain and her husband, Dr. Daniel Blain. The collection also houses papers from related individuals in the Emlen, Fisher, Hall, Lindley, Logan, Meigs, Wister, and other families. This collection includes correspondence, financial records, ephemera, photographs, scrapbooks, pamphlets, periodicals, and other items. Topics that are particularly well documented in the Belfield papers include: Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania; Colonial Dames of America; the Sesquicentennial Exposition; stamp collecting; world travel during the Great Depression; twentieth-century psychiatry; nineteenth-century industry and legal practice; and the genealogy of the Logan, Fisher and Wister families.
This collection is open for research use. Patient files in "Series IV. Dr. Daniel and S. Logan Starr Blain" which are closed to researchers until 2030.
Processing Information: The processing of 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.This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.
106.0 Linear feet 235 boxes and 99 volumes