Simon and Hyman Gratz promissory note

Abstract

The Simon and Hyman Gratz promissory note (dated 1806 February 23; 0.01 cubic feet; 1 folder) comprises a handwritten promissory note that documents a transaction from Simon and Hyman Gratz to Mr. Charles Wilkins in 1806.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Simon and Hyman Gratz promissory note
Date
1806 February 23
Extent
0.01 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Business correspondence
Arrangement
Collection is arranged chronologically.
Finding Aid Author
Addison Lander
Preferred Citation
2012ms421 : [identification of item], Simon and Hyman Gratz promissory note, 1806 February 23, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Simon (1773-1839) and Hyman (1776-1857) Gratz were brothers, two of twelve children born to Miriam Simon (1750-1808) and Michael Gratz (1740-1811), a Jewish man born in Germany who immigrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1759 from London, England. A family of merchants, the brothers inherited their father's mercantile store after his death, which they proceeded to run from the Graff house, the site where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. From there, in August of 1812, Hyman Gratz would purchase interest in Mammoth Cave for $10,000, where he would work in collaboration with Charles Wilkins to manufacture saltpeter. The operation would eventually stop as Gratz and Wilkins turned the cave system into a tourist attraction. Upon Wilkins' death in 1827, Hyman Gratz purchased the other half interest from the Wilkins family for $200, which he sold to his brother, Simon, the next year. The two brothers continued to operate the caves as a tourist attraction until selling it in 1838. At the same time, the Gratz brothers became community leaders, with Hyman being elected as the president of the Pennsylvania Company for Insurance in 1838. He also founded Gratz College, and he and his brother would go on to involve themselves in the affairs of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in addition to the Pennsylvania Botanical Gardens.
Charles Wilkins (1763-1827) was a Lexington, Kentucky-based saltpeter dealer. Together with his brother, John, he sold saltpeter to E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, a gunpowder manufacturer that was started in the early 1800s on the Brandywine River near Wilmington, Delaware. Wilkins initially started producing saltpeter from the Great Saltpetre Cave, in addition to other caves in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. He moved to Mammoth Cave around 1812 with Hyman Gratz, where he would continue to manufacture saltpeter until his death.
Scope and Content
The Simon and Hyman Gratz promissory note (dated 1806 February 23; 0.01 cubic feet; 1 folder) comprises a handwritten promissory note that documents a transaction from Simon and Hyman Gratz to Mr. Charles Wilkins in 1806.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Promissory note, 1806 February 23

  • Box MS-10, folder 1
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UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Appointments are encouraged but not required. Schedule an appointment here.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.