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David Stewart Courtenay papers

 Collection 0169-MDHC

The David Stewart Courtenay papers consist of correspondence, guardians' and executors' financial records, and biographical/genealogical materials pertaining to various family members, including the family of Courtenay's mother, Isabella Purviance. Included are documents created in the course of conducting various business transactions, such as the settlement of the estate of Dr. John Boyd, receipts of debts owed, and receipts pertaining to David Courtenay's guardianship of John Larsh. The latter documents the cost of clothing, board, tuition, and other items around 1830. David Courtenay's account book dating from 1820 to 1824 documents the estate of John H. Purviance as well as the accounts of members of the Courtenay family. Correspondence among David Courtenay and his nephew, David Courtenay, Jr., and three insurance companies discusses the transfer of stock in 1871. Also included is a certificate verifying Sarah M. Courtenay's donation of $1 to the Washington National Monument Society. Zachary Taylor signed the certificate. There is one black and white photograph of twelve unidentified gentlemen (circa 1900) wearing suits with ties and vests. The direct connection of this image to David Courtenay is unclear.


  • 1787-1900
  • Majority of material found within 1787-1871

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


0.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The David Stewart Courtenay papers date from 1787 to circa 1900 and consist of genealogical research, family and business correspondence, account books, a certificate from the Washington National Monument Society, and one photograph.


David Stewart Courtenay was born in Baltimore, Maryland on October 10, 1799. His parents were Henry Courtenay and Isabella Purviance. He was christened at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Baltimore on April 12, 1800.

Courtenay's grandfather, Hercules Courtenay, emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia in 1762. He settled in Baltimore, Maryland, circa 1765. There he rose to prominence as a veteran of the Revolutionary War, as a Judge of the Orphans Court of Baltimore County (1778), a Baltimore County Magistrate, and a successful merchant.

David Courtenay married Elizabeth Dorsey Hawkins on April 19, 1831, in Baltimore, Maryland. According to the 1850 census, Courtenay was employed as a bank teller, and was the father of five children living at home: Isabella 18; David 16; Henry 14; William 12; and Elizabeth, 9. His occupation in the 1860 census is insurance agent. In the 1880 census, Courtenay is listed as a merchant. At that time, his sister, Sarah, age 79, was living with him. David Stewart Courtenay died on February 5, 1880.


The collection has been arranged in three series.

Series 1
Family History
Series 2
Business Documents
Series 3

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the papers of David Stewart Courtenay from the Harris Auction Galleries on September 13, 1974.

Related Material

Researchers interested in the Courtenay and Purviance families may consult the following related collections:

Courtenay family genealogy, n.d., Accession #5469-e, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Purviance family; Courtney family. Papers, 1757-1932. Manuscript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Processing Information

The letters were placed in acid-free folders and stored in an acid-free box.

Guide to the David Stewart Courtenay Papers
Processed by Martha Hooker.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742