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Robinson Family papers

 Collection 0513-MDHC

The Robinson family lived in Baltimore City during the early part of the 19th century and was involved in shipping and trade. The collection consists primarily of correspondence between family members, particularly correspondence from sea captain Matthew Robinson, the head of the family, to his wife, Mary Robinson, during his time at sea, addressing such topics as market conditions for goods such as salt and cotton, family news and business, Matthew Robinson's sea travel, shipping news, and family personal finances.


  • 1827-1833
  • Majority of material found within 1828-1832

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

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.


19 Items (1 half size legal Hollinger box)

Content Description

The Robinson Family papers cover a period from 1827 to 1833, with the bulk of the materials from 1828-1832. Correspondence from Captain Matthew Robinson to his wife Mary Robinson composes a majority of the collection. The papers also contain correspondence from Hannah T. Robinson and Edwin Robinson to Mary Robinson, and from Hannah T. Robinson to Matthew Robinson. Other correspondents include business associates of Matthew Robinson in and outside of Baltimore City such as James Bosley, William Martin, and "Mr. Bacharn," and financial associates such as Frederick Myers and the Boston financial firm Backus, Casamajor, and Nuiry.

Biographical / Historical

The Robinson family, whose members primarily lived in Baltimore City during the 1820's and 1830's, was involved in shipping and trade. Little is known about the family, save for the addresses of Matthew Robinson listed in Matchett's Baltimore City Directory in 1833 and Edwin Robinson in 1835. Those family members appearing in the correspondence are Captain Matthew Robinson (1794-1833), whose trade and command of the ship Hibernia took him to Havana, the Cape de Visos Islands, Buenos Aires, Lima, Callas, and Gibraltar, among other places; his wife, Mary [Leeke Dashiell (or D. Shields)] Robinson (1808-?); his mother, Hannah T. Robinson (1766-1842 or 1848), who at the time lived in Wickford, Rhode Island; and his brother, Edwin Robinson (1801-1843), also a sea captain. Other family members mentioned in the correspondence include Matthew's siblings Mrs. [Mary Ann Robinson] Johnson (1803-?), who lived in Wickford, Rhode Island, and Samuel Perry Robinson (1798-1868). Matthew and Mary had several children, including a son named Matthew who began studying at New Ark College (later the University of Delaware) in 1834. Captain Matthew Robinson was involved in the selling of salt, gold, and cotton among other goods to various markets in South America and Europe.


This collection is ordered into one series

Series 1

Custodial History

The University of Maryland Libraries acquired or purchased this collection circa 1975. It may have been bought at auction. These materials were originally in the Maryland Manuscripts collection (MDMS #s 1995-2013a).

Related Materials

After Matthew Robinson's death in 1833, Mary Robinson married Moreau Forrest (or DeForrest) in 1835. The Maryland Historical Society holds the Forrest Family Manuscript Collection, 1834-1864, MS 3158, which contains letters from Mary (Robinson) Forrest's son Matthew Robinson to his mother and stepfather about his studies at New-Ark College.


The following sources were used to write the biographical note for this collection.

Processing Information

The correspondence or papers were placed in an acid-free box. Each letter was placed in its own individual acid-free folder.

Guide to the Robinson Family papers
Processed by unknown person in November 2006 and by Maya Riser-Kositsky in February 2016.
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