Guide to the David Barrows Papers, 1836-1870 and undated


Hosiery manufacturer and English emigrant.

The collection includes letters, diaries and miscellaneous papers documenting the business enterprises and family life of Barrows.

Descriptive Summary

David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Barrows, David, b. 1830.
David Barrows papers 1836-1870 and undated
Language of Material
0.5 Linear Feet, 265 Items
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Letters, diaries, and miscellaneous papers documenting the business enterprises and family life of a young Englishman who immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1842. Ten diaries (1850-1853) present a detailed account of hosiery manufacture as a family enterprise in which both men and women participated. Community events in Nicetown, Pa., were described as well. Diaries also document the relationship between Barrow and his alcoholic father who was sometimes physically abusive to family members. The author described his efforts to attain financial independence and to create a new life for himself and his wife. Letters from Ann Rusby, a teacher, and diary entries by Barrows, reveal much about their courtship, their sexual relationship and their secret marriage. Letters to and from family members in England depict the contrast in living and working conditions between the two countries. The collection includes an assortment of envelopes arranged by method of sealing.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Information folder
Box 1
Diaries, 1850 Dec. 26-1852 Oct. 16
Box 1
Diaries, 1852 Oct. 17-1853 Apr. 20
Box 1
Correspondence, 1851-1852 June
Box 1
Correspondence, 1852 July-1853
Box 1
Correspondence, 1842-1850
Box 1
Miscellaneous, 1836-1870, undated
Box 1
Envelopes, 1851-1853
Box 1
Envelopes, 1852-1853 (2 folders)
Box 1
Envelopes, 1851-1854
Box 1

Historical Note

David Barrows was an English emigrant who worked as a hosiery manufacturer.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], David Barrows Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.


The David Barrows Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 1984.

Processing Information

Processed by Kimberly Sims, May 2011

Encoded by Kimberly Sims, July 2011

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.