Guide to the Paul Rapelye Papers, 1820-1823

Collection Overview

The papers of Paul Rapelye span the years 1820-1823. They consist of eight account books, 1820-1823, one letter book, 1821-1823, and five letters, 1820-1822, that mostly concern mercantile trade. He and his associates traded primarily in cloth, cloth goods, and clothing, but also occasionally in rice, cotton, and other commodities. Rapelye traveled and conducted business in Charleston, Savannah, New York city, and Manchester, England.

In a letter of July 15, 1822, auctioneer Jacob Rapelye of Charleston discussed his business and the aborted slave insurrection led by Denmark Vesey. There is also a reference to the capture of a Portuguese slave ship and the disposition of the slaves (1820, July 27).

More Biographical / Historical Info

Collection Details

Collection Number
Paul Rapelye papers
Rapelye, Paul, fl. 1820-1823
1.5 Linear Feet, 14 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library


The collection is divided into correspondence and account books, the latter arranged under the names of the companies to which they belonged.

Using These Materials

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warning Access to the Collection

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 & Permissions

The status of copyright interests in these papers is unknown. For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

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

Contents of the Collection

Box 1
P. Rapelye and Co.: Inventory, 1820
Box 1
Invoice Book, 1820-1821
Box 1
Invoice Book, 1822-1823
Box 1
Ledger, 1820 -1821
Box 2
Index to Ledger, 1820-1821
Box 2
Daybook, 1820-1821
Box 2
Letter Book, 1821-1823
Box 3
Sales at Auction, 1821-1822
Box 3
Sales at Auction, 1822
Box 3

Historical Note

In October 1821, Paul Rapelye, a commission merchant, was a partner in the firm of Wm. S. Bennett and Co., of Charleston, S.C. During 1820-1823, however, he also operated variously in the firms of P. Rapelye and Co. in Savannah and Paul Rapelye in Savannah, New York City, and Manchester, England.

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The papers of Paul Rapelye, commission merchant from Charleston, South Carolina, were purchased by the Rubenstein Library in 1979 and 1983.

Processing Information

Processed by: William R. Erwin, Jr.

Completed January 22, 1988

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller