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Robert Pleasants Letterbook

Identifier: Mss. MsV Cp9

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  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Letterbook, 1771-1781, of Pleasants includes letters written to family members, friends and to merchants in Philadelphia, New York, and England. Subjects include shipping of tobacco and other crops, buying of goods, the Quaker religion, slavery and its abolition, and the coming and progress of the American Revolution. Includes letter, March 1781, to [Benedict Arnold] and a letter, 22 September 1773, to Archibald Cary concerning the treatment of religious prisoners in the Chesterfield County, Virginia jail. Another correspondent was Anthony Benezet. Also includes a deed of manumission.


  • Creation: 1771-1781


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

Robert Pleasants was born at "Curles," Henrico County, Virginia and lived his entire life there. He was an active member of the Society of Friends. His brother Samuel Pleasants (1737-1807) was a successful merchant in Philadelphia. Sometime after 1771, he entered into a mercantile company (Robert Pleasants & Co.) which did business as a consignment tobacco exporter. He organized an abolition society in 1790. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: .


1.00 Linear Feet

Acquisition Information:

In the possession of Swem Library before 1939.

Related Materials:

Other collections pertaining to this collection are located at Haverford College Library. There are three such collections at this institution consisting mostly of correspondence of Robert Pleasants.

Virginia: in the High Court of Chancery, March 16, 1798. [microform] : Between Robert Pleasants, son and heir of John Pleasants, dee'd. Plif. and Mary Logan, widow and administratrix of Charles Logan, and devisee of John Pleasants and Jonathan Pleasants, 16 March 1798.18 pages. Item available on microform format. Collection number: EVANS 38963

Papers, 1750-1936, Manuscripts Collection, Special Collections, Magill Library, Haverford University. Papers of Anthony Benezet (1713-1784), 1750-1936 (bulk 1750-1784).60 items. (1 box)Collection number: 852

American Friends' Letters, Manuscripts Collection, Special Collections, Magill Library, Haverford University. American Friends' Letters, ca. 406 folders. (19 boxes)Collection number: 851

Other items of Robert Pleasants' are located within Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

Robert Pleasants Account Book, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary. Robert Pleasants Account Book, 1771-1824, 1771-1778. Collection number: Mss. MsV Ame102

Robert Pleasants Ledger, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary. Robert Pleasants Ledger, 1769-1824, 1769-1777. Collection number: Mss. MsV Ame101


Other Information:

Additional information may be found at

Guide to the Robert Pleasants Letterbook
Special Collections Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository