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David Lynch papers

Identifier: MC 13

Scope and Content

The small collection mostly consists of correspondence to and from David Lynch. The records also include personal papers, pamphlets, a newspaper clipping, correspondence of members of the Lynch family, religious ephemera, photographs of paintings, and engravings.

The collected correspondence animates the networking amongst prominent mid-nineteenth century Pennsylvanians, often avowed Democrats, and reveals party members’ maneuvers and sentiments in response to the rise of the new Republican Party. Many letters and documents illustrate Lynch’s close relationship with President James Buchanan. Four pamphlets originate during Buchanan’s presidency; they include two copies of the Lecompton Constitution, a transcript of a Lincoln-Douglas debate, and speeches of Senator Stephen Douglas. The newspaper clipping contains a reference to the Lecompton Constitution.

In addition to a few letters, the Lynch Family folder contains legal documents, a stock certificate, and Catholic memorabilia. Finally, the collection contains a folder of eight images of political and religious figures.


  • Creation: 1830 - 1875
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1830 - 1858


This collection is open for research.

Biographical note

David Lynch (1793-1860) served as a major in the land and marine services in the War of 1812, and received a land warrant in June 1858 under the Act of 1850 which granted land to certain military personnel. In 1830, Lynch received an auctioneer's license in Pennsylvania. As auctioneers were normally appointed by the governor, it seems likely that Lynch, then 37, was already well-connected politically in the state. In 1833 he was appointed Post Master of Pittsburgh and held that position until July 1840. At the time of the 1850 census, Lynch was still living in Pittsburgh with his family, Mary (age 44), Isabella (age 18), Robert (age 17), Andrew (age 12), and Joseph (age 8), and working as a tobacconist.


0.2 Linear Feet (; 1 box)

Language of Materials



David Lynch (1793-1860) was an active member of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania in the mid-19th century and a friend and supporter of President James Buchanan. The bulk of this collection is comprised of Lynch's correspondence with other politically active Pennsylvanians and includes letters between Lynch and Buchanan. Also included are personal papers, pamphlets, religious ephemera, newspaper clippings, photos, and engravings.

Other Finding Aid

An older finding aid is available in hard copy at PAHRC.


Accession number 1990.013

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of the David Lynch papers are available at

At other institutions:

David Lynch Collection, Lancaster County Historical Society, Lancaster, Pa.


  • Baker, Jean H. James Buchanan. New York: Times Books, 2004. Print.
  • Novak, William J. “Public Economy and the Well-Ordered Market: Law and Economic Regulation in 19th-Century America.” Law & Social Inquiry 18.1 (1993): 1-32. JSTOR. Web. 10 February 2012.
  • “USPS – Display Postmasters by City.” USPS, 2012. Web. 3 February 2012.

Processing Information

This collection was reorganized and refoldered from an older folder list. Mylar folders and acid free paper protect a few fragile documents.

David Lynch papers
Aileen McNamara
; February 2012
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Repository Details

Part of the Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Repository

6719 Calvert Street
Philadelphia PA 19149