MS-107: Michael Jacobs Collection
MS – 107: Michael Jacobs Collection
(2 boxes, .54 cubic feet)
Inclusive Dates: 1863 - 1864
Processed by: Katherine Downton
Given to Gettysburg College in 1958 by the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia where it was originally part of the H. Eyster Jacobs papers.
Michael Jacobs was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania on January 18, 1808. He attended Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania from 1823 – 1828 and moved to Gettysburg, PA shortly thereafter to teach at the Gettysburg Gymnasium, a school founded by his brother David. In 1832, the Gymnasium became Pennsylvania College (later Gettysburg College) and Michael Jacobs was elected to the position of Professor of Mathematics, Chemistry, and Natural Philosophy. The following year, he married Julia M. Eyster of Harrisburg. Professor Jacobs was a devoted Lutheran who studied theology independently and was licensed by the West Pennsylvania Synod in 1832. He served as a clergyman at the Pennsylvania College church. Jacobs taught at the College until 1866, when he retired as a result of poor health. He died in 1871.
Michael Jacobs was present at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the battle of Gettysburg on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863 and wrote and published an account of his personal observations in Notes on the Rebel Invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania and the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 1863 (J.B. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1864), one of the first books published about the battle.
Scope and Content Notes
The collection consists primarily of letters about the publishing, distribution, and sale of Michael Jacobs’ book Notes on the Rebel Invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania and the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 1863 (J.B. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1864) from sales agents, his publisher, family members, and other individuals interested in the book. The letters date from September 22, 1863 – March 4, 1864. They were later transcribed with a typewriter and the transcriptions are included. Other items in the collection include lecture notes and other notes about the battle (partially transcribed), a photograph of Michael Jacobs, biographical information, testimonials and promotional materials about the book, and a later edition of the book (4th edition, revised, published by “Star and Sentinel” Printer, 1884).
The letters focus primarily on the business and commercial aspects of the book’s distribution. Many are from the publisher, J.B. Lippincott & Co., regarding the printing, shipping, and pricing of the book. A number of others are from sales agents reporting on sales, requesting copies of books, disputing price, and complaining about other agents competing for sales within a geographic region. The letters will be most useful to a researcher interested in sales, product distribution, and publishing in the 1860s.
Although Jacobs’ book was about the battle of Gettysburg, the collection contains a minimal amount of documentation about the battle or the Civil War. However, the book and notes may be of value to researchers with an interest in personal accounts of the battle.
This collection consists of two boxes and is divided into four Series: Series 1 – Correspondence, Series 2 – Notes , Series 3 – Publications, Series 4 – Ephemera.