Thomas Jefferson Papers

Benjamin & Thomas Kite to Thomas Jefferson, 9 October 1811

From Benjamin & Thomas Kite

Philada 10th mo 9–1811

Respected friend, Th. Jefferson,

We forward ‘The Picture of Philadelphia,1 for which thou art a Subscriber,—The price is One Dollar, which thou wilt be pleased to send us when convenient.—

We are thy friends

Benj. & Tho. Kite

RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); endorsed by TJ as received 31 Oct. 1811 and so recorded in SJL; notations by TJ on verso: “1.D. to be remitted” and “June 17. 12. remitted thro’ Benj. Jones.” Enclosure: James Mease, The Picture of Philadelphia, giving an account of its origin, increase and improvements in Arts, Sciences, Manufactures, Commerce and Revenue (Philadelphia, 1811; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4027).

Benjamin Kite (ca. 1754–1838) worked as a schoolmaster in Philadelphia from about 1797 until 1807. In 1806 he entered the bookselling and stationery trade in partnership with his son Thomas Kite (1785–1845). The Kites published books, almanacs, and directories. They also involved themselves in various philanthropic enterprises. Benjamin Kite supported charity schooling and was an officer of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. Thomas Kite, who was also a Quaker minister, became a manager of the Association of Friends for the Printing and Distribution of Tracts on Moral and Religious Subjects. The Kites initially housed the association in their bookstore after its inception in 1817. Thomas Kite continued the family firm under his own name after his father retired late in the 1820s (William Kite, Memoirs and Letters of Thomas Kite [1883], esp. 9, 36, 92, 232, 479; William Wade Hinshaw and others, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy [1936– ], 2:386, 574; Cornelius William Stafford, The Philadelphia Directory, for 1797 [Philadelphia, 1797], 106; James Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory, for 1807 [Philadelphia, 1807]; James Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory, for 1808 [Philadelphia, 1808]; Robert Desilver, Desilver’s Philadelphia Directory and Stranger’s Guide, 1829 [Philadelphia, 1829], 104; Edwin B. Bronner, “Distributing the Printed Word: The Tract Association of Friends, 1816–1966,” PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,1877– description ends 91 [1967]: 346–7; William C. Kashatus III, “The Inner Light and Popular Enlightenment: Philadelphia Quakers and Charity Schooling, 1790–1820,” PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,1877– description ends 118 [1994]: 103; Philadelphia Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 16 Jan. 1801, 3 Oct. 1811, 17 Sept. 1838; The Friend; a Religious and Literary Journal, 8 Feb. 1845).

1Omitted closing quotation mark editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jones, Benjamin; makes payments for TJ search
  • Kite, Benjamin; identified search
  • Kite, Benjamin & Thomas (Philadelphia firm); identified search
  • Kite, Benjamin & Thomas (Philadelphia firm); letters from search
  • Kite, Benjamin & Thomas (Philadelphia firm); sends work to TJ search
  • Kite, Thomas; identified search
  • Mease, James; The Picture of Philadelphia, giving an Account of its Origin search
  • The Picture of Philadelphia, giving an Account of its Origin (Mease) search