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Perine family papers

Identifier: MS 0645


This collection consists of the papers of David Maulden Perine, his sons William Buchanan Perine, E. Glenn Perine, and E. Glenn's son Washington Perine. Topics covered include legal practice, especially estate settlement in Baltimore, 1820s-1880s; Bank of Maryland affair, 1834; and Washington, Glenn, and Perine family histories.


  • 1783-1941


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.


28.92 Linear Feet (7 full Hollinger boxes 26 flat boxes)

Language of Materials


Materials Specific Details

There are several items that do not deal with the Perine family or family history. There is a holograph copy of a letter (May 31, 1800) from James McHenry to President John Adams. In it, McHenry gives a verbatim transcript of his interview with Adams that led to McHenry's resignation as Secretary of War. Artist Philip Thomas Coke Tilyard's (1785-1830) notebook of sitting appointments for 1827 and 1828 is part of the collection. There are also holograph copies of six letters (1862) concerning the promotion of Confederate officer Seth M. Barton. These are in Box 33.

Scope and Contents

David M. Perine papers

David's papers deal with his career as Register of Wills for Baltimore City and County and with his management of the estates of several prominent Baltimoreans. Perine was also associated with the Bank of Maryland when it closed in March 1834, and there is material defending his role in the affair.

David was the Register of Wills for Baltimore City and County from 1825 until 1851. The papers (1825-1851) dealing with this position are largely yearly financial accounts. There is some routine correspondence (1840s-1851) between David Perine and the State of Maryland concerning the transfer of funds and the Register's annual tax. There are also several petitions (1825) supporting Perine's promotion from clerk in the Register's office to Register of Wills. Although not a lawyer by training, Perine had legal duties as Register of Wills, and the collection contains this memoranda on various laws and cases. These are filed with the Register of Wills papers (Boxes 3 and 4).

David Perine spent much time handling the estates of prominent Baltimoreans.

He was the Executor for the estates of Roger B. Taney, Moses Sheppard, John Van Lear McMahon, William H. Marriott, and Andrew Aldridge, and he was the agent for the Executors of the estates of Robert Oliver, Charles Carroll, and George Brown. Except for the Robert Oliver estate papers (which are a separate collection, MS. 626.2) the Estates' correspondence, legal papers, account books, check books, and cancelled checks are filed under the name of the Estate (Boxes 9-19).

The remainder of David Perine's papers deal with his personal life, especially his connection with the Bank of Maryland affair. His correspondence (1825-1882), although touching on his work as Register of Wills, deals largely with personal matters. His most frequent correspondents were Roger B. Taney, Reverdy Johnson, and John Van Lear McMahon.

The Bank of Maryland is the subject of much of Perine's correspondence from 1832-1839. Perine had a financial interest in the Bank of Maryland when it failed in March 1834. He subsequently came under attack for his actions, and the correspondence for the years 1835-1836 reveals Perine's attempt to clear his name. This includes two of the anonymous letters [1835] that accused John Glenn, Reverdy Johnson, Evan T. Ellicott of swindling bank funds. These were circulated, according to an attached note by Perine, to incite a mob riot and divert suspicion from the true culprits. Perine publicly defended himself in a speech (1835) to the creditors of the Bank of Maryland and a copy is included. In addition, Perine had a holograph copy of Reverdy Johnson's speech (554 pp.) in the trial of Trustees of the Bank of Maryland v. Thomas Ellicott. Both of these writings are in Box 8.

Other Bank of Maryland material is the Roger B. Taney - Thomas Ellicott correspondence (1833-1837). As Taney's Executor, Perine had many of Taney s papers in his possession. The Taney-Ellicott letters were used as evidence by Taney in refuting Ellicott's pamphlet on the Bank of Maryland affair. This Taney manuscript (70 pp., 1839) is also part of the collection. These Roger B. Taney papers are in Box 9.

Other Taney material includes a few letters to Perine discussing banking. One letter (1832) details Taney's views on the Bank of the United States. The bulk of Taney's letters to Perine (1830-1865, ca. 200 items) deal with Taney's health and financial affairs. Some discuss politics and life in Washington in the 1860s. All these Taney letters are filed with Perine's correspondence in Boxes 1 and 2.

Two final Taney items in Perine's possession were a holograph copy of Taney's autobiography written in 1854 (70 pp.) and holograph copies of Taney's opinions in four court cases including the decisions on Dred Scott, conscription law, and paper money. These are in Box 9.

After Taney, Reverdy Johnson was Perine's most frequent correspondent. Johnson was also implicated in the Bank of Maryland affair, and there are a few of his letters (1835-1836) dealing with the subject, especially the indemnity cases for property damage incurred by Johnson when the mob attacked his house in August 1835. The bulk of Johnson's letters were written during the 1840s and 1850s when Johnson was arguing the Mexican claims case for Perine's clients, the Robert Oliver estate Executors, before the Supreme Court. These brief letters state the progress of the case and are filed in Boxes 1 and 2.

There is a series of letters (1860-1871, ca. 30 items) to Perine from his friend John Van Lear McMahon. McMahon suffered from progressive blindness and had to retire from his Baltimore law practice about 1860. He moved to Cumberland, Maryland and then Dayton, Ohio. His letters to Perine largely discuss his deteriorating eyesight and financial affairs. These are in Box 2.

Perine was a member of the Church of the Redeemer, and there are some letters (1855-1856) from the Rector, J. Campbell White, who rented a house from Perine.

The David Perine papers contain two items relating to the Civil War. One is a scrapbook of clippings about the Conference Convention which met in Baltimore in 1861 to discuss Maryland's relation to the Union. Perine was a member of the convention. The other is a letter (August 1866) written to Perine by Albert T. Bledsoe, former Assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy. In the 12-page letter, Bledsoe describes a visit he made to Jefferson Davis and his family in prison.

William B. Perine papers

William Buchanan Perine (1823-1863), David's son, was a lawyer in Baltimore. His papers consist of some correspondence and three irregularly-kept diaries. His correspondence (1843-1857, n.d. ca. 500 items) is largely incoming letters with an occasional draft of William's reply. The letters are largely from clients or associates and deal with routine legal matters such as the settlement of estates or the collection of debts. There are a few letters (1841-1862) written by William to his family, especially E. Glenn Perine, while William was travelling. These are filed with E. Glenn's incoming correspondence. The three diaries (1859-1861) contain brief notations relating to business appointments.

Elias Glenn Perine papers

Elias Glenn Perine (1829-1922) was the son of David M. Perine. He was engaged in mercantile activities but retired at an early age, and his papers deal with his other activities. His correspondence deals largely with his research on the Glenn family and the settlement of the Mary Peter's estate. Other papers deal with the estates of William Henry Norris, Daniel B. Banks, and Willie Swan. In the Norris Estate Papers there is one detailed letter (1871) from lawyer Judah Philip Benjamin to William Henry Norris in which Benjamin describes the differences between British and American law practices. The estate papers are in Boxes 22 and 23.

Glenn was vestryman and treasurer of the Church of the Redeemer, and there are a few papers (1859, 1879) dealing with the church structure. He was also a trustee of the Samuel Ready Asylum, and there is a copy of a sketch (1909) about the school written by Glenn. Another position he held was Trustee of the Sheppard Asylum. The collection includes a copy of his reasons for resigning this position in 1897. These papers are in Box 22.

Washington Perine papers

Washington Perine (1870-1944), the son of E. Glenn Perine, was an avid genealogist. The bulk of his papers deal with his family history. He was related to the Washington and Barroll families on his mother's side and the Glenn family on his father's, and there is material relating to these families in his papers.

In studying his family Washington gathered original manuscript material (wills, deeds, diaries, letters), secondary literature, and photographs of family members. This genealogical material is filed by family name. Individuals about whom there is manuscript material are: Bushrod Washington (1762-1829), John Augustine Washington (1792-1832), Betty Lewis, William Augustine Washington (1757-1810), Lewis William Washington (1812-1871), Eliza Ridgely Beall Washington Perine (1844-1919), Mary Ann Barroll (1817-1844), William Lanier Washington (1865-1933), Mary Washington Keyser (1841-1931), Elias Glenn (1769-1846), Ann Carson Glenn (1770-1847), John Glenn (1795-1853), William Wilkins Glenn (1824-1876), William Perine, Peter Perine, Hephzibah Perine (1769-1832), Maulden Perine (1771-1797), Ann Carson Perine (1819-1919), Susan B. Perine (1820-1899), Mary Glenn Perine (1822-1896), Thomas Harwood Perine (1830-1861), and David M. Perine (1869-1919). This material is in Boxes 24 and 25.

The result of Perine's research was two volumes of genealogy. These include narrative and many photographs of family members, documents, and possessions. The families covered in this in-depth family history are Perine, Washington, Glenn, Barroll, Beall, Bushrod, Aylett, Buchanan, and Ludwell. These volumes are in Boxes 27 and 28.

There are also three volumes of photographs, some duplicates of those in the genealogy but many others, also. These include many photographs of the Perine estate Homeland and other Maryland and Virginia homes. The photographs are in Boxes 29-31.

Perine also compiled notes on topics peripheral to his family history. These topics include: Homeland, Reverdy Johnson, John V.L. McMahon, Roger B. Taney, and Wakefield. These are in Box 32.

The correspondence (1915-1941, ca. 50 items) of Washington Perine in the collection deals largely with his work on the family history. The few papers that relate to his life are typed copies of journal fragments (1875-1937), fragmentary reminiscences, photographs of his house on Cathedral Street, and memorabilia concerning his participation in laying the cornerstone of the administration building for the 1939 World's Fair. These items are in Boxes 32 and 33.

Guide to the Perine family papers
Under Revision
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Revision Statements

  • 2019-09-04: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States