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Black family papers: Finding Aid
HM 49125-49227  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Black family papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1738-1832
    Collection Number: HM 49125-49227
    Creator: Black (Family)
    Extent: 103 items in 2 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Black family papers contains primarily correspondence between John and Margaret Black and their numerous children and grandchildren. The correspondence deals with family affairs: trade and mercantile interests in Bordeaux, Cadiz, and London as well as familial matters in the period between 1738 and 1837. The papers contain very little of Joseph Black's scientific work.
    Language: English.
    Finding aid last updated on May 3, 2017.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Black family papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Purchased from James B. Pittillo, Aug. 1, 1979.

    Biographical Note

    John Black (1681-1767), native of Belfast of Scottish descent, was a successful wine merchant in Bordeaux, France. In 1716 he married Margaret Gordon, daughter of Robert Gordon, another Scottish wine merchant there. The couple had twelve children, among whom Joseph Black (1728-1799), Edinburgh chemist and physician, was the most famous. Other sons went to trade or related fields. Alexander joined his uncle, Robert Black, in Cadiz, where John Black's brother Charles was British consul. Following Robert Black's death (1761), Alexander Black moved to London and established commercial glassworks. James Black was engaged in the sugar-refining industry. John Black retired and moved to the family home in Blamont, Co. Antrim in Ireland, and died there eight years later

    Scope and Content

    Chiefly the correspondence between John Black (1681-1767) and his wife Margaret (Gordon) Black and their children and grandchildren concerning family affairs. Includes topics on the family's various trade and mercantile interests in Bordeaux, Cadiz and London as well as personal family topics. The most famous member of the family, Joseph Black (1728-1799), is represented by his personal life only, with only cursorary material on his scientific work.The collection also includes biographical notes on the various members of the Black family as well as several prints and photographs.
    The Huntington local manuscripts catalog distinguishes individuals with the same name by the addition of the letters "(a)-(z)". Several individuals in the Black family papers are so distinguished in the finding aid. The individuals are:
    • Alexander Black (b) 1729-1813. Businessman in Cadiz and London.
    • Alexander Black (c) Active 1813. Son of James Black (c) and nephew of Alexander Black (b)
    • George Black (a) 1725-1800. Son of John Black (b)
    • George Black (b) Active 1804. Son of George Black(a)
    • James Black (c) 1733- Son of John Black (b). Businessman
    • John Black (b) 1681-1767. Irish businessman of Scottish descent in Bordeaux, France
    • John Black (c) 1717-1782. Son of John Black (b)
    • Joseph Black (b) 1728-1799. Scottish chemist
    • Robert Black (a) Active 1738-1747. British businessman in Cadiz, Spain.
    • Robert Black (b) 1721-1791. Son of John Black (b) and nephew of Robert (a)


    Chronological arrangement

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Black, John, 1681-1767 -- Archives.
    Black, Joseph, 1728-1799 -- Archives.
    Black, Joseph, 1728-1799 -- Family.
    Merchants -- Great Britain -- 18th century -- Archives.
    Scots -- France -- Bordeaux Region (Acquitaine) -- 18th century -- Archives.
    Wine industry -- France -- Bordeaux Region (Acquitaine) -- Archives.
    Europe -- Commerce -- History -- 18th century -- Sources.
    Europe -- History -- 18th century -- Sources.
    Cádiz (Spain) -- Commerce -- 18th century.


    Letters (correspondence) -- 18th century.
    Family papers -- Great Britain -- 18th century.

    Additonal names

    Black, John, 1681-1767.
    Black, Joseph, 1728-1799.
    Black, Alexander, 1729-1813
    Black, Alexander, active 1813
    Black, George, 1725-1800
    Black, George, active 1804
    Black, James, 1733-
    Black, John, 1717-1782
    Black, Margaret Gordon
    Black, Robert, active 1738-1747
    Black, Robert, 1721-1791