Miss Dally’s boarding house: Historic Marker Application

There is no shortage of historic markers in Philadelphia. Yet, the location where Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton and Elbridge Gerry resided during the summer of 1787 has been entirely overlooked. But not for long.

It is now time to recognize Miss Mary Dally/Dalley and her historic boarding house where the September 12 draft of the Constitution, including the Preamble, may have been drafted. During the formative decades of American history members of Congress boarded with Miss Dally, including Gouverneur Morris, the “penman of the Constitution.”

In late 2022, Statutesandstories.com circulated a draft of the application to be filed in 2023 with the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Copied below is the “final” draft of the application. Copies of the exhibits appended to the application are available upon request.

Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self evident….”

The Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson at the “Graff House” located on the corner of Market and 7th Street in Philadelphia. Today, this location where Jefferson rented two rooms in 1776 is operated by the Park Service, in a carefully reconstructed three-story red brick building. Jefferson’s portable desk is on display at the Smithsonian.

Gouverneur Morris: “We the People….”

By contrast, there is nothing commemorating Miss Dally’s boarding house, the location where the “penman of the Constitution,” Gouverneur Morris, boarded during the summer of 1787.

Overview: Who was Miss Dally and why does she deserve a historic marker?

History has largely ignored Miss Mary Dally[1] and her important boarding house where Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton and Elbridge Gerry boarded during the Constitutional Convention. This proposal aims to rectify this historic oversight by placing a historic marker at (or near) the north-eastern corner of Market and Third Street in Philadelphia. The signatories to this proposal also contemplate robust educational programming for the wider public about Miss Dally and her important boarding house where Congressional delegates boarded for over a decade, beginning in the late 1770s.[2]

Starting in 1778, Miss Dally’s name begins appearing in letters of delegates to Congress.[3] Her name is also mentioned in Elbridge Gerry’s correspondence with his wife during the summer of 1787.[4] Newspaper ads by Miss Dally suggest that she was an entrepreneurial businesswoman. In addition to running a boarding house, she also sold several varieties of imported tea from China.[5] 

During the Covid pandemic, exciting new discoveries were revealed regarding Miss Dally, Gouverneur Morris, and the location where delegates boarded during the Constitutional Convention. Indeed, as early as 1778, Miss Dally’s boarding house was referred to as “Liberty Hall” by members of the Continental Congress.[6] It is thus fitting that Gouverneur Morris was boarding with Miss Dally when he was appointed by the five-member Committee of Style and Arrangement (which included James Madison and Alexander Hamilton) to prepare the September 12th draft of the Constitution, including the Preamble. As it turns out, Miss Dally was also a fascinating figure in her own right.

Copied below are links to essays summarizing recent research about Miss Dally, upon which this proposal is based:







Toogood Map

In preparation for the Bicentennial of the Constitution in 1987, researchers at the National Park Service and the Library of Congress scoured through old manuscripts and records. Their work resulted in several books and a map of Philadelphia created by historian Anna Coxe Toogood and artist Bob Terrio. Among other things, the “Philadelphia, 1787” map depicts the locations where delegates were believed to have boarded during the summer of 1787.

The “Philadelphia, 1787” map indicates that Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton and Elbridge Gerry boarded at Miss Dally’s boarding house. Unfortunately, the map doesn’t cite to any primary sources to substantiate where Morris boarded. The fact that Hamilton and Gerry boarded with Miss Dally is easily demonstrated by correspondence between Gerry and his young wife, Ann. But what is the proof that Gouverneur Morris boarded at Miss Dally’s?

Since the publication of Toogood’s map in 1987, several historians have cited to her work. Among the important publications which repeat the claim that Morris boarded with Miss Dally are Richard Beeman’s Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution; Peter C. Hoffer’s For Ourselves and Our Posterity: The Preamble to the Federal Constitution in American History; John R. Vile’s two-volume The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America’s Founding; and James J. Kirschke, Gouverneur Morris: Author, Statesman and Man of the World (2005).[7] Yet, these well-researched books do not cite to any primary sources to validate Ms. Toogood’s claim that Gouverneur Morris boarded with Miss Dally.

Working with Anna Toogood (“Coxie”), Stefan Kosovych (a historian with Independence National Historical Park [INHP]), Tyler Love (Library Manager and Archivist at INHP), and Sergio Villavicencio (Board member of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society) we carefully searched through files at INHP. We were unable to find any primary sources in the INHP’s files validating the map’s claim that Gouverneur Morris boarded with Miss Dally.

 Thereafter the process of examining Gouverneur Morris’ papers began. The two largest collections of Gouverneur Morris’ papers are housed at Columbia University and the Library of Congress. Other collections are held by the New York Public Library, Gilder Lehrman and other archives. After more than a year of archival research, unmistakable evidence was located in Gouverneur Morris’ bank records that he in fact boarded with Miss Dally. Attached are excerpts of Gouverneur Morris’ bank records evidencing that he boarded with Miss Dally from late 1782 to early 1788.[8] Mystery solved. It is now time to install a historic marker to honor Miss Dally.[9]

Gouverneur Morris & the Committee of Style and Arrangement

In its closing days, the Constitutional Convention appointed an extraordinary committee to finalize its work in Philadelphia. According to James Madison’s notes on 8 September 1787, a five-member committee was selected to “revise the stile of and arrange the articles which had been agreed to by the House.” (II Farrand 553). Despite its unassuming name, the Committee of Style and Arrangement was arguably one of the Convention’s most important committees. Two of the members of the Committee are household names: James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Outside of scholarly circles the other three members of the Committee have largely been forgotten.

A decade earlier the Continental Congress appointed a similar committee of five to draft the Declaration of Independence. Famously, Thomas Jefferson was selected to prepare the Declaration of Independence in 1776. A decade later Gouverneur Morris – who had spoken more than any other delegate at the Constitutional Convention  – was selected by the Committee of Style to finalize and polish the Constitution, including the Preamble.

After only four days the Committee of Style submitted its report on 12 September. (II Farrand 582). In addition to its seminal work finalizing the Constitution, the Committee also prepared a transmittal letter (hereinafter the Constitution’s “Cover Letter”) and two resolutions addressing the ratification process. Madison’s detailed notes, however, do not describe the behind-the-scenes work of the Committee.

Years later, in a letter to Timothy Pickering written in 1814, Gouverneur Morris matter-of-factly acknowledged his role in drafting the Constitution. According to Morris, “[t]hat instrument was written by the fingers which write this letter.” (III Farrand 419).

No less authority than James Madison candidly admitted in 1831 to historian Jared Sparks that “the finish given to the style and arrangement of the Constitution fairly belongs to the pen of Mr. Morris…” According to Madison the “task” of drafting the Constitution was probably “handed over” to Gouverneur Morris by Chairman William Samuel Johnson “with the ready concurrence of the others.”  (III Farrand 499). Yet today, few Americans know about Miss Dally’s and her boarding house where Gouverneur Morris boarded with Alexander Hamilton when the Preamble and the Cover Letter were drafted.

Gouverneur Morris – a long term boarder with Miss Dally from 1782-1787:

According to his bank records located at the Library of Congress, Gouverneur Morris began boarding with Miss Dally in 1782. At the time, he was working for the first Superintendent of Finance of the United States, Robert Morris (no relation). While serving as the Assistant Superintendent, Gouverneur proposed the decimal coinage system which is the basis for the U.S. monetary system. Thus, at least some of the work that Gouverneur Morris was doing for the Treasury Department likely occurred at Miss Dally’s. After they resigned from office in 1784, Gouverneur continued working with Robert Morris in Philadelphia, while living at Miss Dally’s.

Gouverneur Morris boarded with Miss Dally from 1782 to 1787, when he wasn’t traveling on business for Robert Morris, or visiting his Morrisania estate that Gouverneur acquired in April of 1787. Accordingly, it appears that Gouverneur Morris was Miss Dally’s best customer. One can only speculate what work was performed and what meetings occurred at Miss Dally’s Boarding House during the period when Gouverneur Morris and Robert Morris were running the Treasury Department and founding the Bank of North America (the nation’s first bank).

As yet unanswered questions about Miss Dally:

Other than Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton and Elbridge Gerry, who else might have boarded with Miss Dally during the Constitutional Convention? How many rooms did Miss Dally have for rent? Over a span of nearly two decades Miss Dally interacted with Congressional delegates from around the nation. In addition to providing room and board, did Miss Dally discuss politics or the Constitution with her boarders?  What else have historians overlooked about Miss Dally?

In his letters to his wife Ann during the summer of 1787, Elbridge Gerry repeatedly mentions Miss Dally and her expertise. In his 9 August letter Gerry indicated that “Miss Dally informs me she has some very good Hyson [tea].” Gerry enclosed a sample of tea for Ann, explaining that “Miss Dally thinks it more difficult to preserve the flavor of Hyson” compared to black tea. In the same 9 August letter, Gerry mentions that “I have had some conversations with Col. Hamilton….We are both at Miss Dally’s.” Presumably these conversations between Hamilton and Gerry took place at Miss Dally’s.

In his 1 September letter to Ann, Gerry mentions purchases that he was considering in Philadelphia. Interestingly, Gerry comments that “silk is not a good bargain by any means. I will desire Miss Dally to look out for some here…” The fact that Gerry was consulting with Miss Dally makes perfect sense, as several of the street directories described below mention that Miss Dally was also a tailor. It is thus logical to infer that Miss Dally offered tailoring services for her boarders, including Gouverneur Morris and Elbridge Gerry, during their extended stays in Philadelphia.

Where was Miss Dally’s Boarding House located?

Miss Dally is listed in several Philadelphia directories, beginning with the city’s first two directories published in 1785. According to The Philadelphia Directory published by Francis White, Miss Dally’s boarding house was located on Market Street between Second and Third. This address matches the more specific street number – 311 Market Street – assigned by MacPherson’s Directory of the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia which was also published in 1785.[10] While MacPherson’s pioneering street numbering system was quickly discarded, we know that Miss Dally’s boarding house was located on the north side of Market Street, near Third Street, “opposite the Indian King” Inn.[11]

Significantly, Francis White’s directory lists the same address for Mary Dally and Gouverneur Morris: Market Street between Second and Third. In other words, Gouverneur Morris either operated his law practice out of Miss Dally’s boarding house or he had a separate office located on the same street, nearby.

It is noteworthy that Miss Dally is described as a “taylor” by Francis White’s directory. This is not surprising. As mentioned above, Elbridge Gerry’s letter of 9 August 1787 indicated that he would consult with Miss Dally about silk for a suit.[12]

According to Francis White’s directory, Miss Dally’s sister, Mrs. Clark, is described as operating a “boarding house.” The same location – Market Street between Second and Third – is listed as the address for “Dally Mary,” “Clark Mrs.” and “Morris Governeur.”

So today, where is the 311 Market Street location listed in MacPherson’s 1785 directory? As described by the website Philahistory.net, MacPherson was the first to assign street numbers in Philadelphia “but in doing so went straight up one side of a street and down the other, so that 1 Arch Street might be across the street from 300 Arch Street. He also assigned numbers to outbuildings such as stables and other utilitarian structures, and to where he thought houses might some day be built.”

            While researching the location of Miss Dally’s boarding house we consulted with James Green the Librarian Emeritus of the Library Company of Philadelphia. We asked Mr. Green whether there is a ready method of translating MacPherson’s early street numbers into a modern address for Miss Dally. Mr. Green’s analysis is copied below:

I can’t find any info on how to locate a house based on MacPherson’s system.  But the next extant directory is 1791, and it uses the Clement Biddle system, which remained in use until 1850. The 1791 directory lists Mary Dalley [sic] shopkeeper at 107 High St.    According to a conversion table we use at LCP (which I have attached) 107 High (which of course is the alternate name of Market) is between 2nd and 3rd streets. So chances are it is the same house.

The table indicates that odd numbers are on the north side, and that the numbers in that block run from 63 to 117. So there must have been 28 houses on that block.

Now today the numbers on that block run from 203 to 267, indicating there are still about the same number of lots on the block.  So I’d guess that 107 was about 10 doors east of 3rd or near what is today 245 Market.  The buildings on the block are old — I am guessing mid 19th century, not late 18th  — but they may preserve the same footprints,  with each house running two or three windows wide.  But look for yourself.  245 is part of a snack bar called SNAP Kitchen, whose business address is 243.[13]

Subsequent directories list Miss Dally’s address as 107 High Street (another name for Market Street). For example, Clement Biddle’s 1791 directory describes “Mary Dalley” as a shopkeeper at “107, High Street.”[14] James Hardie’s 1793 directory lists “Dalley Mary, shopkeeper, 107, High.” Hardie’s 1794 directory lists the same address, but updates the listing to describe “Dally Mary” as a “widow, shopkeeper.” In subsequent years, directories continue listing either Mary Dally (or Mary Dalley) as a shopkeeper at 107 High Street.

Beginning in the year 1800, the address for Miss Dally the shopkeeper is listed as 111 High Street. For example, Cornelius William Stafford’s directory lists “Daly Mary” as a shopkeeper at 111 High Street. Curiously, in 1802 Robinson’s directory lists Mary Dalley as both a shopkeeper at 161 High Street and a boarding house operator at 271 S. Front Street. Subsequent directories continue to list Mary Dally at 111 High Street, until 1814, when her name no longer appears.

It is unclear how many times Miss Dally moved and whether she operated her tea shop out of a separate location as her boarding house. In either event, this proposal suggests that the proposed marker be located near the corner of Market and Third or at (or near) 243 Market Street the modern street address identified by James Green which corresponds to 311 Market Street used in the 1785 MacPherson directory and 107 High Street under the Clement Biddle system.

Additional exhibits located in the Massachusetts State Archives

Attached as composite Exhibit “L” are receipts and expense accounts from Congressional delegates Samuel Adams, Artemus Ward, and Samuel Holten located in the Massachusetts State Archives. Exhibit L demonstrates that members of the Massachusetts delegation to Congress boarded with Miss Dally in the late 1770s and early 1780s. The receipts in Exhibit L are entirely consistent with the letters written by these delegates contained in Exhibit “A.”

Additional exhibits located in the Pennsylvania State Archives

Attached as composite Exhibit “M” are tax rolls from Philadelphia located in the Pennsylvania State Archives. Exhibits M1, M2 and M3 are copied from the Walnut Ward in 1781. Exhibit M1 demonstrates that Mary Daley and her sisters were paying taxes on behalf of the property owner, Thomas Mifflin. By contrast, Gouverneur Morris and Doctor John Jones[15] were boarders/subleasing space from Miss Daley in 1781. Morris and Jones paid a separate per capita tax assessed on those who did not own real property.

Exhibits M4, M5 and M6 are copied from Philadelphia’s North Ward in 1782. Miss Dally is no longer renting from Thomas Mifflin. In 1782 she begins renting from Bartholomew Wistar, a prominent Quaker. Miss Dally would remain a tenant of Mr. Wister for two decades. Following the move to Mr. Wister’s property in the North Ward, Doctor Jones remained a tenant of Miss Dally. By contrast, Gouverneur Morris is not listed in the tax rolls in 1782.

Exhibits M7, M8 and M9 are copied from Philadelphia’s North Ward in 1787. As was the case in 1782, Miss Dally was renting from Bartholomew Wister. Both Gouverneur Morris and Doctor Jones are listed below Miss Dally’s name, indicating that they were long-term boarders/subtenants in 1787.

Exhibits M10, M11 and M12 are copied from the Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists database for 1798. Exhibit M10 indicates that Miss Dally was still living in the same building owned by Bartholomew Wistar: 107 High Street. This same address is listed in multiple street directories beginning with Biddle’s 1791 directory, which is attached as Exhibit “K.” As discussed above, the 107 High Street address corresponds with the description in Francis White’s directory of Market Street between 2nd and 3rd streets, which is attached as Exhibit “J.”

Correspondence from Doctor John Jones mentioning Miss Dally

Attached as composite Exhibit “N” are excerpts of three letters from Doctor John Jones, a long-term boarder with Miss Dally. In the absence of any diaries/correspondence written by Miss Dally, these three letters provide the most intimate information located to date about Miss Dally and her sister, Mrs. Clark.

Famous in his own right, Doctor Jones has been called the “father of American surgery.” Doctor Jones was the first professor of surgery in the new world, where he helped establish the medical school at King’s College, which would subsequently become Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Prior to the American Revolution, Doctor Jones wrote the first medical text published in America. Doctor Jones’ surgical field manual was used throughout the Revolutionary War. Famous patients treated by Doctor Jones included George Washington and Ben Franklin.

In a colorful letter[16] dated September 20, 1785 to Elbridge Gerry, Doctor Jones indicates that “the Ladies of this house have not forgot you…” Jones mentions Mrs. Clark’s cooking, indicating that “Mrs. Clark says she wishes you was [sic] here” to enjoy her “rumps of Philadelphia beef.” The sense of humor by both Mrs. Clark and Doctor Jones is remarkable, suggesting a degree of familiarity that would only be expected among close friends and family. Doctor Jones also relays that “Miss Dally wishes you were as well as ever.” Taken together, the letter confirms that Miss Dally, her sister Mrs. Clark, Doctor Jones, and Elbridge Gerry shared longstanding friendships developed over years of living together in the same household.

Doctor Jones’ September 20 letter also provides insights into Miss Dally’s political thinking. Jones explains that Miss Dally:

is so much absorbed in the cares of her shop, and in such bad spirits at the dullness of the times, that like poor Guillaume on the Farce, she sometimes despairs of the safety of poor America.

The letter ends with Doctor Jones relaying that Miss Dally and Mrs. Clark desire to send their best wishes for your health and happiness.

It is useful to deconstruct the above quote as it may be the only extant example of Miss Dally’s “politics.” Doctor Jones compares Miss Dally to the merchant Guillaume Joceaulme from the famous French tragedy, La Farce of Master Pathelin (“La Farce”). Doctor Jones studied in France prior to the Revolutionary War, earning a medical degree from the University of Rheims. This may explain his familiarity with La Farce, in which Guillaume was forced to deal with both dishonest suppliers and customers. Presumably this same difficulty confronted Miss Dally. This may partially explain why Miss Dally was “so much absorbed in the cares of her shop” in 1785.

It is unclear why Miss Dally was in “such bad spirits at the dullness of the times.” Rather than referring to a “dull” social scene in Philadelphia, it is possible that the “dullness of the times” referred to the economic conditions in 1785. Perhaps the most intriguing information in the letter is the statement that Miss Dally “sometimes despairs of the safety of poor America.” If indeed Miss Dally was despairing over the economic and political status of America, one can infer that she might have been supportive of the effort to draft the Constitution two years later. The fact that Miss Dally was expressing opinions about the “safety” of America similarly suggests that she may have been an active participant in political discussions taking place in her boarding house.

Because Doctor Jones’ November 1785 letter to Elbridge Gerry was so remarkable, it made sense to search for other correspondence from Doctor Jones. Fortunately, the Gouverneur Morris Papers at Columbia University contain two letters from Doctor Jones to Gouverneur Morris.

By letter dated November 1, 1790 to Gouverneur Morris, Doctor Jones mentions the “talents which heaven has so bountifully bestowed upon you in promoting order and good government so essential to the political happiness of a constitution you had no inconsiderable share in framing.” The last page of the letter includes a P.S. asking Gouverneur Morris to “remember me” to any of my old friends. Doctor Jones concludes the letter by mentioning that Miss Dally and her sister, Mrs. Clark, sent their regards.

In the second letter written in May of 1791 Doctor Jones bemoans the passage of an old friend who has left a “chasm in my small circle of happiness.” Doctor Jones indicates, however, that “our other friends in general are well, not excepting Mrs. Clark & Miss Dally with whom the old doctor has lived so long, he could hardly live without them….”

For purposes of the proposed historic marker application, perhaps the most significant information in the Jones-Morris correspondence is a sentence by Doctor Jones referring to the “green room where you lived with me opposite the shambles….” This statement is very useful evidence that Gouverneur Morris “lived with” Doctor Jones and other tenants at Miss Dally’s boarding house, not in a separate out parcel on the property. As indicated by Exhibits J, K, and M, Miss Dally’s boarding house was located on Market Street across from “the shambles,” which is the famous covered market on Market Street (also known as High Street). Indeed, the 1787 tax rolls list Doctor Jones and Gouverneur Morris immediately under Miss Dally’s name.

Receipt from Miss Dally to Gouverneur Morris

After the provisional application was submitted, the attached receipt marked as Exhibit “O” was found at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. The receipt from Miss Dally to Gouverneur Morris is dated 10 November 1787 and is fully consistent with the research summarized above. The receipt conclusively demonstrates that Gouverneur Morris boarded with Miss Dally during the Constitutional Convention. The receipt also validates the chronology prepared by Max Farrand.[17] The receipt further confirms that Miss Dally provided both board and lodging for Morris. Not surprisingly, since she was also a tailor, the receipt indicates that Miss Dally charged Morris for stockings and mending shirts.

Interestingly, Mary Dalley spelled her name with an “e” on the front of the receipt. By contrast, Gouverneur Morris noted on the back of the receipt that it was paid in full to “Miss Dally.” As Miss Dalley should have full ownership over the spelling of her name, it is requested that the street marker spell her name the way she wrote it: “Mary Dalley.”

In conclusion, recently assembled primary sources support the conclusion that the “penman of the Constitution,” Gouverneur Morris, boarded with Miss Dalley during the summer of 1787. Other famous Americans who boarded with Miss Dalley include Alexander Hamilton, Elbridge Gerry, Doctor John Jones, and Samuel Adams. The undersigned humbly submit that the pending application to honor Miss Dalley and her boarding house is properly granted.

Respectfully submitted,

W. B. Allen, PhD (Michigan State University Emeritus Dean and Professor)

J. Jackson Barlow, PhD (Juniata College)

Carol Berkin, PhD (Baruch College)

Susan Branson, PhD (Syracuse University)

Richard Brookhiser (historian, biographer, journalist)

Denver Brunsman, PhD (George Washington University)

Richard Lyman Bushman, PhD (Columbia University, Gouverneur Morris Professor Emeritus of U.S History)

John Patrick Coby, PhD (Smith College)

William diGiacomantonio, MS (consulting managing editor, Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, Massachusetts Historical Society; associate editor of The Documentary History of the First Federal Congress; formerly Chief Historian, US Capitol Historial Society)

Joseph W. Dooley (Former President General NSSAR)

Wendy Gamber, PhD (Indiana University)

Jonathan Gienapp, PhD (Stanford University)

James Green (Library Company of Philadelphia, Librarian Emeritus)

Candice L. Harrison, PhD (University of San Francisco)

Suzanne M. Heske, Historian General, NSDAR

Peter C. Hoffer, PhD  (University of Georgia)

Woody Holton, PhD (University of South Carolina)

John P. Kaminski, PhD (Center for the Study of the American Constitution)

Michael Klarman, JD, D.Phil (Harvard University)

Stephen F. Knott, PhD (U.S. Naval War College)

Edward L. Larson, PhD (Pepperdine University)

Stuart Leibiger, PhD (LaSalle University)

Adam Levinson, Esq. (Statutesandstories.com)

Gordon Lloyd, PhD (Pepperdine University)

Charles T. Long, PhD (George Washington University)

Maxine N. Lurie, PhD (Seton Hall University Emerita Professor of History)

Marla Miller, PhD (University of Massachusetts)

National Society, Daughters of the Amerian Revolution (NSDAR)

National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR)

Mariana Oller, MA, MS (Wellsley University)

Thomas Oller, PhD (Boston University)

Andrew Porwancher, PhD (University of Oklahoma)

Willard Sterne Randall (Champlain College, Professor Emeritus)

Dennis C. Rasmussen, PhD (Syracuse College)

Jessica Choppin Roney, PhD (Temple University)

Timothy R. Schantz (Advisory Board member, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives; member of the Board of Councilors of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Co-Chair of the HSP Milestones Committee)

Seminole Chapter DAR

Anna Toogood, retired historian (Independence National Historical Park)

William Treanor, PhD (Georgetown University)

Lloyd Ultan, Bronx Borough Historian (Fairleigh Dickinson University)

John Vile, PhD (Middle Tennessee State University)

Sergio Villavicencio, Vice President (Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society) 

Michael Zuckert, PhD (Notre Dame, Emeritus, clinical professor at Arizona State University)


[1]           Primary sources are inconsistent with the spelling of Miss Dally’s name, which variously appears as Miss Dally/Dalley/Dailey/Daily/Daley/Dolley/M – D. In this proposal she will be referred to as “Miss Dally,” consistent with Elbridge Gerry’s letters to his wife during the Constitutional Convention and the MacPherson and White street directories printed in 1785, which are discussed below. This same issue of multiple spellings of the family name applies to her brother, Gifford Dally, who was the door keeper for Congress and operated City Tavern at various times.

[2]           Miss Dally’s customers included delegates to the Continental Congress, the Confederation Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and likely the new Federal Congress (when Philadelphia was the interim capital from 1790 to 1800).

[3]           Sample letters from Congressional delegates mentioning Miss Dally are attached as Exhibit “A” and include the following: William Whipple to Richard Henry Lee dated 8 November 1778; Samuel Adams to Elizabeth Adam dated 13 December 1778; James Lovell to Nathaniel Peabody dated 3 October 1780; James Lovell to Elbridge Gerry dated 20 February 1781.

[4]           Elbridge Gerry’s letters to Ann Gerry dated 9 August and 1 September 1787 are attached as Exhibit “B”.

[5]           An example of newspaper advertisements by Miss Dally which were published in the Pennsylvania Packet beginning on 16 June 1789 are attached as Exhibit “C”.

[6]           William Whipple to Richard Henry Lee dated 8 November 1778, previously attached in Exhibit “A”.

[7]           Book excerpts from Beeman (Exhibit “D”), Hoffer (Exhibit “E”), Vile (Exhibit “F”) and Kirschke (Exhibit “G”) discussing Miss Dally’s boarding house are attached. Hoffer and Vile are both signatories to this application. Beeman and Kirschke passed away several years ago. A copy of the “Philadelphia 1787” map reproduced in Beeman’s book is attached hereto as Exhibit “H”.

[8]           Excerpts of Gouverneur Morris’ bank records held at the Library of Congress are attached as Exhibit “I”.

[9]           Professors John R. Vile and Gordon Lloyd believe that historic markers should also be added to commemorate the other boarding houses in operation in 1787, including Mary House’s boarding house on Market and 5th, the Indian Queen on 4th Street between Market and Chestnut, and Mrs. Marshall’s boarding house on Carter’s Alley.

[10]         Images from the White and MacPherson directories published in 1785 are attached as Exhibit “J”.

[11]         Pennsylvania Packet, 16 June 1789, previously attached as Exhibit “C”.

[12]         Elbridge Gerry’s letters to Ann Gerry dated 9 August and 1 September 1787, previously attached as Exhibit “B”.

[13]         This summer a new tenant moved into 243 Market Street, Vanderwende’s Farm Fresh Ice Cream. Both Will Vanderwende and the building’s owner have been notified of this proposal and welcome the effort.

[14]         An excerpt of The Philadelphia Directory (1791) by Clement Biddle is attached as Exhibit “K”.

[15]         Both Doctor Jones and Gouverneur Morris were native New Yorkers who knew each other from King’s College. Doctor Jones is described in several biographies as a friend of Gouverneur Morris and his personal doctor.  Doctor Jones was a founder of the New York Hospital, organized the Continental Army Medical Corp, and wrote the first American textbook on surgery.

[16]      As far as can be determined, the 20 September 1785 letter from Jones to Gerry is in private hands. It was previously included in the Sang Collection, which was sold in five installments between 1978 to 1981. Fortunately, select manuscripts and/or copies of letters in the Sang Collection were retained at various institutions including Southern Illinois University, the University of Chicago, Brandeis and Yale.

[17]        According to Max Farrand’s appendix of delegate attendance, Gouverneur Morris attended the Convention prior to May 25 but left a few days thereafter. Morris returned on July 2 and remained though the close of the Convention on September 17. 3 Farrand 589. Exhibit “O” indicates that Gouverneur boarded with Miss Dally through May 31, was absent beginning on June 1 and returned to Board with Miss Dally from June 30 to September 21.

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