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Charles Smith trigonometry and surveying notebook

 Collection — Box: Multi 03
Identifier: MS-0049

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains a notebook kept by Charles Smith started April 3, 1783 while a student at Washington College, Chestertown, MD. It is entitled “Plane Trigonometry and the application of it to the taking of Height and Distances: Also Surveying and the Division of Lands and also the Laying out of New Lands.” Included among the examples is a problem based on the Siege of York.


  • 1783

Access restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication rights

Copyright has not been assigned to Washington College. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Washington College as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical Information Note

Charles Smith (1765-1836) was born on March 4 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to William Smith (1727-1793) and Rebecca Moore Smith (1732-1793). Charles graduated as valedictorian of the first class of Washington College, where his father was President, in 1783. He read law with his older brother William Moore Smith and passed the bar in Philadelphia in 1786. In 1790 he was a delegate to the convention that drew up the Constitution for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Smith was a prominent land lawyer in Pennsylvania and in 1819 became President Judge for Cumberland, Franklin, and Adam Counties then for Lancaster in 1820. He framed, with the Legislature, a compilation of state laws that became known as "Smith’s Edition of the Laws of Pennsylvania" of "Smith's Laws". In 1791 he married Mary Yates (1770-1836) and together they had seven children that reached adulthood. Charles died April 18, 1836 in Philadelphia.


.05 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials


Physical and Technical Access Restrictions


Custodial history


Acquisition information

Gift of Ward Brinton, 1927.

Finding Aid to the Charles Smith Trigonometry and Surveying Notebook
L. Sheldon
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Washington College Archives & Special Collections Repository

300 Washington Avenue
Chestertown MD 21620