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Poster of Asa Packer Letter of Acceptance for Governor

Identifier: SC MS 0241

Scope and Contents

One political poster printed in English in three ink colors – red, blue and black/gray on tan paper, poster contains Asa Packer’s acceptance of running for governor in the 1869 gubernatorial elections on the Democratic Party ticket. The election took place on October 12, 1869 and Packer lost to republikcan candidate John W. Geary by 4596 votes.


  • Creation: 1869

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Collection is open for research.

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Biographical / Historical

Asa Packer was a self-made man as businessman and pioneer in railroad construction. He was born in Mystic, Connecticut and came to Pennsylvania as a carpenter apprentice to his cousin Edward Packer in Brooklyn, Susquehanna County. In 1833 he settled in Mauch Chunk (currently Jim Thorpe, Carbon County, Pennsylvania) entered the mercantile business which he gave up to work on canal boats. He became a captain of a canal boat carrying coal to Philadelphia. Packer built canal boats and locks for the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company – the first shippers of Pennsylvania anthracite coal to New York. In 1851 risking financial ruin, Packer acquired nearly all of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad stock. During 1852-1855 he urged building a railroad from Mauch Chunk to Easton and by January 1853 he founded the Lehigh Valley Railroad connecting the main line along the Lehigh River to the coal mines in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania. Packer was active in Pennsylvania politics. In 1841-1842 he was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1843-1848 as county judge in Carbon County earning the title Honorable. Packer served two terms as Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives beginning 1853. In 1865 he established Lehigh University. Packer was among 14 candidates being considered by the 1868 Democratic National Convention for the party presidential candidate. Horatio Seymour of New York became the Democratic candidate and he lost the campaign to Civil War General U.S. Grant. In July 1869 Packer got the 1869 Democratic Party’s nod for candidate for Pennsylvania governorship which is what the poster promotes. The acceptance letter was first publicly printed July 30, 1869 in Philadelphia and reprinted in the New York Times, July 31, 1869. Packer lost the campaign for governor to John W. Geary – an Army veteran from both the Mexican-American War and the Civil War – by 4,596 votes – one of the closest statewide races in Pennsylvania history.

Biographical / Historical

In July 1869 at the Pennsylvania Democratic State Convention held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Asa Packer was a strong candidate among four potential candidates proposed to run against the incumbent Republican governor. Among the persons proposed to stand for the Democrats were two Civil War generals George Cass and William McCandles and two millionaires Asa Packer and Winfield Hancock (who stated he would not be a candidate). Cass was a strong favorite but a rambunctious convention caused him not to get a majority on the first ballot. A second ballot was taken. Again no majority was reached but the number of votes necessary for a choice being 68 was attained by votes for Asa Packer so he received the nomination nod. On July 30, 1869 Asa Packer’s Letter of Acceptance was published in Philadelphia newspapers and on July 31 the New York Times republished the letter. It is believed that the campaign poster of the “Governor Asa Packer Letter of Acceptance” printed by McLauchlin Brothers of Philadelphia was printed shortly after the July 1869 Democratic State Convention.

According to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission poster collection, there are two versions of the political poster: one in English (copies in Lehigh University Special Collections and the Pennsylvania State Archives Poster 13) and a version in German (poster 13 in the Pennsylvania State Archives MG-200 Poster Collection, 1854 – 1971, undated.


1 frame ; 30 x 44 inches in frame 34 x 48 inches

Language of Materials



Political poster contains Asa Packer’s acceptance of running for governor in the 1869 gubernatorial elections on the Democratic Party ticket. The election took place on October 12, 1869 and Packer lost to republikcan candidate John W. Geary by 4596 votes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Alderfer Auction Company, 2001?

Related Materials

Pennsylvania State Archives – MG-200 Poster Collection 1854-1971, and undated.


New York Times, July 15, 1869. “Political. The Pennsylvania Democratic State Convention in Harrisburg, Hon. Asa Packer Nominated for Governor.”

New York Times, July 31, 1869. “Political. Pennsylvania. “The Democratic Canvass—Letter From Hon. Asa Packer Accepting the Nomination for Governor.”
Eleanor Nothelfer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)