Philadelphia historian who holds deed to first ‘White House’ wants to sell vast collection

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PHILADELPHIA – An unusual gift from a friend decades ago sparked an interest in James Reis that turned into a 30-year treasure hunt.

A friend gave him a mid-19th century land title. The gift, he said, “was like artwork.” It piqued his interest, and he embarked on a years-long effort to unravel the mysteries of the colonial era.

The Philadelphia real estate broker now holds an impressive collection of historical documents – there about 2,000 documents in his collection – most land deeds that are centuries old. The yellow, wrinkled torn pieces of parchment tell the stories of early American history . . .


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