Welcome to Historic Indentures

For over 30 years James Reis has been an avid collector of early American deeds, letters and documents in the Philadelphia area. The pieces in his collection date from circa 1670 through 1900 with the majority from the colonial and early federal period. Created by hand with a quill pen and ink on vellum and parchment in elegant handwriting, they are a work of art.

An indenture is a legal contract for land transactions. In the days when documents were handwritten, two copies were transcribed on the same vellum or parchment. The duplicates were separated by cutting an uneven or “toothed” edge. To confirm authenticity, the two documents could be refitted along the jagged edge like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Truly a Marriage of Art and History the pieces from this collection are suitable for framing and displaying in homes and offices. Law firms, banks, architectural firms, real estate companies, interior decorators and others who appreciate history and art have purchased indentures for decorating their living and working spaces.

The Collections

Jim Reis talks about his passion for collecting, researching and history of his historic Early American documents.