This collection contains a wide variety of documents pertaining to both the Stokes and Woodruff families. One prominently featured family member is Francis Joseph Stokes, who was born on December 24, 1873 to Francis Stokes and Katharine Wistar Evans. He died on August 1, 1955. Stokes attended Haverford College and graduated in 1894. He then became an apprentice mechanist to Robert Shoemaker in Philadelphia. He bought Shoemaker’s company the following year and renamed it the F. J. Stokes Machine Company. The company produced a wide number of tools and technologies related to engineering and chemical manufacturing. Its first product was the eureka tablet machine. Stokes served as president of the company for 53 years and was appointed chariman of the board in 1948. He was actively involved in education as a trustee of Bryn Mawr College, an overseer of the William Penn Charter School, a committee member of the Germantown Friends School, and president of the Haverford College Campus Club. Additionally, Stokes was a member of the Coulter Street Meeting of the Society of Friends.
On June 28, 1912, Francis married Lelia Woodruff Stokes. Lelia was born on September 1, 1885 and died on June 28, 1973. Her parents were Clarence S. Woodruff and Susan M. Bullock. Leila graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1907. She was a math teacher at the Rosemary School in Connecticut and at the Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia. In 1955, she became the first female overseer of the William Penn Charter School. Leila also served as a director of the F.J. Stokes Company from 1947 to 1963. Although she was born Presbyterian, she converted to Quakerism after her marriage to Francis Stokes. Leila and Francis had five children together: Francis, Allen, Henry, Alison, and David. Alison Stokes MacLean is of particular note, as a number of her papers and albums are found in this collection.
Leila’s relatives—the Woodruffs—are also prominently featured in these materials. One key family member is Leila's father Clarence Woodruff. Born in 1855, Clarence served for many years as an attorney in Pennsylvania. He and his first wife, Susan, had five children together: Clara, Leila, Margaret, Asa, and Lewis. Leila's brother, Lewis Harlow Woodruff, plays a noteworthy role in the collection as well; his experiences with mental illness and institutionalization are prominent in a number of letters and documents.