Henry Joel Cadbury (1883-) was born on December 1, 1883, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joel Cadbury Jr., and Anna Kaighn Lowry. Henry Cadbury was educated in Quaker schools, graduating in 1899 from William Penn Charter School. He attended Haverford College, where he wrote for the college newspaper, the Haverfordian, eventually working his way up to editor-in-chief during his senior year. He was also a part of the Campus Club, a club dedicated to the planting and maintenance of Haverford’s grounds. He became secretary of the Classics Club, treasurer of the Tennis Club, and a member of the gymnastics team. He also earned honors in Greek and philosophy, a prize for systematic reading and mathematics, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and became class president and class poet. Cadbury earned his master's degree from Harvard University in 1904, and later taught classics and history at the University Latin School in Chicago. He later taught at Westtown School. Cadbury earned his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1914, and later taught at Haverford College.
He married Lydia Brown on June 17, 1916 and the couple had four children: Elizabeth (b. 1917), Christopher Joel (b. 1921), Warder Henry (1925), and Winifred (b. 1926). Cadbury was an early member of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and in addition to his work with the AFSC, during World War I, Cadbury wrote letters to various press sources. Cadbury became a volunteer publicist for the AFSC, and traveled to France and Germany to provide aid to children in Europe. In 1925, Cadbury began teaching at Bryn Mawr College.
In March of 1954, Cadbury retired from his position of the Hollis Professor of Divinity. He moved to Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, and lectured there.
The remainder of Cadbury’s life was spent teaching, traveling, and supporting the American Friends Service Committee. He finished writing three books in 1972, including Narrative Papers of George Fox, the work he had started when on sabbatical in Woodbrooke almost 30 years earlier. After he turned 90, he grew more frail. On October 9, 1974.