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Archives & Manuscripts

Woodbourne Orchards and family of Francis R. Cope Jr.

Identifier: HC.MC-1230


Papers of the Cope family whose members descended from or were forebears of Francis R. Cope Jr. (1878-1962). The bulk of the papers was created by Francis R. Cope Jr., his daughter, Theodora Morris Cope and her first husband, John Frederick Stanwell-Fletcher. Other principal writers in the collection are Alexis T. Cope, Agnes Cope, Anna S. Cope, Caroline Cope, Clementine Cope, Elizabeth S. Cope, and Evelyn Cope, all from the 19th and 20th century. The earlier Copes were Quakers, but some joined other Protestant denominations.


  • 1848-1997


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

This collection is open for research use.This collection is open for research use.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Biographical / Historical

Alexis T. Cope (1850-1888), son of William and Susan Cope graduated from Haverford College in 1868. He married Elizabeth Stewardson Brown Cope, his cousin, in 1875. He was a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and built the house known as Woodbourne in Dimock, PA.

Evelyn Flower Morris Cope (18977-1947) was the daughter of Theodore Morris and M.L. Morris. She married Francis R. Cope, Jr. and had one daughter, Theodora Morris Cope.

Francis R. Cope (1821-1909), son of Henry and Rachel Reeve Cope attended Haverford College from 1835-38. He married Anna Stewardson Brown Cope in 1847. A merchant, he was a member of the Board of Managers of Friends Asylum (now Friends Hospital) in Philadelphia from 1865 to 1904.

Francis R. Cope, Jr. (1878-1962) was born in Philadelphia, the son of Quakers Alexis T. Cope and Anna Stewardson Brown Cope. He graduated from Haverford College in 1900 where he was president of his class. He took his M.A. from Harvard University. In 1903, he held the Robert Treat Paine Fellowship from Harvard, and in 1904, he traveled in Germany and England as an honorary John Harvard Fellow. Upon his return, he was made Secretary of the Pennsylvania Civil Service Reform Association and was later Secretary of the Philadelphia Committee of Seventy. In 1912, he began his career as a farmer at Woodbourne in Dimock, PA. and formed a partnership with Russell Dayton, a local dairy farmer. There Cope developed a dairy and orchard business, studying fruit trees and experimenting with new varieties, grafting and other techniques. He was also greatly interested in education and civic affairs, as well as forestry and conservation of wild life. He helped save the Tionesta Forest in N.W. PA, a 4,000-acre tract of virgin timber purchased by the U.S. Forest Service in 1934. He was a vice-president of the American Forestry Association. He was a naturalist and ornithologist and traveled widely to give lectures, particularly on flora and fauna of New Zealand. He was interested in photography, books, storytelling. In 1903, he married Evelyn Flower Morris, a Bryn Mawr graduate. He was a founding member of the Dimock Community Church, and was a member of many organizations. Francis and Evelyn started a nature camp for local teenagers near Dimock. In 1928, Cope and his daughter, Theodora, took a trip to the South Pacific, primarily New Zealand. Evelyn died in 1947, and Francis Cope married Margaret Wysong. In 1956, he deeded 500 acres of Woodbourne forest to the Nature Conservancy.

Theodora Morris Cope (1906-2000) received an MSc and PhD from Cornell, writing two theses on vertebrate ecology of several PA virgin forests, including Woodbourne. While in Canada to study birds, she met and married John Frederick Stanwell-Fletcher in 1937. Their child is Patricia Bidlake. He left in 1946 and she remarried, first Lowell Sumner and then Philip Gray. She was the author of Driftwood Valley: a Woman Naturalist in the Northern Wilderness; The Tundra World; Clear Lands and Icy Seas: a Voyage to the Eastern Arctic; and Some Accounts of Flora and Fauna of the Driftwood Valley Region of North Central British Columbia with her husband, John Stanwell-Fletcher.

John Frederick Stanwell-Fletcher (1903- ) was born in England to a military family. He ran away from school to join the army in 1918; went to India, returning in 1925 and then emigrated to Canada. There he became a member of the Royal Mounted Police, 1926-29 and volunteered for service in the Arctic on behalf of various scientific institutions. He spoke 3 dialects of Eskimo and was "fairly fluent" in Hindustani. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Later, he worked on the railroad, as an instructor for athletic clubs. Returning to England, he tried working in an office, but again returned to Canada trapping and trading. He and Theodora M. Cope were married in 1937. He was the author of Pattern of the Tiger as well as some articles on various natural history topics.

Information from internal evidence and the Biographical Catalog of the Matriculates of Haverford College, 1922.


43 boxes (26 boxes in original collection, 17 boxes in addition, 43 boxes total. )




The original collection is primarily arranged alphabetically by major writer, and also includes a box for other families. In addition, there is a section relating to the Cope family property, Woodbourne, in Dimock, PA and there are additional writers, including from the Cope family to be found here.

The addition to the collection is arranged into the following series: correspondence, financial records, genealogical materials, visual materials, books, and materials removed from collection. Within each series the materials are arranged chronologically. Oversized materials are located in flat box 14.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The original collection was a gift of Patricia C. Bidlake in April 2011. The addition consists of four more gifts, occurring in May 2011, November 2015, April 2016, and December 2016.


A folder of materials from the same donor which was donated in 2012 and cataloged as collection no. 1230 B has been added to box 23 of this collection. The addition to this collection consists of gifts from the same donor from May 2011, November 2015, April 2016, and December 2016.

Related Materials

Cope Family cashbook kept by 2 unknown, but likely Cope family members (accession no. 7496 ) has been added to 975 A

Separated Materials

Six Cope family photos have been removed to 988 E (see photographs section for description);

Watercolor drawings by Annette Cope have been removed to 988 E (see Annette Cope papers for description);

Evelyn Flower Morris Cope diploma from Bryn Mawr College, no date, has been removed to 990 B


A genealogical tree of this branch of the Cope family has been created and is available.

Theodora Morris Cope (1906-2000) was married three times: 1st to John Frederick Stanwell-Fletcher, then to Lowell Sumner and finally to Philip Gray. In order to standardize her name throughout this finding aid, she is referred to as Theodora Cope throughout this finding aid. She was also known as "Kitts" to her parents and signed herself that way when writing to them.

In sections on correspondence, a list of all correspondents is provided, followed by descriptions of contents of the most salient topics and occasionally an overview of topics with threads throughout that particular portion of the correspondence.

When item counts are given for materials in the collection, these are estimates, not perfect counts

Processing Information

The portion of this finding aid about the Addition to the Collection This finding aid was updated in April 2018 by Madison Arnold-Scerbo.
Woodbourne Orchards and Family of Francis R. Cope Jr., 1848-1997
Diana Franzusoff Peterson
July 2011
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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