Skip to main content

Elkinton, Waring family papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1239

Scope and Contents

This collection spans almost two centuries (1815-2006) and offers insight into the daily lives and work of two Quaker families in particular -- Howard and Katharine Elkinton and their daughter Theodora who married Thomas Waring. It is a story of private and public lives: Howard and Katharine Elkinton's work to assist in post-World War I France and again in Germany during World War II, both times under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee, as well as their deepest private thoughts. It is also the story of Theodora Elkinton Waring, who experienced events of the war when she and her brother attended a Quaker school at Eerde in Holland and again after the war in Finland when she was a newly-married woman working together with her husband to help rebuild houses. It is also their story of an intense relationship that stumbled into divorce and of Elkinton-Waring's determination to continue her education (she received her doctorate after her five children were grown and continued to give service as a chaplain).

In addition, the collection includes journals and letters of Evans, Stokes, Cope, and Mason family members, including the journal of Joseph Elkinton who worked among Native Americans in New York in 1816, as well as a letter of Sarah Moore Grimke, and assorted papers of Peter Elkington, son of Howard and Katharine, and the children of Thomas and Theodora Elkinton Waring.

Other materials include detailed genealogical charts and biographical information and photographs of various members of this extended family.


  • 1815-2006


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

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

Katharine Wistar Mason Elkinton (1892-1961) was the daughter of Quakers Katharine Evans Stokes Mason and Samuel Mason . She attended Westtown School and took courses at a business college. She married Howard Elkinton in October 1916. During World War I, she and Howard worked for the American Friends Service Committee in France from 1917-19 as relief workers. She worked in the maternity ward of a hospital in Chalons and in teaching, while Howard was posted in Sermaize. Upon their return to the U.S., they helped to found Chestnut Hill Monthly Meeting. In 1923, she established the Germantown Book Store in the front room of their home called Honey Run. Her partner was Sydney Cole. They closed it when both women were expecting babies. They did have a post card for the book store printed which showed a Hessian soldier fleeing Philadelphia. In 1938, Katharine and Howard again went to Germany. While he was director of the AFSC Berlin office, she helped over 1,000 professional Jewish women to emigrate to Australia.

Howard West Elkinton (1892-1955), the son of Joseph Elkinton and Sarah West Passmore, was a graduate of Haverford College and worked for the Philadelphia Quartz Company, a family business until ca. 1930. He married Katharine Mason in October 1916. They both worked in France during World War I, he in Sermaize doing harvesting work. He returned home from Germany in December 1939 via Portugal. He returned to Germany in 1938 under AFSC auspices, this time as director of their Berlin office. He suffered broken bones in a car accident on his way to Poland. Back in America, he joined the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation in 1944 to assist Wilbur Thomas in editing the Schurz magazine, the American-German Review, becoming executive director in 1946. He was in Germany again in 1947 and 1948-49 to investigate projects for the Oberlaender Trust and Foundation where he helped enable the rebuilding of the Goethe house and the establishment of the Free University in West Berlin.

Bernard Waring (1876-1959) founded the firm of Yarnall-Waring Company with D. Robert Yarnall. He was one of the founders of the American Friends Service Committee in 1917 and was on the committee to set up Civilian Public Service camps for conscientious objectors to be run by Quakers.

Thomas Waring (1921-2001), son of Quakers Bernard and Grace Waring, graduated from Wesleyan University in 1948. He spent the summer of 1942 on Wilbur and Mildred Young's share cropper land and later worked on the Taylor farm, before transferring to a Civilian Public Service camp at Big Flats in New York and later in Coleville, California and Wells, Nevada in lieu of military service. He later served as an orderly at the Elmira hospital, a mental hospital. He and Theodora Elkinton were married in 1946, and In 1947, they went to Finland as AFSC relief workers to help rebuild houses. In 1948, he began teaching at the Shady Hill School in Nahant, MA, then Graland in Denver, CO and back to Massachusetts to teach and later as headmaster of Cambridge Friends School. He was also clerk of Wellesley Meeting until 1978. He and Theodora were divorced in 1979 and he later married Shirley Norton.

Theodora Elkinton Waring (1927- ), daughter of Howard and Katharine Elkinton, attended Germantown Friends School from 1940-1944. Prior to that, she attended the Quaker school in Eerde (Holland), while her father worked for the AFSC in Germany. She began her involvement with Young Friends Fellowship in 1935 when she was 16; in 1943, she went to a Junior Work Camp at Vinal Haven Island in Maine; she started her association with Young Friends in 1943 as well. She attended Smith College as a religion major, but did not graduate. After her marriage to Thomas Waring in 1946 at Coulter Street Meeting in Philadelphia, they went to do relief work for refugees in Karelia, Finalnd in 1947. Their first child was born in 1949 and four more followed. Thomas Waring's jobs took them to Massachusetts and Colorado and back to the east coast. She received her B.A. from Simmons in 1971, then a master's in education from Lesley College in 1973 and another in divinity from Harvard and finally a doctorate from Boston University School of Theology in 1983. This education prepared her to serve as a chaplain at the New England Baptist Hospital and later at the Danbury State Hospital. In 2001, she traveled to Japan to study Inazo Nitobe, who had married her great-aunt Mary Elkinton. Elkinton Waring is author of the book Sacred trust: a Quaker family since 1816 published in 2007.


27 boxes (27 boxes)




This is the story of multiple generations of the Elkinton and Waring families, but concentrated on two generations: that of Howard West Elkinton (1892-1955) and his wife, Katharine Wistar Mason Elkinton (1892/3-1961) and their daughter, Theodora Elkinton (1927- ) who married Thomas Waring (1921-2001). It is a story of life choices made by these Quakers: for Howard and Katharine Elkinton, to serve under the American Friends Service Committee in Europe after World War I and during World War II providing relief aid and for Theodora and Tom Waring to continue this tradition serving in Finland after World War II and then in the field of education in the United States.

Physical Location

An oral history interview with Theodora Elkinton Waring taken in March 2012 by Diana Franzusoff Peterson can be accessed at:

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Theodora Elkinton Waring gift, March 2012.

Separated Materials

The following have been transferred to Quaker books (see Tripod for additional cataloging): The Lark's Nest / by L.V. Hodgkin. Philadelphia : American Sunday-School Union , n.d.

Sally Wister's Journal : a Tured Narrative. Bedford : Applewood Books, 1995

An American Quaker Inside Nazi Germany ... / by Leonard S. Kenworth6. Kennett Square : Quaker Publications, 1982

Another Dimension of the Holocaust : An American Quaker Inside Nazi Germany / by Leonard Kenworthy. Kennett Square s : World Affairs Material, 1982

Friends Face the World / ed. Leonard Kenworthy. Kennett Square : Quaker Publications , 1987

An Experiment in Frienddship... / by David Hinshaw. New York : G.P. Putnam, 1947

Quakers and Jews / by Allan Kohrman.2004.

Quaker Pioneers in Russia / by Jane Benson. London : Headley Bros., 1902

A Service of Love in Wartime / by Rufus M. Jones. New York : Macmillan, 1920

The L:ife of Dr. Nitobe / by Sukeo Kitasawa. Tokyo : Hokuseido, 1953

Reminiscences of Childhood / by Inazo Nitobe. Tokyo : Maruzen, 1934

The Ancestry and Descendants of George Elkinton of Burlington County, N.J. / by Arthur Adams. Hartford, 1945

Dr. Inazo Nitobe, Mary P.E. Nitobe. J. Passmore Elkinton, 1955

The Friends' Library ... / ed. William Evans and Thos. Evans. v. 22. Philadelphia : Jos. Rakestraw, 1838

Quiet Helpers Exhibit. Boston, Jan.-Feb., 2003

Quiet Helpers : Quaker Service in Postwar Germany / by Achim von Borries. Quaker Home Service & AFSC, 2000

In Rememberance [sic] of Things Past / by Peter W. Elkington. Revelstoke, B.C. : Peters, 1992

Pocono Lake Preserve ... / by James Zug et al. Pocono Lake Preserve, 2004

A Quaker Promise Kept... / by Lois Barton. Eugene Oregon : Spencer Butte, 1990


The Elkinton family name has been spelled variously as both Elkington and Elkinton, some members using one or the other spelling throughout their lives, others, including Theodora Elkinton Waring, changing the spelling during their lifetimes.

Letters and other materials are not all described, though total numbers are estimated for each section. Rather, letters or other documents of significance are chosen for description.

Abbreviations used in this finding aid: HE=Howard Elkinton KE=Katharine Elkinton TE=Theodora Elkinton (Dody) and TEW=Theodora Elkinton Waring after her marriage to Thomas Waring TW=Thomas Waring CO=conscientious objector AFSC=American Friends Service Committee CPS=Civilian Public Service
Elkinton, Waring Family Papers, 1815-2006
Diana Franzusoff Peterson
July 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US