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Archives & Manuscripts

Joseph Bancroft Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG5-007

Scope and Contents

This collection includes materials which relate to Joseph Bancroft's writing and other religious activities, particularly to the efforts regarding the circulation of A Persuasive To Unity. His son, William Poole Bancroft, continued to promote its distribution until at least 1890. William P. Bancroft's correspondence, mostly excerpted copies, as a member of the George School Committee constitutes Series 6 and illustrates his involvement all phases of planning and operation of the School.

Dates

  • 1868-1989 [bulk, 1868-1914]

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Biographical / Historical

Joseph Bancroft (1803-1874) was a Hicksite Quaker who worked for the reunification of the Society of Friends in the 1860's and 1870's. He wrote a number of religious tracts and published a book, A Persuasive To Unity, in 1874. His son, William P. Bancroft ((1835-1928) was a long-time Clerk of Wilmington Monthly Meeting and the Clerk of the George School Committee, 1896-1919.

Joseph Bancroft, a birthright Friend, was the son of John and Elizabeth Bancroft. Born in Manchester, England, he attended the Ackworth School and was apprenticed to his uncle, Jacob Bright, at the age of 14 years. In 1824 he emigrated to Wilmington, Delaware, to join his family which had preceded him and were engaged in the manufacture of cloth.

Joseph Bancroft married Sarah, daughter of William and Sarah Poole in 1829. They had two sons, William Poole (1835-1928) and Samuel Jr. (1840-1915), who became his partners in 1865, forming the firm of Joseph Bancroft & Sons, manufacturers of cotton goods.

During the Separation of 1827-28, Joseph retained membership in the Hicksite branch of the Society of Friends, but devoted most of his efforts in the latter years of his life to effecting a reconciliation and reunion. After 1855 he became increasingly involved in a group of Quakers, “Friends of Truth,” which met at Bethany Mission School House at 15th and Brandywine Streets and elsewhere in Philadelphia, and signed his name as Clerk of “Some Friends Who Met in Philadelphia” after 1865. He also wrote a number of religious tracts, and, in the last months of his life, published a book on this subject, "A Persuasive to Unity." Joseph Bancroft left a trust fund to secure the free circulation of this book among members of the Society of Friends after his death. His son, William Poole, continued to promote its distribution until at least 1890.

William P. Bancroft devoted much of his life to philanthropic causes for the City of Wilmington and the Society of Friends. He married Emma Cooper in 1876. Bancroft was one of the primary benefactors of the George School, a Quaker boarding school near Newtown, Pa. He served on the School Committee from 1888-1928 and as Clerk of Committee from 1896-1919. Bancroft also served as the Wilmington Park Commissioner and established the Woodlawn Company.

Extent

3.5 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language

English

Overview

Joseph Bancroft (1803-1874) was Hicksite Quaker and cloth manufacturer from Wilmington, Delaware, who worked for the reunification of the Society of Friends in the 1860's and 1870's. He wrote a number of religious tracts and published a book, A Persuasive To Unity, which he published in 1874. At his death, Bancroft established a trust fund to secure the free circulation of this book among Quakers. This collection includes materials which relate to Joseph Bancroft's writing and other religious activities, particularly to the efforts regarding the circulation of A Persuasive To Unity. His son, William Poole Bancroft (1835-1928), continued to promote its distribution. He was active on the George School Committee 1888-1928 and served as Clerk of the Committee, 1896-1919.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into six series:
  1. Biographical and genealogical
  2. General correspondence, 1868-1883
  3. Financial
  4. Subscription lists
  5. Miscellaneous
  6. George School correspondence, 1897-1950, n.d.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Bancroft Family, 1956 and Sarah Bancroft Clark, 1967

Donor: George School, Acc. 2009.013

Related Materials

See also:
  1. Additional Joseph Bancroft correspondence relating to his religious activities may be found in the Bancroft Collection of the Eleutherian Mills Historical Library, Accession #1745.
  2. Woodlawn Trustees, Inc., Records, Hagley Museum and Library. Includes William P. Bancroft Personal Papers.

Separated Materials

A Ms. attributed to John Drinker, “Thoughts Alluding to...Sufferings of Benjamin Gilbert,” has been removed and transferred to Misc. Mss.

Processing Information

Three boxes of Joseph Bancroft papers were given to Friends Historical Library in 1956 by the Bancroft family. These papers were processed together with additional material given by Sarah Bancroft Clark in 1967 as a Bancroft Family Papers. In 2009 the George School donated the William P. Bancroft correspondence. This was added to the collection as Series. 6 in 2012.
Title
An Inventory of the Joseph Bancroft Family Papers, 1868-1989 [bulk, 1868-1914]
Author
FHL staff
Date
2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English
Sponsor
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

Find It at the Library

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