Much of the correspondence in this manuscript collection was written by or to Robert Heydon Gayner, born 1831, died April 22, 1916. Most of the rest was written to the unmarried daughter, Juliet Gayner, with whom he lived after his wife's death.
In the early years of this correspondence, the 1850's and 1860s, some of the more interesting letters were written to Robert by his older brother, John Gayner, Jr. John offered Robert advice on marriage, expressions of his Quaker beliefs, monetary interests in Roberts shipping business, comments on America's Civil War, and discussions of farm land values during the settlement of their father's estate in 1863. He mentions his interest in various concerns of English Friends of this period, such as distributing copies of the Scriptures to foreign sailors from Catholic countries, evening schools for young men, and promoting the knowledge of Friends views among other people. These letters have been kept separate from the main body of correspondence, and are organized chronologically.
The rest of the correspondence is concerned with the daily concerns of various members and relatives of the Gayner family in England and on their travels. These letters are also arranged chronologically. The Gayner Family was also acquainted with members of some of the prominent English Quaker families of the period, such as Sturge, Pease, Backhouse, and Fry.
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