Scope and Contents
The collection contains about 1,680 ALsS and related materials. Of particular note is the correspondence sent and received by Abby Hopper Gibbons, including family letters and and related to her work to assist Union Soldiers during the Civil War. Also includes letters from Union soldiers, prominent Americans such as Theodore Roosevelt, Joseph Choate, and Lydia Maria Child, and correspondence reflecting Quaker family life and concerns.
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
Abigail Hopper Gibbons (1801-1893) was an important figure in many of the reform movements in the middle and late nineteenth century. Like her father, Isaac T. Hopper (1771-1852), "Abby" Gibbons was an ardent abolitionist and dedicated to prison reform. She served as a Civil War nurse and visited army camps in that period and also was a welfare worker. After the War, she established a "Labor and Aid Society" to provide work for returning veterans. Abby Hopper Gibbons was one of the founders of the Women's Prison Association and The Isaac T. Hopper Home in New York City, which was established to aid former prisoners' return to society. Many of the leading reformers of the day were entertained in her New York City home; the house was destroyed by a mob during the 1863 draft riots.
Abigail Hopper Gibbons was born in Philadelphia in 1801, the third of ten children. In 1833, she married fellow Quaker, James Sloan Gibbons, in New York City. Both before and after her marriage, she directed Quaker schools. Like her father and her husband, she was deeply committed to anti-slavery concerns. After they were disowned by the New York Monthly Meeting (Hicksite) in 1841 for their writing and testimonies against slavery, the following year she resigned her membership, along with her four minor children. Nonetheless, the family remained "Quakerly" in worship and life-style.
Abigail and James Gibbons had six children. Two boys died in infancy, and a third son died suddenly after an accident while a student at Harvard. Many of the letters in the collection reflect the concerns of family life. Abigail Hopper Gibbons remained active in reform concerns into old age, and in her later years dressed dolls in Quaker dress to present to quarantined and hospitalized children.
Some of the correspondence in this collection were published in abbreviated form in 1897 for a biography, The Life of Abby Hopper Gibbons, Told Chiefly through her Correspondence, edited by her daughter, Sarah Hopper Emerson. T The bulk of the correspondence concerns the Civil War years, and Abigail Hopper Gibbons's work to assist Union officers. The collection consists of about 1,680 letters and related material, primarily letters to and from Abigail Hopper Gibbons, but also including correspondence of her husband and other family members. From the Civil War years, there are many letters from Union soldiers. The collection offers a valuable resource to scholars of nineteenth century reform movements. Included are letters from prominent figures including Theodore Roosevelt, Lydia Maria Child, and Joseph H. Choate.