Scope and Contents
Organization: The papers were organized by family units by the donor, and that organization has been largely retained. They have been placed in seven series: Series 1 includes the papers of Henry and Thyra Jane Foster and Henry's siblings, the series includes extensive correspondence from Thyra Jane; Series 2 contains the papers of Joseph E. Meyers and his family, including his reminiscences of conservative Quakers; Series 3 contains the papers of Horace Bragg and Mary S. Cope Foster and their generation, as well as some Sharpless family material which descended through Mary Sharpless Cope Foster; Series 4 contains a small amount of earlier Foster family generations, that of Horace Foster's parents, John and Pauline Kenyon and family correspondence centered on the Foster family and its residents; Series 5 contains the papers of John H. and Georgana Foster including correspondence from Rasulia, India; Series 6 concerns the Foster family farm in Warwick, Rhode Island; and Series 7 contains miscellaneous papers.
Series 1: Henry and Thyra Jane Foster and their generation: a. Henry and Thyra Jane Papers; b. Charles and Hilda Steckle Foster; c. Elizabeth and Anna Foster; d. William (Bill) Oliver and Millicent Foster; e. Family postcard scrapbooks.
Series 2: Joseph Meyers and Family: a. Joseph E. Meyers Papers; b. William D. and Mary Warner Meyers and the Warner family; c. Mary Worthington Meyers; d. Bernice Meyers; e. Charles Lionel Meyers.
Series 3: Horace and Mary Cope Foster Family and Cope ancestors: a. Horace Bragg and Mary Cope Foster; b. Joshua Sharpless Family; c. Hannah Sharpless Cope and Caleb Cope; d. John Hoxie and Mary E. Simkinson Foster, Lizzie Foster Leigh and Thomas Leigh, Edward H. and Emma Walmsley Foster, and Martha Otis Foster.
Series 4: Foster Family: Horace Foster's ancestors: Ethan Foster, John and Paulina Kenyon Foster, Family correspondence of the Foster Family.
Series 5: John and Georgana Foster.
Series 6: The Foster Family Farm, Warwick, Rhode Island Farm, 1838-1992.
Series 7: Miscellaneous.
Biographical / Historical
Thyra Jane (also known as Jane) Foster (1898-1984) was born in West Branch, Iowa, to Joseph E. and Mary Warner Meyers. She attended Stillwater Primary School in West Branch, the Friends Boarding School of Barnesville, Ohio, and the Westtown School in Westtown, Pa. In 1921, Jane graduated from Mt. Holyoke College and in 1924 married Henry Cope Foster (1895-1987). Henry graduated from the Massachusetts Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts) in 1923 and returned to Warwick, Rhode Island, where in his early years he worked in the family farm with his brother William and his father Horace. His two sisters, Anna and Elizabeth Foster, lived on the farm for their entire lives. Jane taught chemistry, physics, Latin, and German in the Coventry school system from 1944 until her retirement in 1959. After her retirement, she was the founding archivist of the Archives of the New England Yearly Meeting. Thyra Jane and Henry Foster were active members of Providence Monthly Meeting of Friends. The Fosters' son, John Henry Foster, was born in 1926, and twins Harold M. and Thera were born in 1929. The children were educated at Westtown School before college. John H. Foster married Georgana Falb in 1954. He was a member of the faculty of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Thyra Jane's father was Joseph E. Meyers (1858-1937), a conservative Orthodox Quaker, raised in Pennsdale, Pennsylvania, a member of the Muncy Monthly Meeting. His father, William D. Myers (1826-1892) was a convinced Friend who became a member of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting for the Southern District in 1854. His mother was Mary Roberts Warner (1828-1873), a birthright member of Muncy Monthly Meeting. Through his mother's side, Joseph E. Meyers was related to prominent Muncy Quaker families such as Lundy, Carpenter, Winner, and Starr.
Joseph E. Meyers was the second of four children and the only to survive early childhood. His father was disowned by the Society of Friends in 1859, and the marriage was not a happy one. In 1863, Mary Meyers returned to Pennsdale and the Muncy Monthly Meeting. She raised her only surviving child with strict adherence to the rules of discipline regarding dress, behavior, and marriage. After her death, Meyers attended Westtown Boarding School and then West Chester Normal School. It had been the desire of his mother that he pursue a career as a teacher, and for about ten years, he taught at a number of schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa. However, it was a career to which he was ill-suited, and by 1894, he became a farmer.
In 1880, with the encouragement and support of his uncle, Charles Warner, he moved to Barnesville, Ohio, where he became acquainted with members of the Ohio Yearly Meeting. For about the next ten years, he spent time in Ohio, Kansas, and Iowa. In 1894, Joseph Meyers married Mary J. Worthington at Stillwater Monthly Meeting in Barnesville, and for a short time they lived on a farm in Cedar County, Iowa. About 1907, the family returned to Barnesville, Ohio. He remained at Stillwater MM until 1931 when he moved to Rhode Island to live with his daughter and son-in-law, Thyra Jane and Henry Cope Foster. About 1929, he began to compile biographies on Quakers that he knew from his youth in Pennsdale, Pa., and his many years in Ohio and Iowa, corresponding with a number of friends for information and suggestions.
Additional biographical notes are included as preface to individual series.