Scope and Contents
This collection consists of various papers relating to Morris L. Clothier's time as a Swarthmore student and his involvement with alumni activities. From his time as a student, the collection includes class notes, essays, scientific drawings, invitations, posters, and sports team photographs. Post-graduation materials include newspaper clippings, certificates, and commencement photographs from the year Clothier recieved an honorary degree. Of special interest are a series of three handmade books with playful stories about Morris Clothier and his college friends, called "Friends of Education," 1908-1917. Some of the books are illustrated with cartoons. Biographical information and anecdotes about Clothier's classmates can be found in the 1890 class day speech by Clothier and the "Lest We Forget" reunion dinner program (1909).
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 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
Morris Lewis Clothier was a businessman associated with Strawbridge & Clothier department store and a Swarthmore College alum who remained involved with the college from his graduation in 1890 until his death in 1947.
Morris L. Clothier was born in 1868, the same year his father, Isaac Hallowell Clothier, started a partnership with Justice C. Strawbridge. The department store bearing their names would go on to become among the most prominent retail establishments in Philadelphia. Morris Clothier's family had strong Quaker roots, and he attended Friends Central School before matriculating at Swarthmore Preparatory School and Swarthmore College. As a student, Clothier was very involved in sports, serving as captain of the football team for two years. After graduating in 1890, he joined his father's company, the Strawbridge & Clothier department store. When the business was incorporated in 1922, Morris L. Clothier became its President, and later Chairman of the Board of Directors. He served on the boards of more than 10 companies and banks, and was involved in many Philadelphia clubs. He was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania for nearly 40 years.
Clothier donated more than a million dollars to Swarthmore College during his lifetime. A strong proponent of extracurriculars on campus, he supported Swarthmore's chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, collaborated with Howard Cooper Johnson '96 to found the Book and Key Society (and funded the construction of a clubhouse for the Society), and contributed funds to build a grandstand on the college athletic field. With other family members, he presented Clothier Hall to the college in honor of his father (Isaac Hallowell Clothier). He also built an ornamental gateway at the North entrance of the campus, gave a clock and chimes for the library tower, and endowed an honorary chair of physics. He received an Honorary Degree from Swarthmore in 1921; at other times he received honorary degrees from eight other colleges and universities.
Clothier owned estates along the Main Line Philadelphia suburbs ("Clairmont") and the Eastern Shore of Maryland ("Bloomfield Farms"). He married his wife, nee Lydia May Earnshaw, in 1900. The couple had four daughters.