Skip to main content
Archives & Manuscripts

Friends' Home for Children

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG4-086
This collection contains records of Friends' Home for Children, a residential facility for orphans and children in need, established in 1881 by Hicksite Quakers. The collection includes minutes of Board of Managers (1883-1937), miscellaneous material, and photographs. Arrangement within each series is chronological.

Dates

  • 1881-1988

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 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.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Overview

Friends' Home for Children (“Friendly Acres”) was established in 1881 in Philadelphia by Hicksite Quakers. The Home was a residential facility for orphans and other children in need, modeled on a homelike environment rather than the large institutional more typical of the era. The Home was administered by a Board of Managers which originally was composed entirely of members of the Society of Friends. Eventually it became a summer camp, “Camp Sommerdale,” a summer facility for the children. While maintaining ties to the Society of Friends, the Home became non-sectarian over the years. As attitudes towards the care of children changed and costs soared, it was decided in 1979 to phase out the residential program, and the name was changed to Friendly Acres Community Services with its mission focused on community programs, such as day care and senior services. In 1988, Friendly Acres Community Services merged with the Community Y of Eastern Delaware County, another community service organization. With this merger, Friends' Home for Children and its successor, Friendly Acres Community Services, ceased to exist. This collection contains records of the Friends' Home for Children.

Biographical / Historical

Friends' Home for Children (“Friendly Acres”) was established in 1881 in Philadelphia by Hicksite Quakers. Rebecca Walker was its primary founder and the first teacher. The Home was a residential facility for orphans and other children in need, modeled on a homelike environment rather than the large institutional more typical of the era. Young children, generally between the ages of five and twelve, came under the care of the Home until their situation allowed them to find a permanent home or foster home, or be placed in an apprenticeship or other educational program.

The Home was administered by a Board of Managers which originally was composed entirely of members of the Society of Friends. It was first located in a rented building at 3401 Germantown Avenue. In 1885, it was relocated to 4011 Aspen Street. In 1888, this property was purchased from Mrs. Catherine Wentz, who donated half the purchase price. In 1930, Mrs. Bertha Fullmer donated a farm at Gilbertsville, Montgomery County. This became a summer camp, “Camp Sommerdale,” a summer facility for the children.

In 1947, Friends' Home for Children moved to a location outside of the City, at 900 South Avenue, Secane, in Delaware County. The sale of the Aspen Street property and Camp Sommerdale provided the funds for the purchase of the new facility which was given the name “Friendly Acres.”

While maintaining ties to the Society of Friends, the Home became non-sectarian over the years. As attitudes towards the care of children changed and costs soared, it was decided in 1979 to phase out the residential program, and the name was changed to Friendly Acres Community Services with its mission focused on community programs, such as day care and senior services. In 1988, Friendly Acres Community Services merged with the Community Y of Eastern Delaware County, another community service organization. The merger afforded the building of a new facility on the site, the Ridley Area YMCA, a branch of the Community Y of Eastern Delaware County. With this merger, Friends' Home for Children and its successor, Friendly Acres Community Services, ceased to exist.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into three series:
  1. Official Records
  2. Miscellaneous
  3. Photographs

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Ridley Area YMCA, a branch of the Community Y of Eastern Delaware County

Date: 3/26/1998

Accession number: 98-014
Immediate Source of Acquisition The collection was given by the successor to Friends' Home for Children (“Friendly Acres”).

Separated Materials

The photographs in Series 3 have been transferred to the Picture Collection, PA 76.

Processing Information

The artifacts in Series 2 are stored in the FHL Artifacts Collection. The photographs in Series 3 have been transferred to the Picture Collection, PA 76.

Creator

Title
An Inventory of the Friends' Home for Children (“Friendly Acres”) Records, 1881-1988
Author
SKM
Date
1998
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English
Sponsor
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

Revision Statements

  • 2016: This electronic finding aid was updated in Summer 2016 by Abdulrezak Kemal in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace, to conform to current markup standards and the ArchivesSpace data model.

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

Contact:
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA