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Archives & Manuscripts

Benjamin F. Whitson Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG5-164
Papers consist of correspondence, 10 journals (1893-1957), accounts of trips to Quaker conferences, essays, speeches, and genealogical notes and correspondence of Benjamin F. Whitson (1867-1957) of Moylan, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, a Quaker businessman. Whitson was active in Quaker affairs such as Friends World Conference in 1937 and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and in Quaker concerns such as peace, temperance, and education. He wrote extensively on topic such as "Ohio Yearly Meeting, 1912," "Are Soldiers Murderers?" "To Change the Social Order", "Quaker Pioneers", "A Confession of Faith," "Treasures of Old Thoughts", "Letters to Friends - 1916". Whitson was active in local organizations in the town of Media, Pa. He was the son of Thomas H. and Phebe (Cooper) Whitson, and his family had deep Quaker associations. Both Benjamin Whitson and his father were recognized as Quaker ministers and made visits to Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative). Benjamin Whitson lived in California from 1905-1907 and was active in Pasadena Meeting of Friends. In later life, he collected letters and genealogical information on the many Quaker branches of his family. Included in the papers are a 1936 diary of his wife, Jane T. Whitson; Thomas H. Whitson's "Account of Religious visit to Ohio, Indiana, Iowa;" piece books, extensive correspondence, and other memorabilia of members of the Cooper, Masters, Moore, Stratton, Thorp, Walker, Whitson, and Yarnall families. Also of interest is a copy of an 1824 letter of Huldah Hoag.

Dates

  • 1835-1957

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 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.

Extent

7 Linear Feet (14 boxes)

Overview

Benjamin F. Whitson (1867-1957) of Moylan, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, was a Quaker businessman. Whitson was active in Quaker affairs such as Friends World Conference in 1937 and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and in Quaker concerns such as peace, temperance, and education. He was the son of Thomas H. and Phebe (Cooper) Whitson, and his family and extended family has deep Quaker associations. Both Benjamin Whitson and his father, were recognized as Quaker ministers and made visits to Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative). Benjamin Whitson lived in California from 1905-1907 and was active in Pasadena Meeting of Friends. In later life, he collected letters and genealogical information on the many Quaker branches of his family. Papers consist of correspondence, 10 journals (1893-1957), account of trips to Quaker conferences, essays, speeches, and genealogical notes and correspondence of Included in the papers are a 1936 diary of his wife, Jane T. Whitson; Thomas H. Whitson's "Account of Religious visit to Ohio, Indiana, Iowa;" piece books, extensive correspondence, and other memorabilia of members of the Cooper, Master, Moore, Stratton, Thorp, Walker, Whnitson, and Yarnall families.

Biographical / Historical

Benjamin F. Whitson (1867-1957) of Moylan, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, was a Quaker businessman, active in Quaker affairs such as Friends World Conference in 1937 and the Fellowship of Reconciliation and in Quaker concerns such as peace, temperance, and education. He wrote extensively on social and religious topics for Quaker periodicals.

Whitson was the son of Thomas H. and Phebe (Cooper) Whitson, and his family and extended family had deep Quaker associations. Thomas Whitson (1829-1907) was a farmer and acknowledged as a minister by New Garden Monthly Meeting (Pa.). An Orthodox Quaker, he and his wife were conservative in dress and worship. In 1901, he traveled as a minister to Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative).

Thomas and Phebe Whitson had five children: Sarah (1857-1945; Quaker minister of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Orthodox); married first Phillips Chamber and second, Elwood Cooper); Samuel L. (1858-1918, married Frances Linton); Mary (1860-1924); Joseph T. (1861-1925, married Jane Thorp); and Benjamin F. (1867-1957). Benjamin Whitson was a birthright member of New Garden Monthly Meeting. He was educated at Westtown School and briefly taught at Barnesville School before entering various business ventures.

In 1892, he was married under the care of New Garden Monthly Meeting (Ohio) to Anna Masters (1869-1925) at a double ceremony at which Anna's sister, Mary Masters, married Elisha K. Brantingham. Benjamin Whitson and his family lived in California from 1905-1907 and were active in the Pasadena Meeting of Friends. Benjamin Whitson was acknowledged as a minister by Chester Monthly Meeting in 1913, and he and wife Anna, an Elder in the Meeting, made a ministerial trip to visit Conservative Quaker meetings in Ohio in 1923, accompanied by Anna's father, Joseph Masters.

After the death of his first wife, Benjamin Whitson in 1927 married Jane Thorp Whitson (1866-1952), the widow of his brother. She was the daughter of James and Jane (Yarnall) Thorp and an also active in Chester Monthly Meeting (name changed to Media Monthly Meeting in 1955).

Arrangement

The collection is divided into six series:
  1. Journals
  2. Correspondence
  3. Writing
  4. Organizations and interests
  5. Genealogical notes and correspondence
  6. Miscellaneous, including piece books and memorabilia

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession information:

Donor: Benjamin F. Whitson, 1955

Donor: Jay Whitson (Wilzue Whitson genealogy), 1964

Donor: Elizabeth Whitson, 1972

Donor: Ruth Whitson Stokes and Anna Whitson Fisher, 1993

The collection was given by Benjamin Whitson. Additional material was given by other family members.

Separated Materials

The following materials, originally part of the collection, were removed and recatalogued:
  1. Daguerreotypes removed and placed with FHL Cased Pictures, PA 107
  2. Sampler by Phoebe P. Cooper, 1835, assigned Relics #379.

Processing Information

Collection was arranged and annotated by Benjamin F. Whitson when received, and that order largely has been preserved. Whitson had working files on family members which included letters, piece books, etc., which were stored with his genealogical notes; these have been placed in Series 6, Miscellaneous. Memorabilia from Elizabeth Whitson added in 1972. Volume 10 of Whitson's Journal, 1955-1957, gift of Ruth Whitson Stokes (granddaughter) and Anna Whitson Fisher, was added in 1993. In 2001 the collection was refoldered and described more fully.
Title
Benjamin F. Whitson Family Papers, 1835-1957
Author
SKM
Date
2001
Language of description
English

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.

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