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Archives & Manuscripts

Mott Manuscripts

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-MSS-035
The bulk of the collection consists of material which was assembled at the time of the publication of Life and Letters by Anna Davis Hallowell in 1884. It includes original correspondence of Lucretia Mott and her husband, James M. Mott, with family and other reformers of their day, including Susan B. Anthony, Mary Grew, Nathaniel Barney, Charles C. Burleigh, Robert Collyer, George Combe, Anna Davis, Edward M Davis, Maria Mott Davis, Joseph A. and Ruth Dugdale., Mary Earle Hussey , William Henry Furness, William Lloyd Garrison, Sarah Josepha Hale, Mary Hallowell, Phebe A Hanaford, Oliver Johnson, George and Martha Lord, Benson John Lossing, Charles Marriott, Harriet Martineau, Samuel J. May, James Miller McKim, John Stuart Mill, ElizabethNeedles, Elizabeth Pease Nichol, Emma Parker, Wendell Phillips, William J. Potter, Ann Preston, Martha Schofield, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Thomas B Stevenson, Lucy Stone, Theodore Tilton, Richard D. and Emily Webb, Ruth D.Webb, Samuel and Amos Willets, and Elizur Wright. It also contains sermons, essays, and antislavery documents, and the diary of Lucretia Mott's trip to England to attend the World's Antislavery Convention of 1840.

Dates

  • 1831-1898

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Access to the collection is restricted except by permission of the Director or Curator; many of the letters have been published elsewhere or transcribed.

Copyright and Rights Information

All requests for permission to publish or quote from original manuscripts must be submittted in writing to the Director.

Extent

3 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Overview

Lucretia Mott was a prominent Philadelphia Quaker minister and a leader in reform movements, especially antislavery, education, peace, and women's rights. She was born in 1793 in Nantucket, Mass., the daughter of Thomas and Anna Coffin, and educated at Nine Partners Boarding School in Dutchess Co., N.Y. In 1811, she married James Mott and they settled in Philadelphia, Pa. The Motts were active Hicksite Quakers, and Lucretia served as clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and traveled in the ministry. James Mott died in 1869, and Lucretia died in 1880. The bulk of the collection consists of material which was assembled at the time of the publication of Life and Letters by Anna Davis Hallowell in 1884. It includes original correspondence of Lucretia Mott and her husband, James M. Mott, with family and other reformers of their day. Also contains sermons, essays, and antislavery documents, and the diary of Lucretia Mott's trip to England to attend the World's Antislavery Convention of 1840.

Biographical / Historical

Lucretia Mott was a prominent Philadelphia Quaker minister and a leader in reform movements, especially antislavery, education, peace, and women's rights. She was born in 1793 in Nantucket, Mass., the daughter of Thomas and Anna Coffin, and educated at Nine Partners Boarding School in Dutchess Co., N.Y. In 1811, she married James Mott and they settled in Philadelphia, Pa.

The Motts were active Hicksite Quakers, and Lucretia served as clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and traveled in the ministry. James Mott was a founder of the American Slavery Society in 1833, and Lucretia was a founder of the Philadelphia Female Antislavery Society. In 1840, they went to England to attend the first World's Antislavery Convention, and in London Lucretia became friends with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In 1848, she and Stanton announced a conference on women's rights to be held at Seneca Falls, N.Y. Mott and her husband were active in the founding of Swarthmore College, a coeducational institution incorporated in 1864, and supported the founding of the nation's first medical school for women, Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, and the School of Design for Women, now Moore College of Art. Lucretia Mott died in 1880 in Philadelphia, Pa.

Arrangement

The collection is organized in five series. The series are:
  1. Ser.1 Correspondence, 1831-1880
  2. Ser.2 Diary and Other Papers
  3. Ser.3 Notes and Drafts for Life and Letters
  4. Ser.4 Newspaper Clippings and Other Secondary References
  5. Ser.5 Margaret McHenry Research Notes
Correspondence in Series 1 is arranged chronologically.

Physical Location

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

Custodial History

The majority of original manuscripts in this collection were assembled by Lucretia Mott's family after her death in 1880; members of the family solicited letters and personal reminiscences of Lucretia from her friends and colleagues. The collection was used by Anna Davis Hallowell, daughter of Edward M. and Maria Mott Davis, in her edited version of James and Lucretia Mott: Life and Letters (1884). In the preface, dated 2mo 29 1884, Mrs. Hallowell gave a short history of the effort, including the fact that originally the family thought to divide the work into several periods, each to be written by a different person; when they decided not to employ a professional writer for the task, the work devolved upon her. She credited Thomas C. Cornell, a Mott cousin whose initial essay is part of this collection, with the writing of the first chapter.

Lucretia Mott Churchill was the daughter of Anna Davis Hallowell. Her granddaughter, Barbara J. Grinberg, is the daughter of Lucretia Churchill Jordan.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The first part of this collection came to Friends Historical Library in 1945 as a gift of the scrapbook of newspaper clippings from Lucretia Mott Churchill; a year later she donated a large collection of original Lucretia Mott letters and a journal, followed by another deposit in 1947.

In 1985 and 1988, her granddaughter, Barbara J. Grinberg, gave additional manuscripts found among the papers of her mother and grandmother.

Before 1960, other items had been added to this collection at Friends Historical Library. Margaret McHenry's research notes and partial manuscript of a life of Lucretia Mott were added at her death in 1950, and Otelia Cromwell donated photocopies of Mott letters located in other collections that she used in her own book, Lucretia Mott (1958). Other donors include: Marietta Hicks, the grandchildren of Joseph A. & Ruth Dugdale (1928), Lucy Davis (1943), Mrs. McAllister (1971); separate purchases were made in 1938 and 1980. Lucretia Mott correspondence, was transferred in 2016 from Charles Smith Ogden's autograph collection, the gift of Marie Ogden Francke (1948).

Processing Information

When the donation of photocopies of Mott material from Otelia Cromwell was received by Friends Historical Library, they were added to Churchill's earlier gift, and the Mott Manuscripts were organized and described as an artifical collection, focusing on the correspondence and writings of Lucretia Mott. In 2002, in the process of preparing the finding aid for encoding, a re-examination of the collection--particularly in light of the later donations of Grinberg in the 1980s--it became clear that the bulk of the collection as it stood had the same provenance, viz. as the collection gathered to support the publicaiton of Life and Letters in 1884. Even though the Cromwell photocopies and McHenry reearch notes have been retained as part of this collection, folder identification will enable the researcher to distinguish these parts of the collection.

In 2016, Lucretia Mott correspondence in the Charles Smith Ogden Papers, RG5/108, were transferred to MSS 0035. According to her cover letter to her friend Sarah Corbit, Lucretia forwarded letters to be added to Ogden's autograph collection.
Title
An Inventory of the Mott Manuscripts, 1831-1959
Author
Finding Aid prepared by FHL Staff
Date
2002
Language of description
Finding aid written inEnglish.
Sponsor
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

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

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