Abby Hopper Gibbons Papers
Scope and Contents
- 1824-1992 [bulk 1850-1892]
- Gibbons, Abby Hopper, 1801-1893 (Person)
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
Copyright and Rights Information
Biographical / Historical
Abigail Hopper Gibbons was born in Philadelphia in 1801, the third of ten children. In 1833, she married fellow Quaker, James Sloan Gibbons, in New York City. Both before and after her marriage, she directed Quaker schools. Like her father and her husband, she was deeply committed to anti-slavery concerns. After they were disowned by the New York Monthly Meeting (Hicksite) in 1841 for their writing and testimonies against slavery, the following year she resigned her membership, along with her four minor children. Nonetheless, the family remained "Quakerly" in worship and life-style.
Abigail and James Gibbons had six children. Two boys died in infancy, and a third son died suddenly after an accident while a student at Harvard. Many of the letters in the collection reflect the concerns of family life. Abigail Hopper Gibbons remained active in reform concerns into old age, and in her later years dressed dolls in Quaker dress to present to quarantined and hospitalized children.
Some of the correspondence in this collection were published in abbreviated form in 1897 for a biography, The Life of Abby Hopper Gibbons, Told Chiefly through her Correspondence, edited by her daughter, Sarah Hopper Emerson. T The bulk of the correspondence concerns the Civil War years, and Abigail Hopper Gibbons's work to assist Union officers. The collection consists of about 1,680 letters and related material, primarily letters to and from Abigail Hopper Gibbons, but also including correspondence of her husband and other family members. From the Civil War years, there are many letters from Union soldiers. The collection offers a valuable resource to scholars of nineteenth century reform movements. Included are letters from prominent figures including Theodore Roosevelt, Lydia Maria Child, and Joseph H. Choate.
2.5 Linear Feet (5 boxes)
- Abigail Hopper Gibbons (1801-1893)
- James Sloan Gibbons (1810-1892)
- Sarah (Sally) Hopper Gibbons Emerson (1835-1918)
- Julia Gibbons (1837-1889)
- Lucy Gibbons Morse (1839-1936)
- William Gibbons (1834-1855)
- Isaac Tatem Hopper (1771-1852)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donor: James M. Dunning, Sarah Dunning Schear, and Frances Dunning Beebe, 1987, 1993; Accession number: 90-001.13 and 93.21
The collection was given by Mrs. Gibbons's great-grandchildren. It had descended through her daughter, Lucy Gibbons Morse, and grand-daughter, Rose Morse Dunning. One of the donors, Sarah Dunning Schear was a graduate of Swarthmore College, Class of 1934.
A preliminary inventory was prepared by Albert Fowler in 1988. Subsequently, the correspondence was sorted into about twenty series, generally by family members, and arranged alphabetically and chronologically within each series. In 1993 additional material on the liberty ship "Abigail Gibbons" was received from the family. In 1996, the collection was arranged in eight series determined by the primary correspondents.
- Gibbons, Abby Hopper, 1801-1893 (Person)
- New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Hicksite: 1828-1955) (Contributor, Organization)
- Women's Prison Association of New York (Contributor, Organization)
- Hopper, Isaac T. (Isaac Tatem), 1771-1852 (Contributor, Person)
- Morse, Lucy Gibbons, 1839-1936. (Contributor, Person)
- Gibbons, J. S. (James Sloan), 1810-1892 (Contributor, Person)
- Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 (Contributor, Person)
- Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919 (Contributor, Person)
- Choate, Joseph Hodges, 1832-1917. (Contributor, Person)
- Emerson, Sarah Hopper, 1835- (Contributor, Person)
- Isaac T. Hopper Home (Contributor, Organization)
- Abby Hopper Gibbons Family Papers, 1824-1992 [bulk 1850-1892]
- FHL staff
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- 2020: Updated outdated, harmful terminology related to enslavement, except where it appears in a title, quotation, or subject heading.
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