Edward Wanton Smith papers
Scope and Contents
Noteworthy are a holograph manuscript by George Fox, 1673; the papers of George and Sarah (Hill) Dillwyn, 1752-1828; papers pertaining to the Emlen Institution, endowed by Samuel Emlen for educating African Americans and indigenous peoples, ca.1837-1848; papers pertaining to the estate of Reuben Haines, 1831-1843; Hill family papers, 1750-1798; letters of Margaret (Hill) Morris and Benjamin Smith, concerning the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, 1793; letters and diary, 1784-1813, of Deborah (Morris) Smith Collins; papers concerning the settlement of John Morton's estate, 1750-1845; papers of Daniel B. Smith, 1770-1870; material on Friends in France, ca.1785-1889, Jean de Marsillac, 1788-1797, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Rhode Island Quarterly and Yearly Meetings, 1708-1805; extracts from Minutes of Friends' Meetings around Philadelphia, concerning the Separation of 1827-1828; queries by Alexis de Tocqueville, concerning African Americans and Friends' practices in regard to them; material on the subject of marriages between near relations, including a copy of a letter by Thomas Ellwood on the subject, 1706; five items from the late 18th century concerning treaties and other matters between white people and the Cherokee and Delaware indigenous peoples.
Topics covered by the collection include: social and political history; business concerns, including Richard M. Atwater's connections with the Solvay Process Co. and Johnson Harvester Co.; the Quakerism of Richard M. Atwater and Esther M. Smith (1797-1865); the composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams; the artist, Ogden Wood; Sarah Anne Greene Smith's views on Japan, 1933-35, while a teacher at Friends Girls' School, and letters written to her by her Japanese students and colleagues as well as some photographs from Japan.
Biographical / Historical
Of Abby Sophia Greene Atwater (1844-1935), there is less biographical information. She, too, grew up in Providence Rhode Island. Her letters show her having been comfortable within and in control of her world. The family was well-to-do and had servants, child care, and the means to travel. Culture was important; Abby attended theaters and concerts, and often mentions art and photography in her letters. She was clearly well-educated, linguistically capable, and picked up German and French with ease. Her correspondence indicates strong mother-daughter and sibling relationships, especially clear in the correspondence with her sister, Eliza Greene Chace. There are references to children's schooling, costs, careers, and the family's health; as her children moved out of the family house, there is mention of their careers and interests. On a number of Eliza Greene Chace's letters are sketches, primarily of women.
Sarah Anna Chace Greene (d. 1904), mother of Abby Sophia Greene Atwater, appears devoted to her children and attached to her son-in-law, Richard Mead Atwater. The social network of her time depended on visits and conversations, which can be gleaned from her correspondence.
Esther Morton Smith (1797-1865) is, through her writing, clearly also very well-educated. She writes long, tender letters to her brother, Robert Morton.
6.25 Linear Feet (29 boxes)
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