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Memoir of William Crotch

Identifier: HC.MC-801-07-013

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of one manuscript account of the late life and suicide of William Crotch, a Quaker minister, and a set of photocopied newspaper clippings with context on Crotch’s character and early life. The manuscript begins with an account of Crotch’s “seer” abilities (visiting Friends and talking to them about unknowable things) and how his reputation among Friends was very high. The author proceeds to describe a period of “extreme despondency” during which Crotch returned to Philadelphia from travelling in New England. According to the author Crotch was accused of “being addicted to the vice of intemperance,” but that and other rumors about Crotch’s character were dispelled. The author continues by mentioning a conversation where Crotch remarked on the suicides of other men and describing the plans for Crotch’s return to England. The final pages describe Crotch’s suicide and include remarks by the author on how depression and suicide may have been because God was punishing people’s overestimation of Crotch.

The clippings include an account of Crotch’s early life from Gleanings at Seventy-Five by Susan Lukens (published in 1873), a note in a column from 1928 on Crotch’s seer ability, and two excerpts from a book on the case of John Evans--one of which is John Evans’ concerns about William Crotch’s conduct (published in 1805) and one is Evans’s “Memorandum on the death of William Crotch.”


  • Creation: 1806 - 1928
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1806

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Biographical note

According to an included excerpt of a retelling of his early life, Crotch grew up initially working as a waiting-boy in Lancashire where he discovered a Quaker meeting and was drawn to the Society of Friends. Also according to that account he apprenticed with a shoemaker. In 1804 Crotch visited the United States, visiting Friends and former Friends in his capacity as “seer” and minister. In 1806, after long periods of depression, he committed suicide in Philadelphia.


.01 linear ft. (1 folder)

Language of Materials





Single volume in paper wrappers with additional clippings


Purchased from Blackwell's Rare Books, April 2021

Related Materials

MC 1261 Friends Hospital Records; MC 1100 Scattergood family papers

Processing Information

Processed by Lily Sweeney, completed May 2021

Memoir of William Crotch
Lily Sweeney
May, 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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 or requesting repoductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US