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Allen and Roberts Family papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1155

Scope and Contents

Primarily correspondence of the Quaker Roberts and Allen families of the Philadelphia area in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Central figures include: Samuel L. Allen (1841-1918), Sarah (Sallie) H. Roberts Allen (1843-1928), Susan Janney Allen, Anna B. (Annie) Roberts, and Lillie Allen. Their topics provide insight into social networking and close family ties as well as health issues, attendance at Meeting, and some travel, occasionally noting external events such as the Civil War.


  • Creation: 1846-1931


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical / Historical

Quaker farmer, inventor, and manufacturer, Samuel Allen (1841-1918) was the son of John and Rebecca Leeds Allen. He attended Westtown School near Philadelphia and married Sarah Hooten Roberts in 1866. As early as 1866, Allen had experimented with two tin wash basins attached by a metal clasp. The basins rotated and spread fertilizer or garden seed evenly. He and Elisha Roberts formed the S.L. Allen & Co., which made Planet Junior Gardening Equipment and later invented the sled known as "The Flexible Flyer." They were later bought out by a New York firm. (from Dictionary of Quaker Biography)

Sarah H. Roberts Allen (1843-1928) married Samuel Allen in 1866 and was the daughter of Elisha Roberts and Elizabeth Hooten Roberts (1819-1889). She died in Orlando, Florida, "in her 86th year". She was a member of Chester Monthly Meeting, New Jersey. (from The Friend, v. 101, p. 494)

Susan Janney Allen, daughter of Sarah and Samuel Allen, was possibly conducting missionary work with displaced Native Americans, and also the corresponding secretary and treasurer of "The Friendly Haven Association."

Elisha and Elizabeth Roberts's children were: William Hunt, Samuel S., Anna B., David, Sarah H., and Joseph Roberts.


1.25 Linear Feet (5 boxes)




Primarily the letters of the interconnected Philadelphia-area Quaker families, Allen and Roberts, in the period 1846-1931. The a large potrion of letters were are from Sarah H. Roberts Allen, Susan Janney Allen, and Lillie Allen, as well as Lizzie Roberts, though there are a considerable number from Samuel Allen, inventor of some agricultural tools as well as the "flexible flyer" sled.


Letters and papers arranged alphabetically by author.

Processing Information

Original processing information unknown.

Allen and Roberts Family papers, 1846-1931
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Revision Statements

  • February 2022: Caitlin Peraria- (MLIS intern) Working on project to remove harmful/biased language from finding aids

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 reproductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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Haverford PA 19041 USA US