Skip to main content

Addition to Henry J. Cadbury papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1121-addition

Scope and Contents

This collection of materials by and about Henry Cadbury (1883-1974) contains information about his extended family, including the Cadbury, Head, Kaign, Shinn, Warder families consisting of charts and notes. Biographically, there is information on his academic degrees and awards and miscellaneous materials, such as his passports, his certificate of identity as Relief Commissioner for the American Friends Service Committee, ca. 1920, and biographical sketches of him as well as memorial minutes at the time of his death.

The correspondence series opens with letters written by Cadbury as a youth beginning in 1892, then as a college and graduate student and newly-minted teacher to his family. A number of letters were written while he was on vacation in Switzerland in 1912. A significant group of letters are from his time as Relief Commissioner for the A.F.S.C. in Germany in 1920, reporting on the work and AFSC personnel involved in relief operations, as well as on people he met. By this time, his letters were also directed to his wife of four years, Lydia Caroline Brown Cadbury. The period of his letter writing jumps to 1940 and then spans until his death in 1974. The section of correspondence containing letters written to Henry Cadbury is arranged alphabetically and includes a group of very full letters from Lydia Cadbury, as well as by a number of people at Haverford College on library issues and from Pres. John Coleman wishing to celebrate his 93rd birthday at the college. While there are many other letter writers, some names include: Anna Brinton, Howard Brinton, John Nickalls, Norman Penney and Douglas Steere.

There is a small group of diaries (1896-1898), notes on topics of interest to Cadbury and text for a few speeches he made between 1944-1974, and the text of lectures he gave at Pendle Hill, an adult study center in Wallingford, Pa. in 1954. The greatest part of this collection includes writings by Henry Cadbury, including annotated galleys and page proofs for "The Book of Acts in History," his “History of Quakers in Jamaica” and “Negro Membership in the Society of Friends,” “New Light from Old Scrolls” from his work on the Dead Sea scrolls and others.

Another series is devoted to materials collected by Margaret Hope Bacon toward her biography of Henry Cadbury, "Let This Life Speak."

Another series consists of photographs, primarily of Cadbury from youth to old age, as well as of members of his family, and groups of which he as a part, such as Westtown School and Haverford College, and a sizable number taken during his vacation in Switzerland in 1912. There are also photographs of other Cadbury family members, as well as members of the Balderston, Brown, Canby, Carter, Gibbins, Roudolph, Shinn, Shipley, Troth and Winterbottom families.

The collection concludes with an alphabetized list of writers of letters of sympathy on the death of Henry Cadbury to Lydia Cadbury in 1974-75.


  • Creation: 1866-1987


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Biographical / Historical

Henry Cadbury (1883-1974), son of Joel and Anna Kaign Cadbury and a descendant of John Bartram, was a Quaker and member of Twelfth Street Monthly Meeting in Philadelphia. He received a B.A. from Haverford College in classics and philosophy in 1903 where he served as editor-in-chief of the Haverfordian in his senior year, was involved in the YMCA, tennis club, student newspaper, music club and student government. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated with honors. He received an M.A. in 1904 and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1914. His doctoral dissertation done under George Foot Moore and James Hardy Ropes was “The Style and Literary Method of Luke.” In expanded form this was published as The Making of Luke-Acts (1927). He taught Latin and history at Westtown School, 1905-08 and Greek and biblical literature at Haverford, 1910-19. In his early years at Harvard (1919-1920 and 1921-22), Cadbury was part of the English department, respectively as Assistant and as Instructor. From 1921-26 he served as Assistant Professor of New Testament.

“The alternative to war is not inaction and cowardice; it is the irresistible and constructive power of goodwill,” a quote from Cadbury, illustrates an important tenet of his philosophy. In the summer of 1920, he inspected the Friends’ feeding centers in Germany for a million German children. Together with Kirsopp Lake, Cadbury produced volumes IV and V of The Acts of the Apostles (1933) devoted to commentary and intricate interrelated notes. Cadbury continued to publish “Lexical Notes on Luke-Acts” throughout his life, which in 1955 was published in The Book of Acts in History.

In 1926, when the union of Andover and Harvard came to a close, Cadbury accepted a professorship in biblical literature at Bryn Mawr College which he held until 1934 when he returned to Harvard as Hollis Professor of Divinity and a “voting member” of the Department of Classics. Cadbury’s Lowell lectures were published as The Peril of Modernizing Jesus (1937) the Shafer lectures at Yale became Jesus: What Manner of Man (1947). Beginning in 1930, Cadbury prepared the American Revised Version of the Bible of 1946 along with Dr. Robert Pfeiffer and Dean Willard Sperry.

In 1954, after his retirement from Harvard, Cadbury agreed to spend two years living and lecturing at Pendle Hill, the adult Quaker study center in Wallingford, Pa. Cadbury was an historian and editor of the Quaker tradition, writing on, editing or re-editing the “literary remains” of those such as George Fox, Robert Barclay, William Edmundson, William Penn, John Woolman, John Hepburn, Cyrus Pringle and many other Quakers, both European and American.

From 1938, Cadbury served as Director of the Andover Harvard Library. Cadbury wrote on the topics of peace, social justice and the state within a Quaker context. He was a founder (in 1917) and chair of the American Friends Service Committee from 1928-1934 and 1944-60 and honorary chair, 1960-1974. His acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, in the name of the American Friends Service Committee in 1947 was “Quakers and Peace.”

Cadbury was a member and officer in a wide range of societies and bodies: the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Quaker and other historical societies, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); American Philosophia Society (APS). He was secretary of the American Schools for Oriental Research, a founder of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas; secretary and president of the Society for Biblical Research.

Married to Lydia Brown Cadbury in 1916, they both ran the Backlog Camp for Friends and friends. Together they were prominent in the “consolidation” (reunification?) of Cambridge Friends Meeting. Henry Cadbury was the author of 10 books, the last three published when he was 88 years old. He received an honorary degree from Haverford in 1933, and served as chair of the Board of Trustees at Bryn Mawr College for 22 years. He helped establish relief activities in France, Germany, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Hungary and Austria during WW I. In his latter years, he maintained a close relationship with Haverford College. Beginning in 1954 until 1963, HJC taught Quakerism at Haverford. In 1963 he gave the Mary Farnum Brown Library Lectures which were published under the title The Eclipse of the Historical Jesus. He received six honorary degrees.

(Information from obituary notices and articles about Henry Cadbury)


5 linear ft. (10 boxes)

Language of Materials



Henry Joel Cadbury (1883-1974) was one of the foremost American Quaker scholars of the 20th century. He published in the fields of Quaker and biblical history, and served as a teacher and philanthropist. This addition to the papers of Henry Cadbury includes biographical materials, correspondence, diaries, writings, such as his The Book of Acts in History and photographs of Cadbury and his family.


Accession #s 3122, 3727, 4616, 5111, 5705

Related Materials

See also the papers of the Jones-Cadbury family, collection no. 1170. Other repositories that contain Henry Cadbury papers include the Harvard University Library.

Processing Information

Processing history is unknown. Reboxed and finding aid updated in April 2022 by Sakina Gulamhusein.

Addition to Henry J. Cadbury papers, 1866-1987
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • April 2022: Reboxed and finding aid updated
  • April 2022: by Nathaniel Rehm-Daly, Harmful Language Revision Project

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