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Mahlon Day papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1129

Scope and Contents

The Mahlon Day Papers include journals from 1839 to 1843, including the journal of Day's trip to the West Indies in 1839-1840. There are also letters which touch on religious, political, business, and family matters.

Other Day family materials include the letters of Mary K. Day, 1852-1854; letters of Edward M. Day, 1854-1858; letters, 1847-1877; journals of Anna B. Day documenting trips to Europe, 1866-1867, 1877, 1890; and letters, 1854, and a commonplace book, 1840, of Susan B. Day.

Miscellaneous letters include sympathy letters on the death of Mahlon Day and other miscellaneous writings, including poetry and genealogical information on the Days and Thurstons.

Thurston family materials include letters (1767 to 1906), an account book (1879-1890), and a ship's log (1868-1879) of William Thurston, Jr.

There are photographs (including daguerreotypes), drawings, and silhouettes of the Days and Thurstons, drawings, including two by Joseph John Gurney and Amelia Mott Gummere, and a 1936 photo album.


  • 1787-1936


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Biographical note

Mahlon Day (b. 1790) was a printer and publisher of children's books, including many moral tales. He was an active member of the Society of Friends, and served as clerk of New York Yearly Meeting. He served as a trustee of African Free Schools and as a manager of the New York Institution for the Blind, among other activities.

Day, born in Morristown, New Jersey, on August 27, 1790, was the son of Samuel and Nancy Day and brother of Stephen Munson, Samuel Jr., Susan, Phoebe, Abraham, Jared, Jehiel, Ira, and Nancy Jr. In 1815, he married Mary Kerr. Their children were Mary Jr., Sarah, Anna, Susan, Edward, and Jane. This latter Jane married William Thurston; thus the small collection of Thurston letters, documents, and photographs among these papers.

In 1839-1840, Day traveled to the West Indies with Joseph John Gurney, a Quaker minister and anti-slavery advocate.

In 1854, when Mahlon Day, his wife Mary, and daughter Susan were returning from England, their ship, the Arctic, was rammed by another boat. The Arctic sank, taking the three Days with it. There are letters of sympathy in this collection, primarily to the Day children.


1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)




The Mahlon Day papers center on the West Indies journals kept by Day on his spiritual trip with Joseph John Gurney in 1839-1840, and his letters which touch on a range of topics from religious to political to business to family.


Acquisition unknown.

Separated Materials

  • Newspaper articles covering the wreck of the Arctic to PG6.
  • Newspaper clippings and pamphlet of the Women's Prison Association, 1855, to PG6.
  • Obituaries of Joseph John Gurney and genealogical chart of the Gurney family to PG6.
  • Two colored flower drawings by Jane R. Day to 988 A-R.
  • Large engravings of Joseph John Gurney and Elizabeth Gurney Fry to 988 B-R.
  • Fry, Elizabeth Gurrey. Texts for every day of the year. New York: Mahlon Day, 1839. OCLC 48886668.
  • Horsley, Samuel. Book of Psalms. London: 1833. OCLC 2650564.
  • Macduff, John. Words of Jesus. New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1854. OCLC 6618463.
  • Texts..., 1856. (Not Mahlon Day imprint)
  • Watts, Isaac. Divine Songs. New York: Mahlon Day, 1837. OCLC 210136907.
  • Mason, John. Treatise on Self Knowledge. Boston: J. Loring, 1833. OCLC 5057779.
  • Bible. London: John Field, 1658.
  • Aikin, John. The calendar of nature. London: Baldwin, 1835. OCLC 84979916.
  • Ely, Aaron. A School Dictionary of selected words. New York: Mahlon Day, 1833. OCLC 20080725.

Processing Information

Original processing information unknown. Revised by Elizabeth Peters; completed April, 2015.

Mahlon Day papers, 1787-1936
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • May 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 reproductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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Haverford PA 19041 USA US