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Lewis and Sarah Benson family papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1303

Scope and Contents

This collection is primarily 20th century letters from the Benson, Potts, and Rhoads families.


  • Creation: 1906-2014


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Biographical / Historical

Lewis Benson (August 15, 1906 - August 23, 1986) was born to Clara (Clarette) and John Benson. He was born into and raised in Manasquan Friends Meeting and New York Yearly Meeting. He rejoined the meeting in his retirement, and is buried in its graveyard. In his youth, Lewis also attended a Scotch Presbyterian Church with his mother, and in the summers he spent time at Sea Girt-Manasquan with his cousins. Benson attended Executive Meeting and Half Yearly Meeting, where he was able to socialize with Quakers his own age, and learn Quaker business practices. He did not graduate from high school, which prevented him from permanent positions at Quaker organizations later in life. He became interested in the metaphysical system of Gurdjieff, which left him in self-described despair. At age 25, he was drawn to George Fox’s journal, wherein reading about Fox’s struggle with despair, he found kinship and support. He became a life-long student of George Fox’s message, studying his work for over 50 years. He worked with Quakers in Britain. He participated in dialogues with Anabaptists and Quakers, including publishing much of his writings in “The Call,” which was published in Britain and the United States. He was a prolific writer and lecturer. The New Foundation Fellowship started in the 1970s, with Benson as as founding member. He was also part of the Young Friends movement in Philadelphia, which was concerned with reunification of the two yearly meetings. He met his wife, Sarah, at Pendle Hill the winter of 1933-1934; they were married in 1937 in Germantown. He later became the first librarian at Pendle Hill. Their son, John, was born in 1940.

Sarah Rhoads Potts Benson (1907-1993) was the daughter of Thomas C. Potts (1871-?) and Ethel Rhoads Potts (1871-1962).

(The Friend, September 19, 1986; Sarah Benson biography of Lewis)


0.82 linear ft. (2 hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is primarily 20th century letters from the Benson, Potts, and Rhoads families.


This collection is arranged in two series: correspondence and personal materials.


The Lewis and Sarah Benson family papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in January, 2018 by John Benson.

Related Materials

  • HC.MC.1162 Lewis Benson papers
  • HC.MC.950.020 Lewis Benson papers
  • HC.MC.1290 Lew Benson papers addition

Processing Information

Processed by Mary A. Crauderueff; completed August, 2018.

Lewis and Sarah Benson family papers, 1906-2014
Mary A. Crauderueff
August, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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