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Friends Freedmen's Association photograph album, 1863 - 1892

Identifier: SFHL-PA-141

Scope and Contents

This disassembled photograph album depicts students in various classes and places in some of the schools supported by the Association.


  • 1863 - 1892

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

This collection is available for research use.

Biographical / Historical

In March 1862 a group of Philadelphia Orthodox Quaker women formed “the Women's Aid Association on behalf of the destitute freed Negroes in the Southern States”. In November 1863 a corresponding group of Orthodox men Friends organized “the Friends Association of Philadelphia and its vicinity for the Relief of Colored Freedmen” [later changed to “Friends Freedmen's Association of Philadelphia] which worked closely with the Women's Aid Committee. By 1864 Committees on clothing, instruction, publication, farming, stores, as well as nominations, had been established.

In the 1860's and 1870's, the Association was concerned both with relief work and with the establishment of schools for the children of formerly enslaved people. By 1868 there were 25 schools in North Carolina and Virginia, managed and supported by the Association, and later the number of schools increased to 46. By end of the century the counties and states had assumed the role of supplying rudimentary education of African American youth, and the relief work which had been such a large part of the Association's early activity was no longer necessary. Friends' Freedmen's Association channeled its interest and finances into the Christiansburg Industrial Institute, Montgomery County, VA. The Institute was founded in 1866 by Captain Charles Schaeffer, but shortly thereafter its management and financial support were taken over by Friends' Freedmen's Association.

The Christiansburg Industrial Institute grew to include a farm, a Primary and Intermediate School (Hill School) and a High School (Institute) teaching, in addition to academic work, farming, carpentry, blacksmithing, printing, sewing, cooking and household arts. In 1934 the title of the Hill School passed to the Montgomery County School Board, which also took over the management and operation of the Institute, though the title remained in the hands of Friends' Freedmen's Association until 1947.

From 1947-1955 the Association supported black students in schools and summer work camps. From 1955-1970 the income from investments was used to provide grants for scholarship to needy black students. From 1970 income and principal was distributed yearly primarily among Bryn Mawr, Earlham, Guilford, and Haverford Colleges. In January 1982 the Association was dissolved. The funds were distributed among the four colleges named above to be used as aid to black students as the J. Henry Scattergood Scholarship Fund.


.3 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Separated Materials

This collection has been removed from the Friends Freedmen's Association Records, RG4/024.

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 Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA