William P. Bancroft Family Papers
Scope and Contents
The collection contains William P. Bancroft's letter books 1880-1928 and a small amount of Bancroft-Clark family correspondence and photographs. Also extensive transcribed material copied from William Bancroft's letter books and research on family members and individuals with detailed topical inventory.
- Majority of material found within 1880 - 1928
- ca. 1880-2003
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
The collection is open for research.
Copyright and Rights Information
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Biographical / Historical
The Woodlawn Trust, a land and community development company, was founded by Quaker William Poole Bancroft in the Brandywine Valley, Delaware. His father, Joseph Bancroft, established Bancroft Mills, cotton manufacturing mills, in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1865 William became a partner in the business. Around 1885, William Bancroft began to establish parks for the city of Wilmington, working with the landscape architect William Law Olmsted. In 1901 he founded the Woodlawn Company (later Woodlawn Trustees, Inc.), a foundation for community and residential planning. Bancroft hired landscape architect Charles Leavitt to plan the subdivisions.
William Poole Bancroft (1835-1928), son of Joseph and Sarah Poole Bancroft, married Emma Cooper (1848-1929) under care of Wilmington Monthly Meeting in 1876. William and Emma had four children, only two who survived to adulthood. Sarah Bancroft (1877-1973) was a graduate of Swarthmore College, Class of 1897. In 1900 she married Roger Clark (1871-1961) a member of C and J Clark, the global shoe manufacturing and retail company founded in 1825 in Somerset, England, by Quaker brothers Cyrus and James Clark. Sarah and Roger both were active in civic, educational, and Quaker concerns. Roger Clark served as Clerk of London Yearly Meeting and various Quaker meetings and committees. The younger daughter Lucy Bancroft (1880-1969) also attended Swarthmore College. In 1908 she married Henry Tregelles Gillett, a physician active in Quaker concerns.
Sarah Bancroft Clark and Lucy Bancroft Gillett were executors of their parents' estates and served long-distance as Trustees for the Woodlawn Trust. Sarah and Roger Clark had seven children. Their son Stephen Clark (1913-2011) was a graduate of Swarthmore College. From 1941-1975. he worked for the Clark company. He was became a trustee of the Woodlawn Trust in 1938, and after retirement, he served as president of the Woodlawn Trust, Wilmington, Delaware, 1976-1988.
Bancroft had injured his thumb in an early mill accident and could not hold a pen. Both his daughters lived in England and he determined to dictate of "journal" through letters copied in duplicate and bound like his business letter books. The letter books contain a rich mix of family references along with detailed business concerns.
19 Linear Feet (15 document boxes and 10 record cartons)
The collection contains William P. Bancroft's letter books 1880-1928 and a small amount of Bancroft-Clark family correspondence and photographs. Also extensive transcribed material from William Bancroft's letter books and research on family members and individuals with detailed topical inventory.
Arranged in four series: Series 1: Bancroft-Clark Family Papers. Series 2: Woodlawn Trust Series 3: William P. Bancroft Letter Books Series 4: John Ward and Richenda Davison transcriptions and notes
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Woodlawn Trustees, FHL Accession 2022.010
A fan chart of the Clark family genealogy removed to PG 7, FHL reference. Framed photograph of Percy Bigland portrait of William C. Bancroft stored with collection, move to Art.
Original order by topic of the research files in Series 4 was retained.
- William P. Bancroft Family Papers
- Susanna Morikawa
- May 2023
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
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
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Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA