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Richard Humphreys Foundation Records

Identifier: SFHL-RG4-059

Scope and Contents

The collection contains charters and bylaws, minutes of the Corporation and Board of Managers, annual reports, financial records, correspondence, and other papers.


  • Creation: 1837-1982


Conditions Governing Access

Access is through microfilm when available. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See

Biographical / Historical

Richard Humphreys was a Quaker who was born on the Island of Tortola in 1750. As young men he and his brother, Thomas, were sent to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as apprentices, Richard as a goldsmith and silversmith, Thomas as a tanner.

Richard Humphreys became a well-known and successful silversmith whose shop was at 54 High Street, Philadelphia. At his death in 1832, he left an estate of over $90,000, $10,000 of which he bequeathed to 13 members of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends for the purpose of establishing a school for "...instructing the descendants of the African Race in school learning, in the various branches of the mechanical arts and trades and in order to prepare and fit and qualify them to act as teachers in such of those branches of useful business as in the Judgment of the said society they may appear best qualified for..." In 1922, the State of Pennsylvania assumed control of the School, and the corporation changed its name to Richard Humphreys Foundation, with funds from the endowment to be used for promoting education of African-Americans to become teachers.


TestPreamble and Constitution drawn up for an association of Friends to be called The African Institute; its object: ...the education and improvement of the Children and youth, of the African race, by instructing them in literature, Science, Agriculture, and the Mechanical Arts.
April 1837:
The name of the Association was changed to The Institute for Coloured Youth.
A 136 acre farm on Old York Road, about 7 miles from the City of Philadelphia, was purchased as the site for the school and farm.
School opened with 5 pupils from the Shelter for Coloured Orphans.
Farm/school failed and the school was closed, the farm sold.
Apprenticing committee was named to set up a program for an evening school for apprenticed African American youth.
Evening school for apprenticed youths held in one room, Barclay St.
Lombard Street School was completed. Day school for both boys and girls, tuition-free. Evening school continued until 1857.
A lot on Shippen Street (now Bainbridge) above 9th St. was purchased and plans for 400 students made.
Bainbridge Street School opened. Continued in operation until 1903.
George Cheyney's farm, 25 miles from Philadelphia, was purchased as the site for the new school/farm. Cornerstone laid in 1903.
Institute for Colored Youth reorganized, opened at Cheyney in 1904, the formal opening was 5-9-1905.
Summer sessions for African American teachers held at Cheyney. Andrew Carnegie gave $10,000 for a library which was dedicated in 1910.
Association for the Care of Coloured Orphans (the Shelter) moved to five acres of the Cheyney farm.
July 1914
Name of the Institute for Coloured Youth changed to Cheyney Training School for Teachers.
Cheyney became State (of Pennsylvania) Normal School, with graduates receiving a State teaching certificate.
Management of Cheyney Training School for Teachers taken over by the State of Pennsylvania. The State paid $75,000 to the Corporation.
Home for Destitute Colored Children (later Sunnycrest Farm for Boys) moved to the Cheyney site.
Cheyney became a State Teachers College, granting Bachelor degrees.


6 linear ft. (13 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Richard Humphreys Foundation was created as the result of a bequest of Richard Humphreys (1750-1832), a Philadelphia Quaker who left funds for the establishment of a school for African Americans in Philadelphia. The school was founded as the Institute for Colored Youth. A group of Quakers, known first as the Association and after 1842 as the Corporation, oversaw the Institute. Actual management was performed by a board of managers who reported to the Corporation. The Corporation was successively known as the Corporation of the Institute for Colored Youth at Cheyney and the Corporation for Cheyney Training School for Teachers. In 1922, the State of Pennsylvania assumed control of the School, and the corporation changed its name to Richard Humphreys Foundation, with funds from the endowment to be used for promoting education of African Americans to become teachers. The collection contains charters and bylaws, minutes of the Corporation and Board of Mangers, annual reports, financial records, correspondence, and other papers.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Custodial History

Deposited by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1975. Additional material from Richard Humphreys Foundation and Charlotte Tinker, 1978, 1983.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1978, 1983;

Gift of Richard Humphreys Foundation, 1978, 1983

Existence and Location of Copies

Parts of the collection have been microfilmed and are available in the repository:

Film Org.-R1
Board of Managers Minutes, 1922-77; Corporation Minutes, 1923-65; Annual Reports (bound), 1856-1900
Film Org.-R2
Board of Managers Minutes, 1866-1914
Film Org.-R3
Trustees Minutes, 1823-1838; Board of Managers Minutes, 1914-1922
Film Org.-R4
Corporation Minutes, 1837-59; Apprenticing Committee Minutes, 1848-1851; Corporation Minutes, 1860-1922; Discipline and Instruction Committee Minutes, 1871-1884; Board of Managers Minutes 1837-66

Related Materials

RG 4/043 Sunnycrest Farm for Negro Boys (Cheyney, Pa.);

SG 3 Cheyney Training School

An Inventory of the Richard Humphreys Foundation Records, 1837-1982
FHL staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Updated outdated terminology referring to African American people except where it appears in a title, quotation, or subject heading.

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 Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

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