Joseph Bancroft Family Papers
Scope and Contents
This collection includes materials which relate to Joseph Bancroft's writing and other religious activities, particularly to the efforts regarding the circulation of A Persuasive To Unity. His son, William Poole Bancroft, continued to promote its distribution until at least 1890. William P. Bancroft's correspondence, mostly excerpted copies, as a member of the George School Committee constitutes Series 6 and illustrates his involvement all phases of planning and operation of the School.
- 1868-1989 [bulk, 1868-1914]
- Bancroft, Joseph, 1803-1874 (Person)
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Copyright and Rights Information
Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/.
Biographical / Historical
Joseph Bancroft (1803-1874) was a Hicksite Quaker who worked for the reunification of the Society of Friends in the 1860's and 1870's. He wrote a number of religious tracts and published a book, A Persuasive To Unity, in 1874. His son, William P. Bancroft ((1835-1928) was a long-time Clerk of Wilmington Monthly Meeting and the Clerk of the George School Committee, 1896-1919.
Joseph Bancroft, a birthright Friend, was the son of John and Elizabeth Bancroft. Born in Manchester, England, he attended the Ackworth School and was apprenticed to his uncle, Jacob Bright, at the age of 14 years. In 1824 he emigrated to Wilmington, Delaware, to join his family which had preceded him and were engaged in the manufacture of cloth.
Joseph Bancroft married Sarah, daughter of William and Sarah Poole in 1829. They had two sons, William Poole (1835-1928) and Samuel Jr. (1840-1915), who became his partners in 1865, forming the firm of Joseph Bancroft & Sons, manufacturers of cotton goods.
During the Separation of 1827-28, Joseph retained membership in the Hicksite branch of the Society of Friends, but devoted most of his efforts in the latter years of his life to effecting a reconciliation and reunion. After 1855 he became increasingly involved in a group of Quakers, “Friends of Truth,” which met at Bethany Mission School House at 15th and Brandywine Streets and elsewhere in Philadelphia, and signed his name as Clerk of “Some Friends Who Met in Philadelphia” after 1865. He also wrote a number of religious tracts, and, in the last months of his life, published a book on this subject, "A Persuasive to Unity." Joseph Bancroft left a trust fund to secure the free circulation of this book among members of the Society of Friends after his death. His son, William Poole, continued to promote its distribution until at least 1890.
William P. Bancroft devoted much of his life to philanthropic causes for the City of Wilmington and the Society of Friends. He married Emma Cooper in 1876. Bancroft was one of the primary benefactors of the George School, a Quaker boarding school near Newtown, Pa. He served on the School Committee from 1888-1928 and as Clerk of Committee from 1896-1919. Bancroft also served as the Wilmington Park Commissioner and established the Woodlawn Company.
3.5 Linear Feet (6 boxes)
Joseph Bancroft (1803-1874) was Hicksite Quaker and cloth manufacturer from Wilmington, Delaware, who worked for the reunification of the Society of Friends in the 1860's and 1870's. He wrote a number of religious tracts and published a book, A Persuasive To Unity, which he published in 1874. At his death, Bancroft established a trust fund to secure the free circulation of this book among Quakers. This collection includes materials which relate to Joseph Bancroft's writing and other religious activities, particularly to the efforts regarding the circulation of A Persuasive To Unity. His son, William Poole Bancroft (1835-1928), continued to promote its distribution. He was active on the George School Committee 1888-1928 and served as Clerk of the Committee, 1896-1919.
The collection is divided into six series:
- Biographical and genealogical
- General correspondence, 1868-1883
- Subscription lists
- George School correspondence, 1897-1950, n.d.
For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donor: Bancroft Family, 1956 and Sarah Bancroft Clark, 1967
Donor: George School, Acc. 2009.013
A Ms. attributed to John Drinker, “Thoughts Alluding to...Sufferings of Benjamin Gilbert,” has been removed and transferred to Misc. Mss.
Three boxes of Joseph Bancroft papers were given to Friends Historical Library in 1956 by the Bancroft family. These papers were processed together with additional material given by Sarah Bancroft Clark in 1967 as a Bancroft Family Papers. In 2009 the George School donated the William P. Bancroft correspondence. This was added to the collection as Series. 6 in 2012.
- An Inventory of the Joseph Bancroft Family Papers, 1868-1989 [bulk, 1868-1914]
- 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
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