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Archives & Manuscripts

Elizabeth Biddle Yarnall Refugee Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG5-256

Scope and Contents

The collection contains materials concerning the Yarnalls' work with German and Austrian refugees after the March 1938 Anschluss. Primarily correspondence, it includes letters concerning refugee projects and letters from refugees asking for help, especially the musician Karl Weigl and his wife, Vally, who emigrated in October 1938. There are some family letters from Elizabeth Yarnall sent from Europe in the summer of 1938 and letters from Dorothy Canfield Fisher in her effort to create an American children's relief organization for German children. Also several essays by Elizabeth Yarnall on her Vienna experience and notes for a talk. The material conveys the difficulties involved in Jewish emigration in the years just preceding the war.

Organized into two series:
  1. Correspondence
  2. Miscellaneous

Dates

  • 1938-1945

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Biographical / Historical

Elizabeth Biddle Yarnall (1897-1975) was a graduate of Westtown School and Bryn Mawr College and taught at the Oakwood School. In 1923 she married fellow Quaker, David Robert Yarnall, the son of Edward Smedley and Sidney Garrett Yarnall. and they had three children, D. Robert, Jr., James, and Nancy. D. Robert Yarnall (1878-1967) was a mechanical engineer and member of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. He served the Society of Friends in many capacities, including Clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Orthodox), Chairman of the Board of Pendle Hill, and Chairman of the American Friends Service Committee Child Relief Mission to Germany after WWI and Refugee Committee before WWII. In the years preceding WWII, he sought to convince the German government to modify its stance against minorities and to expedite the emigration of Jews from Germany and Austria. He, along with George Walton and Rufus Jones, represented the AFSC in a meeting with the Gestapo in Berlin in December 1938 to discuss Quaker relief work.

Elizabeth Yarnall was a founding member of Chestnut Hill Meeting and a member of the AFSC Mission Committee which was active in feeding starving children in Germany after World War I. During the summer of 1938, she accompanied her husband to work at Friends Center in Vienna, Austria, aiding German and Austrian refugees.

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language

English

Overview

Elizabeth Biddle Yarnall and her husband, D. Robert Yarnall, were Quakers, active in the American Friends Service Committee relief efforts. They worked with the Quaker center in Vienna, Austria, during the summer of 1938 to help in the emigration of German and Austrian Jews. The collection contains correspondence concerning their work with refugees and letters from refugees asking for assistance, especially the musician and composers Karl Weigl and his wife, Vally, who emigrated in October 1938. Also several essays by Elizabeth Yarnall on her Vienna experience and letters from Dorothy Canfield Fisher in her efforts to create an American children's relief organization for German children. The material conveys the difficulties in Jewish emigration in the years just preceding the Second World War.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Antje Mattheus and David Kairys

Date: 2004

Accession number: 2004-015

Related Materials

RG4/066 Pendle Hill Papers for correspondence from D. Robert Yarnall as Chairman of the Board of Pendle Hill

Karl Weigl Papers, MSS 73, in the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University.

Processing Information

The papers were received unsorted.
Title
Finding aid for Elizabeth Biddle Yarnall Refugee Papers, 1938-1945
Author
FHL staff
Date
2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

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