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Broomell-Cleghorn-Fisher Papers

Identifier: SFHL-RG5-278

Scope and Contents

This collection contains material collected by Anna Pettit Broomell and primarily consists of the writings and correspondence of Anna Pettit Broomell, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and Sarah Cleghorn. It includes letters from Wallace and Zephine Fahnestock, A.J. Muste, Norman Thomas, David Baumgardt, the Broomell family, and the Friends Council on Education. The letters between the three women are mostly personal, but include discussions of their works and activism. The collection has several drafts of manuscripts and poems. There are also journal entries from Sarah Cleghorn and material collected for Sarah Cleghorn’s memorials and oral history project. There is published material from and about Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Sarah Cleghorn, and a draft of a book about Dorothy Canfield Fisher and written by Anna Broomell.


  • Creation: 1876-1967


Language of Materials

All materials in English

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Permission from the Director or Curator of Friends Historical Library must be obtained before researchers may consult the manuscript, War Journal of a Pacifist.. The remainder of the collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce items in this collection beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns. See

Biographical / Historical

Dorothy Canfield Fisher was a famous American author in the early 20th century and a major proponent of the Montessori Method. She spent her adult life in Vermont, where she became friends with Sarah Cleghorn. Sarah Cleghorn was a Quaker author and activist from Vermont who did collaborative work with Fisher. In 1943, Cleghorn moved to Philadelphia. Anna Pettit Broomell took care of her as her health declined and edited Cleghorn's poetry in 1956. Broomell was a Quaker author of children’s books; the introduction to her most successful volume was written by Dorothy Canfield Fisher in 1935.

Dorothy Canfield Fisher was born on February 17, 1879, in Lawrence, Kansas. Mrs. Fisher received her BA from The Ohio State University in 1899 and her doctoral degree in Romance Languages in 1904 from Columbia University. She also received honorary degrees from Dartmouth College, the University of Nebraska, Middlebury, Swarthmore, Smith, Williams, Ohio State University, and the University of Vermont. She married John Redwood Fisher in 1907, with whom she had two children. Her son James was a captain and surgeon during World War II and died during a raid in the Philippines in 1944. There is material about her son and his death in this collection. Mrs. Fisher died in 1958 in Arlington, Vermont at the age of 79.

Sarah Cleghorn was born on February 4, 1876, in Norfolk, Virginia. She lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota before moving to Vermont at the age of 9. In 1895, she graduated from Burr and Burton Seminary in Manchester, Vermont and also studied at Radcliffe College. She began her teaching career and activism in 1915 and was an activist for many causes throughout her life. She moved to Philadelphia in 1943 and died in 1959.

Anna Pettit Broomell was born on December 3, 1887, and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1907. She earned a M.A. from Columbia University and married George Lupton Broomell, Swarthmore Class of 1906, with whom she had two children. She lived in Philadelphia her whole life and died in 1972.


2 Linear Feet (4 boxes)


This collection contains material collected by Anna Pettit Broomell and primarily consists of the writings and correspondence of Broomell, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and Sarah Cleghorn.


The collection is divided into three series:

  1. Ser. 1. Correspondence
  2. Ser.2. Writings
  3. Ser.3. Miscellaneous

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Gift of Sarah N. Cleghorn through Sarah Fisher Scott and Anna Pettit Broomell, 1958.

Donor: Gift of Anna Pettit Broomell, 1967.

Donor: Gift of Hannah Broomell Wilson, 2010 [Accession 2010.004]

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This Collection was orignally catalogued at FHL as the Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn Papers (RG5/027). Since all three donations came through Hannah Petitt Broomell, the papers have been combined and recatalogued under the call number RG5/276 to reflect their common provenance.

Related Materials

The University of Vermont Special Collections Library holds the Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn Papers which include correspondence, manuscripts of poems and prose works, notes, diaries, accounts and account books, newspapers clippings, printed and published material, memorabilia, manuscripts of other people's works, and photographs relating to the Cleghorn, Dalton and Hawley families.

Separated Materials

This donation also included a dressing gown which was worn by Hannah Bacon Thompson at Swarthmore College in the 1880s; it has been catalgoued and stored separately.



An Inventory of the Broomell-Cleghorn-Fisher Papers, 1876-1967
FHL staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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